A Perceived Reality

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Sitting, watching, rolling along in the world, people go by, places disappear, and we never wake up.

Lounging, observing, living life to its fullest, people go by, places disappear, and we will always remember.

A tree can be many things. A tree can be a botanical oasis, a deciduous wonder, or a sculpture of nature. A tree can be a companion, a goldenrod firework, or simply just that which it is, eternally a tree.

Driving along a highway, one’s eyes dart from the roadway sporadically, leering at a passerby, observing a provocation of mild interest. But do we really reminisce or even simply ponder what we are actually observing?

Being an artist, a musician, a designer, or a writer, one learns early on that perception is paramount to one’s own art in addition to one’s reception and comprehension of others’ art. For an artist, it eclipses purely the art world and so perception and observation become the rawest essence of daily life.

Perception is fundamentally applicable for all though, not simply the artist. From the way we perceive sounds and lights and noises and colors, to the way we observe the more subtle and inconspicuous world of emotions, personalities, ideals, and aspirations, the observations we collect and the assessed perceptions we feed off of fuel our minds and our lives more than we can begin to cognize.

And so for some the tree may be just a tree, a biological organism complete with cells, molecules, and a carbon-based composite we call wood. But to the lucky few among us, that tree is something more, something existentially greater than originally assumed. That tree is a manifestation of beauty, courage, joy, transcendentality, and most of all, vivacious, unabashed life. That tree may be gold or green or even red, but that tree is a pictorialization of life and death, pain and resilience, and most importantly, love and loss.

So perceive life how you will, but comprehend and discourse with it each day. For each day is uniquely divergent from the last; lessons are learned, people go by, places disappear, and we will always remember.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

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

A Utopian Abstract

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The sun shone warm and bright as I walked down the mall in the middle of September. How charming it was with the golden leaves of fall strewn across its brick walkway, how handsome the men were, how elegant the women. Each shop I passed seemed to both beckon and repel me with equivalent force. Was it just me, or did the people seem happier here, the cars shinier, the landscape somehow more content? Maybe it was all just a façade, perhaps not.

I drove on to the house of my dreams, a villa among houses, a mansion to many. The road bent right and I turned slowly onto my drive, a gravel road that grew somehow more gorgeous with each consequent bend. The road ended seductively in front of a wall of windows, shining in the afternoon sun’s warm rays. Shutting off the engine of my hot pink 1959 Cadillac DeVille, there was only one thing I wanted to do: fall into the arms of the boy behind that dark front door. I wanted to sit willfully at my deep black grand piano and play as I gazed out over the orangy-yellow hills. I wanted to walk up that flight of stairs, into my office, and just sit and sketch, a million inspirations pressing me onward. I wanted to sit back on my deck chair, a glass of red wine in hand, and write, my ideas spilling onto the page like a rushing mountain stream.

Now, I can imagine that crisp air, that perfect house, that perfect lover, that perfect life. But now, I crumple over my notebook, not in that dream house, not with that dream boy. I haven’t just driven up in that impeccable car; I am not brimming with ideas in my perfectly designed office. I sit now, in my cozy room. No lover awaits me. No view seems to inspire my artist’s passion.

But I sit and write, not because my life is absolute Utopia, but because all I want is to express that perfection. My desire is to live in that splendid dream-world, but nothing changes quickly. And as I write these words now, the ink flying effortlessly across the page, all I can think is that I am living, now. I am loving and hoping and working, now.

I must look up. I must realize the almost implausible perfection and beauty of my meager office, my all too familiar, lonesome boudoir. I must learn to accept and live, looking forward, gazing through memories. I must maintain what undeniable animation seems to exist at this very palpably existent moment.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

Thoughts on Life

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Recently I realized something while listening to someone attempt to improvise while playing a jazz piece. I realized the reason that so many people don’t like playing music, and for that matter, can’t play music well. The reason, I realized, is that people don’t think enough about being creative, don’t think enough about their real feelings and emotions. Doing anything creative like music or art or designing involves thinking and thought so much. But what do we really think about? Do we think about our lives, our friends, our journeys, the people we love, or simply about creating the piece of art? What I have found is that so much of making art, designing clothes, and playing music is about thinking beyond the the piece.

