This is a question of reflection for myself.
I’ve been thinking more and more about the things I’ve said I want out of this life. Its big, its ambitious. Yesterday in a meeting we talked about God’s provision and how our job is to have the dream and trust that he will provide.
I continuously revisit the question of what does it look like to be a Christian designer? I know I don’t need to boast about my faith, nor do I need to be literal with it in terms of drawing or sketching. The answer that I’ve concluded is that its my job to carry out the characteristics of Christ – to reflect Him and have other sense that something is different and become curious about us.
Often times we lose our identities in our work and forget that we are more than what we do. When we are introduced to people the conversation often starts out with Our name, where we are from, and our list of accomplishments. Yet Ultimately its more so about people and building relationships.
I think about what made me attracted to art and design and I’m not too certain of what exactly pulled me in. I’ve been surrounded and immersed in it since child hood with my mom using me as her life size ever changing doll and mannequin. (Now I get to sketch something out and she creates it for me). Perhaps its the act of creating something out of nothing? Or being busy with my hands? The act of problem solving combined with critical thinking even? Maybe the process of design thinking – honestly I don’t know. While I am still very much a young spring chicken in my design career I know that I will end up far.
Today I read an article that struck a cord with me and lets just say it hurt my feelings. I know what its like to “know what good design is” yet it doesn’t seem that many people are willing to turn around and help the new and upcoming designers learn the ropes and avoid common mistakes. It seems that my peers have decided doing the work all their own is best and its too expensive to stop and teach other fellow newbies the ropes. Schools and universities are blamed instead and the competition remains fierce. Young designers scramble to make ends meet and fall into the struggling artist stereo type – scrapping for projects that cover maybe the price of a coffee.
When I was in college there was a piece of advice from a fellow peer that stuck out to me. Don’t become jaded. I understood what they meant, and after reading I questioned what was the goal of the article I just read? Sign up for my new course and you’ll learn what? The principles of design? The design process? How to gain clients? How to build an audience?
What ever happened to the mentor and apprenticeship relationships? Taking someone under your wings and really showing them the ropes?
After listening to a different podcast I asked myself the question, “How badly do you want it?” I am more than willing to put in the hard work and effort needed to get to my destination. I think finding the right tribe has been a difficult undertaking. You see, I studied industrial design in college and believe that design can change the world. Through out my years of study I learned how to research, draw inspiration from all types of sources and to always remain curious. I’ve learned about the design processes, the design principles, and even setting limits to my personal projects. I do believe that there will always be some form of learning curve or tension and that is where the magic begins to cultivate.
What would make it better though is to have someone guiding you or observing you – better yet challenging you to get better. Don’t be so far removed from your years of being a newbie that you turn around and give advice with hints of snarky bashful remarks.
My business coach would always tell me how important it is to tell your story – that someone else needs to hear it from me. That no one else has lived my full life, combined with all my experiences. I get it.
Within my context it teaching confidently with elements of grace and humility. Its providing resources, connections and actually living it out authentically. It is certainly something that will set me apart from other people.
What do you want? How badly do you want it?