Robber's Cave State Park: History, Hiking, and Alien Encounters

Most people tend to think about Oklahoma as a flat, boring state. Well, for the majority of the landscape you'd be right, but not the Robber's Cave State Park Area. Robber’s Cave has some really cool winding trails through giant rock cliffs and an amazing view from the top if you go in the fall, (like Tiff and I did). It’s located in the scenic, hilly woodlands of the Sans Bois Mountains of southeast Oklahoma and just might be among my favorite camping grounds within 4 hours of Dallas, Texas.

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A Brief History

The area surrounding the present-day park has been a hunting ground for hundreds of years. Archaeological evidence suggests that the earliest people were related to the builders of the Spiro Mounds. By the 1600s, the Osage and Caddo tribes dominated the area. French hunters and explorers also visited, leaving their mark by naming some of the prominent geographic features, which are still used.

After the Civil War, this area became legendary for sheltering fugitives from the law. Some of these included Jesse James and Belle Starr. Other fugitives included the Dalton Gang, the Youngers and the Rufus Buck Gang.
— Wikipedia
 “Dalton Gang” - Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

“Dalton Gang” - Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

My First “Alien” Encounter

When I was a wee lass about 10 or 11, I went on a camping trip to Robber's Cave State Park in Oklahoma. Something happened there that separated itself from other childhood trips: I saw an alien. Well, okay, I REMEMBER seeing an alien or a ghost or something. All I know was I woke up from a dead sleep, looked out of the window that was positioned at the foot of the bunk bed I was sleeping on, and BAM. In front of me stood, (or floated) this incredibly bright, green figure that eerily stared at me unflinchingly.

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In the years that have followed, I’ve tried to scour the internet for sightings similar to my own around that same location. The only similar story even remotely like it is that of “The Spooklight” or “Hollis Light”. A mysterious event that can be seen from the Oklahoma/Missouri state line from a small town in Hornet, MO.

The only issue with this commonly reported sighting compared to my own is that the two events take place a little over three hours from each other. In The Spooklight sightings, most describe it as an orb, whereas I remember a large figure that felt imposing and yet calm somehow. I had always hoped I could return to Robber’s Cave to see if I could experience the same phenomenon. In November of 2017, I got my chance.

My Trip As An Adult

My girlfriend at the time, (now wife) and I decided to go on a quick trip some place close, but out of North Texas. I told her about my encounter and my wish to return to this place that forced me into such wonderment as an adult. It had a lot of hiking and things to climb so she agreed and off we went. Below are some of the photos we took. (Click to Enlarge Them.)

Final Thoughts

As much as I’d love to say I saw the green thing again, I didn’t. Instead, the trip ended up being really great. We explored the area, climbed the rocks, cooked food over an open flame, drank wine, pet farm animals, stargazed, and more. The locals were extremely accommodating at the cabins we stayed at, the nearby gift shop, and the people in the nearest town where we ate dinner the first night.

I often think, maybe it saw me and I was completely oblivious or maybe and more probable, it was all a brain failure at a young age. Either way, I highly recommend visiting RObber’s Cave State Park for yourself. Who knows, maybe the glowing thing is waiting there to meet YOU.

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Some of the Coolest Tiny Apartments Around the Web

I’m not sure why, but I’ve been obsessed with tiny home and tiny apartment YouTube videos, As my fiancee can attest too, I’ve been watching WAY too many of these tours. I just find it fascinating how people pack their entire lives into small spaces and still manage to make them look really nice and livable.

I’ll try and break down my favorites by design style. Each video/space that I picked represents areas or furniture concepts that I hope to incorporate into the house I’m getting soon. Without further ado, here are some of my favorite ones and be sure to give a follow to all of these awesome YouTubers.

