So damn often, we rely on our paid work to get us moving, creating and doing something new.
Sometimes the constraints of our jobs can keep us working in the same area, headspace and mode for years, even decades.
Recently I was inspired by designer James Whitta who, in between commissions, started a series of personal projects that allow him to do new work purely out of interest. The simple photographic series of Melbourne's lane-ways is delicately edited and overlaid with some new fonts he wanted to try. Simple as that. It got me thinking about how little time is often put in to doing work that's not paid work, or work for pleasure you might call it (and I'm not referring to hobbies, charity or gardening).
In todays shitty economy and running-pace workplace, you might think personal projects are an indulgence. People rarely make time for themselves anymore, let alone do work beyond the invoice. But the beauty of such projects is that they can get you working in areas that you might wait your whole life to be commissioned for.
What I'm thinking is that it's potential therapy; doing something outside your spectrum of day-to-day work might refresh your palette, get you out of a rut, and even feed back in to the work you do get paid for. It's also a great way to build a creative portfolio on your own dime. Do you really need to wait for Chanel to call to get your photography portfolio going?
Some of the obvious benefits include; no deliverables, no set brief, no deadline and no financial pressure. I'm often surprised how it's the little pet projects that take off for people, with others responding to the personal, ad-free nature of the work.
Maybe it's my age (just hit 31, gasp), but it's got me thinking about how one-dimensional our lives can become if we stop looking for new information outside a commercial context. And how no particular agenda can potentially be one of the best things for fresh ideas and a new approach.