The New Lizdegen.com !
I’m so proud to finally share this new website with the world. This is not however, just a website. As a web designer and general internet user in 2015, I know that websites have a variety of purposes. People can share their thoughts, music, and art. Businesses can sell their products. Publications can post real, or completely sarcastic news. Some publish a website to grow their initiatives, and some simply wish to make their digital mark on the universe.
In 2007, I graduated from college with a degree in Illustration and the tiniest bit of knowledge on how to build a webpage using dreamweaver, and how to purchase a domain from GoDaddy.com. Lizdegen.com v.1 remained live for years, containing about 3 pages that housed the classic words “COMING SOON!” in a super cute font. Those pages of course remained empty for the entire lifespan of that design. Years passed, and several jobs allowed me to learn even more about web design, HTML, CSS, and the power of WordPress. I’m so lucky to have been surrounded by so many smart and talented developers that have helped me along the way with my progress. I launched v.2 on WordPress in 2012 and I couldn’t have been more proud! I plastered a big banner across the home page as a welcome sign using one of my illustrations and some cheesy, classic “art student” style type:
I had a beautiful new home to display my art, and a powerful platform which allowed me to easily update my content, and customize the look of my site using minimal code. My only problem: Time. Time moves quickly, design trends change constantly, and technology is evolving rapidly. A mere 2 years later, I was hit with the realization that it was time for a new website already. My then “brand new” website was suddenly outdated and incredibly disappointing when viewed on a mobile device. I was becoming a better web designer, so I figured it might be fun to start the slow process of a redesign using my more recently acquired knowledge and skills. Much like a large portion of other things in my life, I decided to put it off and do other things instead. (Those things probably included photoshopping peoples faces onto animals for fun, watching an unhealthy amount of consecutive episodes of Parks and Rec., and making / eating all of the guacamole.) Life gets crazy, and sometimes it simply feels impossible for you to prioritize a project that you’re not even getting paid for.
A lot of individuals describe their lives as “crazy, ” but crazy can be good and bad. My life was getting crazy for a reason that was anything but positive, and that reason was my job. I was stuck in a toxic, negative environment, overcome with extreme stress and claustrophobia. It felt far more natural for me to stare out the window wishing I were somewhere else, doing something else than to be completing my actual everyday tasks. I would often come home and gaze at the 18×24 Holstee Manifesto print that I hadn’t yet hung up on my wall –>
There are far too many details to this story that are difficult to think or talk about, and in the end most of the details individually are irrelevant. It was time to remove myself from this situation that was stopping me from even thinking about who and what I wanted to be. (A blessing in disguise.) I left, with absolutely no clue what my next move was. All I knew was that it was going to be the beginning of a long road to recovery, but more importantly the beginning to what could be the most epic new chapter of my life. All the while, my website followed me in the background like a shadow (while somehow getting hacked beyond control each day), and it became clear to me that my website was completely mirroring my life. It was a cluttered, destroyed, mostly unusable arrangement of images and text on the internet. It symbolized me, and everything I was going through.
I was lost, scared, burnt out, and unmotivated in every way. How was I supposed to build a new website from scratch that represented me when I had absolutely no clue who I was anymore? I hated design and I was overpowered by a paralyzing feeling of regret. “Why did I even go to art school?!” “Why couldn’t I have just chosen a more lucrative career?” “I need to start over!” “I’m never going to make it in this world!” Naturally, I was exceptionally dramatic about this situation.
Suddenly, Time. was on my side. The summer quickly approached, and in between everlasting moments of feeling defeated and indecisive, I made some amazing connections, started some creative projects, and began making progress on my new website. Over the course of about 6 months, I discovered what I actually wanted to show the world. I found a way to display my new accomplishments while including some old portfolio pieces. I added new content, started a brand new blog, designed a new logo, and the best part about my progress was that I enjoyed it. In a tiny moment of clarity one day, I found myself finally living in that moment I was dreaming about and wanted so badly to fast forward to, over 6 months ago.
It’s always comforting to want to go back to the way things were, but nothing ever truly stays the same, and moving forward gives you the chance to redefine yourself. I’m ready to move forward, and I’m ready to share this new website, which is not just a website. It’s a fully functional redesigned digital representation of me. Thank you to everyone who has helped me, motivated me, inspired me, and even tried to bring me down. You all led me to this very moment. Please Enjoy 🙂
And now, without further ado…
If you made it through this whole thing…