Personal vs. Professional Work

PART ONE Art: 2016 – Thoughts: Dec. 2018

This topic came up in recent conversation, and it made me think about the ratios and relationships between personal and professional projects in my own life. It is a topic worth further exploration and deeper thought. (hat tip to Deep Work by Cal Newport)

Are these two black and white categories? Are they in contrast between something we choose to do or create on our own, vs. something we are contracted to create for someone else?

I don’t believe so anymore.

The two categories not only overlap, but are intertwined deeply. We learn something about ourselves and our process through any project, regardless what side of that divide it might fall on. I felt that way about different courses at university, but I didn’t realize at the time that the same rules of inspiration and creative resources overlap into the rest of life easily.

For example: What we experience through an evening of theatre can translate directly to how we structure the flow and convey emotions in an unrelated business logo. If we take these ideas further and start to blend the dividing lines, then ideas we have on our own time can germinate into ideas that can be executed in professional projects.

Here are a few frames from what I would consider one of my last personal projects. These are from 2016:

We were looking for some art on our walls at home, but not just something random or abstract that suited the colours of the room. The mind went wandering, and days later I had come up with 64 different frames that represented iconic video games from our youth and the then-present. Once the concept was solidified and the first frame created, it was a joy to bring to life the full series, characters, and environments.

Project Rules:

Silhouettes of iconic game characters, in environment and colour scheme that gave the rest of the clues for who that character was. Some silhouettes would be too simple alone, so the other elements complete the picture with context. Additional design rules: keep the subject and action grounded to the base or top of the frame, and as few separated elements as possible so that all pieces flow into each other. These rules allowed for strong consistency, bold colours, and interesting relationships between the positive and negative.

How would this translate to professional projects?

Bold Colours & Layouts: I tend to work in more limited colour palates with client work. Projects regularly call for visuals that are more subtle, and this was a chance to do the exact opposite.

Subject Matter: I rarely have work that relates to, or exists within this medium. One of my hopes for the span of my professional life would be doing the branding packaging for a full video game.

That covers my most recent, and possibly last, personal project. I think this is a topic worth further thought and exploration, and I aim to continue with future posts on the evolving perspective. My work today emotionally feels like the divide no longer exists, but I lack the immediate words on how to define it. More to come.

VG art series: A | B | C | D

Evan 12-23-18