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Regarding unemployment / Freelance *UPDATED*

Journal Entry: Fri Dec 14, 2012, 5:49 PM
From the polycount discussion over here: www.polycount.com/forum/showth…

I get the sense that some HR people (& immigration) look at 'not working inhouse' as being unemployed - mainly because it's so hard to prove exactly how long you were *actually* working on freelance.

If I was to look at it that way, then I've been unemployed for periods of up to 3 years.

Tangent:

I got over worrying about money and financial problems back when I had little to no money to worry about - and I think that's helped me to no end. Life seemed to be stuck on replay when I was in that frame of mind i.e. creating stuff because I HAD to get a job. Years would go by, and it never ever worked out for me, somehow I'd always end up in exactly the same place until I put in the time to find something I enjoyed, and simply worked at that no matter where it took me.

I have friends on my list who have been without a job or freelance work for ages, but they are also the same guys who don't have any online presence or if they do, its minimal at best, yet they can't seem to see why they can't get any work, and aren't willing to 'see' the problem.

I haven't had that feeling of having no work or no opportunities to pursue for such a long time now, from my perspective there are more opportunities now than there ever has been, EVER. So when I hear that times are tough out there and it's difficult to get a job, I actually read that as, this person can't see the real issue yet. (Don't hate me, it's not a personal attack - I mean it purely from the point of coming from exactly that position myself and working my way out of it)

I'm extremely grateful to be in this position, but I don't attribute it to luck. I attribute it to being honest with myself and recognition of the problem first and foremost and then the time I put in searching for something I enjoyed, and restructuring my life around that. Everything else fell into place after I made that critical choice and change in mindset to focus on what I enjoy most to make ( 3D girls ) rather than what I need to do to get work ( 3d everything else )
This didn't mean all I do is make girls, or the only jobs I took was if it was a girl model it just meant I slowly started to connect with people and companies and clients who enjoyed what I enjoyed. That's the critical difference as opposed to what I used to do which was I was putting out there what everyone else enjoyed at the time or whatever was called for at the time. Leaving NO ROOM for what I liked, no room for ME and my art. Subsequently connecting with people that were cool and all but never REALLY gelled with on that art level.

The problem for me with the 'I got laid off, so need to make art right now just to get by and get another job' is that it's a quick fix it doesn't solve the underlying issue which is that you'll need to keep doing this every time you get laid off, or lose your job etc. It makes periods of unemployment seem long and particularly laborious, because it's not fun. It's not fun because you probably aren't doing what you enjoy and your worried about your $$$$ going down the drain. Recognize that. Do something about it.

For the type of person I am, the quick fix route felt aimless yet I still did it. Even though I wasn't going anywhere, wasn't making my mark and just kept floating from project to project adding my one tiny brushstroke to a grand (or shitty) painting. Instead of being looked up and called upon for something that I enjoyed, I hoped something would come my way and begged to do whatever was necessary. Hoped and begged. Recognize that too. Do something about it.

I found myself bending to the whims of the industry, instead of shaping the industry around me. Sounds extremely self-absorbed but I don't mean it in that way - it's really difficult to describe but ultimately I guess it can be wrapped up in a phrase that goes something like 'Put out what you expect to get back'

Break the rules, bust out of the mold and go ' I am fucking doing this ' and I don't give a shit about anything else.

Build yourself a foundation for badassery: Be persistent and consistent. Pump out artwork that you like, because you like it not because other people do.

Depending on your personal situation you may have to save up enough to live for 6 months to 1 year in order to really get going so do whatever you need to do to get that cash. Dumb shitty jobs, whatever, but SAVE SAVE SAVE. When you finally do have that money, see it as an investment in you, set a time, and do it. Take 6 months or even 1 year and If you don't squander that time, and blast the world with YOUR art - you'll never be unemployed ever again...because you would have built something that you don't have right now.

A foundation for badassery that will carry you through when you're laid off.
You'll make new art friends, new clients, job offers / opportunities will seem to always be floating around somehow. Reach that next level & pull people/clients/companies that like what you like toward you, by making art that you love.

Take care of YOUR art, and it WILL take care of you :)

EDIT: Response to my post from fellow forum poster Jackablade:

How do you keep the moral fortitude to get to that position, Hazardous? It's tough to get past that feeling of utter futility of putting time and effort into game art in Australia.

Of the few large studios left, most are on the verge of shutting down and the remainder are run by people who should never have been given power or out and out criminals.

