Life of the Designer

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I wake up, looking towards the deep blackness above me, my alarm blasting away in the night. It’s 5:35 AM which I state not as a malign reality, but simply as an assertion of fact. The arresting cold of the air outside the warm cocoon of my blankets is abrasive on my skin. But it is morning, and if nothing else, we can be sure of this. The day has begun, if not gracefully, at least assuredly. I turn on the desk light with a clack and boot up my computer, ready for whatever work the day has in store.

After a quick glance at my calendar and my inbox, I slip into the frosty dark of the hallway and scurry quickly into the bathroom where an encompassing, massaging, warm shower awaits. I dress in the clothes that have been so cautiously, delicately laid out the night before, style my hair, and apply the makeup that has been so neatly displayed beneath the big the big wood-frame mirror above my dresser.

Breakfast comes with toasty, cheddary, steaming eggs, a crispy piece of toast, and dark, rich, creamy coffee with sweet orange juice on the side.

It’s still dark outside as I sit down expectantly at my desk. I check the news briskly and then start the processes of work I know all too well. I sketch a little and then play a little and work on each minute task that is yet to be completed. Designing and sketching gives way to playing piano and arranging music and before I know it, it’s lunch time.

Lunch is spent on the couch of my studio answering emails and updating my calendar with a warm burrito and a chilling smoothie for comfort. I check Facebook and twitter while I’m at it, seeing if anything is new with the vast and diverse world outside of the luxuries of my office and studio.

Lunch passes on quickly and my afternoon is spent researching, reading, and writing away furiously. Hours upon hours of time wander by while my pen glides swiftly across the paper and my fingers race agilely around the keyboard. Words become sentences which in turn become pages upon pages of drafts in my notebook.

The sun has gone down by the time I emerge from my office to start cooking dinner.  Cooking a creamy pesto pasta with fresh herbs, tomato, mushrooms, and garlic chicken sounds like just the thing to take my mind off of work for a while; and the glass of merlot help too. I spend dinner watching TV and going through more emails and contacting clients before heading back to my studio to journal and read until it’s late in the night.

When one day turns to another, I move to my office where I finish up going through paperwork and typing and editing publication drafts. And when the clock lazily flips to 1 AM, finally my work is done and my restful night sleep can commence. My dreams are of designs and stories and music, that which is my greatest comfort and contentment in life. For tomorrow, the rollercoaster will begin anew, another day in the life of a designer.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

Time, Effortless but Everlasting

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The rains falls gently by my window, wetting the green earth. All is dark outside, covered in a blanket of darkness as secure as it is unforgiving. Inside my room, the reassuring lamp-light nourishes my hopes and dreams as I write on into the night. There is a feeling that comes with the rain. A desperate feeling of longing along with a calm serenity encase the world around me as the music plays on.

As I sit in my room, the minutes draw on, each one a little bit longer than the last. Time seems to both race on towards the perpetually life-less end and sit unyielding and still, trapped in the methodical moments of now. Each object in my bedroom seems plainly familiar, yet simply immaculate. With no effort but to move my pen across the paper, I merely exist. And for what? My work is done, the schoolbooks lie in an intemperate pile at the foot of my bed, a constant reminder of my imposed purpose. So many stories are written about purpose, but who among us can honestly say we can even begin to comprehend the meaning of purpose.

As I sat last night, the hours drawing on, I blearily jabbed at my computer keyboard. I sat there writing for a very different reason than I do today, although a considerably similar story is seeming to be told. Writing my own bio for my website at 2 AM- that’s living for you. Why was I alone in my bedroom at 2 AM indulgently writing about nothing more than Me, Myself, and I? Because somehow, as short as life is, it is not at all effortless. I was writing to manifest the essence of me to the world just one more time in the infinitely endless time that draws on. I was writing I think to provoke some conspicuously omniscient force that would suddenly reveal itself and enlighten me about the purpose of existence. But what I provoked instead, even if mistakenly, was an ambitious desire to do more. To not just wait for some apparently substantive being to just drop my purpose clumsily in my lap, but to work everyday towards some inextricably tangible goal. Through the tedious process of bio-writing, I realized that not only am I working towards a solely paramount goal, but I have an abundance of futures waiting for me.

From fashion design to interior design, from styling to piano to makeup design to blogging, I have an inconceivable plethora of passions, dreams, and futures waiting just for me. Sitting, writing bios at 2 A.M, I realized something crucial, that I also love writing deeply. I love talking almost as much as life itself, so I guess writing doesn’t seem so outlandish. But I think between all my passions, I have come to the revelation that I want to be an artist. Designer, composer, virtuoso, playwright, creator, musician, architect- call it what you will, but I want to do all of it. I want to represent, to inspire, to perform, to create.

