Finding Your Creative Voice

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Finding Your Creative Voice

By DJ Johnson

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Lately I have had the pleasure of engaging on a lot of conversations about art and my process. I find my self often getting stumped in explaining how I derived to this point in my career. Even acknowledging I have an art "career" is surreal at times. But the most interesting conversations are the ones with aspiring artists. I get questions about technical issues about camera work, Photoshop pluggin inquires, or as to what paint should one use. I give out as much advice as I can but ultimately it always boils down to one thing, Do You. Find what makes you feel good and do it. My road to  this point was not one of structure or technique. It was more like a creative free for all and I just kept pushing forward....momentum did the rest. 


I didn't set out to be an artist. Not a photographer, Not a graphic designer. It kind-of just happened. I didn't grow up with a natural ability to draw. My hand writing sucks and I never could color inside the lines of a coloring book. Therefore the advice I give people as to how they can refine their creative process is "Do what makes you feel good." I found my creative process on a humbug. I was ruff stretch in life and was overwhelmed with boredom. I had free 30 day trial of Photoshop on my lap top and one day opened it. I didn't like it. It was confusing and since it was only good for 30 days and I don't like limitations I never used it. But I looked on line for free photo software and found Picasa and Artweaver. I played with this with no intentions or expectation of any thing, I was just up loading pics and flipping colors around and drinking 6 packs of beer, and falling asleep. Nothing fancy but I fell in love with this process, and got fat. But the ability manipulate light waves and frequencies and remix pictures was really fun. I would get off work an sit in front of my laptop for 6-8 hrs at a time and fall asleep. It was therapeutic. I considered my process more like remixing pictures. I wasn't taking them or painting, just remixing colors and duplicating effects. Like a picture DJ.  I called it Inverting. After about 6 months of playing around I showed a few people my work and they liked it. My mom stopped thinking I was depressed once she saw and liked the picture I did of her  So I gave my entire family prints for Christmas as gifts. They ate it up. I printed a few more of my Inversions because my moms friend loved them and wanted to display them during his play he producing. I agreed. A lot of the things I created in the beginning I did for fun and gave a lot of my designs and artwork away. I took photos for my friends and their events at every turn. And then I got that most important question: "How much d you charge too....." . Then I changed how I approached that thing I loved.

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So my advice more any aspiring artist is do what makes you feel good and do what you would do for free (but only until you are comfortable charging people ). Art comes in many forms. I have seen people do amazing things with the strangest materials. The become amazing because their passion for creating their pieces exudes from the piece itself . The time and energy someone puts in a piece becomes evident. At that point people offer you money right out or ask you how much you charge. Find what you LOVE to do and go for it. If you like yarn, make some dope yarn shit. If you love collecting bottle tops, do some freaky bottle top sculpture. Find your style, your passion and just do it and don't quit doing it. More than ANYTHING. Don't Quit. The nature of progression takes care of itself. I didn't think I would be actually painting but hey, it ended up being the natural progression of things. Kinda like Theirry Guetta transition into Mr. Brainwash. 

 


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Cryptofever?- Can I catch it? Please!?

Cryptofever?- Can I catch it? Please!?

Bitcoin, Ethereum, & Litecoin

Bitcoin, Ethereum, & Litecoin

"What yall think about Bitcoin?" is a question we are seeing more often on social media. I interpret the question to mean, "Can somebody tell me more about cryptocurrencies?" And with the most recent spike in the price of Ethereum and Litecoin, those 2 currencies have been added to the "What yall think about..." question.   As a creative who has a substantial portion of income coming from online transactions, this is a market that is necessary for me learn. So over the last few months, I have been doing my homework to try to get a baseline understanding of the world of cryptocurrencies. In the process snatched up a hand full of  Ethereum (ETH) and Litecoin (LTC) I just too "see what it do". 

Well as of the date of this post,  what it did this was, from the time I bought it in June, ETH has tripped and my LTC as increased by 1000%. And in my mind, all I can say is “f*#$!, I should have bought more!" 

Firstly let's try and give a simple definition for cryptocurrency:

                   Start buying Bitcoin now!

                   Start buying Bitcoin now!

"a digital currency in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, operating independently of a central bank."

That's right. In simple it’s the elimination of the need for banks to conduct transactions. So now, let's go over the big 3 coins Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin.

BITCOIN (BTC

Bitcoin is a form of decentralized digital currency, created and held electronically. No one controls it. Bitcoins aren’t printed, like dollars or euros – they’re produced by people, and increasingly businesses, running computers all around the world, using software that solves mathematical problems. Although Bitcoin is not the first ever cryptocurrency, it is the first successfully implemented one.  The biggest power behind bitcoin is that it’s a peer to peer network. It completely cuts out the need for banks to facilitate transactions. Check out this quick explanation as to how bitcoin works. Understanding Bitcoin

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ETHEREUM (ETH)

The second crypto titan is Ethereum. Ethereum seems to be a software company. According to Blockgeeks.com

                    Start buying Ethereum now!

                    Start buying Ethereum now!

At its simplest, Ethereum is an open software platform based on blockchain technology that enables developers to build and deploy decentralized applications.

Ethereum is not just a digital currency. It is an entire platform. Inside the platform, you can build any application you can imagine and encrypt it in Smart Contracts. A Smart Contract is just a phrase used to describe computer code that can facilitate the exchange of money, content, property, shares, or anything of value. When running on the blockchain a smart contract becomes like a self-operating computer program that automatically executes when specific conditions are met. Check out this simple explanation of Ethereum.  