There are hundreds of tiny indi studios, especially in Melbourne, but few of them have any money, many are extremely inexperienced, and the majority have little interest in anything beyond pixel art.

The local industry is super saturated with artists and that situation is exacerbated every year when the local games colleges churn out another small army of graduates.

The carrot of going overseas exists, but, and perhaps this is where your experience differs from my own, without a bachelor's degree and perhaps some handy overseas relatives, you're chained to this barren dust bowl until you have ten years of experience.

It's not impossible to make a go of it here, but it's pretty tough not to become demoralised and then apathetic by the apparent futility of it all.

MY RESPONSE:

That's a damn good question man, I'm glad you asked. Despite us being horribly geographically challenged down here as far as the Games Industry goes in order to progress, I had to completely abolish that entire side of the equation from my mind. There were a couple of key factors to keep the fortitude buffed.

1) I turned inward, and made this a completely selfish vendetta - with no regard whatsoever to whether there would be any industry to support me, I just set out to get good at one little thing. If my end goal was to build a brick wall, I wanted to put in the time to get good at making bricks, I wanted to be the best at making bricks.

2) Through this my determination bled out and led me to meeting and connecting with a guy who personified the very meaning of persistence, and who probably doesn't realize just how much of a rock he has been to me ( Herman Ng or Openaneworld ) who has to be the most dedicated artist I've ever met / worked / lived with. He just never stops and I can't believe he ever will and that's why he's invincible. He didn't say much at all about this topic but I was able to see how he lived and his philosophy and approach towards what I saw as a big problem to me.

So with 1) I had a feeling I was on track, but when 2) came along I could see proof that this approach works. Both of those things are vital ingredients I think. Seeing proof that what you're doing is right when you have doubts is extremely reassuring, and can be that magical leg up when you need it most. That is often the time when lots of people fall into despair and give up.

I really wish I could be that person to shake them up right at the moment when they are about to give up. I would gladly do it, every single time. I hate seeing that bright flame in people extinguished by the dark side of reality you know, the what if's, the self-doubt etc. But because I don't live with the 'victims' like Herman did with me, all I can offer are words and put them out there in hope that they stir something and keep a potential victim afloat that one extra time needed to propel them forward.

Any time I felt doubt or that all of this was pointless, I just remembered how badly I wanted that magical immunity that Herman had. So I'd only need to look over and go... here is a guy that's doing it, there's your proof Troy, do you want to stay in that loop, or do you want to do what he's doing, and get out of it.

I had an extraordinary ability to spend hours and hours face-palming and wishing I could be as good as dudes like Pior, Renaud, Slipgate, Bobo, MM, Daz, Sze, Kolby, Soul and so many others at the time.

Being a daydreamer, a youtuber, or a forum junky when I was jobless and can't get any freelance work all of a suddenly became TOTALLY not okay with me.

Fast forward 6 or so years from that time and here I am, still trying to get better. Although I've buttoned off the pace considerably from those times, I'm still trying to improve and still pursuing what I enjoy.

I still get rejected from job offers, I still sometimes miss out on freelance that I would love - it's not all glorious. But it's definitely a massive improvement over where I used to be where there were no job offers and no opportunities to pursue at all. At least I know if I need cash to live I have options.

All throughout my career I've had consistent periods of non-inhouse employment ( ie time to fill with freelance ) use those times as best as you possibly can, and definitely when possible make time to express who you are, and what you like.


I would say even when working fulltime, just top up the tank every year by entering a comp, staying relevant, and letting people know you still exist and you can still do what you do.

This is ultimately about:

1) Realizing you do have the potential to be your own power source.
2) Converting yourself into your own power source.

So you can:

3) Stop relying on being forced to take any job, ie borrowing from other power sources because you have to.

With the ultimate goal of:

4) Getting more people who want to borrow some of YOUR power source because they want what you have.

I dont have a degree, and I dont have any relatives overseas apart from here and New Zealand - so the whole overseas thing definitely comes into play. If the opportunity comes up to travel - go ballsdeep man. Don't turn that opportunity down, its the best thing you could possibly do to expand and discover more out about what makes you tick.

