#LifeStartCareerChats: An afternoon with artist Helen Johannessen

DRAW IT, WRITE IT, CREATE IT!

If you don’t like when other people tell you what or even how to do things, you might want to become a freelancer one day. It’s the sort of career where you are completely in charge. As a freelancer you decide how you spend your time.

With relaxing piano, playing in the background, LifeStart hosted the first CareerChat of the month at Fortnum and Mason in Piccadilly, London. Ceramic artist Helen Johannessen joined LifeStart members who were lucky to get a spot at the table by registering for the event via Eventbrite. Everyone, our guests and followers on Instagram, were able to ask questions related to her career and her experiences working as a professional artist.

Helen started off her career as a mould and model maker placing her designs with retailers such as Marks & Spencer and countless UK museums. After over 15 years as a freelance crafter, she decided to go back to uni and study fine arts ceramics, graduating from the Royal College of Arts last year.

Helen was kind enough to share her insights on freelancing with us, which is what we wanted to share with everyone who wasn’t able to participate;

Whether you aspire to be a freelancer or not, Helen says you must envision your future. You should write a list of what you imagine yourself doing in your life.

“Draw it, write it, create it.”

Once you have an image, work back from that point. If you want to spend your days on a desert island, what steps do you have to do to get there?

Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want, whether that’s telling someone that you want to work with them, or even one day have their job; by communicating what you want to do means that people will be able to help you get there.

Helen only got her first job because she walked up to someone she knew has a ceramic studio and told them that if they were looking for someone to help them make moulds, she was their person. They were so impressed with her boldness and hired Helen!

After 1.5 years she decided to move on to a role with a prop making team for film before one day going freelance.

You might still be reading this post because you’re wondering what it actually means to be a freelancer. We were curious as well. Talking to Helen, we learned that..

  • Freelancers are some of the hardest working people.
  • As a freelancer, you have to be open to change, having a flexible diary means that you can accept the weird and wonderful jobs. (Flying off to America for a job at short notice for example)
  • You have to be disciplined, you create your work – but also decide when to take a holiday!
  • It’s important to be realistic; whether that’s learning how to do your own taxes or having various parallel projects that you are working on – you’ll be helping yourself in the long run.

If you’d like to join a LifeStart Career Chat, please visit our Eventbrite Page and register for a slot or join the waitlist.

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