We had the good fortune of connecting with Brynn Metheney and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brynn, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
When I started out as a young illustrator, I worked constantly. I had it in my mind that in order to get work I needed to be working every hour of every day. As time went one, I became more and more burnt out and would have trouble with making work at all. I noticed that my mood was terrible and I wasn’t getting rest that I needed to recharge. Little by little I started to integrate other things into my life besides work like hobbies and interests. There’s this thing that happens when you make your hobby your career, you begin to treat your free time as work time and you forget to do things purely for joy and not for profit. I found other hobbies like cooking, camping, hiking and sculpting. I found that the moments in all of these hobbies fueled my ideas and inspiration to make new work. It’s really important to set up boundaries so you get that balance. To anyone who’s struggling, I recommend starting with eating your meals away from your workspace. Make sure you tae a break to enjoy your meal and maybe read a book, watch an episode of something. Small steps add up and soon you’ll have more balance in your life, even if it’s just small moments throughout your day. It’s still a thing I’m practicing and working on. Being self employed, working from home and making your hobby your job can allow for it to creep into every waking moment of your life.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I work in film, games, animation and publishing as a creature designer and world builder! I am proud of the fact that I’ve been able to work on things I really care about and am excited for. I enjoy making art and am endlessly fascinated with animals. Working as a creature designer, I’m able to marry those two interests into a really fun and dynamic career. There are countless ways to enter into this field. I knew I wanted to be involved with entertainment from a young age. I grew up watching a lot of animations and movies and I went through a lot of interests; puppeteering, animation and concept art. I loved animals growing up. I drew them constantly and was always reading and watching everything I could about them. I was obsessed with how they moved around and evolved. In college, I really found my voice as a concept artist through my mentors. They really encouraged me to bring natural history and science into my design. From there I worked on small jobs and with independent publishers, taking any paying opportunities that I could. Over time, I built up a client list and would knock one of the list. It’s been sort of a long game/snowball effect where over time I’ve cultivated relationships and contacts that send me work. I’ve learned that it’s important to be friendly and a hard worker. Cultivate genuine relationships with other colleagues and help boost others who may be overlooked at first.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
It’s been so long since I’ve been out in LA because of Covid but some favorite places would be: Sawtelle Blvd. over near Olympic. That street has an amazing collection of Japanese restaurants that are all unique and delicious. I love hiking so I’d take folks to Vasquez Rocks. Not in LA proper but only a 40 minute drive on a good day. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d like to be sappy and thank my husband, John. He’s always been a huge support of my work. He’s helped me with shows, keeps me staying positive and encourages me to go for the things that scare me most. I know a lot of artists out there have an S.O., a friend or a relative that helps. I’d like to take this moment to recognize that and to say thank you to all the folks who work behind the scenes to make life and work run a little smoother so we can focus on our work. You are more appreciated than you know and we couldn’t do this without you.
Images © Brynn Metheney