  • Listening to: Silence
  • Playing: Assassins Creed 2
  • Drinking: Rice Milk
Add a Comment:
 
:iconjcnorn:
jcnorn Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
I'm so favouriting this! Whenever I feel that hopelessness creep up my spine I'm going to visit this over and over and over until I realize just how right you are :D So happy you put this down into words for us still struggling with the harshness of 'reality' <3
Reply
:iconhazardousarts:
HazardousArts Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013  Professional Artist
Haha thanks ! I hope its useful!
Reply
:iconizra:
IZRA Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
and at the perfect time, i learn i can favorite Journals.

thanks
Reply
:iconhazardousarts:
HazardousArts Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2013  Professional Artist
haha np~!
Reply
:iconkassarts:
kassarts Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012   Digital Artist
I am in complete agreement with this entry. Its like words given to my exact thoughts. I may be goin through a dry spell at the moment. however I see it as an opportunity to come back full force to the point that you cannot be ignored. The path of "no compromise" when it comes to specializing in what you love doing is indeed the path to happiness. :)

It does no good to blame one's environment for the lack of work of opportunities. I too believe in making one's own fortune in the industry through sheer will and hard work. Thank you for this. Its good to know that I am not the only soldier in the trenches.
Reply
:iconhazardousarts:
HazardousArts Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012  Professional Artist
Absolutely man, really glad there are other great artists like yourself who are likeminded!!! I doubt you will be without work for very long ;)
Reply
:iconvickgaza:
vickgaza Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2012  Student Digital Artist
This was an amazing read , thanks for taking the time to put this out man.
Soon I`ll have to get a job, finishing school this year and I`m all alone in the UK a continent away from any family and friends :D This just gives me hope, but also grounds me and makes me understand to be focused all the time :)

I think it's time to upload my deviantart, and start making some extra threads around the community and get my self out there even harder.

Thanks dude again and thanks for always replying to random stupid questions I asked you every now and then :)
Vick.
Reply
:iconhazardousarts:
HazardousArts Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2012  Professional Artist
hahah np man, happy to help :)
Reply
:iconhecthor:
Hecthor Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2012   Digital Artist
Look I know for a fact that those racist swedes are trying to hold me down but i keep getting paid freelance jobs anyway. And yeah my deviantart account is not all that as you are implying but so isn't either your hatsune miku renderings, outside of deviantart the industry standard is different.
Reply
:iconhazardousarts:
HazardousArts Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2012  Professional Artist
Lol okay :)
Reply
:iconselworks:
SelWorks Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Reading your journals sometimes is like reading my own thoughts pal. I've had to work for shitty companies for years, thinking in the money and my resume more than training my skills. Thinking that you are loosing your time in those companies and using your poor free time to improve my art to get better jobs was a huge depressing period of my life. Comparing youself with great artists everyday... this was killing me, thinking in giving up. Its a tough way indeed but all that you need is believe in you and lots of determination.Sometimes I am feeling far away from this world yet, with great artists above me, but I am not self-destroying me anymore cause I think I've made enough to know that I can be useful for this industry so I can't complain with my situation anymore. I am sure the next year will be even better. I don't know if to go overseas will be difficult but I will try to go to Canada next year, I am tired to be at home all day doing freelance stuff, will see. Thanks for all your inspirational stuff man :)
Reply
:iconhazardousarts:
HazardousArts Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2012  Professional Artist
You will man, I remember watching from when you first started to show your works around man, now you are way better artist than me. If you continue to promote your work around the place, everything will happen for you. Im certain of it - in fact i think its impossible for you to fail bro, just keep doing the things you like and you will end up wherever you want to work no question about it :)
Reply
:iconselworks:
SelWorks Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks pal for your kind words, I am proud to have a great artist like you giving me all this wisdom :D. I have a lot of artistic lacks yet, and always will . You are more complete as an artist than me no question about that, your portfolio is and will be astonishing. Cheers man!
Reply
:iconhazardousarts:
HazardousArts Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2012  Professional Artist
Thanks man appreciate the kind words!!
Reply
:iconbretmcnee:
bretmcnee Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Hey man. I have been out of work for 3 months now... Was in the industry for awhile but got canned when we released our game... I started some projects that I felt would be "industry standard" (sci fi soldiers and shit)... But I don't enjoy making them at all. I read this post and said... Fuck yeah, this guy is right.

So I stopped those boring projects and started on some shit I truly enjoy. I wanted to thank you for your insight and I figure if the craft and love is behind a project because it genuinely enjoyed and inspired... Employers will see that skill and it will shine through. That same love can be applied to a job down the road.

