New Adventures

Lately, I’ve been trying a bunch of new things — everything from learning new software, to changing my eating habits.  Without change, you won’t be able to grow as a person.  

I’ve always considered myself a versatile person.  When I played High School baseball I was able to play multiple positions because my love for the game allowed me to understand what each position demanded.  Adapting has always come easy for me and now it’s really coming in handy.  I have my parents to thank for this because growing up an only child led me to become very curious.  My curiosity has stayed with me and has helped me find new passions and even my desired career path — Art Direction.  

I guess my whole point of this post is to not intimidated or afraid.  If you don’t know something, go learn it.  We live in a world where we can find nearly everything on the internet and the possibilities are truly endless.  I’m currently building my design portfolio and I still have a lot to learn, but words can’t express how excited I am.  

Below is my all-time favorite quote from Jim Jarmusch…  I hope you all are able to take something from it, as I’ve been living by it for the past few years.

Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is nonexistent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery – celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.”

As always, thank you for reading!  



Digital Age

It blows my mind to think what we’re capable of producing with present day technology.  We are only limited by our desire to learn and ambition to change the world by creating.  Ever since I bought my iPhone, it has revolutionized the way I do things and even view every day life.  I have become an avid Instagram user and the platform amazes me with the quality of images it produces.  The accessibility of email, the internet, and basically any app you could dream of is far too convenient, and at times even distracting!  

Although there are many pros to the Digital Age, there sure are a ton of cons.  It’s sad to think how dependent we are of technology and how it’s effecting us socially.  Recently, I was waiting in line at the local Post Office and a teenager was a few people behind me in line.  He had his head down, glued to his phone while holding a passport by his side.  Each time there woman at the desk finished with a customer she would ask, “Is there anyone with a passport?”.  I guess they attend to that need first, and this kid was clueless.  He wasn’t aware of their policy, and I was amused by his oblivion.  After five or six people had completed what they needed to do, it was his turn in line.  If he hadn’t had been on his phone so attentively, then he would have saved a good ten to fifteen minutes of waiting in line.  A key example of how technology may be distracting.  

Sure Social Media and building your network is great, but when you make that a priority over driving, it doesn’t fly with me.  Research has shown that driving while on your phone in any shape or form is more dangerous than driving drunk!  Often times I pass vehicles filled with people talking or looking down while driving and I can’t express how bad that irritates me.  Not only are you putting your life at risk, but others as well.  It’s time to be more responsible and conscious of our bad habits.  

Sorry for the rant!  Hope you’ve enjoyed it in some shape or form 🙂

Meditation Monday (Belated)

Due to my current hectic schedule, my post is a little late this week…  My apologies.

This post is directed towards ambition and drive.  If you lack ambition, then you will lack happiness, experience, and success.  Lately I’ve been building a list of places I want to visit, projects I’m  eager to work on, and software I want to become friends with – all by the end of the year.  

I’ve been exploring LinkedIn a lot more and I honestly have to say it’s become one of my favorite Social Media outlets.  I find inspiring and insightful articles all the time, but one in particular stuck out to me. A quote from the post that happened to stay with me was “the harder you work, the luckier you get”.  I have had many instances where I could relate and I’ll reiterate them below.  

The past four years I have done things that I only dreamed of before, yet it hasn’t slowed me down one bit.  Now at the age of 22, I feel as if I’m the healthiest and most fit I’ve ever been.  Throughout school I played baseball year-round, and graduating high school I weighed near 230 pounds.  Standing at six foot one inch, I wasn’t happy with my physical appearance and it was something I was determined to change.  My body wasn’t happy with my East Coast eating habits and it was time to take action.  It was also time to choose a college, and my interest for photography escalated through the three years from classes I took through high school.  I soon registered for classes at the Art Institute of Philadelphia because of the easy commute from my home only twenty miles from the city.  One month prior to my start date at the Art Institute, I received a call from Brooks Institute accepting my application and interested in pushing my ability.  They insisted I needed to come due to what I had been producing out of high school.  Most of my closest friends were heading to colleges out of state and it made the decision easier.  Nineteen years of my life were spent raised in New jersey and it was time for a new chapter of my life.  I was fortunate that I knew exactly what I wanted to do, and most people at my age struggled with their focus.  My parents were also a huge support throughout the process, and even encouraged my out of state education as they knew I would grow up quicker and have a better college experience.  

