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    Five tips on working from home

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    By Jes Egan 

    Working from home seems like a great idea in theory. Ever tried it? All of a sudden you look at the clock and it’s 3pm, you’re still in your PJ’s and you’ve not actually done anything that actually classifies as work. Here are a few of my tips to get you started working from home.

    Shower

    Shower, get dressed and get ready for work. It may be a bonus working from home that you don’t need to make the effort as you’re not leaving the house. Think again: if you take advantage of this it can keep you in the wrong mindset. You want to try and position yourself that you are actually at work. Don’t get me wrong, you don’t need to have your face made up or your good clothes on, but set your day up like you are going into work. Start in your normal routine, shower, get dressed, have breakfast and your morning coffee. Then take a seat and get ready to work.

    Sit down

    You need a place to work – seems obvious, right? It is, but allocating a specified space for you to sit down and work can help to make you focussed and keep you in the right mindset. While you are in that space, focus on making it where you do your work. If you have a separate office or desk that is great, however not everyone will have this option in the house, so making do with a kitchen table or the couch are often the compromise that needs to be made. If you can try and have one space that you do your work, instead of moving around from seat to seat, this will help you train yourself that when in this space it is work time. You need to be comfortable so pick a seat that you are comfortable in. You don’t want to keep getting up (and getting distracted) but don’t get too comfortable, otherwise you may be like me and be tempted to have a little nap on the couch.

    Time

    Do your best work in the morning? Or not quite a morning person? Part of the bonus of working from home is picking your hours. Ideally if you can set work hours, give yourself a certain amount of time to do what you need to. It can easily be the case that you’ll still be working long after you planned to stop because you haven’t had to leave the ‘office’ to get dinner etc. Having a work / life balance is desired, however this is a difficult balance to find when your work and life are in the same place. I find setting hours that you are going to be doing what you need can help with this as it can make you focus on completing the job and hopefully stop you from getting too distracted.

    Lists

    Being a huge fan of lists I can’t recommend this more. I write at least one a day. When working from home set yourself a list of tasks to do in the time frame you have set. This can help set a focus for the day and stops you from finding something else to do when you get up to get a coffee. It also stops you from looking at the clock at 6pm then realising that you haven’t really achieved what you wanted throughout the day and wondering where the day went. Put the items that you least want to do at the top of that list, tick them off first so it’s not as tempting to procrastinate. If there is one large task for the day, break it down into smaller tasks in the order that you need to do them and work through them systematically. Tick the items on your list off as you go so you can see how you are progressing.

    Minimise the distractions

    Distractions can be one of the hardest things to mitigate. Do you know what you get most easily distracted by? If you’re on the computer, is it surfing the internet or email? Close all of your browser windows and only have visible the page / program that you need to work in. Same goes with your phone. Put it just out of reach, so if a call comes through you can hear it but you’re not tempted to pick it up to check Instagram or to send a message. Any other things that easily distract you, try and keep them out of your line of sight or hearing range where you can.

    Jes is a ‘practical creative’ and a very busy lady, doing the business in a digital agency, being an artist, a university lecturer, and small business owner who can creatively be found cutting up a storm at paperchap.com. Follow Jes on Instagram and Facebook.


    Posted by: Emma Clark
    Categories: Regular Columns | Comments Off
    Posted on

    Painting your first mural

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    By Júlia Palazzo

    Melbourne has a thriving culture of art on walls.  Just last weekend, streets on the CBD were taken over by hundreds of graffiti writers and street artists decorating dozens of walls and laneways for the Meeting of Styles festival. Many other capital cities in Australia are also being enlivened by similar events. As the general population and councils all over the country are starting to embrace and support street art and graffiti, there has been a growing interest in commissioning artists to create murals in facades and interiors.

