Creative work and art practice – they just don’t belong together


I decided to write this because I need to let this out.

Let me begin by saying I have always worked for someone else. However, recently I decided to plunge into the freelance graphic design world and I must admit, I was terrified. The prospect of not earning a steady bi-weekly pay was not what a Capricorn Gal like me is used to. Stability equals safe and comfortable, right? I really wasn’t sure I would feel the freedom that freelance is supposed to provide. Time would tell.

As of late March of this year, my contract was done with the museum and I was officially off on my own. I was lucky and had negotiated a good base contract before leaving my previous employer and that secured a start of the road ahead.

Some info about my work set-up:

I live in a suburb of Montreal (off the island) about 20 minutes south (with no traffic of course). My condo is about 1,000 square feet and open plan in style with two large bedrooms. My son, who is a full-time university student, has his own room but isn’t always home.

This means I had no choice but to set up my graphic design “studio” in the living room area. Not a bad spot either! I work on a beautiful teak MCM 1970’s desk and have lots of inspiration around me. The one main issue with this area is the lack of natural light. Not ideal admittedly but I would be okay. Right?

But sadly, after a few weeks in the darkish living room, I naively thought it would be a better idea to just move my business operations to another space – a space which had more natural light and was already set up to be a creative space. It was located in the corner of my bedroom which is dedicated to my art, sewing and crafting. I thought all this creativity would marry well since being a graphic designer is creative too. Right? Boy, was I wrong!

But this first: Business is great! I’ve been working on great projects and my graphic design business is running smoothly. I even created a website (Maker Flair Labs) for my business.

Back to the issue at hand:

Two months on since the “move” from the living room to the bedroom and I have to say, it’s been a struggle to do anything creative in that space. Every time I sit at my desk it’s to do business – graphic design. It’s no longer my space to practice drawing nor is it to paint nor is it to do embroidery. It has become my “work” desk. Even worse, I feel as though I have lost my creative mojo.

Over the last two weeks, I’ve been feeling down. My lovely boyfriend mentioned that he noticed that I was indeed in a slump. He’s even recommended that I move the “business” back into the living room and that the bedroom business-y space is not having a positive effect on my personal art practice. He is absolutely right! I need to physically separate the two spaces in order to regain my personal creative groove.

Believe it or not, I was keeping my graphic design books, business documents and Pantone charts in with my art books, my paints, my sketch pads, my fabric collection and my textile art and sewing supplies. Not so focused! Too much stuff going on in one space. I need to totally separate the two creative spaces. I know now this type of set up never really did make sense but I am new at this working from home thing so I forgive myself.

I am in the process of moving the graphic design studio and business back to the living room and it feels great.

I hope this will help me! Goodness knows I need to get my mojo back!

Now, I have to solve the lighting problem in the living room. Alas, it’s a small price to pay if I can put my personal art practice back on track. Any suggestions?

Have you experienced this sort of thing? I cannot be the only one out there. What have you done to refocus your art practice from your business practice when you work from home?

Yikes, I just spotted a paint splash on my computer screen from when it was in my craft corner. Ugh!



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