As time draws on, purpose slowly divulges itself. Truths become evident, Lives move on effortlessly. Time changes all of us in its way. Time is endless yet sudden, effortless yet gripping and constraining. Time is irrelevant now, nothing but the pattering of the rain and the soothing envelope of my covers affixes itself to my mind as I drift lazily on into forever.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

I’m an Artist, and I Always Will Be

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I have been doing a lot of thinking lately, and I was thinking about all the ways that I define myself. I think of myself as a fashion designer, as a pianist, as a blogger, as an interior designer, as a landscape architect, and as a fashion expert. And I thought to myself the other day, what would I call myself? Who am I? What defines me overall as a person? And there it was, as clear as day; I am an artist! I design, I play, I write, and I inspire- the definition of an artist. But what does that mean to me? Why am I an artist? It means to me that I look at things in a different light than most people. It means that I look for the beauty and creativity in every part of life. It means I have a big personality and even bigger sass. It means I feel emotions on a deeper level. It means that I take time to think over my life whenever I can. It means I can love someone forever and never let go. And most of all, It means I am me and nobody can change that.

I am and artist because I love fashion, clothes and style. Because I love designing, color, and personality. Because I love writing, journaling, and reading. Because I can feel every emotion that every piece of music, artwork, and literature feels and evokes. I am artist because I love what I do, and I wouldn’t give it up for the world. Art shows me things: values of life, feelings of anger, resentment, sadness, joy, inspiration, and incredible heartache, and love beyond reason. I’m moved, heartbroken, and elated all at the same time.

I forget who I am, yet I feel a deeper understanding of who that is. I am an artist because I want to feel that I can and inspire emotion in others. I love being able to make something that defines me, every single day. I like to be known for things people love, and things that people will remember and cherish. I make clothes that I hope will mold a person into something of beauty and expression. I write pieces that I hope will be read and remembered. I play music that I hope to inspire and evoke feelings with. I am artist to help others define themselves, to help people remember, and to help people move on.

Truly, being an artist for me is about reaching the inner core of me and pulling out the raw emotions and ideas that define me. I put my ideas to paper, to fabric, to sheet music, to my house, to my yard, to my life. I hope to gain a better understanding of every piece of the world around me. I hope to refine my mind, better myself, and become so sure of myself that nothing will ever bring me down.

I love to see the spark in a person’s eye when they can see every part of an art piece laid out before them. I love to see the creativity churning in an artists mind. And I love to feel the satisfaction of creating a masterpiece of art. That’s why I’m an artist, and I always will be.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

Life Grows, Grow With It!

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As with all things, I feel that I am constantly changing, growing, and living. Over the past few years, I have grown overall as a person. I’ve grown smarter, nicer, more mature, and less naive. But my life has grown as well. I’ve met more people than I ever would have thought possible. Many things have happened to me that have made my life grow in size and intensity. I have more people to care about, more things to do, more responsibilities to keep, and more complicated relationships than ever before.  My life has grown so much more taxing and confusing, yet subtly simple and beautiful. I have grown as well, at first slowly and painfully, but now expertly.

So many things in my life have become clearer, more defined. I have realized who I am and become the best version of myself. I see things now as they really are, no silver lining, no lies. My life isn’t perfect, I’ll be the first to admit that. But through all the truth I’ve grown to see the beauty. I see beauty in the graceful and quiet sunset, in the green leaves of the trees around me, in the faces of the people walking by, in the neatly arranged clothes in my closet, and in the city lights shining in the night below me. I’ve grown to realize the people that I love, and the ones that I should simply walk away from. I’ve grown to see both the ugly and beautiful truths that this world has to offer. I’ve grown to be able to make my life the way I want it to be. My naivety is gone now, the reality has set in, and I like it. I have grown to observe everything as it truly is, no misconceptions, nothing but sweet reality.

My life has grown so much, that I almost can’t keep up. I am now a blogger. I am a gay fashionista teen. I am a makeup artist. I am a stylist. I am a jazz pianist. I am a fashion designer. I am a student library assistant. I am a landscape architect. I am an artist. I am everything that I want to be at once, and I have never been happier.

And yet I’ve grown to realize that something will always be missing from my life. I’ve grown to realize I am not easy to love. I have such a large personality and I am so sure of who I am and what I believe in, that it’s hard to love me. I have grown to accept this just as all else. I accept my flaws, and I accept my talents.

Growing as a person and learning to love life is more about letting go of perfection than anything else. It’s about looking at what is, changing your life for the better, and seeing beauty in every single moment of every day. Growing is about making things better: living more, loving more, letting go more. I’ve grown as a person, not because I let things be, but because I’ve thought a lot. I’ve lost a lot. I’ve seen a lot. And I have made myself who I am today. Growing is about moving with life, the ups, the downs, the loves, and the losses. It’s about defining yourself and refining your life. I’ve grown more than I can say. And I will keep on growing, life does!