Anyways, I guess I wanted to thank you for the post. It was kind of a "pep talk" for me. So hopefully I can just do what I love and find a job again. :)
Reply
:iconhazardousarts:
HazardousArts Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2012  Professional Artist
Absolutely man your taking the right step, by the sounds of it you already know its the right choice - you can just feel that it is when your working on stuff that you enjoy :) Its really a different feeling, the results are usually better, you have a better time making them, and you attract like minded people. Its super important to recognise that in yourself I think - I kick myself so hard for all the years I ignored that little artist within - for the sake of employment.

Anyway man, you wont catch me saying ' good luck ' or some shit like that to wish you on your journey - just keep doing what your doing and the world will ensure you get to where you want to go as long as you make what you want to make.
Reply
:iconglowandstar:
Glowandstar Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2012  Professional Artist
i come in on DA every week or so to clean my msgs, and i could never remove yours before i read it entirely due to how interesting it is haha
wait...that makes me stalker..crap.
Reply
:iconhazardousarts:
HazardousArts Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2012  Professional Artist
stalker!!!!!!!!! :P
Reply
:iconglowandstar:
Glowandstar Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2012  Professional Artist
shussshh!>.<
Reply
:iconsefice:
Sefice Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Wonderful insight! I'm a student and reading this makes things much more clearer for me in the future!
Reply
:iconcwebowen:
Cwebowen Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2012
You really don't know how much I needed this man. Thank you and good fortune to you for being such an inspiration.
Reply
:iconhazardousarts:
HazardousArts Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2012  Professional Artist
Your welcome :)
Reply
:iconiggy-design:
Iggy-design Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2012  Professional General Artist
Epic! :D
Reply
:iconhel-su:
Hel-su Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Fuck.yeah. Thanks for the awesome words. I recognized myself in some of what you said, really pumped my flame :p
Reply
:iconhazardousarts:
HazardousArts Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2012  Professional Artist
thanks man glad it ignited something!!
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:iconhel-su:
Hel-su Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
yeah, everytime you write some articles like that it's just a giant, needed kick in the butt. And for those words, seriously, thanks!
Reply
:iconskyknightb:
Skyknightb Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2012  Professional Filmographer
Thanks a lot for the speech sensei :D
Reply
:iconhazardousarts:
HazardousArts Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2012  Professional Artist
hahah np!
Reply
:iconmyselfsama:
Myselfsama Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Just wanted to say thanks for writing this. I know from time to time you get negative feedback, but heres some positive one to cancel it out and keep you doing this stuff :)
Reply
:iconhazardousarts:
HazardousArts Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2012  Professional Artist
Thanks :)
Reply
:iconzaphk:
Zaphk Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2012   Digital Artist
In my country the game industry situation is very similar to Jackablade's country (plus, a big part of the studios only want "happy farm style" games haha). I decided to quit my last job because I don't want to spend my life doing this kind of work anymore, it's not what I love to do. I'm still trying to "get there" and be a great artist, but sometimes I'm scared that I may fail and don't be able to work on the places I want, or get cool freelance work, or have enough money to live. >__<
But I guess it's better to try my best and do everything I can now, than regret later, right? =p
Thanks for your journal, I'm more motivated now! ♥
Reply
:iconhazardousarts:
HazardousArts Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2012  Professional Artist
Your artwork is fantastic! Im curious to know more about what you dont like about it, or what style you would rather be doing etc - care to share, i definitely want to listen - you can note me or write it here if you like??
Reply
:iconlesage:
LeSage Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2012  Student General Artist
You're always inspiring me Hazardous. With your work and your words. Not everyone would be willing to take a few minutes out of their day just to write something like this to help others who are struggling out there, myself being one of them. So thank you very much for all you do, it is greatly appreciated. ^_^
Reply
:iconhazardousarts:
HazardousArts Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2012  Professional Artist
Np thanks for reading, i hope you can get something out of it :)
Reply
:iconlesage:
LeSage Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2012  Student General Artist
I will definitely try to do better!
Reply
:iconizz-noxfox:
Izz-noxfox Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2012  Professional General Artist
I would say that here in Belgium it's extremely hard to get employed because the financial crisis is hitting hard and quite some companies are just trying to survive. Personally I'm thus going for odd jobs and working on personal projects until I can afford to publish my works or try to get hired. There are way too many CG artists in the world... And when you're trying to get hired as junior creative it's quite hard to prove you have the skills, that all you need is a chance.
But for sure, complaining is never the solution, when you really want something, you must do what you must to get it. I've considered that if I don't get a fucking odd job soon I could give a try to prostitution, quite well paid for half an hour of work, that would save a lot of time to work on what I like.
Reply
:iconhecthor:
Hecthor Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2012   Digital Artist
As long as you don't live in a racist cu*t country like Sweden where they only give chances to their native born guys. It's unfair because i am way more artistic and technically skilled than the average swede, just I'm not blonde and blue eyed and they prefer their own race, which is a fact they often try to cover up.
Reply
:iconhazardousarts:
HazardousArts Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2012  Professional Artist
You may take this the wrong way, but I hope you dont, you said you are way more artistically skilled than the average swede, well i know quite a few swedes ( this industry is extremely small) and their folios look much better than yours ( at least whats on show here in deviant art ) by a long long way. So I think maybe you have a slightly distorted view on where you are at skill level wise? Im not denying what you said about racism though, i couldnt say as ive never worked in sweden.
Reply
:iconhecthor:
Hecthor Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2012   Digital Artist
I said I can carry my own weight in terms of making an artistic project a success and not referring to deviantart rankings. Atleast you won't sugarcoat it that racism don't exist cause Ive experienced alot of times here in Sweden. And that makes me angry cause i know i could have a better career thank i currently have.
Reply
:iconangelxstrider:
AngelXStrider Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2012   Filmographer
your words spoke a lot of truth with me. Thanks for the inspiration and motivation.
Reply
:iconhazardousarts:
HazardousArts Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2012  Professional Artist
np - glad its useful :)
Reply
:icondarkmag07:
darkmag07 Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2012  Professional Artist
Thanks for the pep talk, I'll have to keep this page bookmarked for when I'm feeling down. As a college student that is about to graduate in the spring, this was just what I needed since I was feeling apprehensive about begging to apply for jobs with so many arguably more talented people out there.
Reply
:iconhyamei:
hyamei Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2012
it's always an enjoyable to read things like this. I wish DA journals could actually have more insightful journals around.