Modern Geek

This first tour is from a YouTuber named SpacySpice. He is a digital interior designer and wanted to show off his own home. I wanted to start with this one because it’s one of my favorites. The fold out bed/work area is so cool. Sometimes I watch videos like these and I’ll see a few areas that look kind of throw together, but this guy thought out every inch of the apartment. I’ve also never seen such a small kitchen that’s so functional.

Minimalist

I’ve always dreamed of being a minimalist, but I love collecting TOO DAMN MUCH. Luckily, I can live vicariously through YouTubers who do. This apartment is from a YouTuber named Rawvana. Her Loft is amazing in its layout and design. My favorite features are the modern kitchen and the wooden stairs.

Traveling through this apartment, I miss the loft that I used to have, (though this one is A LOT cooler than mine was). It gave me a few ideas on certain areas of our future house than can follow the minimalist lifestyle.

Artsy Fold Out

This one comes to us a YouTube series on a channel called Never Too Small. (Nothing Freudian about that.) I fell in love with this apartment the second that Michael Bay directed this guys kitchen. The way it transforms and fold out is such a cool concept and something I’ve never seen before. On top of that, the natural light is amazing the colors of the space flow nicely with it all.

Views / Modern

Here’s another awesome, tiny apartment from Never Too Small. Although it isn’t furnished yet in the video, the space all leads to my favorite part about it: the view. This would be a dream spectacle to wake up to each morning.

Everything

What can I say, this is my perfect apartment. It’s modern, functional, great views, smart home features, and the perfect balcony, (minus the constant rain where he lives). It might be a little bigger than the other apartments, but it’s still pretty tiny and extremely nice.

I think my favorite part is the large windows and beautiful view. My only complaint is the lack of art however he addresses this in the video so he plans on filling it and making it even more into my living space soul mate. Check out the video below and more on Justin’s YouTube channel, Justin Tse.

Photo Essay Two: Hemisphere
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How many nights have I spent here? If I had to guess I’d probably say five hundred or more.

Sometimes for skating.

Sometimes to explore the underground tunnels.

Sometimes to just get away from everything.

We called it Hemisphere because of the furniture store it was on the side of, but we mostly know it from the large, blank white wall the covers the west. The cracks and indentions in the cement. The low ledge that sits discolored from years of applied wax.

I visit less often now. The stores have changed in the building and the people are worst.

The spot itself really hasn’t changed much. The ledge continues to collect layers of wax from passing skaters.

The past is forever etched into its very existence.

A drive by reveals a thousand memories, (or at least five hundred).

Happy Birthday, Neil!

The past couple weeks I’ve been planning to make a rap song for my friend Neil, but I got hurt skating and then it kept raining and it seemed like it would never get done. I recorded the song last week, but there was still a video to be made. Yesterday I started brainstorming and worked on it all evening/night. Get ready to see a half-assed production for a non-half-assed friendship. Happy Birthday, Neil!

Photo Essay One: A Creative Space
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Growing up in the 1990’s was a fascinating mix between analog and digital; between technology and a lack thereof (compared to today). I thank the universe that I grew up in a time period where the prospect of adventuring in a forest was more important to me than sitting in front of a screen.

Sticks and dead leaves crunching beneath my feet created a feeling more fulfilling than watching TV. Climbing a tree made me happier than reading, so naturally I did one more than the other (though I still love books). The forest was and always has been my favorite place to spend my time.

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I would never advocate littering, but growing up next to a forest in a suburb of Dallas, trash and random items were a normal thing to come across. I would often use them and combine them with the surrounding nature to create forts, paintball courses, and more. In a city, I see it all as being apart of the landscape. If the trash and random human-manufactured items outnumbered the trees and plants, well, then it would all be a very different place. Luckily, that wasn’t the case.

The photos included in this essay were taken recently. This place now stands in the aftermath of its former self. Metal posts are still tied to the trees I placed them on. Paths, though worn and partly covered, still show themselves like an old man showing you the “good ole days”. A screw and nail still remain where an old childhood friend embedded them.