It’s about thinking about expressing your emotions and ideas through that piece. When I play music, I try to create a story with it. I try to tell about my life and soul and try to say something meaningful. When I design, I try to put a piece of me into each design. My emotions, my thoughts, my personality, they’re all there. When I write, I try to dig so deep within myself that I am completely connected to my work. And when I make art,  I make it mine, about my life, and the way that I see the world.

The way I look at life and love is the reason I am me. I think about life every day. I think about my dreams, my passions, the people I love, and the things that I love to do. I am artist because I love to express, I love to let everything go and just see what happens. Art isn’t about creating something for other people, it’s about letting your life and emotions out through the art.

I love to think about my dreams. I love to think about my life. I love to think about every person and thing that I have loved and miss so much now. The way I live is all about thoughts, it’s all about making life the way you want it, while still just letting go and seeing the incredible things that can happen. Life is about closing your eyes and just listening, feeling, and experiencing the world around you. Life is about putting in your ear-buds, and taking a walk, just to have time to think on everything that needs to be thought about.

I love to just sit without trying to think about anything. Just sitting there looking out over the world, your mind wanders to where it wants to go, where it needs to go. Your mind knows more than you do. You know deep down how you feel about people, how you feel about love, how you feel about life. But your mind already knew all of these things.

As I write today, I sit on the deck, looking out over the aspen grove in front of my house, the pea green meadow beside it, and the dark green mountain and blue sky above it. I see what I want to see, I love who I want to love, I think about whatever I want to. And what I see is beauty and light and warmth all around me. Whom I love is Ian and Max and Clay and Evan, and all my friends. What I  think about is the love I’ve lost, the places I dream about, and the world I want to lose myself completely in. That’s what I think about. I think about life: my life, my future, and my past.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

Dreamers, Always

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I have always considered myself a dreamer. I don’t just live for now, I live for the future and the past as well. I dream because I am happier in that perfect dream world, rather than the reality I live in. Dreaming inspires me to reach for the sky and challenge myself every day. When I dream, I’m inspired to get one step closer to my goals and make my own future possible. I am inspired to work as hard as I can to get what I want. When I dream, I am in love. Every person I am in love with loves me back. I am in my dream job, and I’m young and attractive, even in middle age. That’s my dream world.

I dream because in the roughest of times, dreaming and hope are all that get me through. I dream to be inspired, to be enlightened, to be loved, to feel hope. America is the land of dreamers, from the coasts of California, to the soaring skyscrapers of New York City. We dream because we want a better life. We want to have love, respect, joy, and fulfillment. The American Dream is about living the high life and making it big in the land of opportunity.

When I dream, I dream of New York City. I dream of the view from my downtown penthouse apartment window. I dream of meeting the love of my life, and spending every night wrapped in his arms. I can see the lights of the city and traffic far below my terrace. I can see the paparazzi following my every step and the legendary runway shows I am holding weekly. I can see my grand piano in the corner of my apartment, the golden lights hitting the top of it like glistening ice. I can see my design studio in the heart of New York, with my sewing machine and my sketch pad and a window overlooking Central Park. I can see the shiny hot pink limousine waiting outside the glass double-doors of my building just for me. I can envision the Broadway musicals I’d go to, the friends I’d meet, and the fame I would acquire. I can see my closet, as large as a small house, neatly organized and comfortable as a plush blanket. I can see my makeup, artfully arranged in the glass cabinet of my bathroom. And I can see the beautiful living room where I could sit with nothing but my gorgeous husband, and a glass of Pinot Grigio.

The reason I dream is to feel like I am weightless, without a worry in the world. I dream to envision what my perfect life is like, with the perfect guy, the perfect house, the perfect job, the perfect life. I dream so that I have something to work towards, so that I have something to live for and to remember when all else in my life seems like an utter failure. I dream to design, to move on, to remember, to live. I dream because I feel that I lack so much in my life, that maybe, if I wish hard enough, it will all come true. Dreaming gives me the strength to live my life, to challenge myself, and to work so hard that every single part of my dream comes true. I will be a dreamer forever, always loving and hoping and living.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

Risking it All

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Life lessons come along everyday for me. One of the most recent lessons revealed itself to me last night while I was journaling and watching TV. On the show I was watching, a woman said something that really stuck with me. She said that although you can cherish and appreciate the lessons and values your parents have given you, you are not your parents, you are you, something special. Now as cliche and overdone as that lesson may be, it for some reason stuck with me. I think it’s maybe because I have had somewhat of a struggle with my own parents. For all the love they give me, they also seem to hold me back because of the values they believe in. They want me in some ways to be like them and not be who I am. The truth is, I’m very different from my parents. I care much more about fashion and trends then they do. I’m not saying that I am simply superficial though, I’m not.  I do care about so many other important things in life, but fashion is a part of me. And to me fashion is not just something stupid and superficial.

