Space For Arts is proud to recognize and collaborate with an organization that provides another resource for creatives to achieve utmost efficiency and success. The Art of Freelance has been running for four years in various forms, under the leadership of Mathieu Young, CEO & Founder. A creative freelancer for 15 years, Mathieu is grateful for a career that has allowed for dream chasing and working on projects he loves with the support of a great team. But, he admits it was a slow build with many small steps forward including a goal-setting strategy that optimized breaking down individual components and self-created sense of accountability. Yet, many of his friends were struggling with accomplishing the same tasks.
Mathieu explains, “Creative freelancers are not always attuned to the disciplines of creating deadlines, structure, and accountability. So, we wanted a way to create a framework to help them with the challenging aspects you’d find in a traditional job.”
Without the bosses, schedules, or regulations of traditional employment, creative freelancers can miss out on skills of self-accountability and being more responsible in their routines, something Mathieu wished to support.
“It’s the less shiny aspects of creating,” he says with a laugh, “While there is plenty of inspirational messaging on finding your voice and creating work all the time – which don’t get me wrong is excellent and we need – it needs a foundation.”
So the Art of Freelance team developed a curriculum that merged what works for creative freelancers and adult learning theory. Their results: a ten week course that provides structure and exercises for people to think big, visualize, and break down their goals into actions. Enrolled creative freelancers pick a project to execute during the course, meeting every week with their cohort and holding each other accountable to accomplishing their goals.
“We found something that helps creatives with the hard part – not having ideas, but executing them and making them come to fruition. Accountability is a learned skill – the ability to execute on projects consistently.”
In addition to the course, the Art of Freelance hosts a showcase of its students’ work, highlighting their accomplishments and completed projects. The Art of Freelance showcase began nearly accidentally after the initial iteration of the course was coming to a close. The Art of Freelance team hadn’t planned anything, but decided they wanted to throw a party, especially considering the creatives enrolled had developed work they were incredibly proud of. It was more than a graduation from a course – a celebration of people’s extraordinary work being shared with an audience. Since then, the showcase has transformed from what Mathieu described as “100 of us giving each other a pat on the back” to an event hosting nearly 300 people supporting the endeavors and accomplishments of creative freelancers.
“The showcase provides a deadline, but is also a real celebration of people getting this hard work done.”
Previously, every individual enrolled had a chance to show their work at the showcase, but with eight cohorts, it became too many to jam into one event. This year’s showcase is an innovated twist, a curated presentation of ten standout pieces of work from across a variety of disciplines. All students, however, will still get a chance to highlight their work from the past 10 weeks as Art of Freelance is hosting four nights of gallery style presentations at their studio. This year’s curated showcase features ten extraordinary projects from the current cohort, which has been a “collaborative, innovative, and supportive 10 weeks.”
Through word of mouth by way of New York, Mathieu and his team heard about Space for Arts and reached out for help identifying a studio space for their showcase. Given the new twist on the showcase, it was a perfect opportunity for us to collaborate. SFA will be sponsoring the studio where the showcase will happen. Besides being an opportunity for those enrolled to present their accomplishments, the showcase is a chance for all creatives to come together to network, learn, and be inspired.
“10 weeks is a blink of an eye and while creatives are good at talking a big game, here are ten examples of people actually getting it done,” Mathieu says of the event, which also helps creative freelancers focus on their own goals and what they can accomplish.
“If you’re not getting hired for the project you wish you were doing, you have to hire yourself and be your own client. Give yourself a budget, timeline, milestones.” And if they are unsure of how to do that, the event is a great introduction to the Art of Freelance course and the successes it can guide people toward.
The showcase additionally builds community among creatives; due to the solitary nature of their career, creative freelancers face isolation working as a lone wolf. The showcase provides the opportunity for people to meet and for disciplines and ideas to cross pollinate.
“LA is a land of ambition and dreams and hustle. People come to LA to make it happen, to make dreams come true whether it is in the music industry, in entertainment, in advertisement, in photography. It’s a place where it is not uncommon to be driving down the street and see three different projects being created, whether it’s a photoshoot, a movie, or a mural. LA is a land of people striving to create.”
Yet the spread out, traffic-filled city hampers the ability of these creative, ambitious people to get together despite intention. Art of Freelance tries to act as that bridge for creatives to access their communities through celebration and communication. With an audience that represents a myriad of industries, it is also a chance to network and for new projects, creatives, and voices to be discovered.
As to hints for what to expect from this year’s showcase, Mathieu didn’t shy away from detail.
“It will be a really nice night with impactful, important, timely works that touch upon immigration and the #MeToo movement. There’s also fun, weird, interesting work that’s been created and is lighter in nature. There’s products that have been designed (and that are for sale) which are tactical and practical. There’s touching stuff – a children’s song and book- and beautiful dance projects. It will be an eclectic evening that people will walk away inspired with a smile on their face and reminded of the important issues being faced. And it’s also a reminder that creativity is one of the answers to how we get through tough times. Creative freelancers have a real place in the conversation about how do we make the world a better place and ensure a brighter future.”