TJ Deaver | Photography + Design
Posted on March 22, 2016 by tjdeaver on Photography

An Artist’s Work: How #OutsideWork Drives My Creativity

It’s important to have work/life balance. This month at work we’ve really been diving into  what that means and how we are lucky enough to belong to an organization that not only embraces but encourages our #OutsideWork passions. Below is my take on what #OutsideWork means. You can view more on LinkedIn by following the #OutsideWork hashtag.

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While in Art School, I experienced a vast evolution in my conceptual work. My first series, Penumbra, really pushed boundaries While enrolled in the Architecture College the courses were very regimented. Though that structure is very much a part of my process; photography granted me a new found freedom.  This series was a huge turning point for me, both artistically and personally. After Penumbra, I decided to really delve into what makes me tick to discover what truly inspires me. The result was my most recent work, Phi Phenomenon. That series brought me back to what inspired me to pick up a camera in high school: the human form. I’ve always had an infatuation with the human body, and it’s something that I wanted to, needed to explore further.

Feeling my artistic drive stronger than ever, I needed a job where I could continue to explore my artistic impulses that would also pay the bills.

After I graduated from in December 2014 with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in photography and design, I continued to work as a collections analyst for Cabela’s, like I had when I was studying my undergrad. At the time, I had no idea what I wanted to do. For months I tried to find a career path that felt right, but it seemed that every “entry level” position I applied for wanted a 23-year-old with a 30-year-old’s experience.

The following summer I began toying with the idea of leaving the Midwest and going back to my roots in Northern Virginia; the ­problem I was I still unsure about finding the career path that was right for me.

By then, I knew I didn’t want just another desk job; working at a bank for over two years killed that dream for me pretty quickly. With my fine arts degree, I knew I wanted something that allowed me to be creative while still pursuing my art.

Just a couple of weeks after I made up my mind to move back to Virginia, I received a voice mail from Marc Hausman, the founder and CEO of a small boutique consultancy . I remember how baffled I was that a CEO would be calling me to schedule a job interview. I was ecstatic!

My first interview went well, considering that it hadn’t crossed my mind that a casual phone conversation about the position and my background was classified as an interview.

After the initial phone interview with Marc, we set up a follow up meeting in August, just a few weeks after I was planning to be back in the area.

After what felt like mere moments within my moving back and settling in, I met with Marc and Eldon Marr for my in-person interview. I left the interview feeling confident, which isn’t a feeling many 23-year-old artists have when meeting with the corporate types. But luckily for me, the professionals at Strategic aren’t typical “suits.” They are a small group of highly creative and passionate individuals whose quirkiness meshes with mine very nicely. A few days later I got a call; I got the job!

So you might be tempted to ask how’s the creative career going, months later?

Well, thankfully at Strategic not only am I a part of a highly creative and motivated organization, but I have the opportunity to pursue my personal passions as well. We have a saying at Strategic, Work powers life; I’d be lying if I said that statement didn’t attract me to the company even more!

Work powers life. That is what #OutsideWork means to me. As an artist, my work does power my life and I’m thankful to be on a career path that not only allows for it but encourages it.

As a creative, getting to work remotely means, I’m not stuck in some stuffy office all day. Every day I get the chance to explore what inspires me. That’s#OutsideWork at its best.

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