Fashion is about expression and being a true example of me. It’s about being able to show off the person I want to be, and showing that I am unique and one of a kind. Yes I wear makeup and and feminine clothes, but it’s because that’s me, not anybody else. I am not who my parents are and I never will be. It’s not because I’m trying to rebel against them, but I am my own person which is very different from them.

And although my parents won’t ever realize this, its not like this has been easy for me either. The looks I get some times make me want to just evaporate into thin air. But I have made myself immune to what other people think of me, because I have realized that nothing is more important to me than retaining who I am and never backing down. Although most people don’t realize it, I am risking it all to be me. I risk being beat up in the streets every day. I risk being yelled at, hated against, and discriminated against for who I am. I risk not being able to work where I want to or live how I want to just because of who I am and what I look like. All I am saying is that it isn’t just my parents or friends or family who has to deal with me being gay, wearing what I want, and being who I am. I risk everything every day, because I will not be silenced. I will not look down or back away ever. I am so much stronger and more confident than almost anybody in this world. And I risk it all to be me, the gay fashionista, designer, and artist. Fashion is all about confidence and expression, and that is who I am and will always be. I will never be someone who I’m not for anybody in this world. Friends, family, boyfriends, nobody can push me to be someone I’m not. I risk it all because I believe in me and every single person in this world who is discriminated against for who they are. Risk it all, and never back down!

Love Ethan Brown Jones

Rain, Sky, Freedom

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As I write today, I look out the window at the dark and cloudy sky. The rain gently dribbles down from the clouds, soaking the green grass and making rings on Eve Ponds. I read today about all the people celebrating what a great country we live in. I want to celebrate, but I also am trying  to comprehend what country they’re living in. It’s clearly not mine.

As I write today, I think about all the things that I take for granted, all the freedoms that I forget about, but all the injustices there still are. On the one hand, I feel like I live in the greatest country on Earth. It is truly the land of opportunity, the land of dreamers. But on the other hand, I feel that there is still so much hate in this world and even in this country. We are free, yet unfree. We can say what we want, and live where we want, but yet we are stifled in who we are, and who we can love. We still have a long way to go in terms of equality, civil rights, and in simply loving each other more. When I look around I see so much ignorant hate infesting the beautiful places in this world, I almost cry. But I have not lost hope, there are still people in this world who are saving the virtues of humanity. There are still people who care about others, who love each other, who accept diversity, and who simply light up this world with their spirit.

I still believe in freedom, because as I look out on this gray-blue sky feeling the energy in the air, I know that I have more freedoms than I know. I am free to be me, the gay fashionista, complete with makeup, scarves, and v-necks. Yet in some places I still feel uncomfortable, like an outsider in a town that hasn’t seen someone like me in a long time. I shouldn’t have to feel like this. I shouldn’t have to feel like I have to hide who I am because of some nobody who can’t handle the truth. But that is the reality of where we live; it’s the consequence of freedom. Freedom allows hate. It shouldn’t, but it does. That’s the sacrifice we make though. All we can do is try to make this world more beautiful, more loving, and more accepting.

As the fireworks burst into colors above my head, I realize that I am very thankful for where I live. I am thankful for the spirit we call the American Dream. I am thankful for having what I do. And I realize that I love the fact that as a gay man, I am able to express myself without fear of persecution. I can look at things that way, but I will still work my entire life so that each an every one of us can have equal rights. I want every single person to be able to love who they want and be who they are.

As I designer, I live for the beauty of the sky above, for the rain coming down, for the dream we all share, and for the freedom to express. As a designer and an artist, I live for the freedom and liberty that all deserve. I represent freedom, and I will always be free. Freedom is what makes this land so great.

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