What I did today

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So today I went off my usual schedule and attempted to practice more on my Wacom. It was such a good day though and it just made me realize how much I love being at home and not having a set schedule. I have only my homeschool upbringing to blame for that I suppose :O

Will try to practice more like these! It was really fun.

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Japan Sketch Auction: Friends Curry Shop

I will be posting new artwork regularly and will be up for sale 🙂
If anyone happens to be interested, please bid on the Instagram page!

Theo O. threw away his art.

1545587_10151840901075778_903114813_nA couple of years ago, I had the pleasure of being approached by Theo O. I had been in Singapore at the time, and was sitting lonely in a cafe’ on the weekend. I wanted friends, but didn’t feel like I could approach anyone. I was drawing my carrot cake as I was sitting in that cafe’ and looked up at the group of four young university students in front of me, wishing I could be a part of the laughter. I was waiting for the Synagogue on the corner to open. I was excited because I knew I would be able to have the chance to make friends. I would finally meet people.

With these thoughts floating around in my head, I finished the drawing and my eyes scanned the rest of the cafe’. Most people were staring into their cellphones, their studies and laptops. However, there was one person stood out from the group: a guy with dark shades that was scribbling notes into a book. I assumed he was a company worker finishing up extra things after his job. The man lifted his head from his work and faced my direction. He looked at me, and gave me a little hot-shot nod and grin. Automatically I decided that I would be friends with anyone in the shop but him.

I checked the clock on my Itouch. Time for Synagogue! I quickly packed up my art supplies and exited the shop. I walked a couple of minutes down the road to find the building still locked down. Why does it look like it’s closed? I looked though the metal gates and saw a woman in a police uniform and waved at her to come to me. She was a serious yet friendly lady, and I politely asked why everything was still shut up. She informed me that it was very much open, but to my disappointment, guests needed to show their passports to enter for security reasons. I didn’t think of that.

Passport-less, I said thank you to the guard and started walking down the street. I was on the verge of tears when the thought passed through my head: Something good will happen. With that, I quickly regained my composure and wandered back to the cafe’ I was at. I stood outside of the coffee shop for about ten minutes wondering what I should do. Should I walk back home? The family I was staying with dropped me off, and I knew that their house was far. I could wait, but wait and do what?1492637_10151811158320778_1269779749_o

After standing there for a few minutes, I noticed the same hot-shot with the glasses going in and out of the cafe’. What was he doing? I didn’t think too much about it and went back to zoning out. As I was still staring into space, I get a tap on my shoulder and I find Theo O. in front of me introducing himself, asking how my day was going. He looked younger up close and guessed that he was around the same age as me. I was slightly hesitant to make conversation because of preconceived notions, but we got to talking. To my delight, I discovered that he was not doing company work at all, but was sketching. An artist!

We became friends, and I enjoyed meeting him in Singapore. He was my first friend there and I was ecstatic to have another person to talk to. A person that also loved art.

He flipped through his sketchbooks and I got to see his strange drawings and ideas on the paper. He told me that he wouldn’t think about what to draw, but just start and ideas would flow. I asked him how many sketchbooks he had.

Hundreds.

-What do you do with all of them?

After I finish one, I just throw it away.

I was in shock. All of this amazing art, just gone. What was the point? He told me that he could just re-draw everything if he wanted to. He didn’t see it as a waste, but the purpose of art being in the doing and not the keeping the final product.

Uh-huh… but still….

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Though we were only friends for a short time and didn’t keep in touch after Singapore, I appreciated his art and his friendship that day very much. That day changed the course of my trip and of my life. I fell in love with chance and serendipity.

Before we parted ways and left to go back home after Singapore, I was still confused about one thing. It bugged me and I decided to ask him:

-Why did you just come up to a random stranger and introduce yourself? You didn’t know me. 

A little grin formed on his lips he replied,

It just looked like you wanted to talk to me. 🙂

The Japan Cards

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My name is Johnna Slaby and I am a 22-year old watercolor artist based in Nara, Japan.
I started sketching postcards all around the country and sending them off all around the world.

I currently have an Etsy shop online of printed postcards from my sketch travels.

Since I started sketching, my life has changed in many ways. I am so grateful to have experienced so many new things because of art. If you would like to check out the online shop, please click here:

The Japan Cards

If anyone has any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to post and ask!!! Will be looking forward to hearing from you and having your feedback.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheJapanCards

Go find me on that corner

photo-144Yesterday I was particularly sad not to have had my camera or Itouch charged. It was a big day for me because I tried something new: Selling my postcards in the middle of the street in Osaka. I would only be on that corner for a short time however, after some lovely new friends from Senegal would pass by and be the first and last customers of the day.

They talked to me on that corner for an hour about law, the United States, the future of Japan, and predicted how my own future would pan out.

After treating me to a tomato water from the convenient store, the two brought me the bar that he plans renovate within the next few weeks. The shop used to be a bar, a hair dresser, and a kimono shop all in one, with a lot of the supplies still inside. He seemed excited about all of the leftover things that he found there that the owners had just left. I got to try on a few kimonos that was upstairs and told me to keep one along with a couple of tabi socks and a bright red tote bag. We talked while trying to fix a busted computer and I managed notice the time to catch my last train.

I was very glad that I had met them in that way. It was funny because I wasn’t going to sell postcards. If I did sell postcards it wasn’t going to be on that corner on the side of the street. Lastly, I was going to work at the Spanish restaurant that night so our paths probably wouldn’t have crossed had something been out of sync. I just might be selling postcards every Monday after work from now on to see who else will approach this girl sketching on the side of the road. Go find me on that corner!

Keeping the kitchen sink clean

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I have been doing a lot of moving around Japan and have also been doing a lot of thinking. All of the people that have crossed my path, all of the same old ideas, fresh ideas, are going in circles in my head. I am trying to take in all of these things. I am trying to understand the confusion, the slight leaps of joy that my heart takes, the indifference that I feel when there should be emotion. I am wondering why certain things decided to play out in my life and I cannot be too sure if it will have a positive or negative effect on me. Some say that life is what you make out of it. A beautiful idea, but also a scary one for me considering the struggle I have to even keep the kitchen sink clean.

From a young age, I wished to be in control of my life. I would make lists and itineraries for myself to finish each day, and that would give me my sense of security. Making those lists and checking off the things I had to complete is what made my world comfortable and beautiful. Now I am skeptical to whether or not you can let beauty be forced rather then just let beauty be. Lists have their benefits, but for me they left me feeling passionless. They got me somewhere, but when I arrived I felt as if all my effort had been in vain. Nothing I did would ever be enough.

Recently, I have been reading things that have put my mind at ease. I am reading things that I enjoy, that I can understand through my own experiences. You may tell yourself that you are inadequate, but it’s okay. There is beauty in that. There is beauty all around, in the people, nature, and your own self.
It doesn’t have to be clawed out, but will shine through once the walls that the world made you build around yourself get torn down. For myself, I can only hope that something beautiful can someday come out of this wrenched soul. I can only hope.

In the meantime, I will hop on my bus back to Osaka and start my new job at the Bistro. I am looking forward to seeing what stories may come out of this experience.