Tentatively optimistic of Hampshire

It really is the New Year, end of January and its bitter outside. How are you? I hope you’re keeping warm and safe and not feeling too depressed by lockdown 3.0. I’m interested to hear if you’re approaching things differently this year knowing we’ve been here before. I’m wrapped up and can be found mainlining tea in my office although I’m feeling optimistic. This year has got off to a much better start than I predicted.

I started my copywriting course, finally! Rather than squander our second week off at Christmas, Pete and I decided to have a little structure of sorts. Wake up, though not before 10am because you know, we were on holiday, breakfast, train, lunch, social media/news catch up, followed by a couple of hours of both of us studying. And we stuck to it. I’m struggling to wake up early after having so many lie-ins though.

There was something quite pleasing seeing us both study and work together to achieve our dreams. I sat in one area of the sitting room, Pete the other; headphones in and off we went. I made a dent in my course, covering topics I knew already, and others I didn’t. It also made me reflect on the web copy I developed last year, rethinking the way I would have approached the copy if I had to do it again.

I’m nearly at the end of the course and focusing on homework; one piece I must nail is coming up with a ‘spec ad’ in collaboration with a designer. This could be a banner ad, poster or leaflet co-developed by me and a designer for a brand I choose. The idea is that if I want to work as a copywriter, I need to showcase my writing but without any paid copywriting work under my belt it’s a bit tricky. I have a number of examples of creative writing, but I need more copywriting experience than just my web copy examples. The spec ad needs to be designed and written in the same style and tone of voice of the brand I choose so that if a prospective employer or client saw it, they wouldn’t be able to tell whether it was real or not. Ergo showcasing how well I have captured the tone of voice of the brand, and the designer’s creative skills.

What I have found interesting doing this course is the sometimes-conflicting advice I’m receiving. I follow an award-winning copywriter, Kate Toon, who I think I’ve mentioned last year. Listening to one of her podcasts, she and her co-host copywriter don’t agree that you need a spec ad to start out and be noticed; they feel a blog has more clout. Kate says she generates a lot of her business from people who have read her blog, rather than her portfolio.

I am torn, because I do find myself more drawn to Kate’s way of working, style and she has more experience than my current tutor. I am however going to do the spec ad, if only to see what it’s like working with a designer, and how hard I find it. Because I’m still a bit dubious that writing copy for banner, ads, posters etc. is for me!

To do the ad justice, I need clear space in my diary, and hold on to your hat’s folks, I’ve managed to obtain approval for my 4-day compressed week! I honestly didn’t think it was going to happen especially as I was starting a new role, but the new boss is impressed by my work ethic and thinks it’s achievable. What a relief. It’s now all systems go, no more excuses for me.

Another area I need to focus on is beefing up my social media presence. I made a concerted effort one weekend to do more on it, and oh my gosh doesn’t social media marketing swallow up your day before you know it! I spent nearly 4 hours re-doing my Facebook business profile, linking it to my business Instagram account, which has been renamed @staffordwrites. I researched the best scheduling tool (Later) to schedule my posts to both accounts, developed content and built on an idea I had last year to showcase my work: ‘Thank You Thursday’. It’s aimed at giving coverage to brands I’ve worked with, both raising their profile and my writing, and I managed to get my first post created, scheduled and ready to go. I felt quite proud and satisfied at the end of it all. And needing a lie down.

Come Thursday though nothing had been posted. Zip, nada, rien. I wasn’t impressed. And although I’ve tried to fix things, I can’t schedule any posts via Later as it’s a FB issue. Whilst trying, unsuccessfully to fix the FB problem, I stumbled across their scheduling tool which does work, and while it doesn’t give me all the data Later does, I’ve spent way too much time on FB trying to fix it. It will have to do for now.

I’ve updated LinkedIn again and it seems to be creating more interest too. Do you remember my column from July? I discussed my thoughts on the job descriptions I was seeing on The Dots and one that had caught my eye – Chief Change Maker. Well, a Chief Change Maker contacted me about a prospective role as an Innovation writer. Unexpected and very much welcomed and I’ve responded. Even if it comes to nothing, the connection is a good one and who knows what might happen further down the line. I mean, to just know a Chief Change Maker is exciting.

