Happy Hustler PMu

Happy Hustler (3).png

Name: PMu


I am a Brighton based doodler and I believe that art is for everyone.  It doesn't have to be 'worthy' in order to be worth sharing.  Creative practices are a core part of the human experience, a vital part of connecting us to each other and the world around us.


scan-6Tell us a little bit about your hustle and your happiness journey.

I have always been a doodler.  My parents divorced when I was very young and I think drawing was a really practical way of keeping me and my sister sat in one place for more than five minutes when either of my parents were feeling overwhelmed.  I grew up reading manga, graphic novels and watching various forms of animation and have always loved how, even when stylized, drawn faces can carry a lot of emotion.
At school I struggled with art classes.  I didn't have a great teacher and I lost a lot of enjoyment for expressing myself through drawing.  I didn't understand the purpose of copying other people's art when there were all these pictures were in my head trying to get out.  I ended up carrying on my studies in drama, but all the while was secretly doodling away in notebooks.
This year I experienced a period of depression and anxiety, during this time I found myself drawing more and more and developed a distinct style of line work.  Once I had found my voice and style I found it incredibly easy to access that creative part of me.  Encouraged by this newly discovered flow I shared my drawings with friends and family.  It was their encouragement that lead me to set up Daily Doodle, and since then I have found a really talented and authentic community through the blog.

scan-88What do you do to de-stress after or during a long, stressful day?

Through work I have developed a very steadying mindfulness practice with guidance from Joel and Michelle Levey.  It has been pivotal in helping me accept my depression and recognize the changing nature of stress.  When I have a really bad day I find a mindful walk with the dog or some sitting practice incredibly centering.  It might not change how I feel, but it definitely helps me recognize that my identity isn't defined by stress or anxiety.
More recently I have been incorporating my drawing as a kind of embodiment practice which has been really satisfying.  I highly recommend to anyone who meditates to take something they do every day and incorporate it into your practice.  It makes even the most normal things seem extraordinary.


Where do you go for inspiration?

I think a common mistake when you're seeking inspiration is that you need to find the perfect place.  Somewhere that's peaceful, or full of beauty.  If you cultivate the right mindset then inspiration will come to you.  For example, another interpretation of the word respect is to look again (re-return, spect-see).  How often do you look again at the things you see everyday?  That kind of inspiration is right there for you to see it, you just have to know how to change the way you interpret what is there.


scan-68What are you currently reading or listening to (podcasts, books, blogs, etc.)?

I am a massive sci-fi nerd, so it's fair to say that at any given moment I have a copy of one of Asimov or Ray Bradbury's stories next to my bed.  At the moment I am rereading Dune by Frank Herbert.  My father gave me a copy of his when I was about 15, and I have had a love affair with the series ever since.  Last year the front cover finally gave up the ghost, so for my birthday I got a new copy with amazing deco-style cover art, so I could fall in love all over again.
I also tend to watch a lot of Star Trek on TV and have just finished watching this seasons Ru Paul's Drag Race All Stars.  I love the amazing level of artistry and creativity in the Drag community, and unlike a lot of reality TV, Drag Race has managed to honor its competitors without taking itself too seriously.  It's a thin line to walk and they do it with such irreverence that I defy anyone who likes to dress up, to watch it and not become an obsessed super fan.


scan-8What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone just starting their happy hustle journey?

Invest time in finding your voice.  Without it hustling online can feel a lot like shouting into a void.  If you manage to find your voice and your style, then it becomes more like singing.  You might be performing a solo, but at least you will be enjoying the sound.


What are some of your favorite quotes or words to live by?

"Seek freedom and become captive of your desires, seek discipline and find your liberty." Frank Herbert


In one word, sum up your life as a Happy Hustler.



What are the three core values of your hustle and how do those values relate to your happiness?

1.  Find something enjoyable and learn to do it well.  See it as a discipline.  Set yourself small goals which carry you towards yours ultimate aim  in steps rather than leaps.  That way creative block is fleeting and often distant and hard work is fulfilling rather than draining.
2.  Seek out feedback and listen to it non-judgmentally, it's the only way to grow.
3.  Find your people and soak up what they have to teach you.  Remember the African proverb - 'If you want to go quickly go alone.  If you want to go far go together.'  Africa is the largest continent on Earth, I trust whoever came up with that proverb knew how to travel far.


Connect with PMu:


Happy Hustler Caitlin Tschanz



I am a Philly native whose studio and writing practices are inspired by exploring the city and meeting diverse people through chance encounters. When not uploading my adventures to social media, I can be found painting, writing poetry and traveling the globe.

My practice now seeks to blur the line between life and art— with my most recent work exploring this binary through the study and documentation of the world and city that I live in. I pose questions to the viewer, and use the work as a vehicle to meditate on the possible answers: How do I capture the intangible and experiential sensation of living in such a vibrant city? What of my experience and interaction with other people is perception, and what of it is real?

    Through words and pictures, I trace the histories of the environments that I find myself in and tell stories using the language of paint to convey the density of these experiences to the viewer.

Tell us a little bit about your hustle and your happiness journey.

