The person with the double espresso in their hand. The person with the half-moon bags under their eyes. The person with inky fingers and a smile in their mind. This person is the midnight dabbler.
Many people are doing things outside of their day-to-day, purely for the joy of creating. External activities can take the form of personal work, an open brief, collective collaborations and even commissions.
The main purpose of creating your own work should be to keep your mind fresh and sane. Enhancing a skill-set is secondary, but still important as you could end up applying a niche skill to a client/brand and therefore enhancing the project.
Not having the factors that surround a client brief at the forefront of your mind can suddenly free up your imagination.
Creatives often speak of ‘taking a step back’ to review the work at hand – I believe having a creative outlet allows you to return to a client project objectively with fresh eyes, and in some cases, make it better.
Our own time (in context, the night time) is an important subspace highway to a place where you can indulge in your own creative experiments and play.
Allow me to draw your attention to one such midnight dabbler. By day, Gavin Strange is a Digital Design Magician at Aardman. But by night, he goes by the alias of Jam Factory; designing, shooting photographs, creating a series of designer vinyl toys and most recently, completing a short film about ‘fixies’ (for those that are not au fait, that’s a fixed gear bike).
The film ‘BÖIKZMÖIND’ was primarily Gavin’s baby whilst being very much a collaborative effort with a like minded group of people, helping him to storyboard, photograph, film, edit and soundtrack the project to make it all come together.
Such an inspiring achievement began simply with an idea, a desire to create something because they wanted to. With that in mind, grab yourself a sketchbook tonight and start dabbling in the things you have always wanted to do. Make it happen.
The next time you see the person with the four day old inky thumb, take a moment to ask, ‘Hey, inky thumb, what have you been up to?’