Throughout my time in Santa Barbara at Brooks Institute, I had a strong foundation for the ability to create.  Despite the workload amount from the accelerated pace of Brooks, I was still eager to create.  Many students get “burnt out” from the technical assignments and end up only shooting for assignments.  Reaching halfway through school, you were then able to sign up for more specialized photography courses, and the first class that caught my eye was ‘Art Director’s Point of View’.  I always enjoyed movie posters, cd album art, and commercials, so the idea of creating ads intrigued me.  Not only did I fall in love with design, but typography as well.  That class opened my eyes and is now what I am currently pursuing to become in my career.  Here I am almost four years since high school graduation, weighing in 45 pounds less and more inspired than ever.  

This year I look to write a book, release a clothing line, purchase my own car, explore more software, along with traveling overseas, doing something that scares me, read more books, see more live music, and patent an idea.  Most importantly – be original and do what you love and pursue what interests you.  Hold back nothing, don’t be too satisfied with your success and remain challenging yourself while pushing your abilities to the limit.  

Remember one last thing, the beautiful thing about the future is that nobody will ever know what is going to happen, and that to me is the most exciting part.  Create opportunities and put yourself in a better position to reach your desired job each day!  Now, excuse me while I go create.

Until next week..


The Power of One

The Power of One

I can’t express how excited I am about this series I recently started! It’s called “The Power of One” and it was created to share simplistic, yet powerful images through Instagram and other social media. I encourage others to hashtag their photos with #powerofone so that visual artists from all around the world can help build a creative outlet for one another.

Please share this series with your friends and don’t hold back on submitting your own images! #PowerofOne

Follow me on Instagram: @derek_j

Meditation Monday

Today is the start of a weekly post that I will be doing.  I went for a run earlier this morning and ironically, I forgot my headphones.  Music plays such a big part in my life as I’m constantly listening to all genres, all the time.  This morning I was forced to listen to my surroundings: waves crashing, trees blowing in the wind, families joyfully laughing while riding bikes together, and cars zooming past.  During my run I had an epiphany, which was to push myself harder each and every day.  Lately I’ve been unmotivated as I’m still in route of my dream job.

I recently graduated college and haven’t quite hit the ground running as fast as I anticipated.  Currently, I am an aspiring Art Director and looking to work my way into an advertising agency in the Los Angeles area.  In my free time I work on honing my software skills in programs like Illustrator and InDesign, as I’m trying to build the most versatile skill set possible.  I also recently picked up some books for some extra insight and inspiration as they’re tied together with the industry I’m going into.  

At the age of 22, I’m in the best shape of my life and have so much inspiration surrounding me.  I’ll be starting the Insanity workout tomorrow in my approach to becoming more cut and trimming down body fat.  Despite my success in past years, I’m not satisfied as I have my mind set on much bigger goals and will do everything necessary in order to achieve them.  Last but not least, be grateful and be yourself.

Be sure to follow me on Instagram and Twitter for more frequent posts!

Thank you for reading and until next week…


Christmas in Colorado

Christmas in Colorado

So I’ve been absent from online activity and blogging for the past two years due to a laptop crashing on me. I recently graduated college and got my hands on a laptop once again 😀 Stay tuned for more posts, as I’ll be adventuring more towards the design side of things..

This is a portrait of my girlfriend, Kathleen. We’ve been together for the past (almost) 20 months and I’ve truly never been happier. We spend two weeks together over Christmas break at her home in Colorado. Enjoy!