Hmm, where to begin? I've had a very interesting life, so for me, my happiness really does stem from accepting the fact that as a young artist my life is constantly evolving and changing, which has carried over into my art practice and vice versa. Once I realized this, my work changed immensely because I was no longer afraid to take risks.

You know, I had a chip on my shoulder for a long time about not being that experienced in the art world (in terms of discourse/practice, etc.) so getting into art school  and graduating with a  degree in Fine Arts last year was a huge deal. I think in a big way it proved to my younger self that having a career and professional art practice is a totally valid and tangible life path to have. It just took a lot of tears and work in the studio to get here!

What do you do to de-stress after or during a long, stressful day?graymatter

I'm not big into watching tv, but if I'm super stressed I like to have a cup of tea and troll Netflix-- there are some interesting documentaries and shows to watch, but some personal favorites are Arrested Development and The Inbetweeners. Anything to get my mind off what's bothering me and to have a few laughs.

I also like to look through my sketchbook and write ideas down for a book I'm writing about my life thus far. Sometimes it's just a few lines that sound interesting, and other times a whole chapter of poetry spills out. I love getting into that meditative headspace where the work comes through me; it's very exciting to look back on days or weeks later to see where my mind was.

Where do you go for inspiration?

Literally everywhere. I walk around the city a lot in my free time, and I love to document the visual non-sequiturs that catch my eye. In fact, I'd say that about 95% of my Instagram posts are me documenting the things that I'm attracted to: a sound, a color, a pattern, different textures, the way light reflects off a wall.

I just got back from two weeks in Europe, and honestly, my favorite moments were when I could exist in each unique environment and realize that they are glaringly different and completely the same. It was quite a beautiful process to see happen-- decay exists everywhere and so does life.

What are you currently reading or listening to (podcasts, books, blogs, etc.)?

I listen to so much that it's impossible to categorize, but recent favorites are CRO and pretty much anything on the radio. In the studio my tastes change depending on my mood, so sometimes it's RHCP and other days it's Ottmar Liebert. Whatever boosts creativity will do!

graymatteriiiWhat is one piece of advice you'd give to someone just starting their happy hustle journey?

Trust yourself, trust yourself, trust yourself. It's important to have a strong circle of supporters around you who can give you valuable feedback about your work, but at the end of the day you have to be able to know yourself and your process enough to know when a work is complete or captures your ideas in the best way possible.

No one but you holds that answer.

What are some of your favorite quotes or words to live by?

The two that I think about a lot in the studio are from some of my old professors from my time at Moore College of Art & Design. I had one of my favorites of all time, Moe Brooker, tell me flat out to my face sophomore year that I had a lot of work to do in order to really become an abstract painter. It stung, but I was ready to learn.

His works, much like Kandinsky, deal a lot with the transmutation of music into painting, and one day he mentioned the difference between impulse and improvisation. I didn't quite understand it at first, but once I got it, it stayed with me. Impulse is pulling any color off the palette and applying it arbitrarily on the canvas, but improvisation is knowing the direction the work is going and allowing the freedom of play to come into the work; it's making an informed decisions for the betterment of the piece. It blew my mind.

Another of my profs, Robert Goodman told me in a critique once that there is a big difference between Inspiration and content. As with Moe, it took me awhile to understand what he meant, but once I got it my studio practice totally evolved. It forced me to really consider the work from all angles and to take a more analytical approach to the way that I speak about and view my art.

In one word, sum up your life as a Happy Hustler.


What are the three core values of your hustle and how do those values relate to your happiness?tschanz_primaries

Reflection, patience, and risk-taking.

I think most of my best ideas and successful paintings have come from quiet reflection on a bus or train or listening to music. It took me a really long time to trust my inner voice and to work with my inner critic instead of against it, so anytime that I have a moment to quietly think about how I can better my work I write it down.

Taking risks is a bit more difficult because I work crazy hours that don't give me the best time frame for making work, so every time that I do make a new piece, I try really hard to push myself out of my comfort zone and to keep growing. Some of my favorite pieces have been a one-off painting that were completely spontaneous!

If I really think about it, I think all three values are what have allowed me to merge my art and life practice, and I don't see them as being inherently different anymore. Taking my time to understand both who I am as a person, and as an painter has made my life so much richer. I think I've always seen my life and encounters with people as strange or different, but through all of my creative outlets I've learned to live my life so much more freely. Art, honestly, is why I exist.

Connect with Caitlin

Website // Facebook // Instagram // Tumblr


How to Cease The Shitty Day

     Let’s Cease The Shitty Day (1).png             We’ve all been there. The day where anything that can go wrong, has gone wrong, and all we are left with is a gaping mouth and slew of words that would make a sailor blush. We’ve all been guilty of letting the shitty day turn into way more than it needs to be, right? I mean we are talking about the worst of days, your horrible-no-good-terrible-very-awful-bad-day. Sometimes it seems like there’s no way to flip your switch back into a manageable level of goodness, right? Well, because we love you and love self-love, we’ve put together some suggestions to help you not just live through your shitty day, but make it your best shitty day.

So what do you do?