While January started in lockdown, again, and the weather outside is either freezing or wet, this year, dare I say it, has the makings of a good year. I’ve a spring in my step and nervous excitement about possible opportunities. All I want now is a good dump of snow please!

Meditations on solitude

About the work:

These works are all meditations on solitude in some way. Solitude has a thousand faces: it can be experienced in all kinds of states and situations. Sometimes solitude is a blessing, because it can allow for artistic self-reflection and self-representation, as my Self-Portrait suggests. But solitude can also comprise of moments where anxieties or fears jump out at us as in Study in Blue.

Self-portrait
Study in Blue

A little bit about the artist:

Beatriz Santos is a 23-year-old artist based in London. She has a BA English from Clare College Cambridge and a Graduate Diploma in Art History from the Courtauld Institute of Art. Her practice is mainly two-dimensional and figural. Beatriz’s love of literature leads her to populate her works with characters, metaphors, and delicate visual ironies. Her visual practice is centred on the similarities and the misalignments between narrative, poetry and visual image. She is fascinated by how people use paintings (in galleries, in campaigns, at home, on social media) to tell their own stories. The importance of telling new stories is something her works actively promote, with their enigmatic yet mundane characters. Derived from song lyrics or poetic fragments, they are representations of nobody – but hopefully everyone can use them to question, to reflect or to remember.

Motivate yourself!

Working at your own pace can prove to be quite difficult sometimes. When it comes to my creative endeavors I am my own boss, which means no deadlines, no briefs, no actual boss. I am naturally a very self-motivated person and I find myself doing multiple things at the same time. Thanks to the flexibility of my day job I can easily maneuver between doing my master’s degree, various courses (now it’s mental health, hr and pr courses) and planning to open yet another business – for now there are only plans and even more courses! But how do you stay motivated in the world filled with day jobs leaving you little to no time to relax and have a breather? Let me give you some tips!

  1. Working on a project doesn’t always mean getting stuff done – make a list of things that you need to get done in order to be able to sit down and start actually working. It may be something like getting more pencils and paper from your local shop or drafting a plan of dealing with everything. Get a scrapbook and make your mind map for the project, it makes it easier to keep on top of things!
  2. Every little bit helps – if you find yourself stuck at some point look for inspiration in different places. My current go to are online forums with fellow creators. My favourite one at the moment is the Dots. It’s a platform for creatives run by an amazing creative Pip Jamieson. You can ask the creative community questions, read posts and project plans by other creatives and simply get engaged!
  3. Webinars – in the age of global pandemic there are more and more online webinars which are easily accessible, all you need is a laptop and the access to the internet! Many creatives and entrepreneurs make free webinars where they talk about their craft and how they got started. For example Sophia Amoruso is holding a free webinar on 5 Things you need to know to start your business today this Thursday! If you’d like to sign up for the webinar click HERE.
  4. Set little goals for yourself – I love the feeling of crossing out things I did from my to do list. It gets me going and keeps me motivated. In order to be pushed forwards and not held back by your own lists make sure that what you write down is not a goal that would take weeks or months to achieve. Start small, even with a breakfast plan or morning meditation and grow from there. You need to make sure you know what to do to get to your final goal and not get demotivated by the amount of work you need to put in to get there.
  5. Treat yourself – I can’t stress this enough – happy and comfortable person equals more shit done. Don’t stress yourself, don’t overwork yourself and always put yourself and your well-being first. Make sure you know why you’re doing what you’re doing, eat that chocolate, go watch a movie, buy that book, go out with friends. Things we enjoy doing are not a distraction but a treat and sacrificing doing something that brings you joy to throw yourself into a spiral of constant work has never done any good to anyone…

Keeping yourself motivated can be a hard full time job. It is necessary to remember that we are allowed to have a day off and just… breathe!

How to carve your own creative path by putting yourself and your community first.

