Not sure if there is anybody reading these but I'm going to go ahead and write this out anyway, I've always liked the idea of keeping a blog around to post cool things I do in a more meaningful way.
Anyway, I wanted to talk a bit about where I have been recently. Some people reading this might know that I was trying to sell the last of my stock in stickers because I wanted to liquidate absolutely everything. I really wanted a reboot or rebrand of some sort, but why?
I looked back on some stickers that I had and there was a lot of ones I didn't really like. They didn't really feel entirely "me" in a sense. I had originally started Illegal Tender in 2015 because there was some cool sticker ideas I had that I didn't see going around, so I decided to do them for myself.
Back then, I had a clear vision on what I wanted to do. For my first release ever, I think I did pretty damn good.
Inspiration is what drives a lot of us to do the things we do, and back then I was, quite heavily, inspired by anime and my car (hence the Subaru sticker) so I continued with what inspired me.
I was insanely happy with what I was doing. I was making things that I thought were just plain old fun to me, poking fun at the 2016 presidential elections and just being myself. I was designing new stuff every single day, and every single moment of them was so much fun! I would roll out of bed and go straight on Illustrator super giddy to make something new.
But then, something I never expected to happen happened: Boobarus absolutely blew up.
It was to the point that (blatant) copies were made of these at one point by somebody in Russia, and a Chinese tech company poached the trademark for "Boobaru" (although they have since abandoned it.) I was sent pictures for them, I was sent videos of them, many people posted them on places like Instagram, Reddit, and Facebook. I would scroll my explore page and come across cars that had Boobaru stickers on them. I even ended up selling one to Saudi Arabia of all places.
This fun little side hobby to just make dumb stickers for me and my friends stopped being just that. Dollar signs came into my eyes, and the pressure was on. Everything I made had to top "Boobaru" in genius, everything I made had to be to the best it could possibly be. I scrapped so many ideas that I thought were cool just because I thought it was not enough.
After a while I was forcing myself to design and make stuff. There are a couple designs that I didn't really find too fitting and, to be honest, I just put out there just to put out there. It wasn't stuff I thought was cool, it was stuff that I thought other people thought were cool.
The pressure from other people as well probably didn't help, either. I know people who were onlookers to what I was doing just wanted the best in me, but people started trying to push me. "Design more!" "Follow trends!" "You need to be putting out x designs a week!" "You need to start a vlog!" "You need to sell x a week!" "You need to do what's popular!"
When I started watching animes that didn't interest me but were at the peak of their popularity just to be able to make stickers for them is when it hit me that I didn't like Illegal Tender anymore. Designing frustrated me to the point of where I didn't want to even log in to the Instagram account any more. In my head, I was done.
This lined up to around the time I was accepted into the study abroad program at a school in Osaka, Japan. So I completely put Illegal Tender aside went abroad, and it was one of the most insane experiences I have had in my life thus far.
A fire sparked in my heart for the things I saw out there. Cool cars with cool style, and lots of people who had stickers that were just like how I started! Just stuff for them and their friends, local teams, local garages they got work done at, parody logos of popular Japanese mascots/logos, etc. My brain was excited at the thought of making something like that again.
I started designing like how I used to, and I was insanely happy with what I was doing, but that little thing about how everything I was doing had to somehow top what I did came back. Although I was happy designing, I was still insanely tough on myself. That's part of the reason why I wanted to completely liquidate. I didn't want anything from my past to be around to say "do better than me" in a sense.
But that's just an excuse. I'm proud of Boobaru and what it did for me. I'm proud of how big they got. I'm proud of how they came out, and I'm proud of the idea. Why should I get rid of it? It's been an amazing experience with those out there, and I was able to bring happiness to a lot of people who wanted something for their car that was perfectly in line with what I was doing. People would tell me just how many laughs their car would get with the emblems, and that was plenty for me.
I don't need "the next Boobaru" because Boobaru is it's own thing. There is no competition in between them. The only thing Boobaru has in common with every other sticker I have ever made (except the ones I kind of forced out) is that they are born from my own passion and my inspirations, and it's about time I let those take priority again.
Thank you for reading and sticking around, I'm so excited to see what I will do next and I hope you are too.