We had the good fortune of connecting with Jamiel Law and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jamiel, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
I used to think that in order to become a better artist, I just had to draw and paint more, work more. And although this was true to an extent, I soon found out that this lifestyle wasn’t sustainable and was detrimental to my health. It reached a point that my wife had to remind me that without a healthy routine, there was no art. That really turned my thinking around for the better. Now I make time for family, exercise or just to slouching around. I find myself working more efficiently and fishing more nowadays.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I illustrate for editorial and children’s book illustrations for various publications. I also work full-time with the creative, motion graphics company, Buck. I am most proud of the opportunities to work with the New York Times and the New Yorker because these are publications that I have wanted to work with for a long time. I am also proud of working with the Equal Justice Initiative on one of their historical lynching and mass incarceration reports. It was awesome that my illustrations are being used to bring awareness and education about the racial history of the United States. I believe that my contemplative tone and my use of color and shape, combined with the content sets me apart. I attended Ringling College of Art and Design, where I received my formal instruction in drawing, color, design, concept, and various mediums. I graduated with a BFA in Illustration in May of 2019. After graduation, I and my wife packed up our belongings and ended up moving to New York to pursue our illustration careers. It was here that I learned that making work was only half the battle and that getting my foot in the door would take a lot of networking. So I began meeting with art directors and various illustrators and sending my portfolio to get their thoughts on how I could improve and seek out opportunities in the field. Thankfully, they were very inviting and willing to help. After scrapping my college portfolio and pursuing a new, more challenging, but fun direction, I started to get some work. One of my greatest struggles was that of finding my voice. I would look at classmates and compare where they were to where I was at the moment and that adversely affected my self-esteem which affected my creativity. I felt like I was never good enough. It was only after I realized that I was in my own lane that I could thrive and really play to my sensibilities in order to create work with content that resonated with me. If there was a mark that I would want to leave or an impression to make, I think it would just be to follow your sensibilities and interests because I feel that path can be the most challenging and rewarding.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Oh definitely taking a hike in Griffith park to just clear the mind and get a killer perspective on the area. Definitely, my number one.
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?
Ooh, this is a tough one. I believe that God has truly blessed me by placing impactful mentors and instructors in my life. I’ve also had opportunities to network face to face with wonderful artists and art directors who have made so many deposits in my life. But I’ll try. I think I would like to dedicate this shoutout to wife. She has been the constant anchor in my professional career and life. She’s an encouragement when I feel burnt out artistically and is a positive driving force in my work/life balance.