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Most importantly this area of the forest is where as a child and teenager my creativity, in part, blossomed. I consider the forest my first love and this is where we fell for each other. I never left this place sad or emotionally hurt, but rather I ran to it when I was scared or heart broken, just as a healthy relationship functions.

When I would visit a friend’s house, they would show me their newest toy. When they visited me, I showed them my tiny, personal safe haven filled with barbed wire, recently dug holes, and other broken pieces of mother nature’s anatomy. I’ve visited many wooded areas throughout my life in Texas and in other states, but none compare to my first love: my very own creative space among the trees.

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I felt like lying down by the side of the trail and remembering it all. The woods do that to you, they always look familiar, long lost, like the face of a long-dead relative, like an old dream, like a piece of forgotten song drifting across the water, most of all like golden eternities of past childhood or past manhood and all the living and the dying and the heartbreak that went on a million years ago and the clouds as they pass overhead seem to testify (by their own lonesome familiarity) to this feeling.
— Jack Kerouac
5 Movies That Changed Me.

It's been a REALLY long time since I made a list article or "listicle".  Movies seem like a good topic and I thought it was about time (no pun intended from my first film choice) that I put an article like this one out.  It seems to me that some movies just present themselves at times in life when you need them most. Other times, they show up and enter your psyche in a way you hadn't planned and at times, weren't mentally prepared for.  

Today, I'd like to talk about five movies that I've watched as an adult that changed me. These particular cinematic trips affected me in a way that no other stories on screen have at very particular times in my life. I'm excluding documentaries from this list because I want to focus on fiction. Let's dive in.   

1. About Time

 Photo courtesy of  Sami Naik

Photo courtesy of Sami Naik

I saw About Time for free through a company that hypes upcoming movies and allows you to see them earlier than most, though the seating is never ideal. It's a beautiful film about love and loss, but not in a way that most romantic comedies tread. If you haven't seen the film, you may want to skip to my second movie pick, as I'm about to talk about one of the plot reveals.

About Time is about a family where all the men can secretly travel in time and how a young man deals with the knowledge of this and how he uses that gift. It may sound cheesy, but the film is done in a fantastic way. Because this revolves around his father telling him about this "power", the father-son relationship unfolds before us in a really wonderful way. I instantly connected to the characters as I love my own father very much and we're close as well.

Later in the film, the protagonist finds that his father has terminal cancer. Rules around the movie's time travel are explained in a way that makes it so neither of them can change this grim outcome. This movie forced me to confront my own father's mortality and how I might deal with it when that frightful day arrives. I'm not ashamed to admit that I found myself crying a few times in this film. It all just felt so real.

I found myself connecting to it in other ways too, like the way the main character's relationship evolves throughout the film. Besides the prospect of having children, everything else is very much like my current relationship. One of my favorite quotes from the film is a saying I lived by when I was single and it certainly applied to Tiff, my fiancee, when I met her and our relationship matured. 

I’d only give one piece of advice to anyone marrying. We’re all quite similar in the end. We all get old and tell the same tales too many times. But try and marry someone kind [...]
— Bill Nighy character

I actually wrote about About Time (I apologize for the word-play redundancy) a while back, which is why I put this movie first on the list. I could reiterate and expand its meaning to me and move forward. You can read that HERE if you're interested.

2. Albatross

 Photo courtesy of the  New York Times

Photo courtesy of the New York Times

If you google "Albatross film" you'll probably get a documentary about birds, however the movie I'm referring to is a British coming-of-age tale from 2011. Here's a brief synopsis of the film from Wikipedia:

The rebellious teenage dropout, Emelia Conan Doyle, believes herself to be a descendant of Arthur Conan Doyle. She takes on a job as a cleaner in a seaside hotel owned by Jonathan Fischer. Jonathan is a writer from Germany who has struggled with writer’s block since his successful first novel, The Cliff House, was published 21 years before. He lives in the hotel with his wife Joa and two daughters, Beth, 17, and Posy, 6. Jonathan is constantly sequestered in the attic working on his writing, leaving the hotel to be run by Joa. Their marriage is stormy as Joa is unhappy about Jonathan’s lack of success in his profession and his disconnected parenting. Meanwhile, Emelia has lived with her grandparents since her mother committed suicide.
— Wikipedia

