We had the good fortune of connecting with Dallas Paterson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dallas, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
For the last 10 years, I’ve made a living as a freelance graphic designer for individual and corporate clients in LA. I’m a designer by trade, but an artist at heart. I worked on projects for world-famous brands in entertainment, took long, ear-popping elevator rides in multiple corporate studios, and met tons of creative professionals who graciously provided me with opportunities to flourish. As time passed, I felt myself hitting a creative ceiling in my current trajectory. I craved expressive freedom and ownership over my art, and wanted to create work that had direct, emotional significance. I was at a fork in the road, and I saw 2 courses of action – path 1: commit to a full time job and climb a corporate ladder, or path 2: forge a flexible career for myself that checks all the boxes, creatively and monetarily. As I journeyed through my 20’s and pondered my goals, a few friends got engaged and I offered to create wedding invitations as gifts. The process of direct contribution was refreshing and oh-so satisfying. It was a culmination of personal connection, branding, event planning, designing for print, designing for love…and it all clicked for me. I realized I found my ikigai (a Japanese concept referring to personal purpose).
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My inspiration to create wedding art grows incessantly! Every time I see a plain white wedding invitation, or a fill-in template, I see a missed opportunity for truly special, creative communication. My passion for producing unusual invites solidified while designing art for my own wedding. The minutiae creates the story.
The business is still new, and I have many mountains to climb. It’s a one-woman show and I’m finally starting to elicit advice from experts. The path to growth and success is becoming clearer now that I’m asking for help and investing in my future. I always said ‘I just want to make cool art’. But growing a business takes more than the art stuff, and I’m ready to dive into the unknown, with a commitment to education and hard work.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
We’d pack our beach bags and start the weekend with brunch at Bluey’s in Santa Monica (the squash pancakes are simply *chef’s kiss*, a must-have). After grabbing a latte to go, we’d drive up the PCH to Topanga Beach and spend the day lounging, swimming, chatting, and napping, easing into the LA vibe. Later in the week, we’d check out what’s new at the Getty and LACMA, hike in the Santa Monica Mountains, share a bottle of wine in Hollywood, and hopefully catch a show at the Pantages.
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?
Heaps of people deserve credit for helping me arrive at my dream life (cheesy, I know, but all I ever wanted was to be an artist). I am fortunate that my family has always cheered for my artistic endeavors, and my mom worked tirelessly to support me through college at OTIS and allowed me to begin adulthood without the burden of student loan debt. My husband Josh has seen me through it all, forever encouraging me to strive for authenticity and my personal best. <3
Professionally, I’ve been lucky enough to be the *least experienced* person in the room at many times in my freelance career. I must give gratitude to the woman who hired me as an intern at FOX Consumer Products (Jaronna Yates) since my livelihood has grown from connections I made on that team. Honorable mentions of colleagues, mentors, and friends who have believed in me: Pinch Lee, Jessica Nubel, and Greg Berman.
Tyler Branch, Heidi Garcia