What a year it has been!

To all my dear Bubbler mates, it’s exactly one year since I joined Redbubble, and what a year it has been! This time last year my first photo Fairy Realm was uploaded and it was a milestone for me, being the official ‘first step’ of my artistic journey. My very first viewing, comment, and favourite was by Vicki Ferrari, only minutes after my joining. She also added me to her watchlist. Needless to say, I was totally stoked!

As many of you may know, Epilepsy has been part of my life since being diagnosed in late 2009. My story about mental illness can be seen here. Photography has been the one activity that gives me some relief by being a focal point I can channel energy into. A friend also encouraged me to edit my photos so I was introduced to Lightzone, a very straightforward and easy editing program. That same friend then introduced me to Redbubble, although he is not a member himself. I owe a debt of gratitude because it has opened up a whole new world of possibilities. Each step has been a logical, natural progression; take the photos, edit the photos, show the photos. Makes sense when you think about it.

Since that first night I’ve had almost 19000 viewings, over 300 hundred favourites, well over 100 features, over a dozen Top 10 challenge placements and even a challenge win. Yippee for me :D Several photos have also been chosen as avatars for challenge events. I currently belong to 98 groups and am usually in about 20 challenges at any given time. Most of the time I don’t even get a vote but hey, I do love a challenge.

About 6 months into my journey, Australia experienced it’s worst floods ever and I was caught up in it; I lost my home. Without a doubt the most important photographs, artwork and stories I have posted here are related to the Brisbane Floods 2011. Redbubble has given me the opportunity to share these photos and experiences with the world. This documentation of events is something I can pass on to future generations who ‘will’ have to endure it again. This flood portfolio has been my way of processing the shock and trauma of this experience.

I’ve also been afforded the opportunity to honour a friend for her incredible kindness. Another friend was offered remembrance after passing away. Yet another loss was my beautiful feline boy Leo who was killed shortly after the flood. This activity has helped me deal with the emotion of grief.

By now I hope you’ve grasped the general idea this has been an important year for me. Who’d have guessed that 12 months ago to the day, I was sitting at my computer with a knot in my stomach, afraid of taking that next ‘logical’ step of showing my artwork. I mean, who could possibly want to look at it? I felt so very low and honestly thought I just wasn’t good enough to be amongst those people I deemed ‘real artists’, but I guess time has proven me wrong. Part of my journey has been to gain confidence and develop my own style; to discover my own niche and explore potential, and I think I’ve achieved that. I now know I can honestly say to the world “I am an artist!”… and actually believe it. Self-deluded perhaps? Nah LOL

The next part of my journey is very clear to me. I am currently in the process of publishing a book about my flood experiences, using the photos in my flood portfolio. This project is already underway but will take a few months to complete. I intend to present a copy to the Queensland Museum as an historical reference. Another project is to salvage and scan the thousands of old slides I have of my trips to Africa and Europe back in the 1980’s. I know there are some gems hidden away in those boxes, and I can’t wait to reacquaint myself with these past journeys. Hopefully you will see a few of these photos online.

The one thing I am most looking forward to however, is to move back into my newly rebuilt home and to hang of few pieces of my own artwork on my own walls, and say to myself “I created that! That is mine!” Then I will know I have really achieved something.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of my Redbubble friends who have helped me grow this past year. Your friendship, your support, your guidance and inspiration, your constructive criticism… and your humour, has made this a most rewarding experience and I am so grateful to you. Thank you all so very much.

Blessings always.

Neil :D

Journal Comments

  • vigor
  • Neil Ross