The film's main character, Emelia, finds herself seduced by Jonathon and an affair occurs. The affair isn't what I connected to however, but rather the act of Emelia being young and not knowing where she fit in, like me. At the time, I watched this film on a laptop sitting on my bare legs atop a mattress surrounded by boxes. A week or less from then, I was to move out for the first time and was filled with depression and excitement.

I was in a very strange head space at the time. This movie added to that sensitivity, but also made me feel like maybe I could make it as a writer after all. Or maybe I merely could make it in life. I'm not sure what I meant by "making it" then and I probably still don't. Either way, the movie caused me to embrace some inner stuff I'm not sure I was ready to confront. It's quite hard to describe, but I'll never forget Albatross and the scene/feelings I attach to it in my memories of the film.

3. The Fountain

 Photo courtesy of The Fountain's trailer on YouTube

Photo courtesy of The Fountain's trailer on YouTube

The Fountain was my introduction to the films director, Darren Aronofski, or at least it was the first movie that led me to his work in a focused way. The Fountain is quite honestly an exhausting film, emotionally and physically. For this reason I've only seen it twice, which is mournful since this movie probably deserves 5+ watch-throughs to really wrap my head around the entire plot and its intricacies.

The film focuses around two main characters played by Rachel Weisz and Hugh Jackman, in three different timelines. (Before you ask, yes, the movie is long, but worth it.) 

Three stories - one each from the past, present, and future - about men in pursuit of eternity with their love. A conquistador in Mayan country searches for the tree of life to free his captive queen; a medical researcher, working with various trees, looks for a cure that will save his dying wife; a space traveler, traveling with an aged tree encapsulated within a bubble, moves toward a dying star that’s wrapped in a nebula; he seeks eternity with his love. The stories intersect and parallel; the quests fail and succeed.
— IMDB

The Fountain was recommended to me by an old co-worker as, "a movie you watch and then go sit outside and stare into the sky, not knowing what to say or think." I think that perfectly encapsulates the film for me and my feeling toward it. This was another film I watched shortly before I moved out of my parents house and a film that made me confront love and loss, not toward my father, this time but in a future love interest.

It's long been my fear that I would meet someone and fall madly in love only to find myself or my significant other entangled in a terminal disease at a younger-than-old age. As you may know from previous posts, I now have that "significant other", so I'm not sure I ever want to revisit The Fountain any time soon, in the attempt to dodge my own worries and anxiety.

This movie isn't all doom and gloom in my memories though. I think about this movie from time to time and appreciate the health, however temporary that may be, my fiancee and I share. It's sad to come to the realization that someone close to you will pass one day, but hopefully her and I won't have to experience that anytime soon. Plus, I somewhat lived it out literary-wise a few months ago in a novella I wrote and am currently attempting to publish. Though the characters are completely fictitious in my book, they bear a resemblance to how I feel about Tiff, my significant other.

All these years, all these memories, there was you. You pull me through time.
— Hugh Jackman

4. HER

 Photo courtesy of  Roger Ebert

Photo courtesy of Roger Ebert

Even in the best state of mind, this movie can really make you feel peculiar. I watched it during one of my most depressing junctures in life which proved to be a poor decision. I had seen it years before this and remembered bits and pieces, but it wasn't until my second viewing that everything hit home. Mid-movie I walked outside, fell flat on the grass in the middle of a park, and lost touch with reality for a small amount of time, (no drugs or alcohol needed).

This movie is set in a not-so-distant future, but deals with city landscapes and technology we don't yet have. This film is great at making you feel isolated with the character even though he has friends and lives in a large, active city. He's a poet of sorts and besides the extreme introverted-ness, him and I had a lot in common (a couple years ago). I found a connection.

