A Web with no Name.
It took me a month to build my portfolio. It started small, as they all do: a little creature that sprawls new limbs as time flows. At some point I had to chop some off, in order to keep it safe from itself.
Time works in a weird way lately. What is a month? It felt like time enough to finish such project, such practice. And still: I’m learning. I’m reading articles. I’m applying to jobs daily. I’m unemployed. And still: time seems to flow away from me, unreachable.
“I just need a bit of time to improve the Navbar, to create a better user experience. I also think the font could be better and the media queries need to be improved and…”
Talking with dev-friends I realized this is a common thing: your projects, specially portfolios, will never be ready. As an artist, I know this feeling well: it never seems enough. The only two things you really need to learn is how to start and when to stop.
It was time for shipping.
With this in mind I just needed a name.
As an artist I have embodied many different online personas. Names I used to find some kind of solace on, to cover with from the world. They helped me to forget I was me, to create from a sense of displacement from within me. I found them empowering, even: like being Prometheus and the Eagle at the same time.
At some point they stopped working. They felt wrong to me. When this happened, I would just delete all kind of trail they left behind: emails, online presence, ownership of any of their works. They became ghosts lingering in the back of my head.
My last created (acquired) persona was prullansky. It was inspired by Jodorowsky’s grandfather, Alejandro Prullansky, a russian dancer with whom we both share first name. At the time, it gave me a lot of energy, a certain kind of fire that would help me burn through life, a strong character that gave me the confidence I lacked.
I even got a tattoo. A red square that lays on the inside of my left arm. That executes. That is hard for me to dissociate from the persona it rose of. A red square that was meant to be squarely perfect and that is not, forcing me to embrace imperfection in a hard way.
People started calling me by that name. Prullansky. It (I) became a meme somehow. I felt lost into it, trapped. What was supposed to be used as an umbrella ended up engulfing me.
Months ago I unofficially shortened (and lowercased) my first name, from Alejandro to ale. It confuses people. I introduce myself , I say “ale” and the reply “ali?” or pronounce it like that sweet and fruity-taste kind of beer. I try to help them, I give more information, like “No, ale, from Alejandro” But this always ends badly. Once they know the whole name they will stick to it, they will call me Alejandro and nothing else: give them a hand they will take the whole arm.
I’m checking some websites in order to buy a domain for my portfolio.
All the generic domains available, once attached to my shortened name, become unavailable or utterly expensive. I could get alerodriguez.dev but that doesn’t ring true. I want a .com, an appendix that reflects the immensity of my persona and the complexity of my emotions, that is able to convey urgency and importance while at the same time feeling familiar.
If I have a website, I want it to sound like the big deal, even if in practice it is nothing more than a one-month-practice.
I want to display all of my skills. What I am able to do with code, but also (and maybe more important, even if this might cost me some opportunities down the road) my creative side: I want to show who I am, what I do, what I like.
Remember prullansky? Well, he seems to be available. I can append a .com to him for only 7 euros a year. And that’s quite a deal, my dear.
So I spend like two nights, trying to assess my next move: should I welcome this persona that I ostracized consciously not long ago? Will he be able to live together with ale, in a non platonic but close relationship within the same container?
In practical terms it is the right choice: it’s short, strong, people seem to like it and remember it. And then, why am I not 100% convinced?
I have spent the last 5 days painting a mural for a friend. A huge mural on the most uneven and difficult wall I could have asked for as a beginner. The first day, it made me cry and feel like an amateur trying to climb the K-2. I conquered it though, proudly.
While picking up my tools right after finishing the job, my friend asked me if I wasn’t going to sign it. I had totally forgot about it. I felt that the work spoke by itself in huge bold black lines. That it needed no name appended to it. Then, the same dilemma as finding a proper name for my website arose: under which name should I sign it by? prullansky or ale?
I went home, the mural unsigned, my muscles aching. After 5 days in front of a stranger wall that became a great friend, I was back at my four well known walls and a virtual window that, wide open, demanded all of my attention: the window was right where I left it, granting me view to a website where to buy cheap domains.
I dropped my weight over the chair, used my left hand to lift the right one up, using it to hover over the mouse, like a puppeteer, and with some kind of determination made it click it’s way through: 35 seconds later, I had bought a domain named prullansky.com
I can feel both personas grappling inside my stomach like hungry street cats. The moment I think about the pending unsigned mural they freeze.