Final Project – New Beginning

It’s Wednesday, and Robyn and I have just met up to begin our day. I mentioned this previous, but for those of you who may not have had the opportunity to catch up, Robyn decided that she was going to change up the itinerary on me, just a bit. One of my fears moving forward in my pursuit was, will I be able to be creative enough? Robyn realized this throughout in our conversations up to this point, and decided that she was going to put a little challenge before me. And, when I say ‘little’ I’m being sarcastic…LOL…She dropped da bomb, and here was my challenge; Robyn was going to drop me off at Texas Asylum and leave me for the rest of the day to pull together a concept and photography project. That was about all she said. She left it open ended, in that, that was all she was going to tell me. She wanted me to take it from there and the rest would be up to me. What I put together and how I presented it would be left up to me. I wasn’t so sly about hiding my fear, but Robyn said she was confident I could pull it off, and off we went. Texas Asylum is a repurposing shop filled with amazing vintage items ranging from dolls to bike tires, to old books, hats, and well, you get the idea. This is Robyn and Nicole’s favorite place to draw inspiration from. And where I would have to begin to free my mind. Robyn stayed behind a bit to talk to Ramonna and Jen, the owners and explain my assignment, and then like a mama birdie leaving the nest, Robyn was off, and I was in the middle of the store looking around thinking WT—Heck!? I pulled my phone out and immediately dialed 2 of my friends, hoping they would have some words of wisdom for me, and no answer. (heart beating fast here) I left my cry for help on a message, and no lie, I was a little freaked out. Ok, a lot freaked out. What the heck was I going to come up with!?

I pulled my trusty spiral notebook out, and began to think of anything. First, the obvious stood out to me, the dolls, the creepy old ‘to-e up from the flo– up’ dolls. Was I going to be too cliche with this one? Noted the creepy dolls. Then the American flag stood out to me. Hmmmm. No, too obvious. I looked up and there were some angelic wings hanging from a hook in the corner. Hmmmm, the wings. Wings noted. I passed by a shelf of tires, hats, buttons, notes were flying onto the page. Then I rounded the corner, and there was a wall of vintage books. Some days before I had just pinned an idea on Pinterest for a backdrop with some vintage pages layered on a backdrop for a cute photograph. Robyn had encouraged me leading up to the mentorship to begin pinning away on Pinterest, and here began to pull together some method to Robyn’s madness. Pinterest would be my friend this day. I went back to Pinterest and referred specifically to that very pin, and wanted to determine how realistic would it be to pull something like this off. I began to feel the confidence rise in me. Ok, I can do this. I actually can think of some ideas, whether good, or bad, but ideas sure enough to make this all come together.

After the vintage pages came to mind, I rounded the corner and there were those wings again. Like a light shining down from the heavens, they just spoke to me, and there came the flood gates of and idea. I hadn’t mentioned Nicole up to this point, only because she and Robyn had only recently reconnected, and Robyn wanted to announce Nicole’s return as her assistant and artistic genius till after Pocket Shots on Saturday. So, to give an understanding of the meaning behind my idea, is to share with you a bit about Nicole, and her special foster dog, Archie. And by foster dog, I mean he and Nicole have this special connection, and likely he isn’t so much of a foster dog anymore. Just sayn’! For anyone who follows Robyn’s photography page, you will recognize Nicole’s amazing artistry in the Pocket Shots backdrops. She will probably cringe at me showering all of the compliments on her, but it’s true; her talent is amaze-balls. All of Robyn’s backdrops you see in her photos are hand done by Nicole. No joke! They are not your run of the mill purchased backdrop that you see in ‘Joe Shmoe’s’ photographs hanging in a picture window on main street. They come up with a concept together, and then Nicole brings their collaboration of ideas to life. No two are ever the same. And, Nicole to mention is a photographer in her own right. She’ll probably kill me for that mention too, but true dat! She is awesome. If I could only climb into the minds of these two, I would be left with no worries on creativity. And that is no booty kissing, it’s just the facts. Ok, so back to the story of Nicole and Archie. Archie came into Nicole’s life when someone found him a stray, and skin and bones. What his life had been up to that point is anyone’s guess, but likely not one filled with tons of hugs and kisses. Nicole took him in with the intention of him as a foster for when the right home comes along. But, likely I think these two are meant for one another.

Archie is a dog like no other. Seriously makes me tear up. (no lie) He has the spirit of an angel, the heart of a giving soul and the sweetness of a dog like I have never seen. And that even compared to my adorable ‘fattie crew’. He goes with Nicole just about everywhere. I think he’s even gone into the ‘Apple-MAC’ store with Nicole. No lie there either. He touches most everyone he sees with his gentle nature and calming spirit. I truly see him as not only being blessed to have been brought into Nicole’s life, but an angel that was meant to be a part of her life too. It is just too endearing to see the connection between these two. And felt it the first time I met them both. Something about Archie just made me fall totally in love with this incredible guy. He is truly what giving to animal causes is all about. An ambassador of sorts.