Focus on HOW you react, not WHAT you are reacting to. Shitty things happen. You’re finances are low, your car breaks down, your bus is late, you’re broken up with, your switching apartments...everything can add up to a big level of shitty. A lot of that is beyond our control, right? Exactly. So focusing on how we react instead allows us to make sure we aren’t causing more shittyness by our reactivity than good.

Turn the shitty day into the day that provided you with an opportunity to grow. To show yourself self love. To not let yourself down by being reactive instead of growing from your experience. Cease the shitty day, and turn it into the day that YOU overcame by focusing on the positive.

So how do you cease the shitty day?

Reverse your thoughts.

When you catch yourself traveling down a negative path, catch it, and reverse the thought into something positive. Be cognizant of what is going on in your mind, and help yourself flip that thought around. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, look around at what you do.

Focus on your breathing.

Counting your breaths and focus on slowing your breathing patterns can be one of the best ways to refocus and regroup. It’s also a really easy thing to practice, and since your breathing every minute of every day, you are already really great at it.

Practice some good old fashioned self love.

If you are a person who finds relaxation in the depths of a bubble bath while binge-watching The Walking Dead, do it. Maybe sorting through your mail and organizing is where you find some solace. Take time to remind yourself how amazing you are, and how valuable you are.

Make a thankful list.

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the shitty day, we can’t step outside to reflect. Make a list of things you are thankful for. It’s easy, takes little time, and can be the ticket you need to hop on the positivity express.

Get outside!

It’s really simple to get physically stuck in a rut, too. Take a walk around the block and see the good happening around you. Not only is it really simple, but fresh air does a body good in way more ways than just gaining perspective.

What works when you’re having a shitty day? We want to know what works for you, so get in touch!

5 Ways to Get People Talking About your Creative Business

5-ways-to-get-people-talking We can’t be the only people out there that find ourselves in a rut when the buzz surrounding our hard work goes silent. The truth is, putting the product together is the easiest part. Keeping people talking about your work once the initial “hype” that surrounds it dies off is much, much harder. In this week’s Youtube series from Carlee she’s giving you 5 steps that will help your word of mouth grow, and keep buzzing.

  1. CREATE. Create something that provides value to your community, that really stays current to your brand (ie. your art and what it’s all about). If you know that you’re community is filled with 22 year old women  in the throws of navigating adulthood, that is perfect. Play to that demographic and develop a freemium, a free tool (often a PDF) that reflects your brand and their wants/needs. Do they want funky art like yours, but have no idea how to incorporate it into their living room? Give them 5 tips for doing so! Do they want a work of art that reflects their personal style? Walk them through how to find it! Make sure that this is information and advice  that you are willing to pass along for free. Remember, we want to start the conversation about your business and what you have to offer.Having something that reflects exactly what you are offering, and being able to put it directly into the hands of your target audience is something that is immeasurable to your success. This is going to cause a chain reaction. Word of mouth will start to spread, and your reach will start to expand organically.
  1. BUILD A VEHICLE FOR DISTRIBUTION. Draft the template or email that you will use to distribute your new freemium that you have worked created. You are going to want to round up your list of friends in the industry, bloggers, vloggers, peers with any type of social media following, and those who resemble your brand’s target demographic. Having a template to use and in place makes it so much easier to send yourself out into the cyber land when you receive a new contact or connection. We use MailChimp for exactly this service. You can check them out, here. Be careful not to sound too salesy or pushy, people detest sales pitches!Make sure to leave the line of communication open in your template, so that you are always able to have feedback from these people.
  2. PRESS SEND - OR NOT. MailChimp takes care of the automation aspect of correspondence. With the automated system in place you can make sure that you are getting your freemium to the right people at the right time. What’s even better than the automation, is having the analytic feedback that MailChimp breaks down for you. Get your content into the hands of the people who you want to start talking about your work.
  1. KEEP THE CONVERSATION GOING. Check back in after they have had your brand’s product in their life for a few days. ...and keep checking in and providing value whenever you can. What you are doing is building a email list--and this list is going to help you succeed. You reaching out and following up keeps that line of communication open, and of course after a little cultivation...ask them to buy something. Remember, for all intensive purposes your business is closed unless you asked for money that day. .
  1. REPEAT. Repeat steps one through four every so often, and with no hesitation! This should all become a part of your Hustling Repertoire. You’ve got this.

We want to hear what you have been doing to get people talking about your art and business!

Happy Hustler S.E. Tyler

Happy Hustler.png

img_6104Tell us a little bit about your hustle and your happiness journey.