A sensitive and soulful man earns a living by writing personal letters for other people. Left heartbroken after his marriage ends, Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) becomes fascinated with a new operating system which reportedly develops into an intuitive and unique entity in its own right. He starts the program and meets “Samantha” (Scarlett Johansson), whose bright voice reveals a sensitive, playful personality. Though “friends” initially, the relationship soon deepens into love.
— Google

Joaquin Phoenix plays this main character and I really can't imagine anyone better for it. The melancholy and sadness he brings to this role are perfect; almost too perfect. It should be obvious to note that I don't relate to him because I, too, fell in love with an operating system, but because of his situation in life and how life just seems to drag along for a bit while you allow depression to live within you.

The ending, which I won't spoil, is incredibly beautiful cinematography. I can imagine it as I write this like I'm watching it on a screen in 4K. Maybe, at the time, I did need this movie in my life?

You know what, I can over think everything and find a million ways to doubt myself. And since Charles left I’ve been really thinking about that part of myself and, I’ve just come to realize that, we’re only here briefly. And while I’m here, I wanna allow myself joy. So fuck it.
— Amy Adams

5. Perks of Being a Wallflower

 Photo courtesy of  Sky

Photo courtesy of Sky

I watched this film during my depression as well which makes so much sense as to why I connected to it. I think there's something romantic about being a wallflower in real life. The act of being misunderstood and then being found out by someone is a beautiful thing. It's carrying a secret that only a select group of people or less get to see; the secret being: who you really are.

It doesn't feel beautiful or wonderful being an outcast, but those small moments when you can escape the anxiety and be the real you in front of others - those moments are worth it all. The main character in this film is discovered as being this creative human being and through that exposure, other repressed secrets reveal themselves, good and bad.

To me, it was a movie that teaches you that no matter how bad life gets, it'll get better. Then worse. Then better. Then worse. Then better again. Life ebbs and flows to a random beat we can't control, so I learned to let go. My approach to difficult situations has now changed from the nagging sting of anxiety to, "I'll figure it out. Life will always go on." It also taught me to appreciate the hell out of each moment in life. I now take time when I'm on an adventure or when I'm just really happy and I just soak it in; these are blips in time that I'll never get back again. One day when I'm old, I believe these moments will be all that ever really mattered on my journey through life.

 Photo courtesy of  We Heart It

Photo courtesy of We Heart It

Visiting the Westerfeld House and Its Haunted Past.

When I mention the Westerfeld house to people they generally have never heard of it here in Dallas. This is probably because the house is located on the corner of Fulton Street and Scott Street in San Francisco, California. Even I hadn't heard of it until a random purchase I made a couple years back at a Goodwill in Dallas. So, how did a house halfway around the United States peek my interest and a ton of others online and eventually cause me to travel to it? Here's the story.

My Discovery of the Westerfeld House

As I've mentioned in other posts, I love thrifting. I'm sure that either makes me a 90 year old grandma or a hipster from Austin, Tx, (but what's wrong with that?) Regardless, a thrifting trip I had with my friend James mid-skateboarding sesh, ended with me and a picture of a strange, spooky-looking house.

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I'm not sure why, but when I saw this buried among a pile of random picture frames and old, reprinted landscape photos at Goodwill, it seized my attention and wouldn't let go. I purchased it for somewhere around $3.99 and immediately googled the address and the artist's name. Sadly, I've never been able to make out the artist's name, but I did find the Westerfeld on those cross streets. The Victorian house was filled with a rich history that filled every bone in my body with a sense of wonder and curiosity. I was entranced and I had to learn more.  

