CREATIVE MUM INTERVIEW // DARRYON BEESON

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!

Creative mum interview, artist interview, graphic designer

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! 

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LINK LOVE NO. 2

 

Boost Your Creativity Guide by Cocorrina

I’ve been a bit of a dry spell, creatively, so I’ve been hunting down articles with all the ideas I can gather. This one has some great tips for busting through the wall!

I also have a post I wrote myself about going through a dry spell!

 

Anchor.fm Radio App

I have been loving this slightly relaxed form of audio. It feels like a podcast but not as committed if that makes sense? I’m contemplating taking my “creativity and motherhood” series there as well for some real talk. Would anyone be interested in that?

 

Making Art Reduces Stress

Yes, even if you’re terrible at it! Fascinating article!

 

The Struggling Artist

Such a great article and inspiration from my bff Hannah. Alllll the praise hands.

 

What are some links, sites, companies, or people you’re loving these days? Do share! 

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HOW DO I FIND TIME TO CREATE AS A MUM

Believe me when I say, I know what it feels like to have zero creative time. Or at least, it feels that way. Your kids wake up before you do, and earlier than you ever could. There’s a flurry of feeding them multiple times a day and all the dishes that come along with that. Projects and activities and loads laundry. You homeschool the older kids while simultaneously trying to avoid the nuclear meltdowns of the toddler. Nap time becomes your own nap time, because sanity. By the time your day is over, you’re ready to crash in bed, but not before you’ve mourned a little for the loss of your creativity that’s itching to get out of you and on to your canvas of choice.

Been there.

 

But I’m also here to tell you it’s possible to make time.

It takes some sacrifice, sure. You might need to drink some extra coffee or go to bed a bit early to get that much needed sleep, but it can be done.

 

Nix the Netflix.

This was a huge one for me. I would turn on my favorite crime shows the moment I’d get my toddler down for a nap. And binge for hours before bed. I’m not saying I never watch anymore, but it’s a lot less frequent. I’ll binge when a new season shows up on Netflix, but then ignore it for weeks at a time. My only remaining not-even-guilty Netflix pleasure is when a new amazing docu gets added, which I’ll watch while I paint or design for clients.

Coffee.

Duh. You’re a parent, so you drink this by the gallon anyway. But coffee is my creative beverage of choice, and taking the time to make my favorite drink (cappuccino in the winter, iced macchiato in the summer) before a bout of creativity gets me in that mindset.

Have project time with your kids.

This is a big one, especially if you homeschool. Set them up at the table with you or in the same room. Give them their direction, equipment, homework, whatever. Then you all get to work. Show them that you can be just as dedicated to your work as they should be towards their schoolwork. If they’re done with their schoolwork for the day, have a stash of art supplies that they can use – they love to use the fancy art supplies you do, so have a box of whatever medium you create in that they’re allowed to play around with.

Create a spot to leave your supplies out.

It’s too much work to lug everything out, then realize nap time will be over in twenty minutes, and then have to frantically clean everything up before the toddler grabs your messy brushes. I love those tiered IKEA carts for this reason. Everything I need is always right next to my easel, I’ve got canisters for water or mineral spirits, all my paints, and extra supplies lower down. If needed, it can be rolled away to a locked room if you have one of those toddlers with a propensity to bite tubes of paint. #iknownothingaboutthistypeoftoddler

Set a timer.

If it’s too daunting to have large, unstructured times to create, set yourself 30 minutes to an hour that you’ll work during. This also gets you used to being super productive in short bursts, which is all you might get when you have kiddos.

 

 

Any tips for me?

Let me know what you do to get that creative time in when you’re a mum…because us busy artist mums can use all the help we can get!

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INSPIRED WORDS NO. 9

 

Just a little note, I’m starting up a newsletter, finally, I hope?! I’ve had the list in place for a while but I’d like to send you guys a magazine-style newsletter once or twice a month, with some of my favorite things and posts! If you’d like to sign up, just use this form! 