Right now I am working as a social media designer and outreach coordinator for AIDS Fund Philly by day. It's meaningful work being able to help the 19,500+ people living with HIV in the Philly region improve their quality of life. I consider myself as an advocate for the LGBTQ community and it is a blessing to be able to carry this passion into my professional work.  By night you can find me howling at a full moon and teaching painting classes at Painting With a Twist in Haddonfield, New Jersey. My work can feel like a heavy burden, but when I stop to think of all that I have accomplished it makes me excited to the next chapter of my journey.
When I think of how this all began, my mind is taken back to the 3rd grade when I first started to write stories that were accompanied by my drawings. By the time I reached 12, I would be staying up past hours to draw on printer paper in my bed, eraser shavings falling in between my bed sheets. The next day I would walk into the lunchroom excited to share my comics and cartoon strips with my friends. At 13 I vowed that I would attend an art college, admittedly I was torn between a career in visual arts and a life as a musical theater performer.
tumblr_o54kl1ggwe1vnsl06o5_1280Fast forward 8 years to my Sophomore year of art school and you would have found me still awake past the strike of midnight, furiously working on my next piece for critiques. This became a common practice, working all night and then finding 2 hours to nap before it was time to make the commute into the city. Art school was my childhood dream. I kept pushing myself harder and harder until the very end. After I graduated, I spent a good half hour staring at the honor cords I had earned from my four years as an Emerging Leader of the Arts Scholar. In that moment I finally released all the feelings from the stress and anxiety of the past four years with tears streaming down my face.
Up until that point I had viewed my life as a series of hurdles I had to jump in order to reach happiness. I will be happy once I am a great painter, I will be happy once I complete my thesis, I will be happy once I land that art job.  These are the thoughts that went through my mind until that point. Now I am trying to be present, keeping in mind that I am the only person responsible for my happiness. Choosing to be happy and to live in the moment, I can enjoy life so much more than before when I was always looking towards the next milestone.

tumblr_o9b5f61oxa1vnsl06o1_540What do you do to de-stress after or during a long, stressful day?

After I'm done work I usually have a long bike ride waiting for me. I channel the big feelings left over from the day into energy for the ride, accompanied by fast punk or metal music to get my blood pumping. When I get home I sometimes listen to more mellow music and sit in the dark with candles or Christmas lights. I also talk to my friends and family. Chances are they have had a stressful day too and we can help each other feel more grounded. And of course I will draw in my sketchbook. When I'm sketching I can slow down the anxious hamster wheels that are spinning nearly 24/7 in my head to focus on making something.

Where do you go for inspiration?

Music has always been a huge inspiration for my work. When I was 14 I once created a graphic novella with a story and characters all based off of Iron Maiden songs. My BFA thesis was a series of illustrations celebrating many of the American music icons that I have come to love. Whether you are tuned into Bone Thugs n' Harmony or Buddy Holly, music can transport you to another world, make you feel the joys and sorrows of someone you may have very little in common with day to day. Music can be a loud voice for the oppressed, it can be a silent confession. Music creates culture, and connects us all.

img_6086I am inspired a lot by my own life's experiences. Some ideas for my comics come from taking difficult feelings I have around navigating the world as a trans masculine non-binary person- and putting in in a light hearted humorous view. These are troubling times for folks who do not identify with their assigned birth gender, with laws being passed to keep us out of bathrooms, and not enough legislature available to protect people's rights to safe housing and employment. My comic Tranpire is an account of a gender nonconforming creature of the night. This vamp is full of spunk and keeps their head & their limp wrist up high, despite being a pariah from the living world, including the LGBT community. Luckily for me I have plenty of people in life that keep me from feeling like a lost soul, I hope my comic can bring a smile to the face of a gender rebel who feels broken down by society. If we can laugh, we can heal.

What are you currently reading or listening to (podcasts, books, blogs, etc.)?

I recently discovered a podcast called Season of the Witch on YouTube and it has a lot of great talk for people interested in spiritual magic practice. To me, magic is the willful manipulation of the energy around you- whatever energy you put into the universe you are bound to get back. This is very important in my pursuit of happiness- I am conscious to avoid negative energy being projected onto my future. If you believe you can't win, then you have already lost.

tumblr_od5hypm8fc1vnsl06o1_540What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone just starting their happy hustle journey?

Sometimes the best opportunities are not going to be served to you on a silver platter. One summer I was tasked with finding an internship position. I applied to many of the big names in the industry, my heart was set on landing a spot with a leading toy company. I was met with rejection from every place I applied, until I opened my mind. I searched for small non profit organizations that were in need of a graphic designer. I got accepted not once, but twice. So I carried out two internships as the sole designer on the staff, and learned alot more of my skills and problem solving than I might have otherwise. I made closer relationships, and was more valued on the team as the only person able to get the job done. One position I held even lead to a job that I currently work today.
Don't be afraid to ride your unicycle down the side avenue to success, rather than waiting on the highway breathing in exhaust from all the other SUV's in front of you.

What are some of your favorite quotes or words to live by?

This quote comes from a woman that I met once while waiting outside of a train station. She was complimenting me on my bright pink hair at the time, saying she was excited to turn her grey hair purple as her first dye job at 74. Why was she suddenly confident to make such a bold style choice?

She told me this: "One thing I have learned in my life is that most people only truly care about themselves. They are too busy worrying about their own lives to be truly concerned with what you are doing or how you look. So you should just do what you like. Live like nobody is watching- do whatever you can to be happy and free, because they aren't watching, and they don't care."

tumblr_o54kl1ggwe1vnsl06o1_540In one word, sum up your life as a Happy Hustler.