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

Truly Living

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Recently, I found myself down and dejected, feeling no ambition, no love, and no promise. My friends had all left me for bigger and better places. My grandparents had passed away. And in the midst of all of this, my first date ever, one of the most exciting moments in my life. Well of course, being me, I overworked everything. I shaved my legs, painted my nails, styled my hair, put on my makeup, and dressed in cute but seductive attire. I was ready for love, but as usual in life, it was not ready for me. I loved everything about the date: his eyes, his sweet smile, everything about it was wonderful. That day was wonderful. I went home feeling promise and lust in my heart. Then I got the message that of course, no relationship seems to work out in my life. It didn’t work out and it probably never will. Well, I felt down, distraught, and unloved.

Me being me, I stewed over every moment of that date, each little detail, and every small mistake. And what I decided was, I needed to turn my life where I wanted it to go. I had to take responsibility for doing the things that I wanted to, and getting all of those things done. I decided that just like anything in life, I needed to make time for love. I needed to make time for blogging, for reading, for sketching, for journaling.

All my life,  I have made promises to myself, promises that were rarely kept for long. And now, as I look at where my life is, and where I want it to go, I realize that my life is mine and no one’s but mine. I want to and have to steer my life in every direction that I want it to go.

And so right then and there,  I decided that I would no longer laze around waiting for life. Life would have to wait for me. And so I have made myself a promise to do certain things for me and my life every day. I am living the way that I want to, not the way that just happens. I do things I love. I journal, I blog, I take care of Thomas Park and Eve Ponds, I sketch fashion designs, I play piano, I read, and I style. I do everything that I love to do, that I need to do. And I have never felt better about my life. It feels like me, like the person I am supposed to be and the life that I am supposed to live.

If there’s one thing that I have learned from the recent death of my grandparents, Thomas and Eve Brown, it’s that life is short and you should never take a day in it for granted. I read something recently where someone was asked how they get through so many books and make time to read. And what they said inspired me. They said that they made time for it, just like family and relationships. They told themselves that they must make time for reading every day. And so I am doing both of those things. I am living the way that I want to, making the most of every day, and I am making time in my life for everything that I want to do.

As a designer, so much of designing is about inspiration and emotion. And so making my life the way I want it to be is my inspiration and my drive. I drives me to make my life feel like I want it to, full of love and expression and all of the people and things that I love so much. So do what you love, never stop dreaming, and make your life all that you want it to be. I know I do.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

Safety and Expression

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As I write to you now I am on my way to the aforementioned memorial of Thomas and Eve Brown, my grandparents. As I look out the window, I see nothing but open grass rolling ever onward around me. No love, no beauty, nothing but solitary loneliness. I slowly roll on through the close-minded world of Wyoming. This place feels so different from the world I live in, so uncomfortable and prejudiced. In the last few days, I have already grown more and more uncomfortable and stressed about this memorial as family gatherings rarely go well. For me, being a gay fashionista is a large piece of who I am. And as my family and a large part of Wyoming and Idaho are rather conservative and close-minded, this often makes for uncomfortable situations.

We stopped at a truck stop. Outside was an extremely masculine and dangerous looking biker, masked in black leather and anger. I looked away from him, a sudden fear crossing my mind. This world felt so foreign to me. It was so unforgiving and upsetting in every way. The people felt so opinionated. Their eyes bored into me. I stood there in my short-shorts and mustard green V-neck and vest, trying to stare directly ahead, wanting so badly to get out of there.

Many times before we left I had been advised to bring what my parents had referred to as “appropriate clothing.” But what does that really mean, “appropriate?” When I stepped out of the bathroom this morning, my father had said, “You did bring appropriate clothing, right?” I of course defended my outfit and my packing, feeling hurt. They had said “Tone it down for this trip.” I followed this rule to what I thought of as an “appropriate extent.” Although to my parents, anything but pants and a simple shirt seems to evoke the response of “Really?” I am not a person who “tones it down” easily. Over-the-top fabulous is more me.

Walking through this unknown world, I can feel the eyes boring into me, the stares following my every move. Everything about this place feels wrong. It’s so close to home and yet so unnatural and far away. I feel so scared and yet squelched being an obviously gay fashionista boy in this old western world. Wyoming- Forever West. That’s the slogan that haunts me so much. So much of this place feels like a creativity hell, too old world and prejudiced.

On the one hand, as a designer, I love this place. It feels so wide open and secluded, full of unseen beauty. But on the other hand, as a very liberal, very gay teen, I feel out of place and hated by the people here.

I understand on some logical level that by restricting my expression my parents are just trying to protect themselves and me. But on an emotional and mental level, I’m mad and rebellious against what I feel is a restriction on my expression and myself. As a designer, I am all about expression and being myself; and this world makes me feel so uncomfortable and lonely. I don’t want to squelch myself just because I am in a place of prejudiced bigots. I would rather be me and feel expressive than feel a sense of safety, comfort, and yet restriction.

