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Pivoting isn’t failure
Creative Block → 021
Creative Block is a weekly newsletter that gives you a glimpse into my life, creativity, design, and music. It's like a little pick-me-up that you get delivered straight to your inbox each week.
Back in 2016, after five years of focusing on portrait photography, a strong urge began to stir within me. I wanted to pivot, to infuse the world of photography with the art of design. Yet, I was engulfed in fear. Voices around me repeated the same mantra: "Temi, you have to choose. You can't blend photography and design. It's a risk you can't afford to take." I had heard variations of this caution from people since I embarked on my photographic journey in 2011. For five years, I clung to these words, paralyzed by the thought of transitioning from purely photography to the fusion of photography and design.
This pivot was an immense challenge for me because I had become known for my skill in capturing portraits, weddings, headshots, graduations, and events. My Instagram feed showcased a symphony of these works. However, I recognized that shifting my focus to merge photography and design could lead to a wave of unfollows and potential loss of business and momentum. I was about to reshape my artistic identity, and the unknown was both exhilarating and terrifying.
I was about to reshape my artistic identity, and the unknown was both exhilarating and terrifying.
I embarked on this new chapter, crafting posters in Photoshop that masterfully blended images with design elements. I started this “A Poster A Day” Series inspired by my friend Magdiel Lopez (who I still pester with questions to this day – thanks, Magdiel!). The progress was slow, but the transformation was real. The goal was to get as good in design as I was in Photography. I also credit this pivotal moment to another friend named Phillip Edsel who told me he felt my work would thrive even more if merged it with design.
In 2018, an unexpected twist awaited me. I applied for the Adobe Creative Residency program, pitching my photography. However, Adobe noticed my "A POSTER A DAY" series, a fusion of photo and design, and their response was a turning point. Their interest fueled my determination, validating the two years of transition and the fusion I had embarked on. Since then, my journey has been marked by pivotal moments where my focus has shifted.
Pivoting isn't synonymous with failure. It might feel that way because we mourn what we're leaving behind. I know some people who have opted to transition from freelancing to full-time employment. This choice doesn't diminish their success in any way. In fact, they had dedicated over 8 years to freelancing before making the shift to a stable 9-5 job with a reliable paycheck. Although this shift did entail a reduction in income, the newfound contentment outweighs their earlier experiences as freelancers.
Right now, I'm transitioning from dedicating myself to mastering Cinema4D (a 3d software), a journey spanning two years. The thought of canceling is intimidating. The subscription fee is a thread of hope, a promise that maybe I'll reclaim the enthusiasm for mastering this software. Yet, as I look back, it's been five long months since I last engaged with it. Perhaps it's time to bid farewell. I'll admit it – ending it feels like a personal defeat.
I share this with you as a reminder and encouragement. When you pivot, when you shift your focus from what you once did, it's natural to feel a sadness and uncertainty. After all, you're bidding farewell to a chapter — and old friend. Keep moving forward, because on the other side of change, joy awaits. And if failure comes knocking, remember that failing forward is the true victory. This newsletter is my letter to you as much as it is a pep talk for myself.
With gratitude for your journey and mine,
→Artist to know
Andrew Hudson | I love his approach to design and he also does animation!
Laci Jordan | Her work & Her Aura is so contagious! She’s an amazing designer and someone that is unapologetic about her blackness and it shows in her work.
Lucas Wakamatsu | His understanding for color, shape and simplicity is amazing and I also love how he adds his heritage into his work!
→Quote of the week
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