What are the three core values of your hustle and how do those values relate to your happiness?

My three core values have to be positivity, faith, and hunger.
Finding a space for positive energy in my hustle has taken me far. People recognize me as a good energy to have around, which has opened the way to many opportunities. If you are dredged with negativity, you are bringing everyone else down around with you. It's an unattractive quality and prevents you from having some appreciation for life- even when life is sad. I would be lying if I said I felt happy all the time. Its normal to be sad. Its not a bad thing. A sad time in life can still be enjoyed with some positive vibrations.
12718121_10207925765815833_8281540123234945618_nNext is faith, and no I don't mean George Michael with a choir of angels. I am not sure what my next career move will be, I might return to a position as a substitute teacher, I may be auditioning for a theatrical production for the first time in 4 years. I might make a book that is a total failure, I could spend a long time hustling before I reach the place of security I am seeking. What keeps me going is my faith in the universal powers that be- whatever road I travel, I will be provided for. The next chapter might result in a lot of money, or I could learn a completely new skill. I might even live on another continent for a few months, just to see what is out there for me. Wisdom is the ability to release control, release yourself from the idea of a prescribed route to happiness and success. I have faith that whatever choices I make for my future, the journey will be all the more colorful for it.
tumblr_o54kl1ggwe1vnsl06o4_250And lastly I am and will forever be stricken with hunger. Hunger for change, hunger for growth, hunger that I use to propel me over seemingly impossible obstacles. Someone once told me that they believed musicians create worse music as soon as they have achieved a stature of fame and fortune. If you have nothing else to work towards, then your intentions become less sincere. This is why I stay hungry. To appreciate all that I have worked hard to gain, and to keep my focus on all there is left for me to conquer. I will never settle for satisfaction, I starve for excellence.

Where will APOP be next?


What: The 2016 Leadership Conference For Women In The Arts

When: Saturday, October 15, 2016 from 8:30am-4:00pm

(Registration deadline is Friday, 10/7/16)

Where: Moore College of Art & Design -- 20th Street and The Parkway

Leyline and APOP are excited to announce that they are taking their partnership to the 2016 Leadership Conference For Women In The Arts! APOP founder and Moore College of Art & Design alumna, Carlee Myers, will be running a breakout session at the conference called Social Media and Branding Identity. The session will be a “round robin” style where Carlee will be speed mentoring attendees. As an Alumnus of Moore College of Art & Design, Carlee knew that she wanted to bring Leyline into the event. After APOP identified the opportunity, Leyline drafted a proposal and were accepted! Leyline will also be hosting their own breakout session during the conference.

Why is this a huge deal? Because, APOP and Leyline will be presenting at the first and ONLY women’s art and design college in the country!

We all know that devoting funds to professional development can be a super financial nightmare, but the best news of all is that the conference is only TEN DOLLARS for non Moore students, and FREE for currently enrolled students.. Yes, $10.00 for the full day of sessions, mentoring, and featured speaker, Michelle Angela Ortiz. Did we mention that your registration fee also provides you with breakfast and lunch?


Register by this Friday, October 7th.


How To Make Your Network Hustle With You

how to Make your.png We’ve all heard, countless times, that it’s all in who you know, not what your work looks like. The importance of networking has been instilled in us for ages, but how many of us can honestly look at one another and say we have a great network established? Using the term network just sounds like work though, doesn’t it? We used to view networking as the cold and distant way that we make connections, for most of us, we need to reprogram our brain into seeing and reading the word “network” as “genuine connection”. Because when we make and build on a genuine connection with our peers or audience, that’s when the magic happens.

But why is a network essential for our hustle? Because if you have a great opportunity, naturally you want to share it. So share away! Tell them about what you have going on and WHY this opportunity popped them into your mind. In turn, they will want to send opportunities YOUR way. Funny how easy networking can be, right? Your network can be anyone from your friends, family, co-workers, acquaintances, clients...whomever you know and have cultivated this relationship of mutual support with. This mutual support will not only help to move them onto bigger and better things...but it’s going to help you as well! (Pro Tip: You’re not just doing something for someone in your network with the expectation that they are in turn, going to do something for you.)

In this week’s YouTube video Carlee is sharing how ‘Art for Art’ can be an easy starting point. If you are new to hustling, you likely do not have the funding to invest outright. If you have something that you can offer someone, and they have a product that you need--like Carlee and her graphic design pal--you can organize a great exchange between the two. Carlee traded a piece of her original art in exchange for the APOP logo.

‘Share for Share’ is also a great, no cost way to support the hustle of your network. Are you great at social media? Awesome. Use that to benefit your network, and in turn it can benefit YOU. Sharing via social media and email blasts is an easy way to expand and be seen by an entirely different world of viewers and followers!

Guest Posting/Featurettes is one of our favorite ways to hustle. (Do you know someone you want to see featured on APOP? Click here to nominate someone for us to feature.) If you write a fashion blog, but have a friend who’s blog features mostly lifestyle pieces...swap for a day. You can share a piece with your fashion and art expertise that their readers may not see elsewhere, and they can provide some great lifestyle insights for your readers. Both of you win, with cross traffic being drawn to both of you AND your readers get something out of the ordinary that they have come to expect from you. Featuring someone who is really exceptional at what your readers/followers are interested in is an amazing way to gain networking traffic as well. If I know that a graphic designer in my community is killing it at the game, why wouldn’t I want her to share her tips and tricks with my network to help us all get some much needed insight?

