What are you working on—on the side?
I host a weekly interview podcast, Scratching the Surface. Each week, I talk to designers, writers, curators and educators about the intersection of design criticism and practice, and the role of a critical and theoretical discourse within and around the design profession. My hope is to demystify design criticism, and make it something assessable and interesting to all types of designers. (I also keep a continual writing practice where I publish essays about design criticism, visual culture and technology.)
How do you manage to work
on your side project(s)?
I keep a weekly schedule to make sure I’m giving time to these other creative pursuits. I use a lot of spreadsheets to keep scheduling, recording and posting the podcast episodes organized. And in an attempt to become a morning person, I’ve started trying—with mixed success—to get up earlier. When I can do it, I’m able to spend the first few hours of the day without the internet which provides uninterrupted time that has become valuable creative time for me.
Why have a side project?
It’s good to have something adjacent to your day job and daily responsibilities. It’s a way to flex other creative muscles, and it’s a way for me to experiment with intellectual and visual curiosities in a non-judgmental, completely free way. What often happens for me is I discover things—whether it’s a visual gesture, a new process or way of thinking that feeds back into my other, “real” work. It gives me a space to see my work in a new way and always ends up changing how I work. Especially with the podcast, having these conversations each week allows me to talk to people much smarter than I am. Those conversations also spark new modes of thinking and ways of working.
As creative people, it’s good to spend time on nourishing our creative pursuits in ways we can’t always get in our nine-to-five jobs. Side projects are an easy and essential way to feed that craving.
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Diptych courtesy of Jarrett Fuller.
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Read more about the joy of side projects.
This series, devoted to side projects, is delivered in association with Chicago creative agency 50,000feet—dedicated to helping brands and businesses soar.
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