Spreading yourself too thin…

February 23, 2011

Being full of ambition and having a passion for everything creative is all very well, and i am sure that it might put me in a good light with some people who might find it impressive or refreshing. It might even encourage others or give a kick up the arse to colleagues who have spent too many years sitting on their laurels doing just enough to get through. But. When is wanting to do too much counter productive? This is a question that i have to ask myself, for someone who is like a dog playing with a toy and getting bored with it and wanting to play with something else…

Not that my career follows this analogy, but certainly my private work and hobbies does, from playing music in a band to photography to illustration, to fine art, to video making to learning HTML/CSS to build websites for small companies.

All of which are in the same vein of design/creativity but each require a lifetimes worth of learning to be the best of the bunch, as the old saying goes, “Jack of all trades master of none.” This is to some extent true and i am aware that I might not be the best at whatever i am switching between creative outlets, but I think its important to have tried and tested as much as possible before i say i want to do this for the rest of my life and put all my effort in to something. I guess it all boils down to wanting to create something, anything, whether it be a nice picture, a striking logo or a well designed and built website.

Some people are able to just straight away find out what they are best at, for my girlfriend its music, writing it, performing it and being involved in it. For Aaron Miller its straight up illustrations, this guys knows what he’s good at and so far he seems to be carving a very promising career for himself doing it. Another example is the talented Tom Skyrme, a good friend of mine who has been writing music since an early age and has developed his style over the years and now writes/produces music for adverts which takes creating music to an almost mechanical and methodical approach, yet he still learns to play Jazz guitar, does photography on an old Russian camera, Dj’s electronic music and never seems to be spreading himself too thinly so to speak… My question is this… Is this because a person has already carved themselves a career or already got a firm grasp of one discipline before moving on to learning another or just that they are better than me?!

Not that I am bad at whatever things i turn my hand too, and i spend a lot of energy and not to mention money but i think i just should spend more time on something before i move on to the next activity. But its hard to when you have a project you get hyped about like taking pictures of a band, then you think “Hang on i could do some filming for them too”… Then I get chatting to someone down the pub one evening who needs a website doing, and all of a sudden i’m doing that, then I get a booking for a Wedding at the end of the year. Now does this mean i am spread too thin or just a busy person who is working on a bunch of creative projects. and its not because i will do them all half arsed, just that i love the fact that i CAN work across a range of mediums and calling on skills that i have developed throughout my life.

More than anything spreading myself across a range of projects means that i get to meet a huge range of people, and am thought of as more than just someone that can design business cards and letterheads. Talking to people who sit neatly in a box tends to mean they find it hard to ink outside of the box, whereas i  love to think how my skills might work in other areas of industry, photography for web designers or print work for web designers as a JV on business. Making short videos for people who have small businesses that might not have thought how that could increase brand awareness or coming up with a marketing strategy for the release of a new album for an artist, Thinking the whole process, from my print knowledge for Packaging and promotional materials, to shooting promo videos, making youtube virals, portrait shots, making flash web banners to go on Myspace. This is not something that is unheard of but i can’t imagine being anything other than this… working on a huge range of projects and improving a range of skills..

Because if this is being a “Jack of all trades and a master of none”, then thats alright with me! It might just take me longer to get there than everyone else.. But i know that I’ll get there!


Definately Down but not Out!

March 8, 2010


Man, what a crazy few months it has been for me! plenty of stuff going on just some of it not really what i wanted to be doing!

This New(ish) day job i started nearly a year ago now, seems to be replacing the last one i had, with even bigger lows!. Now i truly am starting to feel like i am rubbish!… This must change! So in a effort to do so I am working on freelance stuff. I have some interesting little projects in the Mix and now got myself a nice little set up with a print house!

It’s frustrating when you see how easy everyone else makes it look so easy!

Still this is a quik one to let you know i am still alive and that I am still adding to this. Hopefully when i get the stable site up… I will add more often! I have put some New images on flickr. these are from last summer, as its getting to that time everyone can feel Summer is approaching its only fair to remind yourself WHY I love england and Summertime so much!

Looking around at new Garms for that summer vibe i see my good friend Josh Franceschi from Downbutnotoutproductions.com has released some Dope new Tees from his new “Spoken Word” pack.


Downbutnotoutproductions.com newest design

check em’ out and maybe pick one up here the clour ways are really nice and Vibrant and the Design is really taking that happy College vibe that Johnny Cupcakes gives. Really nice and seeing as this range is only their second it looks like it could be really interesting to see this brand develpo in the coming months!

Anyways Go check out my flickr when u get a chance!

Monday after the wekend just gone!