My name is Callum. I have a BA in Illustration and an MA in Communication Design from Norwich University of the Arts. I run a small creative studio called Site Collective which takes on adhoc design, illustration and the expanded arts commissions as well as running events that provide a vital hub for local creatives to network, sell work and collaborate on live briefs. I also work as a freelance copywriter and PR agent.

After struggling through a dysfunctional school system which didn’t support my learning style, I learnt to be fiercely independent and proactive in my approach towards my professional and creative life. When approaching the end of my BA I noticed that there was no support network available for recent graduates and decided to step up to create a platform for everyone to stay in touch and begin to build a community around. It started as a singular art exhibition and pop up shop showing illustration, design and art which me and my close friend and talented animator and illustrator Dominic Lovegrove collaborated on. We worked so well together and managed to create a firm interest from our peers and wider local community by selling over £1,000 worth of small artworks that we decided Site Collective was here to stay.

cred.: @_____ronja

Since that day we’ve branched out our network hosting four shows with different local creatives as well as expanding into various social events which provide a more casual environment for our creative community to engage with. The business has grown naturally allowing us to take on printmaker and illustrator Julia Triay Sarasa and we now sit at the centre of a large circle of hugely talented local creatives and industry professionals. Part of our growth can be attributed to our niche filling a gap in what is a relatively quiet city, but the other part can be firmly attributed to our open and approachable attitude. This attitude underpins our ethos, that if we can help others then we will in turn get help from others.

cred.:@_____ronja

There is a lot to be said for collaboration beyond just sharing resources and audiences. It can teach you whole new ways of working and understanding different creative skill sets. You can then build yourself a support network of specialist talents centring around yourself. In our experience this sense of community will always go further than you can imagine.

Obviously, it is important to remain strict and at times ruthless when it comes to functionality of the business but we very much like to consider ourselves firmly rooted in our community. This is what drives our practice and is both our passion and profit. We have more recently set up commissions for local creatives and in turn been set up on commissions. Norwich is a great place for us as it hosts people who very much agree with our grass roots and community focused ideas.

cred.: @_____ronja

We recently received funding to help us grow and put on what will be our biggest and most industry focused event yet. We aim to provide a platform for young people to grow their creative careers in a similar way to us by putting their communities first. We will be hosting an event featuring market stalls, live crits, panel Q&As and pep talks. This will aim to be accessible and support a wide cohort of young people local to Norwich wanting to start a creative career or just pursue a passion. We have dreams to grow bigger into a fully-fledged design studio with printmaking facilities and a physical shop eventually. The future is different but a lot easier when we work together to understand the complex maze that is the creative industry.

www.sitecollective.co.uk

@sitecollective

We don’t earn aloe vera

In this post I’d like to share with you my experience and things I’ve learnt (and constantly keep learning) as an art student/freelancer. I think it might be helpful to those of you who are just starting in the business but I would also really appreciate some feedback from more experienced artists. I’d really like to open a discussion here because even if “freelancing” starts with “free” there are some rules and guidelines which we should keep in mind.

My freelancing patch is very broad. From selling paintings, creating works made especially for an order, caricatural/comic-like portraits to murals and videos. Am I proud of all the works I’ve done? Hell no. But some of them were pretty great. So let’s talk art freelancing:

1. You’ve got to be flexible. Do you think that the greatest of all – Diego Velázquez – felt the great urge to create so many portraits of Philip IV of Spain? Nope. I don’t think so. Our clients pay and have certain demands so we’ve got to be smart enough to do what they want but in a way that also doesn’t make us cry while working. My hack to do that: negotiating and not procrastinating. Putting off the work that you don’t really enjoy might make you fall into a huge rabbit hole. Remember, you should always do your work up to standards but if you don’t enjoy working on a said project – rip off that band-aid as soon as you can, simply – just get it done.

2. That brings us to the big green subject of money. Discussing payment usually sucks. On one hand if you’re a student some of the clients might not treat you seriously. On the other hand – maybe you don’t treat yourself seriously enough to ask for money? Remember, always before you start working or buying materials ask about the budget. It’s not being greedy it’s called having respect for what you do. What to do if you’re not sure how much is your job worth? I usually start with the subject of materials, sometimes it might get quite expensive. I also try to count hours I will spend on creating. And then, a thing that’s essential and I recommend to you all: discussing the pay with art professors, other artists. Just to make sure that everything is reasonable and beneficial for both sides.