I'm currently working right now as an artist in a studio. (which I'm pretty happy atm) but of course, I know I should always be ready for sudden changes in life.

back then when I first started, I always felt this pressure that I had to change the way I draw, I focused alot on trying to draw these concept "epic" backgrounds
or these badass video game character concepts just try to be in par with the "game industry standard". I gave up easily and was frustrated to no end. the fulfilling
feeling was pretty short term as well.

so this past year I actually tried to be honest with myself. Focusing on the things I love to draw really made me more positive and a bit more progressive than before.
it felt more enjoyable going back to the basics (realism and such) this way. :)

I sort of wish I had your confidence with regards to establish an online presence though! I always wanted to sign up to more professional sites like CGhub/good forums
or even create my own FB page. but I'm pretty afraid because I still can't shake off the feeling that I don't feel good enough :doh:
Reply
:iconlordwafik:
Lordwafik Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
" I focused alot on trying to draw these concept "epic" backgrounds
or these badass video game character concepts just try to be in par with the "game industry standard". I gave up easily and was frustrated to no end. the fulfilling
feeling was pretty short term as well. "

That's how I feel now! I should really try to be honest with myself and draw what I want, not what I expect other people to want. Thanks for this comment, it's opened up some nice insight into myself :)
Reply
:iconhyamei:
hyamei Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013
oh I wasn't expecting this but I'm glad it helped! :)
Reply
:iconhazardousarts:
HazardousArts Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2012  Professional Artist
You will never be good enough, thats the problem. If you delay because you feel not quite there, you will continue to delay even when you get better. Just start now, and accept the punishment, or little recognition. And keep them ticking over just to make it known you exist :)
Reply
:iconshinnwar:
Shinnwar Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2012
Love this dude. As always well put together and spot on.
Reply
:iconhazardousarts:
HazardousArts Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2012  Professional Artist
thanks man!
Reply
:iconshinnwar:
Shinnwar Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2012
No prob's
Reply
:iconalaztheri:
alaztheri Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2012   Digital Artist
This, right here, is golden!
I should print this out and stick it in front of my desk with a big sign of "Just do what you like!"....
I'm going through some hard times at the moment, dealing with wrong choice of career based on family demands, and having to pursue that career, again, due to family demands...it's still an art-related career, but fashion just isn't my thing. Although it's something that can be fixed by talking to them, it will probably end up with severed ties between me and my parents, who I respect and don't want to hurt, but I also don't want to do something that i don't like. I think I'm just chicken and I am afraid to talk....and reading this got my hopes a bit high again. Thank you for sharing it with everyone, it was one of those brick-to-head that I needed.....
Reply
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