    Murals are also an incredibly effective way for emerging artists to promote their work and create new opportunities for themselves. However, I often hear from visual artists that creating in such a large scale, often in public, seems really daunting. Painting walls is very different from creating a piece of art in your studio. They bring unique challenges that need to be managed well. However if you are a painter or illustrator, you already have most of the skills that’ll help you do so, and following these tips will help your first experiences run smoothly.

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    Get familiar with the wall and its surroundings


    If possible visit the wall you’ll paint in person before you paint it. Site visits will reveal unforeseen challenges and help you plan how to approach the project. It will also help you understand how the public will interact with your mural piece. If you cannot see the wall in person, try to get someone to send you plenty of photos of the surrounding, or even take a video.

    Sketch before you paint

    A detailed sketch will save you a lot of time on the painting day and help you make good design decisions. It will help you plan your timeline, what materials you’ll need, and get feedback from your client if it is a commission. Transferring the sketch to the wall can be challenging if you are not used to the scale, but it will get easier with practice. When painting the sketch, remember to regularly stand back and check if things are in the right proportion.

    Choose the right paint for you

    Pick materials that are durable and suit your artistic style, your level of skill and the surface you are painting on. Look beyond the art shop: hardware stores or graffiti shops offer great options. The artist I work with uses spray paint. Spray paint can quickly be applied to most surfaces and creates very beautiful effects, so it is no surprise that it is adopted by a lot of mural artists. However it takes a lot of practice to create good results and you need to plan your colour palette carefully as it’ll be impossible to mix the colours on site. Also, it can be expensive, and getting a cheap brand will sacrifice the durability of your art since the lower end products fade quickly. The paint fumes are strong, so you’ll need to wear a respirator to protect your lungs.
 I personally use outdoor, UV resistant acrylic paint I get from a hardware store. Although it is not as fast to apply as spray paint, it is a lot cheaper, easy to mix colours and a lot more suitable to my personal style, as well as removing the issue with fumes. I suggest you try a few different things and practice getting good at whatever is more suitable for your art.

    Prepare to stress out

    Your mural art will usually be on display for a lot of people while you are painting it, as well as for a long time after you finish it. People will watch as you go through your process and make mistakes, and it’ll be hard to hide the result if you are not satisfied with it. It is no surprise then that most of the mural artists I know to go through a lot of stressful emotional experiences when they’re painting. If you are working on a mural and you start feeling embarrassed or ashamed of what you are doing, take a deep breath, and remember that you might just be experiencing a very normal “wall-low”. If you are truly concerned about your piece, ask for the opinion of someone you trust, as the stress can skew your judgement and make things seem worst than they are. Plan ways to manage your emotions while you are painting, and maybe even go home and get back into it after a good night of sleep.

    Manage your interaction with the public

    Meeting new people is one of the highlights of painting in public spaces. You will meet many people that will stop by and tell you how beautiful your work is. You will meet people that are curious and full of admiration, and sometimes people that can help you in your career. However, you will inevitably have negative experiences as well. You will meet people that do not like your work and are very vocal about it, or that think you are a vandal because you are painting a wall. At the end of a full day of painting, all the different interactions can be very draining and leave you feeling demotivated, as well as stopping you from focussing and making progress. It is important to make the community that will interact with your art to feel engaged and excited, but that does not mean that you must spend all day talking to people. Be friendly and approachable, but do not hesitate to politely tell people that you need to keep painting. Do not give negative people your time or attention. If you are painting in an area that is a bit deserted or feels unsafe, it is a good idea to have friends keep you company during the day.

    Get help

    Murals can take a long time, and are usually much easier (and fun) if you have help, so don’t be shy to ask to collaborate with other artists or get a helping hand from your friends.

     

    Image source: Maribyrnong City Council / Photographer: Brent Edwards

    Júlia Palazzo is a visual artist from Brazil. Since moving to Melbourne in 2013 she has been running a partnership, Mayfield Palace, creating mural art for businesses and organisations all over Australia. She shares her art daily on Instagram: @julia.palazzo

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    Posted by: Emma Clark
    Categories: Advice and Tips | Comments Off