3. Recognize the differences. In your creative job there are going to be situations in which you will have to decide if a project is worth investing your time if it’s not a paid gig. Some projects are definitely worth it! If they are connected with the art world, bring you contacts, marketing opportunities and additionally you can place them in your portfolio it’s definitely worth it! Maybe you and your friends are a group of people who just want to do something great (just like us, My Best team). Try it and I promise you won’t regret it. Sometimes it’s about what you love doing and about exploring opportunities as a creative group. And who knows, maybe someday it will be your golden ticket to doing the job you love.

4. But be careful with people who will try to give you unfavourable *trashy* propositions. Last week I got a call from a woman who claimed to be interested in buying my painting, telling me that she can give me a creative job. She invited me to a meeting at her private house with a group of women where we would talk about our professions and do home spa. The whole thing seemed stinky from the very beginning. I decided not to go and confronted her through the phone. It turned out that she wanted me to sell “natural” cosmetics and that she would give me aloe vera in as a payment for the painting. Guys, don’t get trapped like this. Art job is like any other. We don’t earn aloe vera.

5. There are going to be great people on your path and I can’t stress it enough that it’s crucial to keep in touch with them after your engagement is over. Keep inviting them for your vernissages, exhibitions, art events. If they enjoyed working with you the first time it’s very possible they will want to try that again or they will tell their friends about you. That’s how you build a network and in the mysterious environment of art- it’s a crucial element.

Keep creating, stay healthy,

Maria

The CoVid Conspiracy (What will it mean? )

To start off. This article is NOT about how Covid- 19 is just a lie made up by the government.     

I just liked the dramatic flair of alteration for the title. Covid is not a conspiracy and please keep safe. Especially since us Young people are being blamed for the spread- No Parties, even as tempting as it seems.

Big love to all of those who are have been affected by the pandemic yet are soldiering on. You’ve got this and don’t let this grey cloud smother your blue sky- not sure about that metaphor but go with it.

Life appears to be getting back to normal for many of us with a few changes smelling of sanitizer and fogging up of glasses but it’s all to help those around us. I have been able to move back to my university in my house to start my second year. I am extremely fortunate to be able to do a combination of online lectures but also in person workshops with small numbers so I am able to have some normal and to continue my Drama degree effectively.

Despite my little bubble of normality, it is hard to forget the bigger problem that is still plaguing our theatres now. As more and more theatres close, it appears that a dream that many of us, particularly the next generation maybe slipping away. One thing I have also learnt about the younger generation is that we have more ambition to be more than any other generation. We work smarter and work harder to be a community. A community so in tune with what they are passionate about that they work hard every day to make it become a reality.  

As a wise person once said – ‘ when in doubt do what Artists do- move with the tides ’. That wise person is probably shaking their head at my terrible use, but it feels more relevant than ever. Artists have a rare knack of being able to craft their art to audiences that want to see them, despite the odds throughout history and even now. Artistic Sacrifices must occasionally be made to do this, but this is also maybe why art has been able to survive for so long.

 I look to the idea of the musical ‘Sleepless’  for an example of how theatre can work during the continuing pandemic.  First performed in April 2020- ‘Sleepless’ includes the seats are set out that several patches of seating are kept free to allow the audience to social distanced, masks are worn as well as the seemingly normal restrictions now such as one way systems, hand sanitizing stations and no snacks or merchandise. Although, for many this can take away from the experiences of going to see live theatre, this may be the new normal of theatre for a while. Many audience members have said despite these restrictions which could put a damper on the situation were not a problem, instead it shows the passion and love audiences have to just be glad to hear the music or the lines once again.

Sometimes sacrifices must be made.        

Of course, there is the worry for many theatres that despite this possibility, it is not financially stable  to allow theatres to keep running. However, we as a generation have become more advanced, so many of us can turn to another solution, a safer and alternately a solution that the older generation often turn their noses up at-the technological world.

