First Event

Attending Pickering Art Fest was an interesting day for the first time selling my art in person. It all started with a classic Canadian spring day, meaning the weather was unpredictable, aggressive and constantly changing. Setting up as quickly as possible at 9 am to prepare the lot for the forecasted rain. Many defences in the form of a faux floor, extra tent walls and lots of tarp were used and the end product being a fairly cozy spot stable and pattering in even tempered downpour. The sun came out around 1pm and the day became clear and beautiful for a solid few hours, allowing the people a chance to peruse the festival and the musician began to play again. The event cost me $30, bringing in $98 dollars at the end of the day. Considering I price my items quite low this involved constant selling during the moments of sunshine, getting out a lot of my magnet collection, 4 of my favourite necklaces and and many postcards. My next event I’m excited to develop my display with a clear flow through the products using levels, colour and pricing incentives more effectively.

I have a lot of experience tabling events from my job at Bike Share, watching people and greeting them with a casual, no pressure smile. Working for myself and watching people react to the passion I put in my work was a very different experience, invigorating and encouraging. Seeing how people perceived my work changed how I saw it as well, wanting to convey a clear image of thoughtful surrealistic beauty to anyone who views it. Loved speaking with a friendly, interested and supportive community and am excited to table again as it was very fulfilling.

BST 2018

In May 2018 I got a job at Bike Share Toronto, a bike sharing system located across the city of Toronto where you can take out bike for commuting services around the downtown core. The summer was a glorious time for this job, hired as a brand ambassador but mostly only working events on the weekends. During the week I got most of my hours from the Mobile Bike Team which involved biking around Toronto from the Humber Bay West to Woodbine to Young/Eglington. Being apart of this company that can still be considered a start up and has only existed in Toronto for 7 years and growing at a very quick rate has been exciting and an amazing opportunity for new experiences and personal growth. These days as the biking season slows down, I spend my weeks in the Customer Service office attending to any needs of the dedicated winter bikers, as cyclist traffic relents so does the need for in field operations, which saddens me as I yearn for springtime to be outside again. A new appreciation grows for these city cyclists as more and more snow falls, I really do miss the freedom the sun came with.

As a brand ambassador I was pushed into a position I didn’t necessarily fit. Faking it to making it was priority for the first couple months of the job, things were changing a lot and at first it was difficult to keep up with. Internally coming to terms with just recently graduating a week before, juggling another job at H&M (which since I’ve quit), moving cities, leaving friends, trying to launch an art career and boy troubles as always. I don’t deny I like being pushed out of my comfort zone by life, so I don’t have to do it myself and as soon as I figured out how to keep up, things started to become pretty fun. Some events I attended this summer included; Taste of Danforth, Diner en Blanche, Nuit Blanch, Toronto Jazz Festival, Food Truck Fest, The Ex, U of T Clubs Fair, Open Streets TO, Pride Toronto, Legends of Horror, Toronto Christmas Market and Fair in Nathan Philips Square, countless events at Ontario Place. At these events I would have to discuss, inform and assist people on all things Bike Share, of course we always have free Bike Share merch to give away which made the job kind of fun and with this job that encourages mundane conversation I’ve met a lot of unique characters in this large diverse city.

How I fell in love with the job was from joining the Mobile Bike Team at the beginning of the summer. At first apprehensive to ride in the city and most often the busiest parts of it, but after Can-Bike training and going out a few times I quickly discovered the rush and the calm of biking through Toronto streets. The main focus of the MBT is to fix bikes out in the field, rebalancing stations, safety checking and solving any customer issues that arise out in the field. Sunday was my favourite day during the summer and fall, the streets were quieter than normal and members weren’t riding as much and I could enjoy my time riding around the city and discovering new places, stores, parks, food and coffee. It very much sparked my love for bicycles and city riding.

As December hits everything begins to freeze, I work mostly in-office writing emails, managing social media inboxes, assigning new memberships, calling customers, assisting in writing refund and service procedures and internal tasks. What keeps me sane with these office hours are the graphic design and marketing projects I’m made apart of. I plan to make another post about the project I’m currently working on for Bike Share Marketing but as a quick explanation I’m working on bicycle decal stickers for the winter specialty bikes that will be released at the beginning of 2019. Lost of back and forth from the client to the marketing director to me, I’ve always been warned about getting involved with projects with too many middle men and now I understand the struggle. A lot of unnecessary extra work has been done on these designs which I love getting paid for but keeps the project tedious and frankly somewhat frustrating. Grateful for the responsibility and experience but of course I’m understanding the reason they call drawing, clicking and dragging work.

Etsy Begins

In my most recent days I’ve been busying myself with resin crafts and endlessly odd shapes in Adobe Illustrator, my nails become thin from the toxins and my index strains for the perfect curve. My work excites me. My most recent project is the Etsy shop I opened 7 days ago, and today I made my first sale raking in an outstanding profit of $6.50. Dreaming of a nice review, hoping shipping works well and I’m not the only one who wears my own jewelry any longer.

Honestly though, I’ve made so many crafts now and they need to get out of my bedroom. One of my favourite things to do these day is heading to the thrift store, looking through the diverse collection of charms and shapes in their jewelry department and cannibalize what I can for my own pendants and crafts. At any of these second hand stores I always find inspiration and nice materials, I’m sure these brooches and bracelets had a great nomadic life but it saddens me they end up here and I want to extend this sparkly existence with my own boho science twist.

etsy.com/stephenwmcdow

*since this post I no long keep up with my Etsy shop, as I didn’t have the time to keep up with managing the account. I now keep my shop on my website with all my current available resin crafts and prints.