I believe the world needs new heroes.
I've only been around since 1970, but I believe the past year has got to be one of the most difficult in American history. Between the racial disparity, political division, and managing (or mismanaging, as the case may be) a worldwide epidemic, I believe now is a perfect time for a new type of hero.
As an artist and designer, my super power is a unique take on creativity. As a teacher and communicator, my super power is sharing stories that inspire others to chase their creative dreams. My personal goal is to bring those two abilities together as often as possible in order to share a message that inspires greatness in ourselves.
I feel like I'm constantly in a state of discovery. The more stuff I make, the more I found out about myself. Some of it is cool, and some of it stinks, but even the stinkers bring lessons.
One thing I have re-learned recently is that without a vision, my work tends to veer in many different directions at once. That is actually beneficial when I'm in exploration mode—trying to find a rhythm and motif to the work. However, a lack of vision when trying to create something of substantial worth can lead to a chaotic and detached collection of things.
I just finished up my post-Thanksgiving weekend sales, and though I got a decent amount of orders, they didn't come in the ways that I was hoping. I am willing to bet that it is because I didn't fully believe in what I was putting out.
Yes, the work is mine, and I believe the messages I shared were meaningful, but they were random and disjointed, which ultimately made me feel disjointed. That's not a good place to be when you're trying to sell shit.
By the time Cyber Monday hit, I was already tired of all the things I created. I wanted to be excited about the products, but instead I was bored, which made it real hard to promote.
Unsatisfied with my attitude, I decided to sit down and have a good one-to-one with myself. I thought about the work, what I liked and didn't like, what inspired me and what left me flat, and then I thought about the future.
Coincidentally, I have been listening to the memoir of Bobby Hundreds, This is Not a T-Shirt. Bobby is the creative director and one of the founders of The Hundreds streetwear brand, and what I find the most compelling about his story is that waffled through his early life until he found an idea that allowed him to explore his creativity and share his ideals at the same time.
Although I do not own a single piece of clothing from The Hundreds, I respect what they stand for, and I respect the level of success they have achieved, especially because of how hard-fought that success came to them.
So I'm listening to Bobby talk about his battles, his lessons, and his virtues, and I'm thinking to myself about how this all makes perfect sense, and why could I not see this for myself. Experience brings wisdom, I suppose.
With Bobby in my ear, I pondered what it all meant for me and my brand. Did my brand identity stand up? Was it cohesive? Did the message ring true? Was the art worthwhile? The short answer to all those questions were both yes and no, and it depended on the piece, which means there was no true connectivity.
I made a decision in that moment, to change what I'm presenting to the world as a cohesive, connected message of creativity and enterprising spirit. The plan is already in motion, and the full reveal will come soon, but I want to introduce you to the first leg of the tripod.
Tiger Hero is a name I've held for awhile now, an homage to my son (born year of the tiger, middle name Hiro). Initially it represented the idea of doing things to make a better life for him, making a legacy he could be proud of sharing. All of that still remains, and now it also stands for emboldening the creative spirit in others.
"Tiger Hero is about chosen destiny. It's about not letting the world dictate the rules to you about your own life.
Tiger Hero stands at the crossroads of creativity and enterprise, not with a choice to make, but with a message to anyone who comes along—This is your time."
That is the declaration; the micro-manifesto of things to come, starting with a brand with a vision. The full details, as well as the other legs of the tripod will be fully revealed in 2021. Until then, let's all stay resolute in our vision, and focus our creative energy around it.