We had the good fortune of connecting with Lauren Little and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lauren, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
When I first started pursuing my business idea, I became obsessed with working on it. It became a sort of creative outlet for me and I wanted to work on it all the time. That meant I spent hours and hours figuring out how to do things, researching and using a LOT of Google and Youtube. When something wasn’t working as I wanted it to, I needed to figure it out there and then. When an email came in, I needed to answer it right away. As the only person working on my business – if I didn’t do something, it wouldn’t get done.
This way of working kept me up deep into the night everyday of the week. Even if my computer was closed, I’d be on my phone reading articles or listening to podcasts related to business. After a while, I ended up with an incredible back pain that left me unable to do even the simplest tasks. It wiped me out. I couldn’t find a position to continue working on my computer that wouldn’t leave me in tears of pain. Unfortunately, that was the thing that showed me my work life balance was completely unsustainable and that there was really no balance at all.
During that time, everything slowed down for me. Emails went unanswered, Instagram posts went unposted, and the website wasn’t updated everyday. And you know what? The world didn’t end, my business didn’t crumble. Once I recovered, I set boundaries for myself. I dedicated at least one day a week where work was not to be touched. I took time to care for my health, and I set proper working hours during the day with breaks! I started timing my tasks and prioritising my To-Do list. I learned that it is incredibly important to take time out for myself. Now, I’m much happier with the work life balance I’ve created for myself and my business has thrived because of it.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t doing something creative. Since I was a child, I’ve always loved to make things, arts, crafts, dance, poetry anything really. So it was inevitable that I’d pursue a career in the arts. My initial desire was to become a high school art teacher, mainly because I’d never had a good one. I skipped art class often because it just wasn’t stimulating enough, and my teachers seemed quite clueless on the subject. I also never had a black teacher in all my education, so I wanted to change that for what would be my future students.
I studied and graduated with a Bachelor or Fine Arts and another in Education both achieved with Distinction. While I studied, I worked as a visual merchandiser and art camp leader, trying to keep jobs that were creative in some way. But after graduation I quickly learned that securing an art teaching job in a good school was highly competitive yet very undervalued.
Out of work, I tried selling my own art designs, and found that incredibly challenging. During that time I learn a lot about my creative process and cultural representation in the arts, as well as marketing, branding and website design. It took me quite a while to find my ‘style’ and the all experimentations along the way became invaluable to me.
While seeking inspiration on the internet, I saw how many other talented artists were, like me, looking for ways to be seen and recognised, trying to navigate a very saturated art world. I started sharing these amazing artworks, giving credit to the artists and Dark Yellow Dot started from there and became a supportive platform for emerging artists, providing opportunities to share and exhibit their work. Since the start, I’ve curated and organised over 40 exhibitions and featured hundreds of artists.
Through meeting creative people along the way, and seeking opportunities I had never before thought of pursuing, I was recommended for a position as an art lecturer at a University which I now do alongside my art business running Dark Yellow Dot.
The biggest thing I’ve learned so far is that your journey is never linear. Plans often don’t work out. But goals can be achieved in unimaginable ways, the only thing you can do to get there is begin today.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d like to shoutout all the incredibly talented artists and creatives that I have the privilege of working with everyday. Not only do they share their artwork, but they share their stories, their advice, their struggles, their ideas and it is all truly inspiring, and encourages me to continue building this platform. Some people have stayed following since the very beginning of my journey, and Dark Yellow Dot exists because of these artists.
Other: My personal art website: www.artoflol.com
Sierra Stone Photography Lauren Little