I'm currently in the process of updating this site, adding new content and adjusting some of the text. As such there is plenty of stuff here that is old, but by the same token, there will be stuff added over the next few days which is new. Please bear with me whilst I do this, as I also have a full-time job, a part-time job, a social life, a wife, and a requirement for at least five hours sleep a night.
I've really not updated this site for a long time, have I? I guess i was using it more as an online portfolio between jobs. Since Xerox I've had work on creating the 2016 Annual Report for Unilever, using Word (it's perhaps the least design work I've done on a job for a long while, by design, if you'll forgive the pun). But I'm now working at iGaming Business, a subsidiary of Clarion Events. sort of. It's complicated. I technically work for a company called OLIVER, but I work, as one of their employees, with a team that's a mash up of iGaming Business and Clarion Gaming.Read More
This campaign is now live, so I can post these Flintstone ads at last. This is the last branch campaign I worked on before leaving Xerox. But it's not really been a case of putting my feet up and chilling out (even when there has been a bit of sun). You can't really relax when you're not sure where the next job is, when the next pay check will be arriving.
So far I've had just the three interviews mentioned previously, although on the back of that I did manage a single day of freelance work, and the suggestion that they'll get me in for other work, when they need someone. I've had to sign on, just to ensure I have got some money coming in, and I've continued to apply for jobs I find online, which isn't easy given the small number of artworker roles that seem to be advertised (I keep finding the same roles on different sites). I've just had a call back from one of those applications though, with a follow up phone call promised in the next day or two, so in a wilderness of no news that brief contact with a potential employer is a brief parting of the rain clouds and a glimmer of sun light.
I did, after asking various people for advise, manage to update my phone to a Google Nexus 5X. After my old phone kept dying on me, I had to pick something up to ensure I could remain easy to contact whilst I'm looking for work (and relying on Gmail and Google Calendar as much as I now do, a Google phone made sense). It's been pretty handy, apart from the time I needed it most - having set it to silent during work hours last Wednesday, I then missed a phonecall, and two messages, on the Thursday during those same hours. That was pretty frustrating.
To be fair the last week or so has been pretty chaotic, after learning at the eleventh hour that the whole flat was going to be refloored, and that we'd have to move all our stuff out of our bedroom in order to camp out in the living room. So, most of our stuff is now in storage, much of our stuff was chucked altogether (but then it needed to be), and the rest of our belongings are piled up around the bed. It's been hectic and time consuming just to get to this stage, although, having done all the heavy lifting and transporting of things around London by suitcase it's nice to, for a few days at least, not have to worry about it. Not until we have to move everything back in. To a degree it feels a little like 'earned the right' to relax. In practice though that's easier said than done, when I still need to find work, and my poor wife is having her own difficulties at work with people having days off sick and belligerent management criticising her whilst she's keeping the place afloat, it's pretty damn hard to relax.
I've no doubt things will improve at some stage. It's just not a great deal of fun having to endure the downswing until things get better again. Watch this space.
It's not been a bad week. Last week I had an interview with one recruitment agency Gemini People, and this morning I've had an interview with another, Aquent, who I've worked with before. Last Friday also landed me an interview for a permanent job via the first agency, and although I'm not sure whether they really feel that I'm the right person for the job, I'm pretty sure I'm technically competent. I had to take a Mac test, which I never really have an issue with as I've been doing this job for twenty years, but there was a web element to this test - not really an area I've worked in, but which I knew enough to make an educated guess about.
Looking over pages of websites for artworking jobs is starting to take it's toll a little, but I'm more optimistic about freelance work rearing it's (not-ugly) head before permanent work does. Also it's a mostly sunny day today, so after watching some Shakespeare I recorded (Twelfth Night) and the latest Game of Thrones, I think I'm going to make the most of the weather and my free time, and see if I can catch up with a friend.
Technically I am on garden leave for this week, which means the company I would have been working for, if I'd joined the Lloyds account in transferring to Wakefield, will be paying me whilst we double check there's definitely no work I can find with them in the UK. It's not likely that I'll be moving up to Wakefield, and it doesn't seem likely that any vacancies are likely to become available in their Sutton studios, the closest alternative (there hasn't since we began considering these options, several months ago), so I'm spending this week the same way I would any other week I didn't have work - looking for work and attending interviews.
