Why Not Do Only One Thing?

Photo by Devon Dadoly (2018)

It's difficult for me to describe what I do, not because I'm shy or dislike talking about my work but because there's so much of it. People have asked me more than once: why not stick to stickers? Why not stick to paper dolls? Why not stick to paper dolls? Today I'm going to talk about why I'm always bouncing between completely different projects.

The simple answer: I like it.

One reason is that I find so much energy and joy in movement. It keeps me from getting stale. For example: I don't always have ideas for new mandala illustrations -- or ideas I like -- and it can be helpful to take a break to work on something else. When I allow myself to pursue what's most interesting to me, it ensures that I'm always working with enthusiasm and a curious mind rather than forcing myself to labor over a project I don't care about. I think that shows in my work. Often, working on something totally different reminds me what I liked about the first project and gives me the inspiration to return to it with a new perspective.

I've learned that I can trust myself to drop a project and still come back to it. I don't abandon my ideas, I just take breaks.

Photo by Devon Dadoly (2018)

Another reason I skip around is that it lets me work around my busy schedule. Outside of art, I work several part-time jobs and my schedule can change from week to week. If I were always trying to make paper dolls or mandalas, I would struggle to find the time and space to keep up with it. On the other hand, I can design a sticker while I'm tabling a booth or eating dinner. I can cut and package stickers on the train between jobs. Having a variety of projects means I've always got something tucked up my sleeve that I can make room for, even on weeks when I don't have much time to draw.

I also like being able to offer products with different price points. Stickers are quick and cheap to produce, which lets me sell them cheaply. My original drawings...are not. I like that offering different products lets me connect with different kinds of people, from cat lovers to mycologists (and some people who are both.)

Going forward, I do want some of the themes in my mandala series to carry over into my other series. I'm imagining sicker sets with imagery pulled from my mandalas or about endangered species, greeting cards with mandala-inspired designs. I'll get there... eventually, as I make my rounds between various projects.

At some point it's possible that I'll finally decide to make seperate social media accounts for my various projects. Maybe there's a threshold for how much diversity a an art business can support. For now, I enjoy being able to chase those lightning bolts of inspiration without worrying too much how it fits together, and I'm grateful that so many of you seem to enjoy it too!


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