We all hustle for different reasons. We all have different areas of expertise. Why not bring your network along with you for the ride? I guarantee that if you are absolute rubbish at marketing but amazing at writing--there is someone in your network who is crap at writing and great at marketing. Help build up those around you, and your network will only grow stronger.

How have you used your connections during your creative hustle? Share with us what you are doing, and why it’s working for your hustle!  Shoot us an email or comment below!


Happy Hustler Maria Sweeney




Maria Sweeney is a Moldova-born, New Jersey based freelance illustrator. Recent graduate of Moore College of Art and Design, Maria Sweeney has worked extensively in digital, oils, and other traditional mediums which are showcased in her commission works and sketches. Aside from illustrating her current project, In A Rut Comics, recreational time is generally used in some sort of artistic outlet ranging from working on self-published zines to sketching a possible unhealthy amount of portraits.




cover_openedbookTell us a little bit about your hustle and your happiness journey.

I wasn’t always outwardly artistic growing up. I wasn’t a child that drew the moment she could hold a pencil or was entertained in arts and crafts class. But with the start of high school, so came drawing to occupy some of my class time. By junior year, I was teaching myself daily how to draw, using online resources, the library, and anything I could get my hands on to improve. Getting accepted into art school continued much of the discipline I was already applying, but with tenfold the amount of responsibility and workload. Art school is notoriously difficult and as a recent graduate, the need to hustle in order to progress in my field is just as much as it was when I was hustling to get into art school.


inarut-3-bike-1What do you do to de-stress after or during a long, stressful day?

Like most artists, and as ironic as it is, to de-stress myself I usually end up churning out a few sketches in my moleskine or painting a quick piece digitally. Sometimes I don’t need a break from art-making, just from the specific piece of art itself. Drawing something that isn’t for my comic project or for a commission can provide the energy I need to continue these projects. Reading, listening to music, snuggling with my bunny are also great alternatives for me to do if doodling isn’t cutting it!



Where do you go for inspiration?

I take a lot of inspiration from classical painters, particularly those from the Pre-Raphelite Brotherhood period. Some of my favorite painters come from this group: Waterhouse, Rossetti, Millias — the list goes on. Classical and Neo-Classical work will always be a source of inspiration for me.

Other sources of inspiration for me are alternative manga (such as Taiyo Matsumoto and Kyoko Okazaki) and indie comics (the Tamaki cousins, Glyn Dillion — to name a few.)

Often times, I am most inspired after reading work by some of my favorite creators.


whitebirchtrees_websiteWhat are you currently reading or listening to (podcasts, books, blogs, etc.)?

The last book I read was really great, it’s a comic called My Friend Dahmer by John “Derf" Backderf. It tells the story of the notorious serial killer, Jeffery Dahmer but from a very unique perspective. The creator of the comic actually grew up with Dahmer and the combination of thorough research and first-hand experiences interacting with him was really surreal to read about. The art is great and the storytelling feels much like the pacing of a movie — which is cool because it’s actually being made into one now!

As for blogs and anything else, I read MuddyColors blog regularly. The blog has rotating writers, all different artists and art directors in the illustration and fine arts field. Many of the artists that contribute are ones I look up to and it’s very insightful about how the business of illustration functions.


morningroutineWhat is one piece of advice you'd give to someone just starting their happy hustle journey?

My advice is to establish if hustling is something you actually want to do for your career. While often fulfilling and inspiring, hustling isn’t always happy and by definition, it isn’t easy. I wish creating art, getting paid for illustrating, and having consistent commission work wasn’t always a hustle, but it makes me happy in the long run and a sense of accomplishment. Art functions as both an outlet and a source of income, but both are work and require quite a lot of hustling! I would advise others to find what makes them want to hustle and to keep in mind that hustling is hard, but can be very rewarding.


What are some of your favorite quotes or words to live by?

As cliché as it may be, the painter and teacher Bob Ross often says it best, “You do your best work if you do a job that makes you happy.” And while art isn’t always easy, it ultimately makes me happy and happy enough to want to continue to illustrate.



In one word, sum up your life as a Happy Hustler.



What are the three core values of your hustle and how do those values relate to your happiness?

Discipline is essential — without discipline, art wouldn’t be made. When I’m disciplined, I can see the rewards through work being done on time, or improvement in a particular area of drawing that I lack in. Another core value would be to remain opened to criticism. Like most, this isn’t always easy for me, but it’s imperative to anyone wanting to improve in anything they do. Thankfully, I am blessed with supportive friends, often artistic ones themselves, that are able to give me constructive input and help me improve. Learning to rest is a final core value that I think is important. I don’t always do it and it seems contradictory to being disciplined, but they actually work together. Just as important as it is to be focused in illustrating, it’s also important to be disciplined in being healthy, getting enough rest, learning to take breaks when you are drawing, and allowing yourself time to go out of the studio and enjoy time with others. Often times, experiences outside of my work end up being reflected in it.