I've got one interview with a recruitment agency lined up today, who've seen this website and so know what I've been up to recently, but have requested that I bring my physical portfolio, which is a mix of much older stuff. I'd not really counted on having to bring a physical portfolio anywhere any more, or else I might have printed out some of these more recent jobs to put into it. It's been weird flicking through the pages of the older portfolio - there's very little stuff in here more recent than ten years ago, but it does have some of my favourite photo manipulated stuff, from a time when I was more a Junior Graphic Designer than a Creative Artworker. The back of the portfolio is also where I have a lot of illustrations and designs that were drawn for other people - a Christmas Card for a member of the Magic Circle, cartoons for a book about economics, the various promotional things I created for Danny Wallace's 'Join Me' movement. As much as I need to print out pages that I've uploaded to this site to put into a physical portfolio, at some stage I should also take some decent quality photographs and upload to this site, so that it's not too Halifax/Xerox heavy.
As you can tell from this picture, my camera phone is perhaps not the best quality.
Tomorrow (an ominous Friday 13th) is my last day at Xerox, and it looks like they've saved the best for last, by giving me the latest branch campaign for Halifax to sink my teeth into before I leave. It's pretty much complete, with a second Hanna-Barbera character to follow Top Cat. Yesterday's main message was a well known catchphrase, so I won't mention that for fear of spilling the secret out onto the internet before the campaign goes live. Today's main message, by contrast, has been a rather generic "Relax, you've earned it!" with the character in question floating in an inflatable ring. One of the first Halifax branch campaign ads I worked on featured a guy with an inflatable, so in a way it feels like things have come full-circle. Also summer looks like it's come back, so it's a nice image and sentiment to end my time at Xerox.
Nothing yet lined up for next week work-wise, although I am going for an interview with an agency near Warren Street, a short bus ride away from the flat. I think most of next week will be spent chasing up leads and trying to pin down, much as I feel the urge to 'relax'. If I am going to be forced to not work for a week at least I can hope for a bit of good weather.
Just spending the last fall hour of the day to collect together a few images of these last few jobs, to upload once they're live. There's a pub lunch planned for tomorrow, as a farewell, and then drinks after work as a big final drinks for a lot of people (as at least half the studio will have gone by tomorrow). I won't be making the afternoon drinks, as I've got things to do this weekend, that don't include me struggling back home by train drunk. No doubt I'll be having a few drinks in town, closer to home. It's nice to live a short bus ride from central London, or a short walk from Camden Town.
Well, here we go. The site has been active for a while, but I've mostly been fiddling with the look of it, uploading pictures and generally making sure it's representative of the work I do. It's taken me a while longer to get some text on here, but I figured I should actually use this Blog to keep the world updated on things going on in my work life, as well as things that are going on in related areas of my life (anything vaguely creative).
It's election day today, for London Mayor amongst other things, and I got my voting done first thing before work. It's what seems to be the main topic of conversation online at the moment (as well as the prospect of a Trump-shaped president in the US), so it'll be 'interesting' to see how that goes. I'm just hoping we don't get any right-wing bigots in, but someone who actually improves the city would be a great start.
All great starts come after an ending (great or otherwise), and I'll be ending my work at Xerox after about three and a half years, on Friday 13th May. We'll see how terrible that date turns out to be, but I'm anticipating it to be a good send off to a job where I've done some great stuff, and the opportunity to get back to work somewhere closer to home, in London. My wife too is hoping to leave her current job and venture into something more creative and fulfilling. Fingers crossed that 2016 serves as a great start for all of us.
That's pretty much it for now. thanks for giving this a read!
P.S. Last Friday I attended 'The Goblin King's Ball', loosely based on the film Labyrinth, starring David Bowie as The Goblin King. This year, naturally, was a sad one, and I was hoping there'd be a bit more of a tribute to Bowie over the evening but, aside from name dropping him and acknowledging his passing, it was pretty quiet on that front. That's a real shame, as I've been listening to a lot of Bowie recently. In particular I've enjoyed the various live recordings I've found on Spotify – the songs are peppered with anecdotes and jokes and Bowie comes across as altogether a warm, generous and ultimately human performer. It's fair to say I'll miss his passing more than I will Prince's - despite the media telling me how great an artist the man in purple was, I can't help but better identify with a scrawling blonde kid from south London who did good, and wove his songs into the tapestry of my life, sometimes unexpectedly so.