The Creative Unconscious: What's your name, age, and professional title? Where are you currently employed?
Jim LePage: My name is Jim LePage and I’m 40. I am a freelance artist and graphic designer.
TCU: What hobbies do you have outside of your professional field that keep you inspired and motivated to generate personal work? How do they inspire you?
JLP: In the past couple of years I’ve been experimenting with abstract painting. It was always something I’d enjoyed viewing, but I had no training or experience with painting at all. I started reading about different processes and techniques, bought some different paints and mediums to start experimenting with and got hooked. I use a completely different part of my creative brain when painting, which has provided a refreshing contrast to my usual design work. It’s been cool to see how something I do for fun has started to work it’s way into my design work as well. I started posting my art on Instagram, and it’s starting to come full circle as I’m incorporating them into my design work, selling prints and getting client work where they request my painting style. (You can see a selection of my paintings on my site.)
TCU: Do you have a hard time balancing being a creative professional and generating personal work that you're proud of?
JLP: Much of my career has been shaped and informed by my personal work. Around 8 years ago, I did my first personal project which lasted 2 years. I absolutely loved it and saw my conceptual and technical skills increase dramatically. Through that process, I realized I needed personal art and design projects to always be part of my life. In fact, the times where I haven’t had that, I notice that I get more irritable and somewhat depressed. Personal projects have also been a great way for me to have more control with the professional work I produce. My past personal projects have lead me to where I am today and I have no doubt that my current personal work will lead me wherever I go in the future.
TCU: What time of day do you feel the most creative? What about the most productive?
JLP: I generally try to do an administrative work in the morning. I don’t enjoy that work, so completing it feels productive. I find that my early afternoons are most productive creatively. I’m pretty strict with my work schedule, so I don’t do any client work on nights and weekends.
TCU: What are your creative goals for the future?
JLP: I’d like to continue to experiment with painting and incorporating them into design. I have prints available of some paintings, but I’d like to get my work in some public spaces as well. I would also LOVE to have a studio space to paint (right now, I use our kitchen counter). On the business end of things, I’ve been selling digital products of much of my work for a while and I’d like to continue to grow and expand that. Eventually, I’d love to get to the point where I’m mostly doing personal work—whether it’s personal work that I sell or work for clients that come to me based on my personal work and want something similar.
TCU: Are you working on any personal projects right now? If so, can you share a little bit about your inspiration and your creative process?
JLP: Right now, most of my free creative time is spent painting. You can see a selection of them on my site and I post them frequently on Instagram. I get inspired by creators who blaze their own trail—no matter what their specific craft might be. People like Georgia O’Keefe, Louis CK, Rob Bell, Sister Corita Kent, Aziz Ansari and Radiohead. With all those artists, there were points in their career where the path and expectations led one way, but they decided to veer off track and try something different and risky.
TCU: What scares you?
JLP: I’m terrified by the black and white worldview that is so prevalent. So much of life (and art!) is in the gray area and it scares me when I encounter an an extreme “us versus them” mentality—whether it’s in religion, politics, art or wherever. It just makes the world a very judgmental and ugly place.
TCU: What does success mean to you?
JLP: Do what you love, live simply and love others.
If you want to learn more about Jim and see more of his awesome work, head on over to www.jimlepage.com.