When they had said “tone it down,” I felt like I did that on a big level already. I brought no makeup, no lip gloss, no scarves, and my nails are bare of nail polish. When I left today in gray shorts, a mustard green tee, a red belt, and simple gray vest, I felt toned down in a big way for me. There is an obvious reason that these trips make me somewhat nervous, not being out to the conservative side of my family and going through largely conservative states and places. But I didn’t feel like I stuck out as gay any more than usual, and probably less than normal if anything. I can’t turn me into something else just because I’m around my family. I am me in every sense of the word.  I am a very gay fashion designer, and I always will be.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

Love: Exposed & Unafraid

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Love. You don’t know how much you need it and want it until it’s gone. Love is everything. It binds us to everyone and everything else in our lives. When we look out at the sun through the trees and think “Wow. If I could just look at that view for my whole life, I would be happy forever!,” that’s love. We feel that special energy course through us that no other thing can give us but love. When we listen to our favorite song and feel like Queen of the world for that one overwhelming moment, that’s love. Looking at a crush from across a room and feeling like if we could just lie in their arms for the rest of time, we wouldn’t ask for anything else in this world, that’s love.

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When we love someone so much that nothing else matters, often we try to cover it up and seclude ourselves. Well, I’m here to tell you to fix that. I believe that love is less about creating the person who we think everybody will love, and more about just being who we are. I think that this life is too short to not be ourselves and tell someone we love them every chance we get. I believe that every relationship, from friends to spouses, must be loved and cherished. Tell everyone who matters that you love them every day. If not for them, at least tell them so that you won’t regret not telling them all that they mean to you.

Love is about being exposed and unafraid. Any love worth having is worth feeling vulnerable and scared about. Love should make you feel more open and more uncomfortable than almost anything else in your life.

Love is about opening up more than you ever have before in your life time. It’s about letting yourself be taken by someone else and becoming a part of that person’s world.

Love is about losing one’s self, but gaining a feeling like no other. It’s about looking past every problem and flaw and feeling completely head-over-heels in love with someone. It’s about looking at everything you love about someone and finding the beauty in every little small thing they do. When you’re in love, cherish it, feel it, and be grateful for it. Because when it’s gone, you will miss it more then anything in the world.

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Love is about enjoying everything that surrounds you. It’s about seeing the joy and beauty in things and loving the little things in life.  Love deeply influences who I am as a designer. Love is what inspires me to create something beautiful and sexy. Love makes me want to design something that will make someone happy and give them a little love in their life. Designing and love go hand in hand for me. Designing is one of my loves. I will love fashion and designing forever. They make me feel so exposed, and yet unafraid.

I love fashion and I love all the people that have brought me joy in my life. There’s only a few select people whom I will really always love, but I try to let them know that I do every day. I never stop thinking about the people and things that I love, and I never want to. Love is a part of me, and I never want to lose it.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

Confidence and Expression: Rules to Live By

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As a designer and fashionista, I often have people come up to me and say “God, you always look so cute and you work so hard at it!” Well, here’s my answer:

I don’t look good for anyone but me. For me, fashion is about expressing who I am and who I want to be. It’s about loving me and embracing everything that I hold close to me: my sexuality, my fashion, my loves, my passions, and everything that I am. I also look good because if I want to be the best version of myself and find the love of my life, I should feel confident and sexy in what I am wearing and how I carry myself.

Fashion for me isn’t just about clothing; and neither is being a designer. Fashion and designing are about creating a whole look and an image for someone, whether its me or someone else. When styling myself, I wear clothes that are me, my personality, my way, totally me. I style my hair the way I want to for me, and do my makeup the way I want to. Everything about my fashion is an expression of who I am. When Designing for and styling someone else, I try to express how they want to be perceived and who they are.

Fashion is about confidence: loving your look, and never backing down. It’s about wearing everything the way you want to and owning it! Buy things that make you feel confident, sexy, and loved. To make it in most places in this world, you have to own everything about yourself. In the fashion industry, especially when one’s a designer, you have to be ready to feel confidence in yourself, your look, and your designs.

For me, confidence and expression are rules to live by. I live everyday by these rules and I hope that you can too. I am all about expression in my designs, clothes, makeup, hairstyles, and fashion. When I walk out of the house every morning I feel like me and no one else. I display the true image of me in every way. Confidence and expression define me. To make it in creative arts, Broadway, fashion, and as a celebrity, these are rules to live by. Never dilute who you are for anybody else, ever.

You are fabulous, stay that way. Exude confidence in everything you do, and express who you are. You only have one life to be you. Why spend it being someone else? Be your own stylist, your own fashionista, and your own designer. Design who you are and who you want to be, no one else can. Own it!

Love, Ethan Brown Jones