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I had the pleasure of meeting Bryan Konietzko recently. What a great guy! He is one of my hero storytellers, and I feel that Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra have been immensely influential on my work. I only hope that my characters can have as profound an effect on books as his have had on animation.
As I come to the end of time at Portland State, and my master's degree is awaiting me to walk across that stage, I can't help be think back on my decision to go back to school, and how this experience has changed me. I never imagined myself getting an advanced degree in anything, and I was quite happy with my BFA. All I wanted was a job somewhere that wasn't soul crushing, and the time and money to pursue my dreams of publishing. Although that worked out for a time. I should have known that wouldn't be enough, but the fact of the matter was that I didn't think I was good enough to make a career out of my art. That is not the case anymore. How did I find my confidence?
The subject even came up in my oral defense for my master’s degree. As a graduate student in publishing, I worked each semester for Ooligan Press, primarily in design. I made some great work, and helped with the design process on a number of projects, but found that my designs (though very good, and generally liked) never made the final cud. I was asked by my professors during my defense, “Why do you think that none of your covers has been accepted as a final cover?” Although my answer touched on things like the personality of the press, their visual aesthetic compared to my own, and just needing a better understanding of the design brief, the truth of the matter came to down to this - I don’t really care anymore - which I say with all humility and joy. I’ve finally reached a point in my artistic development that I know what I like, and I know what looks good, and feel confident in the work I’m producing, take it or leave it. I feel like I have expertise enough that I don’t need to look for acceptance any more from anyone else but the viewer of the work. This is very liberating in a lot of ways, but most particularly in my future plans in publishing. I’m no longer searching for a place where I can be an expert in my field. Now, I want to build that place.
My family is mourning the loss of our patriarch today. My grandfather, Charlie W. Parker Sr. was and is the best of us. A man that always stood up on his own two feet, who struck out on a path that few would tread and built a strong and honorable family around him. He was the guy that all eyes went to when he entered a room – equal parts charm, machismo, and intimidating swagger with a mind that was sharp as a razor. People called him "Chocolate Chip," and though the name was accurate (he was a pretty sweet guy) it belied the solid, unshakeable character at his core. He and my grandmother raised my father, uncles, and aunt. They, in turn, raised me, my siblings, and cousins. In that way, he lives in all of us forever. #lovewillsustainus #loveyoufamily#PARKERTRIBE
Believe in Wonder