So, to truly appreciate where my concept originated had to be to understand this special bond between Nicole and Archie. I hope I did justice in my description. When I looked back up at those wings, a light shined down, and there it was so obvious to me. Archie, is my subject, and he is an angel. An angel brought into Nicole’s world. I know I get so deep sometimes with my thought process, but just can’t help it. My nerves were gone, and there was the inception of my project. Vintage page backdrop and Archie as this angel in our midst. A four legged angel. Then it all came together in my mind; the pallets back at the studio would represent the backstreets of Archie’s previous life, and the vintage pages the backdrop to highlight him in his angel wings. My initial thought was to include some words on the backdrop such as ‘love’, ‘rescue’, ‘save’, ‘adopt’, and maybe some others, but you get the idea. Archie would represent all that saving dog’s lives is all about. We are not only there to save them, but like Archie, they save us too in some way. Brilliant, right? I mean, I couldn’t have been any more certain then when it all came together in my mind.

Now was the task to pull it all together. I was going to have to create an entire backdrop of vintage pages, and Nicole was going to have to be ok with me using Archie as my muse. Robyn said be resourceful, and I was going to have to truly make it all happen, AND without Robyn seeing the final product until I was all done with the design, the photo, and then would be presenting it to her. I still had much to plan out. Now as sure as I was with the idea, I still felt the need to run the idea by Michael (Robyn’s interior designer/handyman), and Nicole, of course. I was going to need not only Nicole to allow me to use Archie, but help me pull off the photograph itself. She was busy creating the backdrop for the Pocket Shots. I needed to make sure I had 99% of the work created and then have Nicole help me with posing Archie. I spent Wednesday and Thursday nights completing the backdrop, and without Robyn seeing. So, I had to creatively cover the backdrop so Robyn had no hint of what I was doing. And for those of you who know me, know how difficult it was not to tell her before the official unveiling.

Thursday night came, and the backdrop complete. I still needed to create the words, but could not seem to pull off what I envisioned without it looking crafty. Thus, the words left out, and knew that Archie would be able to make a statement on his own. I pulled the pallets together and after a few shots with Nicole holding the wings, and Archie being as patient as Jobe I hoped I had the shot that would be the final masterpiece. While Nicole finished her backdrop, I edited away, and knew that the final photo I had was ‘Magic’.

Friday morning came, and I decided to not cover the backdrop for Robyn to see. I hoped that what I chose to do did not seem obvious or too contrived. But I knew I loved it and that was all that mattered, right? Of course not! I truly wanted Robyn to love it as much as I did. She entered the studio Friday morning, and immediately was struck by the backdrop of vintage papers. In fact her reaction was beyond what I could have hoped. She loved it! She asked how I was able to put it all together, and pull it off. I was so much more at ease. Then, she said she had to see the photo. I was like a school kid pulling out my final project, nervous as all heck. Robyn went bananas over it. And for anyone who knows Robyn, knows she aint no liar! She is as straight shooting as they come. She acted like a proud mama, and I acted like a geeky kid. I think I not only surprised her, but myself. Although, this was what this process again was all about, was for me to understand that I have the ability, I just need to have the confidence. Robyn just wanted me to open my mind, and allow myself to be me, not anyone else. To take my ideas and be confident that I could make it all come to fruition. I think at that moment Robyn was ready to push me out of the nest, and I was ready to take the leap. It wasn’t for anyone else to believe in me, but for me to believe in myself.

So thankful that Robyn and Nicole reunited when they did, because it was inspiring to be in the studio when Robyn was gone, and Nicole was there working her magic, Archie in tow. I’m sure that I would have still had an amazing experience and gotten so much out of my mentorship with Robyn either way, but the meaning of it all was that much more with sharing that time with Nicole and Archie as well. There truly is magic that happens with Robyn and Nicole, and so glad to be a part of it all. And, of course Archie, ‘The Angel’. So, hopefully you can feel what I had when you see my final project

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  1. Posted May 16, 2012 at 6:25 pm by Nicole Bean | Permalink


  2. Posted May 16, 2012 at 7:54 pm by Morgan Vick | Permalink

    OHH.MYY.GOSH! LOOOOVEEEE! seriously….it gave me goosebumps. Totally blown away!

  3. Posted May 16, 2012 at 8:41 pm by Christine Money | Permalink

    Love it! Great work.

  4. Posted May 16, 2012 at 9:15 pm by stacy | Permalink

    i love, love, love this! i get such a warm, wonderful feeling just looking at this four legged angel. you’ve definitely captured his inner and outer beauty!

  5. Posted May 16, 2012 at 11:24 pm by Connie | Permalink

    love it!

  6. Posted May 17, 2012 at 1:15 am by Dawn Arouty | Permalink

    OMG ROBIN!!!!! I admit, I’ve been following your blog!
    I made sure not to peek at photo until I read post this time. As soon as I saw it…my jaw dropped, eyes widened & image of Robyn seeing finished product popped in my head…without talking to her yet, I know she loved it & is proud. Loved following your week & A+++ on your final!!

  7. Posted May 17, 2012 at 10:35 am by Faith and Rich Sepcic | Permalink

    This image is so beautiful. We love your talent… Wishing you success as you walk through your future journey.

  8. Posted May 18, 2012 at 3:37 am by robyn arouty | Permalink

    thanku for making my first mentor experience more beautiful & rich than i ever could have imagined. you’re a badass student. love, robyn with a y

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