Plays being streamed online or performed over platforms like zoom are becoming more and more common. None of us could ignore the outpour of plays the National Theatre truly blessed us with during the early days of lockdown – all for free to enjoy.

Additionally, during this time, many new companies have been springing out of the ashes of the 6 months where life had stopped to present new work too, using the online world to reach out to others as well as many using their performances as charity events to fund themselves or help their community of fellow artists.

For young people, this may be odd using a platform, we know and for some of us addicted to- however, it is also an advantage- we can continue to be that generation that work smarter and harder to change art to a new form but continue to be passionate about what you do. All around us, art has continued to be developed and loved by audiences.

This just goes to show how artists can continue to thrive in a time where things feel lost, until the cloud clears away.

I can speak from personal experience in this.

Through lockdown I have been fortunate enough to be featured in a online performance of ‘The Bacchae’ from the translation by Robin Robertson told by new Youth  -theatre company ‘StageSpace Theatre Company’.                                              

Directed by Luke McBride, the Bacchae is a thrilling retelling of classic tale told entirely over Zoom. Despite the minor technical glitch, I have felt the same amount of passion, commitment and fun from this group of performers as I would in person. To see the production coming together gives me the same thrills I have when seeing any other performances, the theatre setting or not.

Performances are on 12th / 13th of September- tickets are on www.stage-space.co.uk and all proceedings go to allow the company to continue to display the work of the young artists involved, so I hope dear readers -you have a look and feel that thrill we all miss.

I must thank that wise person for the thought on artists young and old- therefore I thank all of you.

Em x.

EM’S TIP

Join Actor Groups. Not in person but online- Facebook groups or even Instagram pages of up and coming theatre groups are great ways to find opportunities online for you to get involved or gain more experience in any way you choose.

Link to the Sleepless article-

https://www.londontheatre.co.uk/theatre-news/west-end-features/is-it-safe-to-go-to-the-theatre-in-london

Not being afraid to voice my opinion

  • Name: Nicolle Knapová
  • Occupation: Poet/aspiring novelist
  • University Degree: Currently finishing up my master degree in Creative writing and publishing
  • Favourite artist: Halsey/ Taylor Swift
  • Favourite colour: Baby blue
  • Favourite sound: Rain

Hi MyBest, Zine! I am Nicolle and I am a poet and a writer from the Czech Republic. Being an artist to me means not being afraid to voice my opinion. Being an artist to me means being able to share stories with people around the world. It enables me to express my feelings which is really important to me.  I love writing about topics such as mental health problems, forbidden love and New York (particularly Brooklyn). One of the biggest things that influences and inspires me the most is music. It doesn’t matter if it is Chopin or The Paper Kites. The one artist that inspires me and influences my work the most is without doubt Halsey. We are both Libras and she is someone I truly look up to. I have been listening to her ever since she released her debut album Badlands. It was love at first sight. When it comes to literature, a big influence for me is Murakami. I devoured his book Afterdark in a couple of days and left me in awe. It really left a mark on me.  I love creating playlists on Spotify. I made one for my debut novel that I want to publish in the next two years. It works as a soundtrack and every time I listen to it I can imagine the story unravel in front of me. But sometimes a really beautiful photo can inspire me just as perfectly.  I am currently hard at work writing my debut poetry collection Aftermath which I want to publish late this year. It is a very personal collection of my teen and young adult life- relationships, family, friendships, unfulfilled expectations and my mental health struggles.

I don’t really have a specific work routine! All I can tell you is that my creativity really comes to life around 10 PM when I want to sleep but my brain just doesn’t want to hear it.  I did spend the whole summer writing my dissertation- three chapters of the above mentioned novel and it was quite intense to write every day. My inspiration really does come in flares. But my writing process always involves coffee and music. I just can’t imagine doing it without it. Oh, and a candle and preferably a rainy morning.