Connect with Maria:

Website // Facebook // Instagram // Tumblr 


APOP Studios Partners with Leyline, Philadelphia



APOP Studios is more than excited to announce our new partnership with Leyline, an artist-run, member-based project that aspires to form connections between artists. Leyline allows artists to enter into like-minded, regenerative dialogue with their peers. APOP will be partnering with Leyline to provide free and discounted workshops and coaching for their members. This amazing opportunity will help remind Philadelphia local artists and beyond how balance can be the foundation for a more fulfilling life. “So you found a way for us to maintain a social life, balance work and our studio practice, and keep ourselves healthy?” This partnership was as much of a no-brainer for Leyline as it was for us.

APOP will be providing free and discounted workshops, and other programming for Leyline throughout the year. Free workshops will be exclusively accessible for Leyline Members. On the flip side of our partnership, Leyline will be connecting clients of APOP Studios to their own artist community allowing for the fostering of friendships, potential partnerships, exhibition opportunities, and a truly endless list of benefits. Soon, Leyline members will be able to participate in juried shows that APOP is plans to curate within the Greater Philadelphia Region.


What’s on the horizon for exclusive workshops for Leyline Members?

Cardio & Coloring: September 21, Indiegogo Bike Station--FREE event for Leyline members!

An event focused on connecting artists and helping them with both their mental and physical health through cardio and the arts.


Digging Deep: Data Mining for Happiness: Estimated Date October 2016 at a discounted rate for Leyline members.

APOP’s founder, Carlee Myers, will discuss why tracking happiness, and self reflection is vital to each participant’s personal and professional journey. Join Carlee to cover the basics of how to use minimal journaling to track key factors in your happiness and utilize that data to live a happier and more fulfilling life.  Each participant will leave with a custom journal to use at home.


Feeling Salty: Date TBD.

A mindfulness class during which we build a stress box (almost zen garden-like) and learn how to record the breath in salt as a moving meditation practice....definitely a de-stresser.

Happy Hustler Dan Metts


"Hi! My name is Dan Metts.  I live in Athens, Ohio.  As a little kid, I was in sports all year round - football, basketball, baseball, you name it.  During the summer, I played on a few baseball teams.  Until high school, I stayed pretty busy with team sports, that was when my life calmed down a bit. In high school I just played football and baseball, which allowed me to spend time in the woods hunting and fishing every chance I got. IMAG0821I did well enough in football to have colleges looking to recruit me.  Football was my life!  My whole high school career I lived in the weight room and ended up going to Marietta college. I played there for two years - two entire years of the sport I loved...at the next level.  Then life started calling.

At this point, I came home and worked with my father.  He owned his own electric company, but after a few years working together, he finally closed up shop.  That's when I was hired with Sun Electric. I'm still there today.  Around this time I had my first born son, got married, had my daughter, life was great!  Then the darker days came.  The big 'D' word came along. We all struggled with the fact that our family was falling apart.  What's worse... I found out that my 7 year old son was actually not mine at all.

That's when the alcohol came into play.

It helped me cope. It helped me feel a little better, even if it was just for a minute, but eventually I came back from it. It took a little while, but one day a light bulb went off... I realized I still had a beautiful little girl. I had a daughter that still needed her daddy and I had a mission to accomplish. My son was still my son. According to the courts, I needed to adopt him to make him mine in again.

IMG_0003By this time, life was full of soccer practices, games and tournaments.  Bradley, my son, was on a travel soccer team and Brooklyn, my daughter, was just starting in a recreational league.  Of course, I was coaching them both. I coached them both through the years... until November 9, 2013.  That's the day our worlds were turned upside down.

Bradley had an ear infection that had spread to his brain.  The surgeons went in and took all the infection out that they could find.  Then something happened, with the lack of monitoring of brain swelling and the pressure in his head, he ended up having a brain-stem stroke at 9 years old.  It was so surreal. He had just walked into the hospital himself. Two weekends before his soccer team won a tournament in Dayton, Ohio...  A week before that he went to basketball tryouts for the first time. He did great!  At this point, he was in the hospital where he stayed for a total of five months. He passed away three times there.

IMAG0019Now Bradley is in a wheelchair, on a ventilator, has minimal controlled movements, and communicates by blinking his eyes.  Now, with all that, he still doesn't qualify for rehab, so I do all his rehab, everyday when I get home from work, but I also have to be a father to Brook. I'm doing Bradley's rehab and helping Brooklyn with her homework. I'm taking her taking her to soccer practices and games. I'm cooking dinner and making sure she is showered.  I'm giving her the daddy/daughter time she needs to grow up healthy and happy.

 Of course, I just can't say enough about Bradley. We've made slow, but sure progress. We are going on 3 years since the stroke. He is still positive and works hard everyday to get better.  No one knows how much he can be rehabilitated, but as far as we are concerned, the sky is the limit.  He is also starts back to school one day a week, the day after labor day, this year!"

