#NoExcusesLongTerm: Origins Of NELT

#NoExcusesLongTerm was a social media campaign that I began on my Instagram page from September 2016 to the end of December 2016. I wanted to let loose and do design work, since I had been doing more web development work the past few years. A commitment to creating something everyday was quite a challenge — some days the idea came clear, some days it was more subconscious and some days life dictated. This experiment pushed me to be in tune with being resourceful, creative exploration and expression. It also had me looking in the mirror and asking “why the hell did I decide to do this again?”. I take a scroll down 5 selected pieces from the campaign to describe their origins and more about the piece.

1.) J-Pop, Pharrell, Anime and Coffee

Anime Girl Illustration -- Commitment

Anime Girl by @darnellcreates

I am a huge Neptunes fan and one day while scrolling down a Neptunes playlist on Spotify, I came across a song by Hatsune Miku called “Last Night, Good Night (Re:Dialed)” – Pharrell Williams Remix. A 70’s soul ambiance, it is a pretty addictive song. Along the way started thinking about anime. Admittedly, I don’t watch a lot of anime, but as a designer I find the illustration work very enriching. Anime characters have a subset of standard looks which in reality would be borderline creepy.

2.) A Slim Chance That I COULD Even Possibly…Go For That.

Hall & Oates Tribute by @darnellcreates -- Commitment

Hall & Oates Tribute by @darnellcreates

Looking back, this one was more inevitable than a sudden idea — I am a big Hall & Oates fan, I am a fan of 80’s design. I was inspired to create this piece after being at the grocery store and hearing their funky 1981 hit “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)”. Once I checked out and got home, I was ready to go. (Unrelated — That had to be at least my 4th time hearing a Hall & Oates song in a grocery store…not that it’s a bad thing. Music in stores always reminds me of going to K-Mart.) My choice for the color palette was more of a feeling — when I think about the 80’s, I tend to think bold statements, crisp execution and multiple colors. I figured that bright saturated colors made a considerable statement.

3.) “What’s Your Story? (Mortality)”

What's Your Story? (Mortality) -- Commitment

“What’s Your Story? (Mortality)” by @darnellcreates

The saying goes, “life happens whether your ready or not”, that being said; this one carries a personal backstory to it…the man in the photo is presumed to be a family member of mines, circa 1950’s. This picture served as a tribute to my Aunt Pat, who passed away the day of. I don’t know who this guy is — my Grandmother had this picture for a long time in her safekeeping. Unfortunately with her passing, it is next to nil I’d find out the origins of this picture.

The intriguing part about the portrait was the intimacy of his mourning and the candidness captured. The person being buried must have meant a great deal to him….The original picture was sepia toned but not as dark — I added darkness to add emphasis to the moment. I chose the quote by Colum McCann to tie together a reminder of mortality, mourning and the moments before and after…given ups and downs my family experienced in 2016 — it felt fitting.

4.) Elephanting

Elephanting by @darnellcreates -- Commitment

Elephanting by @darnellcreates

This piece was fun. Back in college I did a collage piece to create a desktop full of items from different sources. I wanted to do another for some time over the years, but hadn’t pursued it any further than a thought. I was reading about elephants the morning of (I know, everyone does this…ri-ii…right?) and I thought about how nonchalant they are, seemingly just going through the motions. It could be raining and they are just seemingly content on just being alive. It’s the simple things…admirable! That said, I figured a elephant wouldn’t mind at all if it was painted red, the lake green and the sky purple.

This piece is available to purchase as a canvas print at the NELT Shop. It comes in a variety of sizes!

5.) Duke Ellington presents: “Mood Indigo” (1931)

Duke Ellington & His Orchestra present: Mood Indigo by Darnell Creates -- Commitment

Duke Ellington & His Orchestra present: “Mood Indigo” by @darnellcreates

The Duke! The day of (October 15th) it was the anniversary of Duke Ellington and his Orchestra’s original recording of “Mood Indigo”, a classic jazz record. The day prior, I had watched an old Disney cartoon produced in Technicolor. The swanky sounds of Mood Indigo warranted a classy showcase, so I went with the background to have loosely inspired by a Technicolor palette. I deemed it appropriate, given it’s relativity to the era Ellington was alive. I wanted to showcase the Duke’s charm and not sway too far from his physical appareance in the caricature, but enough to make it a portrait.

What’s The Long Term?
NELT is rooted in a straightforward commitment: No Excuses for the Long Term goal. Life happens and each day we have the chance to let great things be. Expression, challenge and trust drove the #NoExcusesLongTerm campaign and from that birthed NELT.

Leave a Reply