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DRY SPELL // WHAT TO DO WHEN THE CREATIVE FOUNTAIN DRIES UP

dry spell, creativity, inspiration, tips

For us creatives, we rely on the fountain of ideas to keep us going. We need inspiration and beauty and that indescribable thing that charges us. Sometimes, though, the fountain dries up. We’re not a raging stream of ideas anymore, we’re a dried up parched desert.

I’ve been going through a bit of this lately. I want to create, but I’m just totally lacking inspiration. It’s the artist version of writer’s block. And it’s absolutely zero fun. But if you’re an artist, you know you have to create. It’s just in your DNA. So what to do when there’s just nothing there?

These are some of the things that have helped me push through when it’s hard to create. I’m still working through the end of this dry spell, an while I know it won’t be my last, it helps to know I’ve learned some strategies for next time.

 

Try a new medium

Sometimes, it’s your typical medium that’s stagnating you. If you’re a painter, try embroidery. If you’re a knitter, try sketching famous artworks. Get yourself a 40% off Michael’s coupon and buy new art supplies that you’ve never tried. A new medium is challenging and inspiring and will usually help you push through that dry spell.

Dive into Instagram feeds

You might just need a little creativity-envy to get yourself going. Find the people in your field that are pushing themselves and innovating. Allow yourself to soak it all in to be able to formulate your own ideas and spin. Please take note, however: it’s okay to be inspired by fellow creatives, but always always always give credit to them, and for the love of all that is good in this world, do not copy everything they do. Use it as inspiration, but you still have to be you. 

Get out of the house

This can be as simple as a trip to Starbucks & Target, or a day trip to indie coffee shops and art museums. Getting yourself in a new environment, even for a little while, is always a good boost to creativity, or at least your attitude.

Make a creativity ritual

Sometimes, it’s a matter of tricking our brains into thinking we aren’t in a dry spell. One of the best ways you can do this is with a ritual. Always create in the same spot, with the same drink, the same album on repeat, and the same diffuser blend running. Habit is a powerful thing.

Or, switch it up

If your creativity ritual has been working for a long time but suddenly isn’t doing it for you anymore, switch it up. Turn everything on its head. Move to a new spot, pick an album you’ve never listened to before. Choose scents you don’t normally gravitate towards, and drink iced coffee instead of a latte.

Do some yoga

Or whatever exercise you like. I like yoga for creativity, because it pushes you, but not in a “all I can concentrate on is how heavy this weight is” kind of way. Your mind still has space to reflect and brainstorm. I actually keep a notebook nearby when I practice, because I tend to get loads of ideas during a flow!

Keep a journal

This can be any type of journal – it doesn’t have to be the typical middle school “my day play-by-play.” Or it can be, whatever floats your boat. You can art journal, write responses to your devotions, do stream-of-consciousness writing, or journal your yoga practice. Pick a gorgeous notebook and just do it.

Buy some magazines

Get whatever you find beautiful and inspiring. I tend to love fashion mags, but food magazines can be just as inspiring. Or splurge and get a gorgeous indie mag like Kinfolk or Collective Hub that begs to be left out on a coffee table. Sit down with a huge stack and some coffee and prepare to soak it all in. Pay attention to anything and everything that grabs you – even if it’s not normally “you.”

Push through it

Push. Through. The. Block. Don’t just give up and decide to only work when you feel like it. Working when you’re blocked tends to force you out of your comfort zone, which is sometimes exactly what you need. I for one can say a lot of my best ideas and favorite work has come from a time when I was pushing through a dry spell.

 

 

 

Tell me what you do

How do you get through the dry spells? Have any tricks for me to try? Please do let me know in the comments – I’ll take any and all advice! And please do let me know if any of these tips worked for you!

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CRUSHING ON // HAPPY UNICORN HAIR

I’ve had blonde hair for years now, and recently I got the urge to change it up. I didn’t want to make it a “basic” color again, I actually love it blonde, I just wanted a temporary change that would turn blonde over time…so I dyed it pink! I loved it, Luke maybe not so much lol. But I adore the cotton candy happy sparkly unicorn hair going around right now! Here are some of my favorite Pinterest finds!

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