August 5, 2009

I had a bit of a boozey weekend a couple of weekends back to be honest!And I Feel glad to be back at work and looking forwards to pay day even more so! I Have a few things which i need to take care of over the next few months, Holidays, Getting Finances in order and start thinking about moving out…Been saying that for a little while not!

Collectors and Collections

Recently I stopped by to see a couple of  friends that were exhibition their final year LCF fashion photography work. In the Centre of Londons Soho on Broadwick Street. The Exhibition housed about 20 students pieces, Just one print for each student, each photo had its own meaning but this was not explained at this particular exhibition. Rebecca Callaby was one of my friends exhibiting. Her piece was shown was part of a series encapsulating collectors. Frankie her subject in this pieces was a collector of the Pez sweet dispensers. She explained that her shots this one in particular had a more editorial style to it that could work for a broader market of press and publications. This piece was interesting as the model is wide eyed and has a look of boredom, like a child that is sat in on a rainy day with nothing to do. The shot has a lovely washed out contrast to it, like a vintage photo that has been in the sun light too long, yet the main points of interest are vibrant and punchy and in focus. I had a quick look through some of her other work and found it an interesting subject matter which had endless possibilities for possible shots. Don’t get me wrong i do not confess to know anything about photography but was facitinated by the variety of prints on display. Some of them were Heavily Fashion orientated and would have not looked out of place in the pages of a high end fashion magazine. But To be honest i found the most interesting pieces on show were the most blatent and not trying to be too arty. Vibrant, IN FOCUS! Is there a asion at the moment of taking pictures that are not in focus!, Cos if there is I have a Recycling bin full of them!

Like I said, I am no Pro photographer so I am just giving my two cents.

Cheers for now…

The stable Londons manifesto..

July 28, 2009

Since i have started to tell people about my rantings, thoughts, work, designs, interviews etc etc I thought that it was time i gave whoever reads this an idea of what it is that i am trying to achieve in the form of a manifest……(Which might change on a daily basis).

Basically I am using this as a way of Venting my frustrations with my job, and also as a way of documenting my journey of my career. I will talk about things that i want to talk about, whatever is on my mind at the time and they will be straight from the horses mouth. I will from time to time ask people questions, some may call this an interview others may call it being nosey, the questions i ask them are at the moment questions that I want to know the answers to, however this leads me on to my next point.

I want this to grow and it to be an open forum with a view of other contributing and requesting things that they would like me to include,ask or investigate within the design industry or about a design topic.

I will discuss books that i am reading about design, advertising, creative thinking or idea generation.

And from time to time i will talk about what i have been doing socially, but really its not that interesting so i won’t do very often, after all there is plenty of other blogs out there about that kind of stuff and also lots of fantastic tutorial sites which do it ALOT better than I could. What i want to do is just talk about me, My journey, share my frustrations, enjoyment, passion and Love for what I do and for where i want to be eventually and this is something that no one else can do, this is my journey and my goal.

I shall also try to write at least once a week. but this can fluctuate depending on work and how inspired or driven i am feeling at that particuar moment.

HERE GOES NOTHING…. And thank you for any amount of time you spend reading my thoughts. I really appreciate it! and thanks to everyone in advance that i talk with and share their time with me!

Brighton Bound!!!!!!!

June 8, 2009

After one of the hardest weeks i have had, and going out on the lash with work celebrating some really fantastic news, I went at it hammer and tong and truly felt rough the following morning. With that said I managed to man up and crack on with some work and crash out a load of outdoor campaigns for one of the new companies Hogarth has been working in conjuction with.

With this new work comes a fear that I will never be able to get any of my personal ideas and designs further. However After a nice relaxing day with a fryup and beers on the beach watchin breakdancing and the seagulls mollest innocent parties, I got to catch up with a good friend of mine and up and coming musical Talent and one of the most inspiring people i have ever met www.skyrmish.com, Gives me the drive to push things forwards!, after all if your not winning your only losing! Discussing current ideas and theories and aspirations give me the drive to carry on trying to win!

Also Have got another book to my ever growing collection, called “A technique for producing ideas” written my the amazing James webb Young back in the 1940’s yet it is still as relevant now as it was back then with forwords from William Bernbach the “B” in the creative advertising agency “DDB” and the chairman of DDB Keith Reinhard. Its a very short pocket book but has a very simple aim, How to develop creative ideas. It has given me insight and direction into philosophy and what kind of people are creatives and or Idea people and who isn’t. Only half way through so i’ll let you know what my full opinions on the book is, and maybe it might even give me some ideas on how to produce ideas for my designs. Something i heard from a friend today was a neat way of giving myself briefs to work with or projects to work on was to find something that i really liked and try and improve on it. for instance a piece of short animation was the project in discussion and the sound design was not up to scratch, so why not improve upon in and use that as a starting point. Something I personally had not thought of doing, I guess because the thought of rebranding Hoover or coming up with an idea for a new Mazda campaign is just too overwhelming for me to even make a start on it, Hence probably why i am doing so much peripheral reading to try and gain inspiration and confidence to tackle daunting projects and briefs!