20160810_185800 (1)What do you do to de-stress after or during a long, stressful day?

After a long day at work, I for one, know a little about stress.  I constantly deal with deadlines and contracts on the jobs at work. Sometimes we all have to push a little harder to get a job done, or worry about material showing up.  Normally, I'm dealing with doctors appointments all day for Brad. He has numerous and I have to work with the school. I have to get things ready for Brad to go back.  The highlight of my day, is walking in the house after work. As soon as I come in, Bradley has a big smile on his face, and he's ready to work.

Everyday his smile melts away all my stress. Him and I set in and work for another 6 or 7 hours and, Brook, well I work with her too. We work on her homework and more.  So after everything, I'll either lift weights, jump in the hot tub, or just sit in silence and reflect on the day... the great work Bradley did, or get excited about things I can do with him the next day.  I try, when the weather permits it, to get some wind therapy on the weekends.  I just jump on the Harley and let everything from the crazy week, just blow right off.


IMAG1025Where do you go for inspiration?

I find inspiration in a lot of places.  Throughout the community there are many people that have it worse than I do, and they keep pushing forward.  I have a few friends that I can looks towards for a good boost.  I'm also on social media sites for stroke victims and locked in syndrome victims; hearing people's unbelievable stories and actually chatting with them about their experiences has pushed me to keep going.

But, of course, the biggest source of inspiration for me, is my son.  It has been almost three years post-stroke, and he is still ready and willing to work.  As long as he's ready, it doesn't matter how tired, or sore, or how bad a day I've had. ITS GO TIME!



20140219_123438_4 (1)What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone just starting their happy hustle journey?

The biggest piece of advice I can give to anyone is to learn patience.   Take it from someone who had absolutely no patience, once you watch your son walk into a hospital, have a supposedly simple operation, code three times and every doctor tells you that you will never have your son back, time limits and deadlines don't matter.  Every little step, as little as an eye movement, or being able to monitor your own blood pressure or temperature, is HUGE.  After one accomplishment, start over and go for another.  No rush, just keep working and waiting for the next tiny thing, that will mean the world!


What are some of your favorite quotes or words to live by?

"Small steps are more sturdy than big steps.  You fall easier with big steps, especially if its slippery."
 "Let's Go Headhunters!" -Dan's Father
 "If it doesn't happen today, it just might tomorrow."

IMAG0038In one word, sum up your life as a Happy Hustler.

Positive-  I am a firm believer that a person's outlook and mood will determine the outcome of any situation.  I have tried to be positive from day one.  As soon as someone walks through the door and into my house, all negativity stays outside.  I not only have to keep myself positive, I have to keep Bradley positive too.  I honestly feel, he would not be as far as he is if he hadn't stayed positive all this time!


What are the three core values of your hustle and how do those values relate to your happiness?

Initiative- I tell Bradley this all the time, numerous times a day.  If you can't take the initiative to make yourself better, then you'll never get there.  You can't depend on someone else to get you to your goals.  If you set reachable goals, but you don't put forth the effort to reach them then there is no reason for anyone else to put forth the effort for you.  Work while you're laying in bed all day, even if its on little things.  Work on moving your tongue, work on moving a finger, work on something, don't just lay there.
IMG_1504Honesty-  I feel that if you are not honest, it will come back and bite you in the butt.  First, you have to be honest with yourself.  That's the hardest person to lie to!  If you can't be honest with yourself when setting goals, then you can't set goals that you will ever reach.  Being honest with others, keeps you on top of your game, it lets you focus on your goals instead of focusing on the next lie.  Honesty gets you further in life.
Hope-  I'm not sure if it's a core value, but even in the early days of Bradley's injury, I never lost hope.  I never had a hopeless feeling.  Even when the doctors spent 2 and a half hours arguing with us about pulling the plug and not five minutes later I walk in and start talking to Bradley's lifeless body and he moves a foot! There is always hope.  Do not let yourself get filled with false hope, but fill yourself with hope keeps you going, keeps you moving forward, and drives you to never give up!


'Positive Affirmations' Juried Exhibition


Curator: Carlee Myers, APOP Studios

Email: info@apopstudios.com

Description of Exhibition: APOP Studios' first ever online juried exhibition of artwork surrounding the theme “Positive Affirmations.” The exhibition seeks to promote work that demonstrates an artist's’ positive outlook on themselves, society or otherwise.

Duration of Exhibition: September 2, 2016 through October 28, 2016

Awards: First place ($25 and three free creative coaching sessions) and Honorable Mention (two free creative coaching sessions)

To apply submit your $10 application fee at paypal.me/APOPFitness/10 and send info@apopstudios.com the following:

  • Name
  • Email
  • Phone number
  • Website
  • Medium resolution or higher images of each artwork you would like to be considered (Limit 10 pieces per artist)

Deadline: August 22, 2016 11:59pm



  • All decisions of the curator/jurors are final.
  • If you are accepted, by submitting your entry you give APOP Studios the right to publish your images for marketing and exhibition purposes. We may ask select artists to provide higher resolution jpegs suitable for publishing.