MEET | GREG WILSON

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We are extremely excited for this week’s spotlight. Greg is remarkably talented and also happens to be the first creative that reached out to us. Upon meeting him you can immediately tell that illustration is not only his passion but a lifestyle. As a devoted creative he is driven to express himself freely and constantly push his boundaries. After viewing Greg’s sketchbooks, you are instantaneously transported into a different world. We are glad that we can give you just a small glimpse into his everyday.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work.

I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, always making things. Much like other visual artists I drew often as a kid. A lot of video game characters and monsters were doodled on tests & homework assignments. This initial rebellious doodling was the starting point and it hasn’t stopped since. 

All of my work is centered around energetic line work and bold color. I achieve this with emphasis on the drawing and using simplified color so it doesn’t get to busy. My main goal is to have career fluidity with clients or where I work as a employee, but no matter how much my work changes it will always be energetic. It’s something that’s goes back to when I first started drawing and the first music that really changed my perspective on creativity. It's helped me form an aesthetic that can be prone to change. 

Walk us through a typical day in the life of Greg.

I have a very standard day to day, mainly because it helps me stay in a good workflow most of the time. Simplicity is key for me, it lets me fully explore ideas. I try to wake up early, like around 6 am to 7 am and kick off my day catching up on emails. As a freelancer a lot of time is put into reaching out to Art Directors and self-promotion, especially in the beginning. I try to finish the business side of things sometime before noon and then the real fun starts. From there on its client work and personal project until 8 pm or whenever it is done. At some point in my day I try to get outside & run, the refreshing change of pace (literally) can help me clear my head.

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Where do you find inspiration?

I find inspiration from all sorts of places. A lot of my aesthetic qualities go back to comedy and music. Specifically, punk rock, jazz, and other loud or raw types of music showed me it was okay to be weird and to express yourself even if you’re not initially great at it. You just have to put it out there and do it again and again. Comedy has also been a huge inspiration because it can deliver heavy & depressing topics or celebrate the weird positive things about life in a way that is unexpected. It can make you look at things differently and laugh at the overly serious parts of life. 

Right now I try to live a life worth commenting on. It can be difficult since 90% of my time is dedicated to building my career and creating the work I want to see in the world. I savor the little moments, like cooking. I love cooking, its been a nice creative outlet that lets me experiment and detach from visual art. Other little life moments for me are running / biking and just spending time with loved ones. 

How do you make time for creativity and collaboration?

I do it by living a fairly simple life that is all centered around creating work no matter what. I keep a tight schedule and sacrifice a lot of things to have creative time. To me these sacrifices are not going out a lot or wasting time online, so it is fairly easy. Living a creative lifestyle and working as a creative is my main priority right now. 

What tips would you give to anybody who is looking to get started?

No matter what you can't stop making and staying true to yourself. If no one is paying you don’t worry. Make the work you want to make and the money will follow. Listen to others criticism and embrace change.

Finally, seek out help. I wouldn’t have gotten to where I am without help from friends, pros and anyone who can. Making amazing work is difficult but if you have no outlets to show it to then making a living will be even harder. Networking is key.

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What keeps you motivated and making?

My motivation is knowing everyday I had the opportunity to make the best work I'm capable of and pushing myself. It also stems to the business side, today is the day I can reach out to ___ client or ___ company and get work. Maintaining optimism and confidence in myself is my motivation, I control where my career goes everyday by making good and bad choices. 

In this digital age there are no gatekeepers allowing or denying you a chance at a career. It might be tacky to say but what you achieve all depends on you.

If you weren’t doing this what else would you do?

I think I’d go into baking, or something in the culinary world.  Specifically owning a pastry shop with great coffee has always been fun to think about. 

How important is it for you to give back to the community?

I haven’t really had a chance yet but it’s a goal of mine! Spreading knowledge and helping others get a leg up in the creative world is more productive and ultimately helps grow the creative community. 

Photography by Mike Killion and Greg Wilson