Tomorrow brings a new day and going to see what My friend has produced for his end of year show and gain perspective of what is out there and where I need to be at. Anyways, off to relax and watch my girlfriend sing and play piano tonight, I’ll be back for more pointlessness soon….When i have somethign more to talk about!.

Times are a changing

May 14, 2009

Feeling really rough today!, not sure if its a result of not sleeping properly as i am still reeling from my birthday celebrations or just because i have caught something! Had to cancel drinks with a friend I used to work with tonight which i am gutted about! No doubt i would have been shit company if i had gone!

Looks like i will get my first taste of filming tomorrow which i am excited about! The subject is a new hotel that is being built in knightsbridge an will be doing a monthly progress film, inwhich i will learn how to edit using final cut too….Hopefully i will be feeling a smidge better tomorrow!

Still no freelance work on the cards yet, There is not immediate rush i guess, i am more interested in developing my skill set and getting a better grasp on what it is i SHOULD be dong and HOW i should be doing it. I see to many other designers out there that call themselves designers just because they have done a few t-shirts and its a joke! when i eventually feel that i am ready to start putting myself about i want to make 100% sure i am ready and able and come across like i know what the hell i am talking about! I have already learnt my lesson by doing private work and not knowing things like how much to charge, how to demand payment or stop working and it cost me greatly!, nearly a year working on a project doing countless designs all of which were shit because i was not sold on the idea and comfortable with the relationship i had with the client.  I think thats a story for another time when i feel i have actually moved on from that point and producing a  better standard of work than i was then. Already from my readings and time spent doing tutorials and little bit and peices i have come on but not enough yet.

Nearly the weekend and have lots planned to keep me busy whilst other people are busy studying for their final exams this weekend. Working in central London is proving to be a great place to work location wise but i am putting on weight quicker than i can believe! so i think cycling, photography and some relaxation is in order, perhaps more reading and tutorials and possibly even go out for an evening!

Anything else pops in to my head i’ll let you know

…Another day another Dollar!

May 13, 2009

Been a bit of an up and down day today! was late getting in to the office due to security issues at one of the stations. Still it was good for me as i got a chance to wake up, read my new book which i will talk about a bit more later and also catch up on some grey’s anatomy (which i won’t talk about later)…

I have spent the past couple of days really trying to immerse myself in as much theory, design, tutorials, learning and general talking to other designers as possible!, websites like twitter, computerarts forum and other tutorial hotspots have been a gold mine for me to get inspiration and ideas as to how i should gear myself up for my quest of being a better designer….As yet i have not exactly been the most productive person and have created next to nothing for myself and anything that i have drawn/written/worked on/photographed i am not very happy with!..

…However my journey is not to be a short one it is to go back to basics and learn everything from a different angle. All of the books i have bought and read over the past year i am hoping will help me get a broader understanding of theory within design, design practices and software packages, also at the same time i have an on-going saga with web development and learning how to build correct and compliant websites. This is one of my biggest challenges to-date as i believe it will open the most doors for me. Building and understanding this technology will evolve and span from everything to designing myspace pages for local bands,  learning wordpress development as a CMS, E-commerce functionality, Re-skining it for clients to give a completely original yet very straight forward blog style site.

As mentioned yesterday the latest book i bought is about creative copywriting. This is never something that i have thought about learning but its more a bi-product of a couple of books that i have just finished reading called “how to be a designer and not lose your soul” which spoke about the importance of working with copywriters and how designers can use copy to thier advantage, I have always thought that typography based ad’s that have been well executed stand the test of time and a well developed ad can be clean, pure and straight to the point with no confusion of other visual elements detracting from it. With this said I have embarked upon a journey to understand the procedures and practices of creative copywriting and how i could use it to my advantage for future designs or as a different vehicle for a clients message.

With this said I have not completely halted any other learning, very much the opposite i have spent the most part of the day searching out new and interesting tutorials and also am about to start the basics of filming!, this is something that i am very excited about and hopefully will be another string to my bow. FINALLY after six months of doing pretty much nothing other than Repro Artworking and building presentations for pitches for new and excting potential clients I am finally going to be taught something new!

As for the software i bought i am still YET to use it!, but all is not lost come this summer i will take advantage of them all an hopefully record my girlfriends music once she finishes Uni.

What a long one this has been!