What made me want to be an artist goes back to elementary school when I started writing little snippets of stories. I didn’t have many talents back then but writing was always something that I was praised for and therefore it stuck with me. The very first proper story that I wrote was about two cats that traveled to Egypt only for the one of them to be mistaken for Nefertiti. It was such a fun thing to do and to think I was only 10! Back then I only wrote in Czech which changed when I started high school. I tried writing in Czech but to be honest it just doesn’t sound as natural anymore. I find it insane but it is what it is! I used to be bullied and writing was to me a great way to express how I felt and it was a way to escape the reality. I love being a storyteller and I really hope I will one day be able to do this as a full-time job.

Reigning in the magpie tendencies

I had a bit of time off in the last month in Italy, which allowed me to take stock and think more clearly about what I was doing to enable my career change. In my previous column, I was pouring over creative job descriptions, looking at the skills required and what I needed to upskill in. In Italy, I looked at copywriting websites, found copywriting podcasts, did bitesize SEO courses, and finished off copywriting work for two clients. I was busy, and enjoyed it, but frankly, I feel like I need a good month off to make a dent in my career move. I’ve been building up my portfolio and upskilling, but it seems a bit organic, piecemeal and lacking in an actual plan.

I remember two images that were shared in my career change course that I feel justify my randomness and how I’m feeling. One showed points A and B with a direct line from A to B. The tutor said that people think a career change is a simple process or step. The other was an absolute mess of squiggles and swirls from A to B. This is career change she said. Ha! She is so right.

And so, I am pondering the following:

  • Do I go part-time in my current career and build my copywriting work on the side or apply directly to a perm or freelance copywriting role?
  • Do I try to find a job back in a communications agency, an environment I loved with variety, creativity and real teamwork?
  • How do I update my LinkedIn profile or re-write my CV if I don’t know what I am aiming for, and crucially not alert my current company?
  • Do I move to a four day week at work to give me the time to do more thinking and action things and limit the amount of ‘other career’ work that is eating up my free time?
  • I am planning to move closer to Bristol early next year and currently have job alerts set up for the local area to me now and Bristol. If I find a role close to me and I move next year, how will that work? Or I might find a position in Bristol before I move? Should I even be looking?!
  • The timing. COVID-19 timing. With so many people being made redundant, should I thank my lucky stars that I have a role and sit tight?
  • How do I carve out time to do relevant courses or training?

So many variables! And these fly around my mind regularly. What do I do first? What’s necessary? I must gain some semblance of control, rein in my thoughts and stop flitting between things like a magpie attracted by the next shiny thing.

On my flight back from Italy, I decided to act. I looked back through all the notes I had made, the interviews with people, websites I needed to look at, margin scrawls, starred sentences and got stuck into pulling out what I thought was important and put them into a list. I don’t know about you, but a list makes me feel calm, organised, and able to think clearly. A step closer to having some control because I am a control freak. With everything all clearly laid out on a page, it was easy for me to step back and look at what was essential and would help me further my progress. My list went into double digits which could have felt overwhelming, so I wanted to be quite tough on what could wait based on how much impact it had on my progress.

Instantly I could see what I needed to do. If I want to apply for a job on one of the many job alerts I have set up, I must have an up-to-date CV and one that reflects the portfolio work I have been doing – priority number one.

Priority number two; tweak my LinkedIn profile. I have some positive testimonials from the portfolio work I have done that I should share and could help me reposition myself to start connecting with more people in the areas that interest me. My profile summary must be more in line with my passions, the work I have done and am looking to do if I am to attract a different network.

Priority number three; continue to understand SEO. I started a great little course called SEO Nibbles from an award-winning copywriter, Kate Toon, in Italy, and I still have one more ‘nibble’ to do. I also want to find the time to listen to her copywriting podcasts. (COVID-19 has meant my usual podcast listening time, on ‘my commute to work’ has been taken away from me. I don’t have time to listen to a podcast between my bedroom and office!) I also managed to spend time with my sister, who shared hints and tips from what she had learnt about SEO as part of her job and kindly gave me some good material to read and use. Thanks, sis!

