The SneakyArt Post
The SneakyArt (Insider) Podcast
130. Please allow me to (re-)introduce myself.

130. Please allow me to (re-)introduce myself.

a recent interview on canadian radio, and the what of sneakyart.

Dear [insert name],

I am glad to speak to you. You are a special person of my world.

Because you recently subscribed to the SneakyArt Post, I already know many things about you. But there are some things I do not know. This is the nature of our relationship as writer and readers.

Because you recently subscribed to the SneakyArt Post, there are some things you know about me, and many others you do not. This post is a way to fill in the gaps.

Leave a comment to fill in the gaps from your end. [Insert name], we can meet somewhere along the way.

Leave a comment

🎙 In the audio section of this post, listen to my 10-minute spot on CBC Radio earlier this summer. Or catch the full episode of The Now or Never Podcast here.

Some top posts this year:

How did SneakyArt begin?

SneakyArt is drawn inside a little sketchbook with a fountain pen. It is a record of human activity in public spaces and the moments of beauty in the world around me.

It started a few years ago when I was a new immigrant in the US. I had just quit in the middle of a PhD program (in Neuroscience) to pursue my lifelong dream of becoming a writer.

I found myself in a strange, new world and looked for ways to better understand it. As I walked around Chicago, enchanted by this great city and its people, I started to carry a sketchbook.

I did not realize it then, but I had just embarked on an accidental path to becoming an artist.

Doing the #OneWeek100People challenge in Chicago’s cafes (2017)

Never kill your curiosities. They are your ticket to new and exciting places.

I have spent time in various places in the American Midwest and now live in Vancouver (Canada). SneakyArt has been a way to find home in unfamiliar environments.

What is the process of making a home in a new environment?

It is the process of finding new places for old things.

SneakyArt has shown me ways to appreciate my environment, whether it is a great city of the world or a small town in the middle of the midwest. It has helped me connect with the innumerable strangers that pass through my world.

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My sketchbooks are full of such strangers. People whose lives have nothing to do with mine. People who live in a completely different world from me. Except for a brief moment in time when our worlds collided.

SneakyArt is created at the intersection of worlds.

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In 2019, I self-published a book of SneakyArt that went on to win a couple of independent publishing awards. It was about a town in the middle of the Midwest where I made a home for nearly 3 years.

8x8”, 110 pgs of premium sneakyart wrapped inside hardcover & dust jacket

I loved the process of making this book. (I love having creative control.) But what I loved most was the joy of selling it in-person to hundreds of people at the Artist’s Market (next to the Farmer’s Market!) in Phoenix Park, downtown Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

Every copy of SneakyArt of Eau Claire passes through my hands, personally signed and numbered. Add SneakyArt to your bookshelf.

Grab the book!

🎙 Listen to this my interview on the Science Friction podcast with Natasha Mitchell. We speak about the challenge of taking a leap of faith, and how I left an academic career to be an artist instead.

🎙 If you’re into the long-form style, listen to this epic conversation about my life, the things I have done, and the things I want to do, in Ep 260 of The Seen and the Unseen. (A lot of people this year have found my work from this episode.)

Starting to Write Again

Isolated during the first wave of the pandemic, I decided to resume writing.

Tiny people out of a cafe window in Vancouver (2022)

Here are some reasons I gave myself -

  • To have a creative outlet unimpeded by social distancing and lockdowns.

  • To build deep engagement with my audience, which was impossible on social media.

  • To articulate a case for SneakyArt every week, for the benefit of both new fans and myself.

Since July 2020, I have hit the publish button every week.

Thoughts are brilliant comets streaking across the mind’s universe. Some will return again and others will not. Writing is a way to grab them out of the great void and shape them to our ends.

🎙 Why the Podcast

The podcast, like this publication, is a child of the pandemic.

In mid-2020, cut off from the wonderful sketchers from whom I had learned so much, I spent a lot of time listening to various art podcasts. But nothing hit the spot. After a while, I realized what this meant - It was my job to make the podcast that I needed so desperately to hear.

The SneakyArt Podcast began as a way to have valuable, insightful conversations with artists whose work I admired. Aligned with my curiosities, it asks after motivations and inspirations, and looks for good ideas to emulate.

Ep 1 - 48.

As of this week (Oct 25), 52 episodes have amounted to nearly 100 hours of conversation. The show is heard by thousands of listeners in over 50 countries.

Dear reader, are you also a listener? Tell me about your favourite episode!

Leave a comment

💡 Learning in Public

I have strong reservations about my authority to teach anyone anything. But experience has shown me that teaching is the best way to learn deeply. Learning in public is a solution for my Imposter’s Syndrome, so that I can keep moving forward.

I do not have all the right answers. But I promise I have some good ideas.

This year, and hopefully for the rest of my life, I will be learning in public. This means taking readers (and SneakyArt Insiders) on my journey of self-education as an artist, writer, and podcaster.

Learning in public is not only a list of achievements. It is also an honest list of failures. It is a manifesto at the beginning of every project and an audit at the end.

Here are some ways I have done it this year:

🎙 A series of posts - [Would da Vinci use TikTok?] [Existentialism and Other People] [Accidental Artist] [Why I Self-Published] - after a long-form conversation on The Seen & the Unseen.

🎯 All my writing and notes from the Substack Fellowship program earlier this year (including a free ebook).

🌉 30 Days of Vancouver, a drawing + city-exploration challenge shared daily with my readers through words, lines, and tiktoks. Also, a podcast retrospective of the entire project.

Dear reader, do these posts answer any questions for you? Tell me if so. Tell me if not.

Leave a comment

Spotted in a cafe on Commercial Drive in Vancouver (2022)

📝 The Contract with Readers & Listeners

“Writer, Artist, Podcaster” is a tough job description for a single person. I do everything myself. And I put a lot of time into getting everything just right. For instance, a 2-hour podcast episode involves 15-20 hours of work - before, during, and after the recording.

If you love my work, consider becoming a SneakyArt Insider. Insiders are the growing community of super-readers and listeners who support my independent mission as a SneakyArtist. In exchange, they get many perks and backstage passes to all my work. Insiders are the only people to whom I am accountable. I love this relationship.

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Because you made it to the end, here’s a sneaky discount!

[Insert name], to thank you for your time and attention. I hope to learn more about you soon.

The SneakyArt Post
The SneakyArt (Insider) Podcast
Best ideas from a journey of self-education. For Insider ears only.