An Experiment

Back in London on business this week. Taking my book around a few agencies with my agents Blink Art to remind folks over here that I still exist and am now available for work. Which might sound like an odd thing for me to say.

It’s not something I make a deal of noise about but Words are Pictures has, until now, been effectively a side project, shoe-horned in around my full-time job(s) over the last 7 years. I haven’t ever committed to it as my sole source of income until last week when I finally left my position as the Senior Designer at Grey in New York. A position I held for over two years and had some good times while doing so.

You can attribute this decision to a number of things. I was raised in a very traditional working class area and the idea of not having regular work is alien to me. The concept of not having a wage at the end of each month, actually, is pretty terrifying. Also, the economy right now is bullshit, so, walking away from a job – and a good, well paying one at that – in this climate might, to some, sound pretty obnoxious. And they may be right. It’s certainly not something I’m going to enjoy explaining to my Nan.

But, I turned 30 this year and I figured it’s now or never. I’m a married man these days and you get this one, small window in your life where you have very few pressing commitments. I’ve saved some money and have decided that The Words are Pictures Studio should shudder into life and become my sole (soul) focus.

So what does this mean? Aside from the immediate pay cut, doing my own taxes and a drop in my credit rating.

Well, hopefully it’ll mean better work from me. It used to be the case that I could only take on projects if my full-time work wasn’t busy, and even then it would be completed in my own time. And that can be frustrating, for obvious reasons, and because the whole industry can feel very cyclical and seasonal at times. I don’t think anyone I’ve worked with has ever felt cheated as such; I’ve always been honest about my situation and the time I can spend on projects.

Another problem was that I could never take on work that clashed with accounts I was working on at whatever agency I was at at that time. I’m hoping, also, that it will mean more diverse work. With more time to experiment and try new things, I’m hoping to create some interesting projects for myself in addition to any commissioned pieces. There’s some writing I’ve been meaning to get on with, a couple of book projects etc and a series of work I’ve wanted to get on with for a while.

In August, knowing that this was on the cards, I moved into a larger space in Brooklyn with a view to use that as some kind of a base. I’m also conscious that I want to give myself a reason to come into Manhattan (I’m fully capable of becoming a hermit, forgetting how to talk to people and sitting at home n my underwear) so I’m looking at spaces around the city at the moment too. It also means I don’t have to give awkward excuses to students wanting to intern for me. Up until now I’ve kind of had to say “I’m flattered you’d like to work with me but, I won’t really be there in the day so… I don’t know, you could tidy up or something…?”

And that’s it really. Not massive news to a lot of people I imagine, but a real life shift for me nonetheless, so send me (((good vibes))). I’m really excited about it and look forward to sharing the fruits of my labours soon.