The intersection between design and creative passions
Updated: Mar 17
Having other creative pursuits strengthens work and balances life.
Recently, I was asked about my passions and what ignites my spirit. My conversation focused on what drives me in work and design but it’s really much more than that. My design life is intertwined with my other sides as an artist and equestrian. Design and art have fairly obvious connections and, surprisingly, horses do, too.
From as far back as I can remember, I’ve been a visually creative person, making and expressing ideas in various mediums and ways. A career in design is a natural extension of that side of me. I’m a creative director and designer or, quite simply—a visual storyteller. My art direction experience spans editorial, branding and marketing design. I love projects that allow a creative stretch and strengthen the connection of a message to the audience through captivating visuals, accessibility and readability via various communication pathways. Throughout my career journey, I’ve found a love for making brand connections from one project to the next and creating a cohesive story through a family of design projects.
But outside of my day job, I’m an artist and, since childhood, I’ve also been pretty obsessed with horses.
Painting, drawing and creating fills a personal creative need. It allows me to be looser and hands-on, solving different visual problems of color, value, harmony and layout. It gives me the opportunity to explore different styles and avenues of visual expression. My artistic style is ever-evolving. From abstract figurative work to hand-painted jewelry to realistic pet portraits, my artwork has varied according to my place in life, mood and bandwidth. With a minimal amount of time, one of my recent directions is painting miniature artwork for jewelry and small acrylic pet portraits. This keeps me creating in the small pockets of time I have as I raise two active boys. Even when there isn’t spare time to spare, painting and creating in different ways keeps me seeing life from a different vantage point.
Horses taught me grit, determination, compromise and problem solving. As a child, I rode a pony at the zoo and I was hooked and determined to connect with horses throughout my life. What keeps me riding 30+ years later? Spending time on the back of a horse frees me to refocus my mind and energy on the harmony I seek with my horse. It’s not all about me. It’s about finding synergy and communication with another being. As I work with my horse to find a solid, relaxed pace, smooth transitions from one gait to the next and a foundation of trust, I’ve found new ways to approach problems or find creative directions at work. Every ride is different and the changes keep my mind adapting to new ideas and ways to find connections.
Adaptability is key to design work, too. Design trends, projects and software changes and grows as the audiences’ needs change. Sometimes a project comes together differently than anticipated and the adaptations make it more successful. Looking for different ways to accomplish goals when the first options aren’t working and compromising when needed are also skills gained from working with horses that translate well to working with a varied team of designers and content creators.
The intersections of them all
Life ebbs and flows. Sometimes my daily, 9-5 work is overflowing with creative projects. Some days it’s grown to more creative problem solving. My mind is happy to take on either challenge but when my day job becomes more problem solving, I lean on the arts and riding to find a creative balance or reconnect with my community through the local arts council for inspiration.
Having a full life of different passions and pursuits gives life texture and depth. How do passions and pursuits help you find balance and inspiration in your life?
Check out some of my hand painted jewelry at etsy.com/shop/nansea. My recent paintings and jewelry are currently posted on facebook at @seapaintedjewelry. My older art is at nancysoulliard.com (A full site redesign is on deck for 2021! Stay tuned!) As always, you can check out my recent design work at behance.com/nancysoulliard or design.nancysoulliard.com .
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