Belief & Care In Yourself: The Most Crucial Keys To Success? or Restructure That Brain, Good Sir!

A restructuring of the brain is needed.

  1. I need to believe in myself, I need to respect myself, I need to value my work, effort, and talents
  2. I need to handle personal challenges with a clearer head, and a more positive outlook

The position I am in, I am struggling with those 2 things.

When it became brutally apparent that I can’t continue living as I have, with very little pay for the work I do, I took it as a character flaw, as though there was something inherently wrong with me that lead to being in a place of low funds and little income.

I scolded myself for not having a stronger business mind, for not being more cutthroat with my business/career decisions. I felt like a sucker for being so willing to give, to help, with causes I believe in, projects I have passion for. How could I be so foolish, I thought.

But I haven’t been foolish, I’ve been giving and passionate and there isn’t enough of these qualities in the world.

So I am changing my outlook.

I will continue to give to projects & causes I care about and believe in, I will continue to help people I care about and believe in. But I will also care about and believe in myself and value my time & talent.

As ridiculous as it may seem, with everything I have seen, learned, and accomplished, with all my skills and talents, I struggle with self care and belief. This puts me in a weak and fragile position: when someone praises me or complements me, I adore it. But when they cease their praise, I loathe it.

Too extreme, good sir!! I must find care and belief inside, so that no matter where I find myself, no matter who I am with, no matter what I am doing, I will be of a solid, sound mind to continue creating.

This is one of the very most important things I wish to communicate and encourage through my artists’ space: create at all times. Create through the times you think that all is lost, create through times of deep sadness, create through times of confusion and disarray.
By creating, you bind yourself with the fabric of humanity.

By Jove, that’s fucking cheesy! But true!

Life is a struggle. Existing is tough. Life can also be beautiful and full of wonder, but everyone experiences the struggle, and by working through it, by not allowing the struggle to gag your art, your expression, your creative spirit, you are succeeding in life.

(side note: I desperately want to find new words to replace ‘creative’ and ‘expression’ and even ‘art’ because their connotation is much too pompous and high brow and bullshit. I want to make art accessible, I want people to be encouraged to create. Just create. Just do. Art needs to lose it’s upper class elitism and become a realm for EVERYONE.
So, how do we break the pompous, unapproachable relation with art? Is a change with terminology all that’s needed? Send me your suggestions! Thx)

The next stage in moving towards my solid game/life/career plan & becoming both creatively and financially successful, is to write my bio/educational & professional history. I figure that by not just having my history in my head, but writing it out before my eyes, it will help me focus on where my strengths lie and where/how I want to focus my talents. By having it all written, it will also greatly assist me in writing resumes, cover letters, and proposals for potential clients and employers.

It also greatly fits into my task to care for and believe in myself, as well as having a clearer, more positive head space, because by looking through the past, I am listing and documenting a series of my accomplishments and successes.

Here’s what I’ve got so far. It’s largely sketched out, from birth till a year ago. I have a lot fleshing out to do, but it’s a good start. Let me know what you think, perhaps what you’d like to know more about, if you were an employer or client. Thanks, cheers!


Born in Edmonton 1975

Started drawing as soon as I could hold a pencil

1st exhibition in Grade 1. Drew a fox with pen. Classmate named Graham drew a sloppy tongue on the fox before I could stop him. I hated him for that, but he would become my best childhood friend.

Focused on art throughout public school, designing school’s rugby team jerseys, volleyball team’s warm up Tshirts (silkscreening them too), among other things.

Went to art camp when I was around 13 years old. Think it was in Red Deer, Alberta. Remember being super shy but inspired.

Graduated from Ecole Secondaire Beaumont Composite High School in 1993. Yes, it sounds like a French school, but it wasn’t all immersion. I learned badly-taught French as a second language. I love the language, and aim to live in Quebec or France one day so that I can become fluent.

After high school graduation, I went to Grant MacEwan where I fully embraced being an artist. I practically lived and slept at the studio for 2 years, even renting an apartment right across the street from the college.


  • drawing (life drawing, still life, etc with various medium)
  • painting (various subjects in acrylic paints)
  • photography (my 1st experiences with traditional film processing and darkroom developing – awesome. Bought a $100 used Minolta from a pawn shop. Loved that camera. Had it for many years until it got lost in transit from Australia)
  • art history
  • sculpture (wood, clay, mixed media)
  • performance
  • video (analog recording & editing! Badass)

Our group graduation show was called Flux. Hanging work for that show was the most pride I’ve felt in my life, up to that point.
I graduated from Grant MacEwan University in 1996 with a Fine Arts Diploma.