And that’s all I am prioritising for now. I can cope with things in threes, and so long as the ‘Do CV’, ‘Tweak LinkedIn profile’ and ‘Do SEO course’ post-it notes remain on my office wall, I won’t look at the list again. I need to focus, and I have time. I need to recognise this. I don’t have to do everything by the end of next week, and realistically I can’t. (My first headline idea for this month’s column was originally going to be ‘I want to be a salsa dancer, now!’ because that’s I how I feel. I’m an impatient person.) I’m lucky to have a job and a partner who gives me space to catch up on things like writing this column and ticking off my priorities, and I have some control back. Career change takes time, as simple as that.

By next month’s column, I will have an up-to-date CV!

an Artist’s struggle starts with definition

“”What do you do?- I am an Artist.”
Few people dare to say that. But why? We tend to make everything sweeter so that people won’t ask too much, or will understand. If I say I’m an Artist, they’ll ask again “What do you do?” demanding precisions. If I say I’m a Graphic Designer they’ll assume I draw logotypes and work for free for my friends. If I say I’m a painter they’ll probably think I sell 5000$ canvas that nobody understands… But really, who cares ?
I genuinely think an Artist’s struggle starts with definition. We’re constantly asked to define ourselves, but as an Artist looking for constant creativity flow coming and going, shouldn’t we dissolve any wall or label that may block our flow, our freedom? Isn’t that the whole thing about Art?


So I say I’m an Artist because I am. Everything I see, hear or do goes by an antichamber where it’s processed, analyzed and turned into some piece of Art, an inspiration, a color panel, a quick screenshot that will remain here until enough bended, scratched, thought, re-imagined, transformed, extracted,… I draw everyday for as long as I can remember. On paper, canvas, wood panels, fabric, people… Pencils, markers, pens, paint, charcoal are all part of my quiver. I’m also a musician. I play and compose. Everyday I sit by my window, hands on my piano and I improvise, looking outside. Every piece of music that I hear is decomposed. I try to recognize the instruments, to write the music sheet in my mind, to see the eyes of the musician playing it. For me, both graphic arts and music are related. One inspires the other and vice versa. 


Everything is a source of inspiration. It means I can be inspired by nature, other artists, sounds, dancers, movies, travels… Sometimes I feel the urge to create something. Today it’s a painting, tomorrow it can be a soundtrack, a comic book about dinosaurs or a peacock on the back of a vintage jean jacket… Being an artist means being open to every possibility, every daily life sound, every color, every voice, and never, ever, ever being bored of watching a sunset over the sea (That would be a crime).


I’ve been working as an Illustrator for a few years now. I’ve been told that my style is too miscellaneous or random to be interesting or understood, as you can see on my website : ffringed.com. I’m actually pleased to hear that, because it means I’m not like everyone else out there. It means that I’m always exploring, and also very flexible and comfortable in many situations.I’m now in the south of France, enjoying summertime, family and the Mediterranean sea. I start my day with a good breakfast and a good read outside in the sun. I read stories about the past, other countries, fictions and fantasies. I like beautiful stories about beautiful people. It always inspires me in some way and It’s refreshing. This time is perfect for a little meditation. Then I often play some music or work listening to music (always). I can’t work well with a complete silence. Then lunch, coffee of course and back to drawing and painting. This entire “routine” is flexible. But most of all, it doesn’t work if I don’t go out and stretch, do some sport, swim, go for fresh air, see my friends, or travel for some time. The key is in balance, learning how to treat yourself with good things, with beauty and kindness. The 5 senses are involved, and we must treat them right.


As a freelancer, everyday life is easier and soul-searching at the same time. It’s easier because I free my mind of what people expect me to do and create exactly what I want to. It’s exhausting sometimes too for two reasons : I have to eat, pay my bills, be productive and show results, as said before. I’m also constantly pulled and pushed by different vibes and inspirations, coming from everywhere, and if I don’t control myself a little bit, I work on 5 or more different unfinished projects at the same time, that I end up abandoning. Because inspiration is here to take it when it comes. You can’t ignore it. But also, inspiration needs to be controlled in a way that it’s really effective. Inspiration can be a hurricane. You should know how to read the weather.


Being an Artist is the way of life that I chose, and even if along the way it doesn’t work, I’ll just do something else that I love (Did I say that Artists tend to love a lot of things ?). But I’ll never stop creating.”