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These are Things

These are Things – The Pressure to Be Successful When All You Want is to Make Art (ep 08)

Jen Adrion and Omar Noory

On Episode 8 of the Maker/Mistaker Podcast, I sit down with Jen Adrion and Omar Noory of These Are Things. These are Things is a powerful illustration duo based in Columbus, OH that strives to make things they love. They’ve dealt with their fair share of success and failure.

There was so much honesty and transparency in this conversation. If you are fortunate enough to taste “success,” then you”ll find this pressure to keep doing what worked, even when you don’t want to anymore. Sometimes you keep trying to “recapture the magic” you once had but never get “back there.” How does it feel when you were a household name one day and then moving back in with your mom and dad and tossing 24,000 prints in the trash because they just aren’t selling?

How do you deal with failure? How do you keep on going and following your passion when your cool side projects become your day job and daily grind? And finally, how do you deal with being afraid to speak your truth and be your own unique self when there are vocal critics and haters out there?

Jen and Omar bring a refreshing positive and loving energy to all these heavy subjects. Listen to the episode for the full story!

These are Things goodies


Music for this episode: Maker/Mistaker Podcast Intro by Jeff Finley


These are Things – How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Enjoy The Ride from Weapons of Mass Creation on Vimeo.


  • 00:00:54 Introductions and Updates
  • 00:02:40 Jen and Omar – Welcome to the show!
  • 00:04:28 The story of success and failure that led to WMC Fest
  • 00:08:00 It all comes crashing down, what are we gonna do?
  • 00:09:00 Tess Vigeland speech At World Domination Summit
  • 00:11:00 Being so open and vulnerable on stage
  • 00:12:00 Sharing too much online
  • 00:13:00 Moving back home with Mom and Dad
  • 00:16:00 What else happened after WMC Fest 2013?
  • 00:17:00 When your side project becomes your day job
  • 00:18:00 Being discontent when you’re supposed to be happy
  • 00:20:00 Falling out of resonance with what you’ve created
  • 00:22:00 The eBook curse! Closing the chapters in our lives
  • 00:25:00 Doing the same thing for years
  • 00:26:45 Things have changed, struggle to adapt
  • 00:28:00 Being attached to the past while trying to move forward
  • 00:29:40 Purging the old, feeling light
  • 00:31:31 Deciding to make what we want all over again
  • 00:33:20 Trying to recapture the magic of success but failing
  • 00:34:00 Go Media’s story of success and failure
  • 00:39:00 failures – the last straw
  • 00:41:41 When something goes well, you feel pressure to keep it going
  • 00:43:00 Throwing away 24,000 greeting cards and cutting your losses
  • 00:45:15 The pressure to be important and successful as an artist
  • 00:46:18 What do you do when sales just aren’t there
  • 00:48:00 Reducing expenses and cutting everything
  • 00:50:00 What about getting a part time job?
  • 00:51:20 The 100 Things project – making art every day!
  • 00:59:00 Being your brand – authentic or not?
  • 01:01:00 Having the courage to be yourself online
  • 01:03:00 Choosing to stay small as a business, living a simpler life
  • 01:05:56 Being transparent and dealing with criticism or haters
  • 01:07:26 Is it ok to be different than your online reputation?
  • 01:11:04 What if you feel ashamed about being weird?
  • 01:04:00 Living up to expectations of your online brand
  • 01:15:00 Never take advice from someone who doesn’t have to be you
  • 01:16:00 Public shaming and Jeff’s experiences
  • 01:19:00 Donglegate shame story
  • 01:21:00 How hateful comments affect real people directly
  • 01:23:40 Trying to get everyone to like you
  • 01:26:24 Being nice, avoiding conflict
  • 01:27:00 How to detach from results and dis-identify with your work
  • 01:30:00 Advice for those afraid to speak their truth publicly
  • 01:31:00 Changing your thoughts and beliefs not external circumstances
  • 01:35:00 What scares Jen and Omar? What holds them back?
  • 01:38:00 Success vs Happiness – mutually exclusive?
  • 01:42:30 Social media detox, technology addiction
  • 01:46:24 Omar shares a tarot reading – the Death Card
  • 01:48:00 Closing remarks

Links and Resources discussed in this episode:

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