Since finishing my degree last year, I have been in a perpetual state of half done. My projects feel unfinished, my ideas feel half presented, my sketches abandoned midway. Not at all in a bad way, but perhaps it feels like this because while studying, everything has such a definitive finish line. The deadlines and portfolios keep you busy, but when you’re finished you turn to a new project at rapid speed. And this goes on for years, this incredibly condensed and quick work process. So now I’m enjoying leaving my work unrestricted to tight timelines. All my small freelancing jobs are brief, but nice windows in to the industry – turning around large quantities of work in small time frames. I don’t mind working like this and it’s almost preferable to the larger projects that go for long periods of time. At the moment I’m taking most projects that are offered to me, and it’s treating me well.
Freelancing through On Jackson Street has been incredible, I am beginning to feel stable and much more comfortable sharing my work and talking to people about what I do. When I meet people and they ask what I do, I no longer shy away from saying that I own my own business – a comment I previously felt sounded like I was unemployed. People around me still comment on my lack of a steady 9-5, but I think when you understand the nature of freelancing, you know how fickle it can be. Every now and then someone asks if I will eventually apply for a graphic design job at a studio, and I know that like many times in the past, I am going to make this work to prove their doubts wrong. Every time I started a large project during university, someone told me it would be too much work. My publication, my short film, my illustration journals; the most prolific projects in my portfolio. So I know that sometimes, even if this feels half finished, eventually it will work out.
Here’s a condensed update of my work/creative life, from snapshots off Instagram (top-bottom, left-right).
- I hit 1000 followers on Instagram within 5 months of starting my business, a small but significant milestone for me.
- I begun a short film project with Melbourne based illustrator and artist, Dawn Tan. We are in the process of editing and composing music, so it’s imminent release will be here within the month. I’m excited to show you some of Dawn’s home life.
- I finally built up the courage to tell everyone that my name is actually pronounced Ta-tahn-Ja, with a hard “j”, through this timid artwork (please don’t be mad).
- My favourite sock brand Odd Pears released this incredible collaborative photoshoot betweenAndoni Beristain and Daniel Aristizabal, which quickly became that weeks colour palette and styling inspiration.
- The creator of cute, Mel Stringer, is about to release her book Oh You Yearbook, which features a portrait she drew of me (on the left). Keep a keen eye on her online shop to snap up your own copy.
- My messy desk (which lives in my bedroom).
- My friend and incredible artist Gemma Flack celebrated a birthday recently. This photo was shot for my publication Thanks For Having Me, which I am still working on.
- I’m trying to get back in to illustrating, and teaching myself to draw without inhibitions. I’m surrounded by a lot of very talented and refined artists and sometimes drawing is stressful. This is a feeling I think most people experience from time to time, so I try to do daily drawings that challenge every sense of my creating process. My hands (often shaky, uncooperative, lacking good motor control), my mind (every piece of art doesn’t need to be good, just create something and put it away if you hate it), my brain (drawing without references and in proportion – or not, who really cares).
- My first illustrating job was huge and scary and incredibly tiring. I landed it on pure luck and a bit of skill, so let’s call it 60:40. I don’t know if I am allowed to talk about it in detail just yet but it’s for a great company and I had a lot of fun doing it. I surprised myself A LOT and can’t wait to share the final outcome. I am always having an internal battle to digitise my work and how to add colour, so I think I have finally decided that the best way for me is to do everything by hand. I sprayed, cut and arranged over 400 pieces of paper throughout the project and this tiny snapshot was just one of them.
- A sneak peek at one portion of a larger illustration for the above job. Some lunatic playing Fruit Ninja until near delusion.
- I finished shooting for my publication, which I have fondly, albeit lamely given the hashtag #tfhmbook. This was on my last day, when I went out to Weribee at the beginning of the huge cold snap. It started raining half way through the shoot so I had to make my mum come and pick me up (stay humble non-drivers).
- I was lucky enough to meet the Australian branch of business Square, and did a few shoots for them of merchants that use their POS registers. This was the most recent one, at Standing Room (Parkville) with owner Tom. I have another Square shoot to share once it has gone through post production, my first experience of handing off photos to a company that has in-house editors!
More Thanks For Having Me updates to come, a few personal projects in the works and hopefully many more great clients and opportunities around the corner. Hope you’re taking care of yourself – staying warm, hydrated and reasonably happy (can’t ask too much). Have a great week.