Carving Out Time for Art with Jaime Derringer

I am thrilled that the talented and prolific Jaime Derringer is sharing her thoughts on making time for art, and how having her daughter brought on a surge of creativity. As many of you know, she is well-known in the design industry, particularly for showcasing modern design. I was always fascinated with the Designer Dailies column on her online magazine Design Milk, since I love seeing how many ways there are to live a life. I’ve enjoyed watching the progression of Jaime’s art over the past few years, and find her to be a big inspiration. Thank you for sharing with us, Jaime!

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Jaime Derringer - photo credit: Noa Azoulay | featherlove.com

Photo Credit: Noa Azoulay | featherlove.com

Tell us a little about yourself. How old is your daughter? Where we can find you?

My name is Jaime Derringer and I am Founder and Executive Editor of two online magazines called Design Milk and Dog Milk. Design Milk is dedicated to the latest in modern design from art to architecture, fashion to technology. Dog Milk is a fun blog that focuses on modern design for dog lovers. I recently launched an online shop called Adorn Milk that sells architectural jewelry. I am also an artist.

My daughter, Amelia, is 3 and a half. Amelia goes to full-time day care ~8 AM – 5:30 PM M-F. Both my husband and I work full-time. I work from home and he goes into an office.

Instagram @jaimederringer

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Has your approach to painting, your processes, medium, or your inspiration changed since having children?

I pinpoint the moment my daughter was born as one of the most inspirational moments of my life. They say that emotionally draining, difficult or overwhelming moments can spark creativity in a person, and I think that’s exactly what happened to me. I’ve always been creative, secretly, and self-critically. However, when Amelia was born I decided to just roll with it… to own it. I became pretty prolific, mostly because I had little time to create, but also because I never went to art school or anything so I felt like I needed to teach myself so many mediums, techniques, and to learn so much in such a short period of time. I wanted to get into a groove right away.

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Is it easy or difficult for you to find/make time to create? Did you have to give anything up? Do you have advice on what works for you?
Between having a full time job, a household, and a toddler, it’s pretty impossible to find time. But, my husband is supportive, so I make as much time as I can. I turned my garage into a studio and on the weekends and some evenings, I’ll paint or work on some sculpture. Friday afternoons are also a good time to steal an hour or two to paint. However, most of my work is smaller, and I do a lot of drawing, so I often end up on the couch at night watching Netflix, drawing away. I think it’s important to prioritize, but also to schedule time. Compromise with your spouse – one Saturday he gets to go golfing and the following Saturday you get to paint. Incorporate your kids into the mix: Amelia will often sit and draw or paint with me for about an hour. It’s a great opportunity to bond with her, listen to music, and for her to see me being creative, too. It’s very important to me to expose her to creativity at a young age.

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How does being an artist make you a better mother to your child? What do you hope they take away from seeing you as an artist doing something that fulfills you? Do you ever create art with your kid?

As I mentioned, I try and incorporate her into my studio time. If I can’t, then I show her what I’ve made, ask her what she likes about it, talk about colors and shapes with her. Sometimes, we’ll do collaborative art and then we hang it up somewhere in the house to show pride in our work. I recently was coloring with her and she told me what she was making was beautiful. I was so proud and hoped that she never loses that sense of confidence. As an artist, we tend to be overly critical of our own work, primarily because our taste level is so high. We can often never meet our own expectations, and so it’s so refreshing to watch a child beam with pride over something that they created. It reminds me that I need to lay off myself sometimes and just be proud of what I’ve done. Not only does being an artist make me feel like a better mother, but being a mother also makes me feel like a better artist.

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Where do you paint or create? What are your favorite things about your workspace and what would you improve?

I have a garage studio space, but tend to draw while sitting on the couch. I spend a lot of time working on my sketchbooks—it’s not a lucrative effort, but it’s calming and I enjoy it. I would prefer a desk, but having a chaise sofa is super comfy! I just use a simple lap desk. I wish that my garage had more wall space, and that the walls were smooth and not textured. However, I can’t complain! It’s something!

Jaime-Derringer-140728Do you have any tips to streamline/delegate/outsource household and childcare activities so that you can focus more time on your art? Has your lifestyle changed in any major ways?

I don’t use our daycare service to help out with my artwork, as I mostly spend those hours working at my day job. My lifestyle went from “How am I going to fill all these hours?” to “When am I going to find the time!?” I have to say, though, daycare is amazing. She’s socializing, learning a lot, making great art and craft projects and making lots of friends. I never feel guilty about her being there, and I value the time we spend together.
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Do you have any big goals or dreams for your art that you’d like to share? What would be your dream project?

Dream project? I don’t know… maybe eventually have a solo show of my artwork? I’m a pretty bad artist in that I don’t have aspirations and I’m not incredibly motivated; it’s been primarily a hobby and a personal project. I do sell artwork and prints, so there’s a business side of it, but I don’t really apply to shows or anything. I think I’d like to make some sculptures that incorporate moving parts and/or light.

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Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy life to share with us, Jaime.

If you love peeking into people’s studio spaces as much as I do, definitely check out this recent interview with Jaime in Domino Magazine. She also gave a great interview for Design*Sponge’s “Life & Business” Series that fellow creative owners / bloggers will enjoy.

*All photos courtesy of Jaime Derringer

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4 thoughts on “Carving Out Time for Art with Jaime Derringer

  1. I just have to interrupt and say this: Isn’t Jaime the nicest person? For someone as busy and successful as she is, she could have a completely different attitude than she does. I’ve e-mailed with her several times regarding press opportunities for clients and she has always been incredibly gracious and quick to respond. LOVE that!

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