Hey everyone, This is my first post here and I wanted to share something that I recently posted on twitter. Its pretty personal, but I hope the message shines some light for someone out there...
Taking it back to 2011. I'm lead motion designer in a full time role. I was feeling completely stagnant and uninspired with no where to turn for help or sense of direction. And then my life changed.
Within a 6 month period, my world fell apart. My Dad had 2 strokes, got cancer and then passed away, my wife and I lost a baby, our house was robbed and turned upside down and to top it off I had a life threatening operation that was excruciating leading up to.
I had rare bone growth (osteoma) filling my entire sinus cavity behind my skull/above the eyebrow and pushing down on my eye. I had a 7 hr surgery, spent some good time in hospital, then spent weeks at home recovering.
During the long recovery days, I had a lot of time to myself and think. "Am I doing what I love"? Motion Design, what a dream I used to think. Working on client projects... but during my recovery, I kept hearing "but what are you doing for YOU"?
The sudden realisation in the value of my time and how precious it is was massive. Almost like I came to a grinding halt. I felt robbed and disappointed in myself.
I hadn't done any personal projects or even any art for myself in a long, long time. I'd always put myself last and completely lost myself in the 9-5 process. This realisation hurt. A lot. I felt like I'd wasted years of giving but never being fully fulfilled or investing in 'me'.
With all of the traumatic events in such a condensed timeframe, I was completely broken and terribly burnt out.
While still in recovery, i started to look for inspiration. And there it was, an artist I'd admired forever. He was creating so much fun art for himself and it seriously showed. I reached out to him for some direction and my world changed.
The lights turned on. His name was Chris Lee.
I need some sense of community. I actually made some key connections in this initial period with a couple of artists I'd admired who I'm happy to call good friends today. They also looked as though they were seriously enjoying their work, having so much fun.
They were Andrew Kolb and Glenn Thomas. The friendships I made with these guys are a big part of who I am today.
I spent almost every night for the next 5 years staying up late drawing. I was honestly starting from scratch. Failing more often than not. I didn't care as it was for the pure joy of creating something for myself. I was completely rejuvenated in making art.
During this time, Instagram was heating up as a platform to not only post pics of their food, but also artwork. So I decided to do the same. It was a liberating time, seeing art posts come down the line right at that minute. It was refreshing and so much fun.
Eventually I gained some good traction and one thing seemed to lead to another. A string of art show invites, blog posts, and my art even made it into a couple of books. My personal art had found its way to an audience somehow.
In 2012, my wife and I saw the arrival of our first child who changed me forever. This responsibility made me want to be someone he could look up to and be proud of in future. It was a beautiful gift to us both.
In 2013 I left my full time job and decided to strike it out on my own. I secured a series of long period contact projects. It was during this time that I could make a $ while continue on with my art self discovery journey.
In 2016 I went %100 independent working with an amazing producer. This is where my career started.... 10 years of being in the industry. I was now animating a heap of my personal work and posting it through Instagram.
Through my socials, I began to see requests come in for illustrator/animator projects.
Suddenly I was an illustrator who could also animate. The 2 disciplines had merged through time. I'd become a character animator through my pure love of personal projects and simply putting in the work.
Now it's 2018, I'm turning 40 in 3 months, at least 90% of my work is character design/illustration driven, I have representation through an amazing agency and I can honestly say that I love what I do. Again, it's only through hard work and the personal art that lead to this.
If you made it this far, thank you for sticking around. I hope it's of value to someone out there. The key take away for me was: make things for yourself and you never know how that might influence your life.
This is my small way of giving back. Have fun. Enjoy the process.