Blake McFarland is a mixed materials artist known for using unique recycled materials to create amazing pieces of art. He loves to be Eco-friendly by using sustainable materials and taking the trash off the streets and out of landfills. Aside from being an artist, McFarland is also a retired baseball player.
Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?
I grew up in San Jose, CA. I played every sport as a child and fell in love with competition. During the same period of time, I was fortunate enough to have a dad who was a “handyman” and taught me to use a lot of different tools that I still use today for my art pieces.
What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?
I played baseball my entire life, including college (San Jose State University) and 8 seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays organization. I wish I would have thrown a 4 seam fastball when I was in high school instead of waiting until I was 27 years old in professional baseball.
What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
Bad recommendation – The art world is too hard, don’t even try.
– The fact is, everything is hard if you want to be good at it. Art is hard, but so is any other profession you decide to go into. If you work your ass off and get better every single day, you will have much better chances of success.
Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?
In 2018 I was at the peak of my baseball career. I just got placed on the Big league 40-man roster. Going into Spring Training that year, I had high hopes of finally reaching the big leagues. 3 games into spring training I tore my rotator cuff and was sidelined for the rest of the year. Flash forward a couple of years later, the injury never got better and I was forced to hang up my dream of becoming a major league pitcher. That was one of the hardest decisions of my life. Looking back on it now, I was extremely fortunate to have art as my “backup”. I always knew once baseball was finished I would pursue art.
What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?
I am ALWAYS learning. I am constantly researching, practicing, and developing new techniques to hone my artistic craft. I am never satisfied with where I am and always want to reach higher. I think never being content and always wanting to do better helps me tremendously.
What is your morning routine?
I have a 16-Month-old so I am up when she gets up, usually around 5:30-6:15 AM. I will make breakfast, get my daughter ready for daycare, drop her off around 7:45, and then begin my day. I normally start with a morning workout before going into my shop for work.
What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?
Having a detailed schedule of what I want to accomplish and setting goals.
What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?
This goes with the above question. I think having a detailed schedule on what I need to accomplish that day/week/month as well as setting goals keeps me on track. I am not a procrastinator and like to get things done now, as to later.
What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?
I love reading non-fiction books about people overcoming adversity, especially Military based books, and survival. The determination and will power navy seals have to endure to just get through bootcamp is extraordinary. I love reading about what it takes to accomplish these high-stakes tasks.
Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?
“The world is a jungle, you either fight and conquer, or you hide and evaporate.”