The Westerfeld's Wild and Haunted Past

 Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

The Westerfeld house was built in the late 1800's by builder Henry Geilfuss on behalf of the home's owner, William Westerfeld. William died in 1895 and the structure was sold to a contractor by the name of Jonathan J. Mahoney who loved to entertain celebrities as guests, (who wouldn't?). The list includes radio pioneer, Guglielmo Marconi, who reportedly used one of the top rooms to transmit the very first radio signals on the west coast. The lineup also included the famous escape artist, Harry Houdini, who experimented in the same room by attempting to send telepathic messages to his wife across the Bay. 

Fast forward to 1928, when the house was bought by Czarist Russians who turned the place into a nightclub called "Dark Eyes" while making the upper floors into meeting rooms. It was then that it was renamed the "Russian Embassy".

In 1948, the night club had shut down and the house became a 14-unit apartment building that was rented to African-American Jazz Musicians, including John Handy

By the 1960's, the house had all sorts of residents inhabiting its many rooms. One of the most interesting occupants (IMO) was occult filmmaker, Kenneth Anger. Because of Kenneth's dark body of work, his visitors lended themselves toward a more sinister nature. This included the famed criminal/cult leader, Charles Manson, as well as Bobby Beausoleil who later joined Manson's cult and was involved in the first Helter Skelter murders.

Kenneth would often film his projects in the Westerfeld house where he had carved a giant pentagram into the wood of the top floor. Anger and his friends would also hold satanic rituals in the ballroom. This attracted another famous visitor, Anton Zandor LaVey, who founded the Church of Satan and wrote The Satanic Bible. At one point, they had removed the ceiling in order to create a medium for their dark energies, as well as to view passing UFOs. In fact, many unidentified spacecrafts were claimed to have been seen from the top of the westerfeld, but I'm guessing the amount of drug use probably assisted these sightings.

Here are two of Anger's films. (Be warned: there's nudity, so probably not a great film for your kids to watch.)

Many more notable characters passed through the hallways of this house while it served as apartments. This included: Mick Jagger, Jerry Garcia, Chet Helms, James Gurley, Janis Joplin, Fayette Hauser, Tom Wolfe, Jimmy Lovelace, Heidi McGurrin, Art Lewis, and Ken Kesey. You can see the full list HERE.

In 1969, two men purchased the home for $45,000 and began remodeling random sections of the house. Many odd additions and replacements were made until it was purchased again in 1986 by someone more equipped to remodel an historic landmark like the Westerfeld.

Jim Siegel purchased the home and has since retrofitted the foundation, removed the dropped ceilings, re-wired, re-roofed, and re-plumbed, and restored the interior and exterior woodwork and the historic, ground-floor ballroom, and decorated the 25-foot ceiling with period wallpaper crafted by Bradbury & Bradbury.
— Wikipedia

The Westerfeld is still owned by Jimmy Siegal to this day and is maintained exquisitely as you can see below. Every detail is as wonderful as the last and compliments the home incredibly well. (Photo collection from Photographer Patricia Chang via sf.curbed.com.)

My Visit to the Westerfeld House

Almost two years after I found the drawing in a Dallas Goodwill, My girlfriend (now fiancee) and I traveled to Sequoia National Forest and then to San Fran, where after a lot of walking up and down the insane, but beautiful hills that make up the Castro neighborhood, we came upon the house I'd been dreaming of seeing for some time. The Westerfeld looked like it belonged on r/evilbuildings and yet, it was astonishingly beautiful.

As I stood in the park across the street, I felt this wonderful sensation of the house's presence. It was dark, brooding and fantastic all at the same time. One could feel the history emanating from the property. With the famous painted ladies on one side of the park, the Westerfeld stood out as a Victorian structure from another time and vision.

 Me standing at Fulton and Scott - Taken by Tiff

Me standing at Fulton and Scott - Taken by Tiff

I'm not sure a house (other than the one I grew up in) has ever left such an impression on me like the Westerfeld has. I love this house. The architecture; the city it sits in; the history; it all blends to create one of my favorite places and I've never even been inside. One day I'd love to walk through this historic home, but until then, my visit to the exterior will have to suffice.

