A CHAT WITH NATHAN JOHNSON..
What was it that made you decide to pursue the career path that you did?
I have always wanted to do something design-related ever since I was young. As soon as I knew what a graphic designer was, I was like “yep that’s me!”
I worked as an art director in magazines for about 8 years and then started Blacklist (the studio side) about 5 years ago. Jaynie and I started the home wares side of Blacklist 4 years ago and have loved every moment.
What was it that made you decide to start a family?
I guess having a family is an extension of love. My wife Jaynie and I always wanted to have kids and since having Willow, we’ve never looked back.
Have you ever regretted either of those decisions?
What type of artist would you classify yourself?
I would say I am a graphic designer and illustrator.
Do you like to stick to a particular theme and style when you work or do you create whatever comes to mind?
With my Blacklist client work, alot of it depends on the client and the brief. I always try and inject my personal style into whatever I do, and I’d like to think my clients approach me because of that style. As a designer, I am always trying to be consistant to who I am and how I love to create.
Who/what have been your most prominent artistic influences?
As a graphic designer, I am often looking to different fields for inspiration. I am hugely influenced by traditional artists rather than strictly computer-based designers. I also love interiors and am always watching current fashion trends and following different fashion designers.
At what time during the day do you become most creative/productive and what environment suits you best?
I think when you run your own studio, there’s often not that luxury to “wait” for inspiration to come. I’m not a big beliver in waiting to be inspired to start a job… I think the best work comes when you teach yourself to create from the things you’ve stored up inside, and use the pressure a clients puts on you, or a time limit and turn that into creativity. I generally work 9 – 6 everyday and I actually love having that time frame to work within.
Is it possible for you to work and create serious pieces while you’re home with your wife and daughter?
Jaynie and I both work from home, but have a studio space that is seperate from our house, so it makes it alot easier to work without distractions. We try and keep it a seperate and work during work hours only, and have time to hang with the family.
Introduce us to your wife, how would you describe her?
The love of my life is Jaynie. She is energic and alot of the opposite to me which is what I love about her. She is such a beautiful woman and I am blessed to spend my life with her.
How long have you been together?
We have been married for 6 years.
Do you think anything has changed between you and your wife since Willow came along?
I think if anything we have grown closer.
Are you going to have anymore children, if so, how many do you think is a good number?
It’s definitely up to each couple. We are expecting another baby at Christmas time which is super exciting.
What do you think is the best thing about being part of a family?
I think creating your own memories is the best thing. We have such great fun just all hanging out together. It’s often the simplest things that you remember together. We love going to the beach and love hanging out down there all together.
Could you ever imagine yourself being single again and without any children?
How do you feel about welcoming a new addition to the family?
We are all super excited. Willow especially.
What’s your idea of a great time?
Hanging with family and friends in the backyard at summer time.
What do you do, or like to do, when it’s just you, on your own, doing as you please?
Surfing. Surfing. Surfing.
What’s your favourite thing to do as ‘daddy & daughter’ with Willow?
We often will go to our local cafe on a Saturday morning just her and I for breakfast. This is one of my favourite things to do after a big week at work. She orders tha same vanilla milkshake and croissant everytime. It’s too cute.
What’s your key to creating a healthy balance..a strong relationship with your wife, time to spend as a family, working enough but not too much and having some alone time too?
For us it’s all about communicating with each other. Jaynie and I are often discussing work at night and even going back into work after Willow is asleep, but early on we decided that we weren’t going to let work get in the way of times where we know we need to shut off…. On weekends we’re not in the studio and try and keep work-talk to a minimum when we’re hanging with Willow.
What was your last New Years resolution?
To paint more. I think it will be next years resolution as well…!!
What’s your number 1 goal for the future
If you could offer the world 1 piece of advice what would it be?
If you could offer all the parents out there some advice on succeeding in all areas of their lives, what would it be?
I’m not sure if I’m the best person for giving parenting advice!!… we still feel so young at this! But I heard somebody say if you can love your wife (or husband) then that’s the best thing you can do for your kids. I think this is the best advice ever, and something Jaynie and I try and live by everyday.
Nathan Johnson | Blacklist Studio