There's a saying - "Do the work you want to be hired for."
Which means, if you want people to pay you for a certain type of work, you need to have a portfolio showing that you are experienced with that type of work. For example, if an illustrator wants to be hired for designing beer and wine labels, they might do a passion project designing labels for an imaginary brewery.
I've been wanting to break into murals - but I've never painted one before! How can I convince someone to hire me without any examples of my work? To gain this experience, I reached out in a Facebook group for local business owners. I offered to paint a mural for FREE, basically in exchange for the learning experience.
There were some stipulations of course! I asked to have complete artistic freedom over the design - afterall the whole point was to build my portfolio. I also required they commit to keeping the mural intact for at least a year, and promote me in some way in their business - like a little blurb on their website, keeping a stock of my business cards, or talking about me to their customers.
Several people were interested, so I had a choice of who I wanted to work with. It's important to me to use my artistic skills to give back to the community in some way, so I ended up choosing Sarah, the owner of The Scrappy Elephant, for this project. The concept behind Scrappy Elephant is for the community to have a place to donate unwanted craft supplies - thus saving these items from going to the landfill. Then, people can either shop by filling a bag and paying based on size, or they can use the back room to stay and make art projects. How fun is that?
It ended up being a great match between two color lovers! If you haven't seen it yet, you can check out the time-lapse on my Instagram. The only hiccup that I ran into was the purple paint. We agreed to use some paint samples I had on hand from a previous project, but the purple ended up being too old and goopy to use. I revisited the mural about a week later to add the purple stripe. I'm really excited about how it turned out!
Sarah was great to work with because she trusted me with the design. I showed her a few inspiration pics so we could decide on a rough idea of the concept. It was important for her to have the elephant logo (Scrappy) incorporated into the design, and I came up with the idea of having the rainbow swoop out of Scrappy's paintbrush. We also talked about the mural serving as an "instagram wall" - Sarah likes to take pictures of her customers with their finished projects for her Instagram, and the rainbow provides a colorful backdrop for these photos.
If you're local, definitely check out The Scrappy Elephant in person, there's a lot of cool stuff and the hunt is part of the fun!
This was the sketch I created for the project using the app Procreate. My digital skills aren't quite up to snuff, but it was important for me to provide a rough mockup of the design concept.
If there's a project you want to tackle, how can you think creatively to create that opportunity for yourself?