Shortly before I started The Trickster’s Hat, I was visiting my brother in San Francisco. I was trying to work, but my brother’s wifi somehow was not playing nicely with the proprietary database I needed for the job, so I was mostly just reading to my niece and wishing I didn’t have my job. It was a good job, that paid extremely well, allowed me to work from home, didn’t take up too many hours of my time, and was easy for me to do, and somehow it made me miserable. I had been a starving artist before, and I had been happier with no money.
That morning, I received two surprising emails, one from a woman I had worked with through this job a year earlier, asking me to do some freelance for her 501c3, and another from a woman I had recently become friends with, asking me to do some design work.
Until recently, I had not done much in the way of displaying my art, but I had showed this woman a few pages from the Alphabet of Desire, and she was impressed. She was a hasher: a member of a running club for athletes who like beer. Hashers drink and run and party, and often wear silly costumes while doing so. They favored a particular style of Japanese coat, and each region had its own design. My friend lamented the fact that Tucson hashers were forced to wear what she considered the dull and uninspired design from the Phoenix clubs. She wanted a local design by a local artist: javelinas chasing a hare across a desert landscape.
With the help of another local artist, Jeffrey Woods, I managed to bring her vision to life. I consider this her work as much as it is mine, since I was drawing to her specification and would not have made many of these decisions myself. Apparently, my design was pretty popular, because the coats are being reissued. To me, the experience was eye-opening. If people would pay me for design work, unsolicited, maybe I didn’t need my well-paying job after all.