Illustrator iamsloth talks creating from anywhere and remote essentials
Posted on 10-05-2020
Artist and designer Timmy Ham — AKA iamsloth — has been creating on the go for nearly a decade. Whether he’s spray painting on canvas in the desert or working digitally with a full mouse and keyboard setup in the studio, he brings his rebellious spirit to murals, original artwork and custom-painted sneakers.
He believes anywhere can be your studio if you’ve got the right tools and mindset; but that has become a challenge even for veteran remote creators lately. Ham is joining Logitech for the second time at Adobe MAX this year to custom design Logitech MX Anywhere 3 mice — his new tool of choice for creating wherever you are — in addition to custom painted MX for Mac products.
We sat down with Ham to get his tips and advice on dealing with the challenges of 2020 and how to stay creative in the process.
It’s great to catch up, Timmy! A lot has changed since our last MAX interview. How has this new environment affected your creative process and how you work?
A lot has changed. 2020 has been keeping me on my toes — in good ways and by challenging me. I’ve had a pretty non-traditional work/life balance for over nine years now, but one of the most challenging things in terms of creativity and workflow in 2020 has been having my kids at home. I have four kids, ages 2, 4, 6 and 8. Two of my kids were in school and we had to pull them out, so now we’re homeschooling them.
With a lot of shops closed, my office/studio — AKA my house — is much busier. Escaping that, finding places to work and getting in a creative flow is tough when the house is full. Often, I find myself retreating to the backyard to work. I’ve really been stretched in a good way. It’s taught me how to be flexible and patient, and how to use the time I do have efficiently too.
How do you get in the creative zone with all of this - *gestures broadly* - going on in the world right now? Have you any new-found secrets to sustaining your creativity and avoiding burnout?
I personally thrive in situations like this. I love being in the middle of unpredictable, chaotic situations as I usually get inspired to rise up and do what I can to bring happiness to others with my art and design.
In some sense it feels like the whole world is resetting - to me that’s exciting. I like to think of the epic possibilities that could happen, and I want to be part of a re-birth, so that gets my flame lit and ready to create as we roll into this new world post COVID.
Your work is so bright, colorful and vibrant, which is probably just what people need right now. Has your style changed at all recently? Have you been gravitating towards any new inspiration to keep the mood positive?
Yes. The colors I choose 90 percent of the time are pretty bright. When people see my art, I want them to feel alive, excited and good inside. Enough of this boring stuff. I want to light up the room.
I’ve honestly just been trying to keep doing what I’m doing and I’m fortunate enough to be able to continue to create during the pandemic. I think it’s important for people to see because so many people have lost jobs or have had to do things differently. I’m hopeful that when they see my work and content it gives them some positive hope.
You’ve always been a big advocate for creating out in the world. What’s your current setup like - and what advice would you have for creators who are new to creating anywhere?
Creating outside is my jam. I love having a studio setup but even the perfect setup can get boring and mundane, so changing it up here and there has always been huge for me, and keeps things exciting.
My current setup is in my garage, which I converted into my art studio. I’ve got my go-to Logitech MX Master Mouse and my Logitech Keys and Macbook Pro. I use the Adobe Creative Suite daily. I’d advise creators new to creating anywhere to have your go-to setup and keep it lean. You can really create anywhere these days with the right kit, which is epic, and why I’m so excited about the new Logitech MX Anywhere 3 mouse.
What tools are the “essentials” in your create-from-anywhere kit?
Definitely snacks, coconut water and pasta. I can only create when I’m eating pasta. Just kidding. Here are my go-tos: Macbook Pro, Logitech MX Anywhere, iPad Pro, Apple Pencil, my Boom speaker and then usually just some old-school paper and sharpies. I use my iPhone 11 Pro and the Joby iPhone Tripod to help create content as well.
It’s so important to find that delicate work/life balance when you’re not in an office, but it can be so tricky. What do you do to maintain those boundaries? Do you have any rituals that get your work day off to a good start?
Even nine years into working from “home,” it’s still a constant battle. I’ve learned over the years that there are a couple of key non-negotiable things that set me up for a solid day, especially if I’m consistently doing them every day.
I wake up pretty early, between 5-5:30am to get at least an hour of quiet time to read, journal and have coffee. Then I work out, and I don’t check social or get on my phone for at least these first few hours of the morning. Because I have kids that wake up early, so having time to wake up and gather myself is huge. But I think that translates the same to anyone who wakes up and the first thing they do is check their email.
I do my best to set boundaries for when I stop working each day. Some days do require more work than others but I try to not make a habit of working past 5-6pm. I also shut my phone off around 8pm.
Want to see why Timmy is so excited about the new MX Anywhere 3? It enables creativity anywhere, as a portable, comfortable mouse with the ability to track on any surface, from glass to grass, and has app-specific presets for Adobe Creative Cloud.
Topics: Productivity, Creative Inspiration & Trends, Creativity, Creative Cloud,