Empire at Home: Flavorinnovator

We introduced to you our Empire at Home series a couple of weeks ago with OpenDaily (read here). Before getting into our next feature, we want to share with you that yes! There is more than one way to push through right now. Different creatives got different ways of coping and putting in work. What remains the same is the drive and determination to make Shelter in Place work for them rather than against.


We're writing up this series to give you ideas on how you, too, can keep building your Empire in the Air.


Up next is Steven Ha aka Flavorinnovator, a graphic designer and one of the muralists behind Illuminaries.

From imaginative (and animated?!) logo design...

... to painting big-ass murals with his crew Illuminaries...


Steven Ha is an artist whose work spans from digital screens to city streets. A graphic designer, a graffiti artist, a dad -- all these things make him Flavorinnovator.


While his graphic-design side is able to complete projects at home, how does a muralist-- someone who is accustomed to painting walls and full-sized basketball courts-- exercise his creativity with Shelter in Place?


For one, he credits his kids.


Working from home isn't new for Steve. What's new is working from home with two kids home all day. Considering all the articles out about parents' stresses with balancing their full-time jobs and home-schooling, I admit I assumed this meant additional stresses for him too. Instead, he said that this new flow is the opposite for him.

Steve's youngest, Quinn, saying hi!

Because he does different art activities with them and draws with them, he engages with their own creativity and affirms:

that’s my creativity too.

His kids even have their own art stations: one for drawing and another for spray-painting. Perfect set-ups for prodigies in the making, am I right?

Having designated space at home for art is not only beneficial for the kiddies but it is for Steve and his own practice. Creating that designated space, he explained, is an important step for creatives being introduced to WFH-life. He added that it doesn't have to be an entirely new room-- it can simply be a corner of a room. What matters is that you set up your workspace that allows you to "really dive into it and focus."


And after you got your set-up down, you've got to:

make opportunities for creativity to be present.

Especially with us undergoing a pandemic, Steve acknowledges that anxieties will arise in the creative process. Are we productive enough? Can I hit this deadline? Etc. While his kids keep the spark in his creativity, he attributes breathing and sprints to clearing away those anxieties to then -- I'll say it again-- make opportunities for creativity to be present.


Okay. What exactly do we mean by breathing?


Steve and his wife began using the Wim Hof breathing method to address their own anxieties. Wim Hof-- an extreme athlete who has famously climbed Mount Everest with nothing but shorts and shoes-- has developed a meditative breathing method meant to ground you and release energy. (Link here for more info) In these trying times, he recommends others try it out as many of us face anxiety due to COVID. In with the good vibes *breathe in*, out with the bad *breath out.*

Now for the sprints.


Steve said another way to make room for your work is to break down your project into small steps and tackle it with sprints of productivity.


"Let’s say you wanna sketch something cus you gotta final project to do," he explained, "Draw a little bit everyday. As long as you can chip away at it, you’ll keep making progress."


And within those small steps, take it at small intervals. For example, he laughingly admitted that the Illuminaries crew messes around for the most part when painting together. That's because they'll do "20-40 minute sprints for getting shit done" with small breaks between. And coinciding with each interval is a checklist of what they need to do.


Approaching your work little steps at a time and bits of time at a time helps ease the pressure. If Illuminaries can breakdown steps for a project like this, so can you with your own projects:


Lastly, while creating is productive for creatives, Steve emphasized that we should use this time to reflect.


FlavorInnovator challenges you to look at yourself as a business, recognize your strengths and weaknesses, and ask yourself: How can I build from this? How can I capitalize on this?


Use that reflection to further fine-tune your portfolio to present, build your clientele, and overall, develop the direction you want to take your work. Reflection is an investment for the long-run.

Check out his work here:

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