I moved to Halifax to continue my studies in Fine Arts, focusing on colour photography and printmaking, but after a short stay there, I decided to focus on another love of mine: literature.
Accepted by Simon Fraser University, I moved to Vancouver, and studied English Literature and Humanities.


  • How to truly read, to absorb a literary piece, analyze and critique, to disassemble and write pieces in response.
  • Editing!
  • Researching
  • Through the Humanities program, I learned a great deal about world religions and philosophy, taking a special shining to Taoism. The Humanities program gives a fantastic overview of the world, combining religious and spiritual studies with societal studies, history, and geography. Beautiful. I love big picture learning.

After reading for hundreds of hours and writing hundreds of pages, I completed by BA.
I graduated from Simon Fraser University in 2003 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree, English & Humanities Joint Major.

During this degree, I began work for Vancouver Public Library where I continued my love of literature and writing.

I also missed creating visual art.

So I returned to school to study graphic design. Quite unfamiliar with computers (beyond basic word processing and internet searching), the Publishing program at Langara was both a crash course in computers & design applications.

The program was created to train students in the book & magazine world, but as those industries have changed, Langara wisely also teaches beyond the print world: web design, Flash, and video editing are included in the curriculum.

A major component of the course is to produce a magazine called Pacific Rim. All content is created by the students: writing, photography, illustration. Many of the ads are also created by the students.

Arranged to resemble an actual magazine team, the Publishing program is divided into departments: writing/editing, art, ads, and production. I was appointed the position of Production Director; it was my responsibility to ensure that all stages of creation were on schedule, that the magazine was then assembled by the production team accurately and to spec, and then to ensure printing was satisfactorily accomplished by the printhouse. I loved the responsibility, and as always, thrived in this big picture role. View the online version of the magazine.


  • Photoshop
  • Illustrator
  • InDesign
  • Flash (including Actionscript 2.0)
  • Dreamweaver (as well as hand coding HTML & CSS)
  • Final Cut Pro Studio
  • Design theory
  • Printing practices (CMYK, offset printing, trapping, etc)

I graduated from Langara College in 2006 with a Publishing Techniques and Technologies Diploma (with distinction).

While at Langara, I gave birth to my artistic persona and my business name: Format No Auto. Quite possibly my greatest creation, this is a creative gift that keeps giving, because no matter what the situation, I can always return to the principles of Format No Auto:

Refuse to fall into ‘auto format’ mode! Don’t let things be decided for you, forge your own path! As confusing or intimidating it might be, carve out your own innovative vision of how you want to see the world.

Without innovation, life becomes stale and dull. Innovation does not have to mean turning your world upside down. Change does not have to mean the loss of security. Sometimes the greatest changes, the most radical innovations, are beautifully subtle. As Format No Auto, I aim to create the subtly beautiful.

Yet I am also aware that the truly innovative might be so original that viewers will not accept it at first. They might run in the other direction because as people, we do not like what we do not know. As Format No Auto, I encourage the creation of things that might be weird or uncomfortable at first. I support these creations because who knows, they might actually turn out to be game changers. I encourage you to look beyond the temporary current fads/trends and think to the future, to the unknown. Remember, refuse to fall into ‘auto format’ mode!

Upon graduation, I immediately began work with ShowMakers Productions, a 20+ year old company that focuses on digital presentations, graphic design, web solutions, and video production. The company, though experienced and successful, is small, which allowed me to work hands-on from Day 1. I learned a ton at ShowMakers over my 5 years full time there, and I will always be grateful for my years there.


  • Built upon skills learned at Langara, especially improving skills with Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, Dreamweaver
  • Premiere Pro and After Effects. We worked A LOT in video editing and encoding
  • Audition and Soundbooth

During this time, I was approached to teach Flash at Video Media Arts Centre, one of Vancouver’s oldest artist run centres. This was my first real opportunity to teach, and it has been very enjoyable. The small class sizes allow for me to honestly engage with students. It also allows me to tailor the course to what the students specifically need.


  • that I love teaching! It is easy for me to relate to people who want to learn. I love to constantly learn, but it can be intimidating to put ourselves out there, especially if the instructor isn’t sympathetic to how overwhelming all the new content is. I teach in a way that encourages the student to ask questions, get exactly what they need out of the course, and enables them to build skills beyond the course.


…..that’s it for now……..