Finally, I know. It took me so long. I keep telling everyone "next week!" but next week never happened. I'm sorry to everyone who had waited patiently for me to upload all my latest paintings and prints. It's finally up and about! All my latest prints and paintings from 2019-2020. A few more paintings will be coming soon too, as soon as i'm done painting them.
I also made a new TOTE bag, from extra fabric I had from an art installation that never happened (Covid-19 took over). Go check it out and I hope you like!
Anyway, this post isn't really about my webshop reopening (it is and it isn't).
I'm gonna be really honest with you about the delay. I think for a long time, I wasn't sure about what I wanted to put out there for the world to see. In my last post I talked about my identity crisis. I really needed time to simmer in the *art world* and *being an artist* before I felt good about selling my work. My brain was completely focused on exploring, experimenting, honing my skills. I just couldn't bring myself to start SELLING. To sell, one must be PROUD of their work. You need to believe in it. I was still in the "meh" phase. I received a lot of positive reviews from people but I was still unsure and doubtful on the quality of the work. I was still doubting everything, from the subject matter, my technique, the colors I used....how was I to sell when I wasn't sure myself about what i'm selling? WHAT DO I EVEN HAVE TO SAY? WHO THE HECK WAS I? Eee PERASAN NYA AKU NI <-- legit the thoughts in my head.
So I didn't really update my website or blog, or engage too much in publicity or selling. I worked on projects that were given to me, and I wasn't very active in going out there telling people about who I was and what I do. So much so I had friends who got annoyed at me because at social gatherings I wouldn't even wanna talk about what I do as a living. I felt really embarrassed for some reason. Like omg if they ask me what I do, they're gonna wanna see my Instagram, then i'd have to show my Instagram, UGHHHH OMG. I CANNOT. I would literally feel my stomach knotting.
In my previous life, I was a Marketer. My job was to sell sell sell. I was selling other peoples brands / products / stories - honestly, thats waaaaay easier than selling myself. I could do it in a heartbeat. I would dive deep into the brands story to come up with an entire campaign, create as much content, buzz and publicity. I would "goreng" the whole thing. I think I could say that im very capable at doing that. One of the first brands I worked on as a Marketer is now a household name (Zalora - lol). Yet when it came to marketing MYSELF, telling people about MY STORY, creating a campaign around MY WORK, and MY LIFE, I rather pengsan. I rather crawl into a hole and bury myself.
I had zero confidence to sell myself. Partly because I didn't even know myself, what I wanted to do, and partly because I felt like an imposter. I suffered from SEVERE SEVERE imposter syndrome. People always think that i'm "confident" but not really. It takes so much out of me to speak confidently about the work that I do. People's perception of me vs who I really am is skewed. So much so that I kinda stopped seeing people in 2019 until I was "ready" to meet people again. People have high expectations of me and I wasn't sure I was able to meet those expectations. All the things i've achieved in my life, I believed it was a fluke, I just got lucky, it wasn't really anything...my art sucks and i'm just delusional!! I really had to unpack all of this, detach myself from it, and just BE. Be myself, do my thing. Stop putting all these unrealistic expectations on myself, that made me doubt myself, that made me spiral in imposter syndrome world and paralysed me from focusing on the work.
So for the whole of 2019/2020 I delayed properly selling on my website, speaking about my work, and just pushing myself to be okay with basic stuff (like posting a caption on Instagram or posting a pic of my work on Instagram) Some of you may not know this because I DO post a lot of content on IG, but just because I do, doesn't mean I don't wrestle with self doubt after. I do it because I know if I don't, people won't know about my work, then I don't get projects, then I don't have money, then I don't eat. I do it because I HAVE to do it, not because I want to. Not because I was completely excited to share my work.
It took me a while to get to a point where I was like FRACK IT, this is what I do for a living, i'm passionate about it and I want to share it with everyone! I am just going to create as much as I want, and then i'm gonna put it out there for all to see you. You like or don't like, it shouldn't matter so much, as long as I LIKE it. I needed to get to this mind set so I wouldn't be stopping MYSELF from actually enjoying the work.
