I’m so excited to be starting a new series of creative mum interviews! I so enjoy learning about other artists’ processes, how they manage with their kiddos in tow, and I always get so inspired! I hope you do too!
Hey there! Thanks so much for letting me interview you for my blog! I’d love for my readers to get to know you…so tell us a little about yourself, your kiddos, and your creative passions!
Hey there! I’m Darryon and I’m a brand and web designer and a gourmet chef when it comes to mac n’ cheese and peanut butter and jelly. Because that’s all my son Elijah has to eat this days, that’s a healthy diet.. Right?! I just have the one boy and he’s 4 years old. His favorite thing ever right now is transformers and he loves to swim as much as he can. I stay at home full time with him while running my business and I’m gonna be transparent here, it’s the hardest job I’ve ever had. But also, the absolute best. Keep reading to see how I do it with this wild child strapped to me!
How long have you been an artist/running a creative business? Did you start before you had a child, or afterwards?
I’ve been running my business for almost a year now, but I’ve been creating for about 2. It all started with fashion illustration painting. I found myself buying all the fancy water color and gouache I could get my hands on. Once I found out I was actually a creative person, I expanded into brand and web design after my husband needed me to figure out how to do it for his new business.
I started all of this after having my little one because I needed an outlet. At the time I was working a full time job, that I hated. My husband was very busy so I had no down time and didn’t really have any friends. I have friends now guys, don’t worry.
I know those feels! I got into having a creative business because I needed an outlet too! So how do you manage the more mundane and tedious aspects of owning your own business, especially with a son?
Thankfully, 90% of these tasks can be done from my phone. Most times, I end up going to the bathroom throughout the day to respond to emails, generate invoices and contracts and all of those things. Nope, I’m not kidding. I know you’re thinking that’s kind of silly, and you’re right I could totally plop myself on my couch while doing this for 15-30 minutes doing these things. But I don’t ever want to become that mom that’s always on her phone. It’s just easier if he thinks I’m using the bathroom haha.
That is the most amazing solution ever. Totally stealing that. ;) How do you find the time to actually create with a kiddo?
I’ve found it’s better on him if I take breaks in between and we play or go on walks. While I’m working I let him color or play with his play-do. Like I said up there ^^ he’s obsessed with Transformers, so he plays with those little toys. But if I’m just non-stop working he’s more likely to not let me work at all. So when I pause my work we do something interesting, like have fake battle (robots attack our home A LOT) or put some mentos in a coke bottle.
How do you foster creativity in your son?
My son is really creative already, which is great. When he was really little and figured out what painting was, it was like everything made sense haha. So we paint a lot on canvases and after about a month we take time to hang them up in the house together. We also play with clay and mold it into shapes and let it dry. I have mini sculptures all over my house.
Does he create alongside you? Or do you have a designated time for him to create?
We usually create together with his paint, colors, or play-do. But I just had the thought the other day.. What if he helped me with brands and websites? I’m still toying with the idea of how it would work, but I think it could end up being fun for the both of us.
I love that! I bet he would love being included in your business, and what a cool new niche – mom and son design! Speaking of kids creating, how do you deal with the messiness that comes with giving a kid some art supplies?
Well first off, we just evicted all of our carpet and my husband installed vinyl flooring. I lay down towels, make sure to let him use paint that’ll come off of anything. I had issues with him drawing on the walls, so I bought a chalkboard and dry erase board so he could have that outlet. And really, there will always be a mess. I am a super clean freak, but I have to remember that he’s a 4 year old boy, I am going to have to live with the mess. I can’t spend my whole day cleaning, so I started teaching him how to properly clean up after he creates. No, it isn’t perfect, but it’s a start!
I heard on a podcast once that “the kids are the project, not keeping the house clean.” Love it. If you homeschool, what are ways you incorporate art into your curriculum/days? Do you focus more on art and creativity with your son, or more on a standard curriculum? Why?
We focus more on art and creativity because that’s how he learns best. We are working on letters and numbers right now, how to say them and how to write them. For saying his letters, we make up songs for each letter. He loves to sing loud and the sounds stick if he sings it. We write the letters with a pencil and then paint over them. We glue beans to paper for this too or we count beans to learn our numbers. And an outside day with chalk, never fails.
How has your creativity made you a better mother?
It’s something for us to do together, something we both enjoy. It’s helped my stress level so I’m not running around feeling like I’m about to explode. I think it’s made me more fun for him and is a hobby for us both.
Who inspires you? Name one creative, and one non-creative!
This is hard! Okay one creative that inspires me is Kate Spade. I feel like she has really knocked out the boundaries when it comes to classic style and fashion. And she makes a killer tote bag.
This is harder, everyone I look up to is creative. Or is everyone just creative in some way? One non-creative would have to be Casey Neistat. He is totally creative so I’m cheating here, but that’s not why he inspires me (he’s a film artist). He inspires me because he is an image that anything is always possible if you work for it.
Gah! I love Casey…he’s so dang positive! I’ll allow the cheating, everyone needs to know about him. ;) Plus you just confirmed you are ONE OF MY PEOPLE. ;) What inspires you when you need to go searching? (Books, TV shows, movies, music, nature, etc.)
Magazines! I love elegant designs so I always love looking through them. The typography, the layouts, the colors! It’s all amazing to me. I also love looking at homes on pinterest, this is great too.
Do you own your own online shop? Or do you sell your art through a gallery?
Everything I offer now is just service based brand and web design. Template shop coming soon <3
How do you balance art for profit, and art as a hobby? Why is art as a hobby important to you?
I take time to create for myself. I had a spurt where I was so busy, I was only creating brands and website for client’s for a 2 month period. I was so busy for these 2 months, I was up until 2 – 3 am every night. I was almost ready just to quit creating altogether.
That’s sometimes necessary, but so totally the worst. Taking that time for yourself is so important! What are your favorite materials to create with? How has having a child influenced what you work with, if at all?
Watercolor and Gouache! I don’t let my son use my tools, because this stuff is expensive. But we use watercolor paint and the kid friendly easy to clean acrylic like paint. It is nice that he loves watercolor as much as I do! We are starting to venture into color pencils, so I went and bought some cheaper watercolor pencils for us to try out together.
Art school or nah? Would you recommend for your son in the future?
So I didn’t go to art school. I really had no idea I liked creating things until I accidently stumbled on someone doing fashion illustration painting on my Facebook feed. I have no idea what art school would even be like, but I have a hard time paying for something I can teach myself how to do. I think it just depends on the person, so for me no. For my kids, it would just depend on their personalities as they grew up. I think both paths are good.
Thank you so much Darryon! I loved having you as my very first interview! Be sure to give her a follow through her links below!