AG ‘Expansion’ into 2021

Umph… Well I think we can all agree 2020 was a year we’d all like change in hindsight 😉

‘Last Week Tonight’ Show host John Oliver blows up a 5 storey ‘Year 2020’

What a year. What a year. What. A. Year!!!

For many around the world 2020 was a period of significant change and many of us found ourselves adapting-to and coping-with, new constraints on multiple intersecting levels of our daily lives. I know I am one of a great many who’ve found ourselves facing the financial, physical and mental health strains of global systems under pressure to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.

That’s why I know it is important to remind everyone who supports my work here and beyond the digital realm that we are all deserving of a little patience with ourselves during these times (Hmmm… probably A LOT). I know how difficult things are at the present time with changes in health protocols that might place us in greater depths of isolation and withdrawal from our communities, friends, loved ones and family. That’s why it is important, more than ever, to remind yourself of the worth you have within you, the value you bring to the world, and the love you share with others near and far.

I know these times are hard, but the nerd in me wants to remind us all that, as Samwise Gamgee says in the Lord of The Rings to Frodo Baggins who is at his lowest point after having abandoned all hope of fulfilling their quest:

“It’s like the great stories, Mr Frodo, the ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were, and sometimes you didn’t want to know end because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad has happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing this shadow, even (despair1) must pass. A new day will come, and when the sun shines, it’ll shine out the clearer. I know folks in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going because they were holding on to something. That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo, and it’s worth fighting for.”

Samwise Gamgee
  • (1Note that I replaced the original word that JRR Tolkien used in this quote to describe ‘crappy times’ simply because I among many people, feel it is important not to use ‘black’ and synonyms of black in a way that frames persons of colour as inferior or ‘evil’, etc. If you have questions or concerns on the matter I am happy to refer you to one of many resources available to you on the world wide web: “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4LpT9TF_ew” Or available in print: “https://onesearch.library.utoronto.ca/anti-black-racism-reading-list” at your local university)

Alright, now for the big stuff!

As you may or may not know I ran a graphic design business for 5+ years under the business name ‘GrenstoneRising’ until I switched over to using my real name for conducting business. I’ve found this generates a greater familiarity from the clients with my identity as a brand and as a person.

Beginning in January I’ve changed the website URL to officially read “ashley.grenstone.ca” to give the site a greater sense of authenticity to viewers as well as to no longer restrict myself to only the realm of graphic design. Now the business name associated to me is officially identified as ‘Ashley Grenstone’ and allows me the ability to properly include HST and GST in the invoices I provide my clients.

Next, I’m reducing my posts on the website to quarterly updates. The intent is to produce posts of greater quality over quantity, giving those who do read these posts more to look forward to and hopefully spread the word. Exceptions to this rule will be to update followers on Personal Design Projects as well as updates from my republished Patreon Page.

Lastly, over the last year and a half I’ve had the fortune of accessing a greater quantity of client contracts and opportunities than ever before in my 10+ years as a freelance designer and professional artist. It’s been a long road and I couldn’t have made it without the help of many in the Ottawa community who have embraced me and uplifted my self-image and for that I am forever grateful. I’m proud to say I finally have a stable financial base and am excited to explore future opportunities and turn my focus, among many things, to the following:

  1. Dedicating more time to improving my skill sets and education;
  2. Network with new clients and collegues;
  3. Acquire new tools and software for meeting the needs of my clients;
  4. Expanding my public identity through re-organizating my visual presence online;
  5. Create my first 5-year ‘Master Business Plan’ and ‘Life-Mission Statement’, including;
    • Prioritize giving back to Indigenous communities through individual and participation in social change efforts;
    • Define a clear ethical/equitable ‘Life Mission’ of uplifting children exposed to war and servitude;
    • Grow my financial wealth base and prioritize health and wellness over consumer goods purchases;

I would like to thank the following friends, family, colleagues and acquaintances for the success I have achieved and the opportunities I have had (In no particular order):

Carmel Whittle and Patricia Reynolds; Carling Miller; RJ/Roland ‘Sloth’ Jones; Colette Gauthier; Sylvia Gaudette; Pauline Gaudette-Barrett; Zack Harper; Megan Barnes; Elaina Martin; Kayla Spag; Sharon Martin; Jake Richmond; Leyla Shahid; Debbie OA; Rita-Les-Hearts; Madelene (mom) Barnes; Cameron Weber; Jo Farrall; Ayla Duval; Laura Horvak; Cara Tierney; Alikammiaraq Sigurdson-Kuksuk; Melanie Champagne; Victoria Piryuaq; Benny Michaud; Fae Johnstone; Jeannie Kalluk; Adrienne Row – Smith; Dan Irving; Thane Robyn; Kirstei Lynn; Abbey Morris; Shannon Sullivan; Sara Young Pine; Cody Purcell; Samuel Ootoova; Dana Wesley; Shane Polson; Shelley Tailor; Glenn Crawford; Rodney Nelson; Brittany Jones; Greg Owens; Rana Nazzal; Susan Burhoe; Rachel ; Hamid Ayoub; Kas Micmillan; Annie Miller; Nora Ani; Kim Taylor; Tess Laude; and so many more!! Thank you to the many people in my life who have made it more than just worth living, but a true adventure!

Welp, I’m excited to post this and get moving onward to the future – let’s hope 2021 is a better year for everyone around the world and that we all gain in the important way, and only loose what must be lost to transition forward. 🙂

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