Honestly I had no idea how I managed to get over my imposter syndrome. I know MANY people who suffer from it too. I think for me it was just processing the whole thing and realizing that art is subjective and that my self worth is not derived from how *great* my paintings are, how much im selling, how VALIDATED I am by other people. When I got to that point, I stopped caring too much about everything EXTERNAL, and focused on ME. My internal life, the visions I had in my mind....the paintings that came out of that vision. I shifted all my focus to that and only that.
Once I did, everything started becoming easy for me. I could post whatever on Instagram and didn't feel weird about it after. I painted whatever I wanted to paint, even if it wasn't the usual things I would paint. And MIRRO Notes came out out of all that.
MIRRO notes is RAW. It's real. It's literally pages from my journal and notebooks. MIRRO notes is me coming into myself and feeling confident about what I had to say. Verbally, not just visually. And to be very honest, I started MIRRO notes for myself. When crap happened to me in life, i'd open up my journal and start scribbling all the things I tak puas hati. It was my way of releasing my angst, annoyance, and all the negative feelings I felt about something. Sometimes it was positive feelings. Sometimes it was just silly basic things.
I had no idea that within 3 months, I was able to create a community of people who resonated with my thoughts. It's CRAZY. I still find it HILARIOUS that people are sharing MY JOURNAL NOTES thousands of times. About stuff I write about my boyfriend, my period, Makcik Bawangs, all the experiences I go through as a Malay Malaysian woman living in South East Asia who is also a millennial and a big fan of global culture.
I realize so much about LIFE and PEOPLE after starting MIRRO notes. I could see which posts was shared and liked the most. Currently the most shared post is about me dreaming of becoming a Tai-Tai Auntie. Me and my girlfriends, we talk about this a lot. But now I realize how MANY WOMEN OUT THERE really resonate with the post. Makes me feel closer to society at large. We are not so different and detached from each other. And this community really came through for me, buying my prints, paintings and Kimonos to show support (you guys know who you are, and THANK YOU) The reception of MIRRO Notes made me feel better about just putting myself out there. Why was I so scared in the first place? Whatever I want to express, be it visually through my art or verbally through MIRRO Notes, I should just *express*.
As a small business owner, every little thing counts! All that money that I get from selling my work, goes back to buying more materials, paying for my studio. I'm so so lucky that I am able to sustain my lifestyle, however, there's still so many things I want to do (like creating a complete fashion collection, more art installations, my first art exhibition etc) and I would require lots of capital to do those things.
Obviously, I could get investors...but my somehow my gut says "no". One of my roles in my previous job/life was fundraising creative projects. I looked for sponsorship deals and collaborations to fund projects for other creatives (including artists). That was basically what I did for 3 years. I know exactly what goes down once I get an investor. I would lose creative control and direction of the work. I would have to follow the pace of my investor. I would have to MAKE LOTS OF MONEY. I would have to report to someone and be "accountable". I wouldn't say I would NEVER take investment money, but I would have to choose a suitable one with an arrangement that wouldn't compromise my values and needs and "style" of working. That isn't easy to find...but im sure one day when the time is right and the stars align, i'll find someone who'd help me make all the things I want a reality!
But for now, I'll do it the hard way, i'll hustle and bustle and save up here and there so I could do all the things that I want to do eventually. This means, all your support REALLY MATTERS. I'm really hoping that I am able to do MY FIRST EVER EXHIBITION in 2021. I finally feel "ready" and excited to put my work out there. It's gonna take a lot of money, but i'll figure it out!
Now that projectmirro.com is online and active again, I plan to drop a series of paintings and art prints on the website every month. Thats something i've wanted to do since I started Project MIRRO in 2018 but I was bogged down with client projects and lecturing that I had minimal time to even breathe. This time around, I am going to be more selective with the projects I work on with others and focus more on painting for myself. Hopefully, all goes well with this!
I want to say THANK YOU to everyone who has supported me and bought a MIRRO product / painting. The first day of the relaunch was my HIGHEST RECORD of sales ever, and I was blown away! Thank you for everyones messages too, all the shares you guys do on social media. Really, everything MATTERS and everything makes a difference!
Im so berkobar kobar to paint and create now. I heard your feedback on what you want more from MIRRO and im so down to deliver that! I'm still in the midst of designing T-SHIRTS and STICKERS for MIRRO Notes. Sabar ya sis! Im on it!!!
Anyway, I guess that's all I have to say for now. Im off to paint some more - love you guys and thanks for reading!