Oh hey! Welcome back to day two of 5 Creatives 5 Days, nice to have you back!
Today we are chatting about the importance of creative community, getting involved and finding your crew. It can be a lonely road working as a creative, particularly for those who are freelancers and spend a hell of a lot of time alone at a desk. It can take a while to find a good group of people who actually understand what it's like - people who have the same pressures of being your own boss, know what it's like to self motivate, be your own accountant, pay lady and know what you mean when you say you're poor, or still working at 11pm.
Once you do find that crew though it changes everything, check out the thoughts of my lovely guests below...
Q: A lot of the time your work or personal work is self directed or done solo. With all this "you" time how important is it for you to involve yourself in creative community or with people doing similar things? Do you think that building a creative network around you is necessary and important?
Josie Steenhart - Freelance writer, editor and stylist @undonejournal - It’s massive! I guess I touched on it above a little bit also, I think it’s so important to support others trying to do creative things, it’s not always an easy path (perhaps it’s actually an industry where there’s more gender equality - as in no one gets paid well?! lol) and even just a like on insta or a positive comment or useful feedback can let someone know you’re into what they’re doing or you have their back a little bit, which means a lot when you’ve had no one to bounce things off except your cat (not literally of course).
The New Zealand industry is very small and you’d think that would mean a really great little supportive community but often that’s not the case, which is pretty sad, I don’t know why it’s like that. I resolved very early on in my career to be on good terms with everyone - or at least neutral terms, haha - and I think this has stood me in good stead and provided me with some amazing opportunities and experiences and some amazing friends. Lately with all the trolling and nastiness that goes on I’ve felt the need to actually go a step further and really get behind those who are doing genuine cool things and who have a positive outlook - it’s so easy to do - and often that gets reciprocated, which is quite a lovely feeling!
Liz Wilson - Fashion Designer Eugenie @eugenie_official - Yes I really do, I work from a huge studio at the back of my shop which is shared with a team of creatives from other fields. There are graphic designers, photographers, chefs, writers, textile designers, product designers and publishers - ha, writing it down makes it look like a bit of a cheesy creative utopia. I actually like to do my creative work in quiet and solo but that doesn’t mean for the whole day all of the time. It’s so refreshing to pop my head up from the drawing board and chat with someone from the studio. Plus when something work wise is going really badly there’s nothing more comforting and hilarious than trading work horror stories with other creatives. It helps you get a bit of perspective from people who have been through the wringer and emerged to tell the tale, also when it gets really critical Josh and Tom from Orphans Kitchen make a mean cocktail.
Mel Stringer - Illustrator @melstringer - I really love the online art community and the networks and connections that I have created through it. It's very important to be connected to a community of creatives or people doing similar things, but it doesn't always have to be IRL (in real life). That's what works for me right now in my life. When I have formed natural networks in real life, they have been very special because of the chemistry. Chemistry is very important to me when it comes to connecting.
Eirian Chapman - Illustrator @eirianchapman www.eirianchapman.com - I’ve always been an extroverted introvert; in that I love being alone and doing my creative projects, but I also like to have an energising social life. I need to have that balance In order to feel ‘normal’. I work from my studio at home and I have tried working in a shared space but in order for me to work effectively, I need to be alone, with my music pumping and my own (darkly insane) thoughts. Working from home limits the whole experience/routine of getting dressed and leaving the house so I relish the chance to dress up and socialise with friends and family when I can. I think it’s important to build a creative community around you, especially when you are starting out. It usually happens naturally by being introduced to people at gallery launches, via social media and online stalking, but to me finding ‘your people’ is necessary to a healthy creative career.
Chloe Hill - Stylist and Market Editor at Oyster Magazine, http://www.chloechill.com - Having a creative network is essential! I grow the most creatively when I'm working with others and absorbing their feedback. Whether it's a photographer on a job or prepping with my assistant, I always try to involve the team in what I'm doing. I also stay in close contact with stylists I worked with as an assistant - they really helped mould me when I was starting out and their input into my career is so important to me.