I'm stoked to have Mark Pernice share his insight on balancing his art, illustration, and life as a single parent to his 3 year old daughter today. As someone who has dreamt of getting to surf more but grew up near the most mild waves ever (I know, life is tough), I just enjoyed living vicariously through his Instagram where he's currently surfing in Puerto Rico. Thank you to Mark's illustration agent Scott Hull (and my email buddy) who recommended this connection. This gem alone made me happy to have Mark here:
"I have no advice, I have no idea what I'm doing. My advice would be if your daughter asks to make the stuffed animal talk just make the thing talk because that's all she wants right now."
Because isn't that the truth? They're young for a blink of time from what everyone says. And if you break it down, they just want a our attention, our love, and making the damn stuffed animals talk sometimes. Thank you, Mark.
Tell us about yourself. How old are your child? Where can we find you?
I'm a designer and illustrator living on Long Island but I spend most waking hours in my studio in Greenpoint Brooklyn. My daughter is 3 years old.
- Website: www.yp-yp.com
- Scott Hull Associates / Mark Pernice
- Twitter: @markpernice
- Instagram @marknessofdarkness
How has your approach to painting, your processes, medium, or your inspiration changed since having children?
Everything changes a bit, everything a bit more acute. I don't suppose my process has changed at all. Conceptually I've noticed I've had more ideas with a child's audience in mind be it an idea for a project, book, product etc.
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?
My situation is unique since her mom and I aren't together as a nuclear family. So I lead two lives really, working artist in existential crisis and then rad dad mode. They are parallel but it doesn't mix in my situation. When I have my daughter I'm in dad mode. My time with her needs to be extra special to me, This means my schedule needs to be flexible. I have no advice, I have no idea what I'm doing. My advice would be if your daughter asks to make the stuffed animal talk just make the thing talk because that's all she wants right now.
How does being an artist make you a better parent to your child? What do you hope they take away from seeing you as an artist doing something that fulfills you?
I think artists generally have a sense of seeing details that are unseen or just a tuned in sense of the universe a bit. Lofty statement right? Well some, I'm trying. It's wonderful seeing her excitement from experiencing new things. Art, music, nature, science, people, I try to put her in a position and in situations where they present themselves and just let her do her thing.
Where do you paint or create? What are your favorite things about your workspace and what would you improve? Do you ever create art with your daughter?
I have a studio in a renowned little building called the Pencil Factory (it was the old Faber Castell factory) There's so much artistic talent and good vibes in the building and I really like being around them and part of their community, unfortunately rent prices are pushing more corporate creatives in and less creative creatives. I really need to repaint the floor.
Yes Lulu is really into play doh at the moment, we make some fun stuff mostly dolphins and octopuses. I'm hoping to broaden that range to land dwelling purple animals soon for our next exhibit.
Do 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?
See #3 ha!
Do you have any big goals or dreams for your art that you’d like to share? What would be your dream project?
Right now I've been lucky enough in my life to have achieved a lot of my artistic goals. Of course I always have projects and personal pieces in mind thats a goal just to bring to life. For art pertaining to dad stuff, I have a children's book in mind at the moment and I've always wanted to make a musical project called "Pajama Drama" just too perfect of a name. I surf a lot and it's definitely a creative outlet for me I think next year I'd like to get Lulu on the board.
Thanks again, Mark. Now please keep us posted on that musical dream project since my own 3 year old will love Pajama Drama!