A healthy work-life balance can be hard to manage when working from home. However, my life is now non-existence and the work never gets done - It's balanced at least.
DPS 2020 is a slow burn, but I'm sure it'll pick up soon. The odd interview here and the odd small project there is just enough for me to feel like I'm putting in enough effort without interrupting my 6-month Simpson's marathon - which I'm keen to continue (thank you Disney+!).
However, these languid days have been useful in many ways. I've been able to spend lots of valuable time at home reflecting - this being the longest period I've spent at home since I moved out. I never quite expected to move back in such a big way. At least It's given me time to explain to my family the value of my arts degree; however, these days it's more of an act of self-conviction than it is to win them over. At times I can feel lost and confused about what I'm doing. But within those challenges, there is an opportunity to explore new ways of working. I had previously never really thought about my ways of working, the things I need in order to put pen to paper - or finger to touchpad. However, away from my home comforts in London, I can see the old pre-lockdown rituals that I now cherish as ways of motivating myself and getting in the right headspace to work. From the morning runs to my espresso machine coffees It's actually amazing how ceremonial and disciplined I used to be when it came to producing work. Now, however, I feel like I'm constantly treading water, looking for ways to keep myself engaged, as I head-off the proverbial waterfall of distraction. As the initial trauma of lockdown 2.0 wears off and I wait to hear back from previous interviews and interactions, I'm going to take this time to organise, rebuild and find my new ways of working.
In my previous, pre lockdown life I would at times find myself retreating into the corner when faced with a social situation, not within my state of comfortability. However, this zoom stuff and constant emailing have allowed me to compose myself in almost all aspects of life. There's a weird amount of satisfaction I find from operating my whole life from within my childhood bedroom. In some ways I could be seen as thriving: my response time has never been higher; my plants have never been so well-watered and my (online) social life is relatively busy. This level of reflection allows for new degrees of self-optimisation, I'm ready for any situation and my personality feels focused and controlled. I'm actually beginning to enjoy networking and meeting new people, something I knew would be a challenge for me when embarking on DPS. People can even appear genuinely nice when appearing via zoom. Perhaps there's some kind of psychology between my love and dependants on my tech and the person appearing on it - but we won't get into that. DPS so far has allowed me to connect with so many people I never thought I'd have the chance to talk to. One example is the Art Director of a large design studio, who, despite not having any placements or budget for any interns provided me with one of the nicest interactions I've experienced during DPS so far. Despite not being able to provide any clear opportunity, he took the time to (virtually) sit down with me, discuss my work and practice which was more valuable and insightful than I could have ever imagined. These are the kind of interactions we'd quickly miss if we returned to are mask-less and zoom-less society. As David Byrne said, "sometimes it's a form of love just to talk to somebody".
In the great hubbub of the new world, I only see slight changes to my practice. I seek to create more challenging work, more speculative feats as opposed to ticking the same tired boxes. The game has changed since COVID, the stakes are higher and there's more to gain from creating work that challenges and conquers. I want to create work that makes a difference, at first, this period seemed like a cruel twist, however, it has been a time to reflect and build up resources ready to spring into action - perhaps with some design intervention! However, my techniques and approach to work during this time seem relatively unchanged. I miss the feel of a workshop, the noise of printing presses and the great anticipation of creating through a process like screen-printing where you have to somewhat give yourself up to the machinery and wait and see. It makes me proud of my previous two years at LCC, proud to have forged such a connection with print that I genuinely miss it now that my practice is without it. My inspirations remain relatively unchanged too, I still return to the same artists and influences. Music as always is playing a huge part in my design practice, Bowie's Low seemed to keep me going throughout the first lockdown, Sound and Vision being my definitive motivator when trying to think creatively.
As I said, DPS 2020 is a slow burn, but the lesson's I'm currently learning and the short journey I've been on has taught me so many things about resilience and myself. Although with utmost planning the year ahead still seems relatively unclear I feel like I'm slowly drifting towards my creative apogee.