Sometimes, I feel like there’s so much time ahead of me, and then I feel crushed by the speed of it all.
Name, Age, Location, Professional Title, Employer
Haley Weaver | 24 | Seattle, Wa | Account Manager | Efelle Creative
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?
I find so much inspiration while traveling. There’s something to be said for being surrounded by newness—food you’ve never eaten, people you’ve never met, dirt you’ve never stood on. I weirdly like the mundane parts of travel, too; most of my best ideas have surfaced while sitting in an airport gate or on a train with a coffee and noise-cancelling headphones.
I also lean on music for a lot of my inspiration. I love that music can be communal but personal, that standing in a crowd of people at a live show can be one of the most intimate and inspiring experiences—the blend of lights and costume and stage presence, the audience interaction, the art, the lyrics, the sound, the cohesion of each track to make a whole. I often leave shows feeling as if I’ve transcended some sort of visceral understanding of the world—and even though that’s not always the case, it certainly fuels new creative ideas.
Do you have a hard time balancing being a creative professional and generating personal work that you're proud of?
I’ve found that the only way I’m able to stay fully accountable to my personal work and goals is to ensure that I carve time out of my schedule solely dedicated to creating. It doesn’t hurt that drawing has become one of my most relied-upon stress relievers—no matter what goes on in my professional or social life, my sketchbook has become a safe place to unwind. Sometimes I’ll even draw on my bus ride home from work, even though that often results in poorly drawn lines.
These days, I try to draw something daily, whether it’s a doodle penned in the margin of a notebook or a carefully planned illustration in my sketchbook. I think the hardest part of this goal is being okay with work that’s not “the best.” There’s no way you can create “the best art you’ve ever created” every day, but you can look at each new creation as a stepping stone to “the next best thing.” It’s easier said than done, but I’m working on it.
What time of day do you feel the most creative? What about the most productive?
I associate creativity with nighttime and productivity with early morning. I think I romanticize the eeriness and coziness of the world past 10 PM—that’s when I feel the most vulnerable and, in turn, the most able to create honest and empathetic work.
But 10 PM can’t compete with how productive I feel at the start of a day. My mornings are ingrained in routine: from making coffee all the way to walking to the bus stop. I feel unstoppable with the sun and insightful with the moon.
What are your creative goals for the future?
I have so many! Though I love drawing, my true love is writing. I want to write a book, whether that’s fiction or a combination of essays and drawings. I recently read Maggie Nelson’s incredible collection of essays called “Bluets,” and I felt so inspired by her writing—particularly the way she created narratives and drew from passages all related to the color blue. I would love to do a project like that, where the subject is super concentrated, but the content around that subject is wide-ranged. The idea of “empathy” is something I’ve been thinking about a lot in our current political climate—I’d love to focus a project on the ways in which our community can be more empathetic.
Are you working on any personal projects right now? If so, can you share a little bit about your inspiration and your creative process?
I’m slowly but surely working towards opening a print shop—cards, calendars, maybe shirts. The business side of selling my own work intimidates me, but friends and role models in the community have been fantastic about sharing their experiences.
What scares you?
Unexpected late night phone calls. Losing loved ones (and the terrifying finality of death). The amount of time I’ve wasted (and will waste) watching reruns of “The Office” or biting my nails. Plateauing.
I have constant anxiety about the future, whether that’s related to my professional path or my creative goals. Sometimes, I feel like there’s so much time ahead of me, and then I feel crushed by the speed of it all.
What does success mean to you?
To me, success is completely intangible. It’s a feeling—a swell of warmth that blooms in my chest—and it usually results in a phone call to my parents in a moment of, “hey! Guess what I did!” It’s a sense of temporary validation: it sits for a day or two—maybe a week—and then the impending feeling of needing to do more and do better settles back in. I think the scariest thing about success is that it’s such a chameleon—one day I think it looks like one thing, the next day it’s something completely different. I’m both terrified by and exhilarated by the fact that my definition of success will never be permanently inked, but rather penciled in and erased over and over again.
Why do you create?
I blame my mom. When I was little, she would plop my siblings and I down at the kitchen table and set out markers and crayons and construction paper, letting us scribble for hours. The habit stuck.
Today, creating has become one of the only ways I’m able to make sense of the tangle of my own emotions and of the world around me. It allows me to communicate my most vulnerable thoughts in a more abstract way. It challenges me to be honest with myself. Anxiety has shadowed me most of my life, and I’ve found that sitting down and focusing on drawing—simply penning the curve of a circle or the corner of a square helps me feel present and connected rather than high strung and worried. It makes my brain feel less like a livewire and more like a spark.
Anything else you want to add?
A professor I had in college once said, “any story can be interesting. It’s all in the way you tell it.” I think that’s a beautiful truth about creativity, but also about each person we encounter and each day we live through. There’s something interesting and beautiful and heart-wrenching to be found in every corner of the world, and I want to acknowledge that existence, even if it’s shaded through a layer of colored pencil.