Well, today is the day. I've been content for years to put off my own passions and finish whatever obligations to other people may be at hand. But after reading enough inspirational quotes on Pinterest and having too many wild thoughts dance through my head, I'm finally starting a project that is incredibly close to my heart.
I am a recent graduate of California Polytechnic State University, as in, I walked last Saturday. I'm still in shock that I have a real BFA in graphic design. I was doing my little post-graduate thing, hot tubbing with friends, when someone asked me what I do...to which I responded, "I'm a graphic design maj...wait, I'm a graphic designer!!" Four years later and I get to proudly say those words whenever I want. I can also sigh with relief and answer with a "yes" when people ask me if I have a job. In the midst of all this being a graduate business, I'm trying to move to San Francisco to launch the career of my dreams.
Blessed? Yes I am. I'm making this move with five of my best friends, including my sweet boyfriend of two and a half years. The only people I have to be separated from are my mom and sister, but at the end of the day they're a mere five hour drive away. My mom has been beyond supportive of this new adventure, encouraging and challenging me at every turn. I feel like I have it all. What are the odds we could all get our dream jobs in the same city?
Yet life hasn't always been so picture perfect. My dad passed away when I was sixteen, and my grandfather shortly thereafter. I lost the two most important men in my life. The ways those losses have shaped me and grown me are a whole different story, but they are an extremely important part of the person I am and definitely a piece of the reason for this project.
Speaking of the project, I'm getting to that. Here I am, a young designer with the world before me, being molded by experiences all along the way – yet if someone asked me to define myself, designer would not be the first word to escape my lips. What would? Christian. No, not whatever terrible image pops into your head. I hate the stereotypes that have to be associated with that word. What I am is a simple follower of Christ. That's what I think Christian is supposed to mean.
As I continue this project I will unfold more of my spiritual life, but for now I'll keep explanations short. I just said I'd define myself first and foremost as a Christian. But at the same time I'm incredibly excited to gain the title of designer. To me, Christian is what I am, design is what I do. The challenge is how these two pieces of me will intertwine as I move on to this next stage of life.
It's actually perfect that I put off this project until now. I can't think of a better, more important time to figure all this out, the balancing act of being a Christian designer. So how do you fit into this? Well, I can't imagine you want to spend all your time reading about my internal conflicts and how I'm going to go about living my life. Not exactly riveting. I understand not everyone who reads this is a Christian, nor a designer. But I do believe everyone is fascinated with beauty.
Our world has been enthralled, obsessed, controlled, awed, inspired....beautiful things, beautiful people, beautiful attributes. Sunsets, flowers, movie stars. The smell of the grass after it rains, the way the moon reflects off the ocean at midnight. A first kiss, an act of pure kindness, words woven together in just the right way. These things are beautiful.
It is more than just a quest to pursue how to be a Christian designer that I am embarking on. This is a journey to discover what God thinks about beauty. Why he created us to crave it. How we, as humans, fit into this beautiful universe. Because beauty is at the center of design culture. I've been trained to create beautiful things that have purpose and meaning. I'm pressured to fit into a culture of beautiful people that dress and behave a certain way. And, beauty is at the center of Christianity...but in a sort of different way. Real love is beautiful, isn't it? Well, God is love. In it's truest form. And he made those sunsets, those mountains, that girl you've fallen in love with that you call beautiful like its her name.
I already know some of the answers to my own questions. I already know what people have told me. What I've been inundated with my whole life. But I've also been told that my twenties are a time to discover who I am. So, this is it. I'm going to find out for myself what I believe about the intersections between God + beauty + design.
This mission is open-ended. I don't know when I'll be done searching for answers. I might not find all the answers. That's okay. What I find and what I choose to believe, you might not agree with. That's okay too. I wasn't going to publicly blog this project, but a conversation with a friend changed that when she, as a Christian designer, revealed to me that she had a lot of the same feelings I did and struggled with finding the balance between selling her soul to Jesus and selling her soul to art.
So I'm thinking just maybe, there are others out there who have a need for the very same journey, and I'd like you to join me. After all, "two are better than one...for if they fall, one will lift up his fellow" (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10). If I run out of words, I want someone to help me.
Sounding good? Awesome. Just some disclaimers though: I am a Christian and I coming at this project with all of my former beliefs, as well as my past that has shaped me. I'm going to answer questions based on what I already know to be true of myself and of God. Also, I'm going to write and discover whenever I feel led. No rules or restrictions. So you, if you're with me, can do the same, and discover at your own pace. My posts might not always be directly related to those three things I mentioned previously (God, beauty, or design), but they will be what I feel is relevant to the project. There will be artwork. There will be design. It may or may not be mine (I will specify), and I'm not saying there will always be accompanying pictures. And finally – I'd love to hear from my cojourners.
I'm calling this the Wonderlust Project. No, not wanderlust, though I have that too. I'm probably not the first to invent the word wonderlust, but I like to think of it as a craving for discovering wonder. Wonder defined is this: a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable. To me, my God is the source and cause of all things wonderful, things worthy of wonder. It captures my heart for figuring out beautiful, inexplicable things.
See you on the road.