Below are some other angles I captured when I visited. 

If this post was of any interest to you, you may check out the film currently being made about the Westerfeld House called House of Legends. You can find more information and even donate to the project HERE. Thanks for reading!

My Interview with Emily Griffin and Her Wonderful Art.

Twitter is one of those places on the internet where getting lost either takes you to something really terrible or presents something really interesting or fantastic. A few weeks ago I was browsing through my feed where a lot of really terrible stuff popped up (fight videos, political discourse, depression, etc.) as it often does - when all of a sudden, a nugget of wonderfulness appeared; it was Emily's art.

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I'm always on the look out for interesting and talented people to interview for my Koonagi's World Blog, so I reached out. I love to learn about what inspires different artists and what drives them to create. I explored her website, Day Brighten, and her art. I dug it and most of all, I connected to it.

She messaged me back a couple days later after getting back from a trip and the rest of this article just sort of fell into place. Without further ado, here's my interview with the talented Emily Griffin.

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What are your earliest memories of creating art and how did that translate into being a passion?

I’ve been creating art since I was super little - it’s always something I felt really comfortable doing, especially as I realized I didn’t really like playing sports as my mom tried getting me into different hobbies when I was younger. It helps that you get to draw a lot for projects in school, so I could do it for a grade and for fun all at once, and even help my friends that didn’t like drawing.

When I was in college, I was encouraged to go a “safer” route and studied business, but I still minored in watercolor. That + getting an iPad Pro was what really kept me painting and drawing as an adult, and then got lucky enough to find some opportunities for commissioned projects and to work with HelloGiggles on my weekly feature, “A Wednesday Cute”. Word of mouth from Twitter was truly the catalyst for most of my work today.
— EG

 What artists or things in everyday life inspire you or your work?

I follow so many artists on Instagram and am inspired by bits and pieces of their work constantly - color, texture, humor, the way they illustrate emotion with cartoon styles. I’ve been a longtime supporter of The Sad Ghost Club and their focus on mental health (I also love ghosts). I also find everything about Hiller Goodspeed’s work incredibly charming. A lot of my personal work feels close to these artists, in that it’s cute and generally has a lot to do with feelings and small, special moments (even goofy ones).

I also tend to use a lot of muted pastels in my work, which is very much tied to the way I dress and accessorize. I like to keep things soft.
— EG

Do you have any art pieces or art-related achievements you're particularly proud of creating?

My final watercolor series at the end of college is still one of my proudest achievements. I painted seven space scenes and really love how they look, and how much time I dedicated to them. Each little star is hand-painted!
— EG
More recently, I’m proud of several pieces that I made last summer. I was going through a really exhausting and heartbreaking time in my life and still kept drawing through it. I feel like I achieved the level of emotional clarity that I wanted to with these - which is cool, because I’m usually hard on myself and only see where I could have illustrated something better.
— EG

What projects are you working on now?

I just finished a lot of illustrations for some awesome tech talks.
— EG

Some of Emily's Brilliant Tech Talk Illustrations:

Now I am “relaxing” a little bit with pet portraits (and a moose!) and couple portraits, which are my typical projects. I’m also working on a pin design for a local meetup :)
— EG

Where can people follow you and your work?

You can follow me on Instagram @daybrighten for most of my work, and I’m also super active on Twitter @emilywithcurls. You can also view more of my work on daybrighten.com or on Tumblr.
— EG

As you can tell "Day Brighten" isn't just the name for her website, but really describes her personality and art as well. Art can make you feel a lot of different ways, but Emily's seems to always convey a positive vibe, even when the subject matter may not be. I think that's what drives me to her work most; it quite literally brightens my day.

I'd like to thank Emily for taking the time out of her busy schedule for this interview. I can't wait to see what she creates next. Whatever it is, I have no doubts that it will bring more joy into a world that desperately needs it.

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