Check out this video that will give the simplest explanation of Ethereum that we can find


LITECOIN (LTC)

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Litecoin is the third most popular of the trio and it is often referred to as the "silver to bitcoin gold". According to Litecoin's website 

Litecoin is a peer-to-peer Internet currency that enables instant, near-zero cost payments to anyone in the world. Litecoin is an open source, global payment network that is fully decentralized without any central authorities. Mathematics secures the network and empowers individuals to control their own finances. Litecoin features faster transaction confirmation times and improved storage efficiency than the leading math-based currency. With substantial industry support, trade volume and liquidity, Litecoin is a proven medium of commerce complementary to Bitcoin.

Litecoin is a fork of Bitcoin using the original Bitcoin protocol. It has been developed to be more streamline and operate faster than Bitcoin. So why do we need Litecoin? Litecoin is faster and cheaper but there is not guarantee that will stay constant. But that doesn't mean that Bitcoin will squeeze out Litecoin. Litecoin adapts new technology than a much faster and efficient rate. 


What makes these cryptocurrencies so valuable is the technology that they are built upon. The concept of cryptocurrency is sending shockwaves through the financial sector because it is based on speculation; the value of the possibility of a thing. That is what makes people so nervous. But to ease peoples nerves, lets put this unimaginable industry in perspective. Wouldn't you have loved the opportunity to invest with the Wright Brothers and the possibility of The Airplane? #SkysTheLimit!

 To get started investing in these big 3 cryptocurrencies open an account here with Coinbase.


DJ is Co-Host of Reclaiming My Dime Podcast and Director of Operation for AB+L Radio follow him IG: @reclaimingydime | FB: @reclaimingmydime | TW @reclaimingmy10 

Stockpile Party Fever

Stockpile Party Fever

Stockpile's Meghan Gardler tells how she came across our DJ, our Dir of Operations' blog post and how she brought her and her team down to throw him the FIRST EVER #StockpileParty

Reclaiming My Dime: Starting New Habits pt. 1

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Reclaiming My Dime: Starting New Habits pt. 1

We  at RMD have committed to this ride of facilitating the conversation of financial literacy. I have found that establishing good habits is the first step. For me, I need habits that appeal to my senses and are easy to implement into my lifestyle. I need to see it, hear it, and talk about it if I am going to understand something new.  So with that said I will share with you my daily routine that helps me reclaim my dime. 

Habit #1. Watch some financial news: The local news is wack (except the weather lady, she's usually fine). They cover so much negativity/doom and gloom that I don't find any inspiration to step out of my door and get to the paper-chase. Instead, I wake up at 5:30 am and turn on CNBC. By that time, I'm catching the last half of "The World Wide Exchange". Then, I gear up for "Squawk Box" at 6 am. There are two important things that I get from the morning financial news: financial dialog and the "guest" lineup. 

Squawk Box: cnbc.com

Squawk Box: cnbc.com

     a.  Financial dialog, at times, can sound like an entirely different language.

Guy 1: "Whats your position on EUR vs. AUD?"
Guy 2: "I'm going long."

WTF does that mean?? Are we investing in stock or are we about to run a Hail-Mary play to win the game against the Vols? 

Watching financial news allows you to observe people's interaction during conversation about money. You get to see charts and graphs, as well as hear opposing views on various topics. For me, hearing this gibberish prompts me to start googling terms, companies and people throughout the day so the next morning, I'll be able to understand the news a little bit more. 

b. Guests on local or traditional morning shows are usually some kind of celebrity or "culture influencer". On Squawk Box, you may wake up one morning and see a former "Fed Chair" (Chairman of the Federal Reserve), or the CEO for the company YOU work for. To add a little spice, Shark Tank's Kevin O'Leary is a reoccurring guest host whenever Joe Kern or Andrew Sorkin are out. Whenever that happens, I'm generally late for work.

Habit #2. Read something financial. Whether it's a financial trade magazine, Yahoo finance articles, researching a company's stock or a book... every day you should read something finance-related. I'm currently reading a book called Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the History of Capitalism (don't ask, I'm a nerd). Strangely, this book has provided me insight that I never would've gained if I hadn't picked it up. It shed light on some of the international trade agreement moves of our current Cheetoh in Charge (POTUS), and how these same moves have been used by other country leaders through out the history of this thing called free market capitalism

It may also be good to keep a couple of apps on-hand that provide immediate investment news. I use Barchart, StockPro, Investopedia and Yahoo Finance a lot. Learn.Stockpile.com also has a great site for you to learn more about investing when you need to start at the "Barney basics"

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Habit #3. Have money conversations. You have to find a person or group of people that you can practice your new language with. Whether it's in-person, on-line, or over the phone. Start by attempting to strike up conversations with your friends and family. You may be surprised who are active investors and just don't speak much about it. Facebook has TONS of groups that you can jump in and meet new people who may have the same desires as you: to learn more from others 

These are just a few habits that help me stay focused throughout out my day. Let us know some of your habits that keep you focused on your dime! Follow us! @reclaimingmydime


Written by: DJ Johnson for ReclaimingMyDime.com
 
DJ is the Director of Operations for AB+L Radio & Editor in Chief for ablradio.com

 


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