A few years ago, I took to an online blog in order to vent my freelancing frustrations. Work had dropped off and I wanted to share a side of the story that nobody seemed to be discussing. There's a lot of editing on social media and being a freelance creative was painted as a dreamy, idyllic lifestyle. I was experiencing something different, along with everyone else I knew. The highs were no lie and I’ve had my share of exhilarating achievements, but it’s a very temperamental existence and I hated the idea that we were all hiding the grizzly bits.
The feedback from the writing was great; people were actually reading these posts and I fell in love with storytelling for the first time since school English lessons.
It was eventually published as Champagne and Wax Crayons: Riding the Madness of the Creative Industry, my debut book. After that I was invited to talk at universities, colleges and industry events. Many people were opening up to me and following a conversation with Harry Lyon-Smith of Illustration Ltd, he suggested I might be well positioned to start a podcast.
I hadn’t thought about this, despite listening to many podcasts in the studio. I took this on board and learned how, switching the spotlight onto others who were willing to tell their story. We all have a beautiful unique journey with its ups, downs and oddities and it is the very thing that sets us apart in a competitive industry.
Now, 101 episodes in the audience is growing at a great rate. Malika Favre, Sir John Hegarty, Olivier Kugler, Miss Led, Brian Grimwood, Annie Atkins, Graham Wood and Adrian Shaughnessy are just a few of the guests I've had the honour of interviewing over the last two years. I said recently that these 101 episodes sit as a third instalment in my education alongside college and university. The stories, lessons, advice and laughs I've heard first hand have been nothing short of seminal in the way I see the world and the forming of my ideas across the many disciplines I work in.
The feedback from listeners has helped me through times when the demands of running a podcast alongside a full-time role as an illustrator have felt heavy and I hope anyone just discovering the show now will take just as much from the archive as I wade into 2018 and more exciting encounters.
The experiences of others should never be something to look down on, put on too high a pedestal or ignore. It’s become apparent to me that they teach us many things, primarily that who we are and where we’ve come from is precious in the arts. Hearing that those we admire also struggled, that some of the greatest are self-taught and had to go the hard route is empowering and reminds us we’re not alone.
Listen to Arrest All Mimics at http://soundcloud.com/arrestallmimics and subscribe on Apple Podcasts now.