Fearless Nomad | MAJA DLUGOLECKI
We are so excited to start our Fearless Nomad series. This blog series will be featured interviews with amazing people doing some seriously cool shit. We wanted to get inspired and support our fellow entrepreneurs by getting to know others, and sharing their story. We hope you enjoy this weeks interview with Maja!
I first met Maja at Portland State University in our design program. She was fierce, extremely talented, and also such a kind person. I always have admired all of her work and her diligence in connecting and collaborating with people in our classes and community. Maja is a graphic designer and fine artist, you can buy her prints here.
Recently she started painting and I fell in love with her work. I started my artistic career when I was a wee child and painting was my medium. Once I started design school the love for painting quickly turned into a love for design and I packed up my paints and brushes and started a new journey. Seeing Majas work inspired me to want to create with my hands again. I still haven't picked up a paintbrush yet but it is on my to-do list after seeing Maias amazing website and beautiful paintings. Seriously her paintings make me feeeeeel something. There's a beauty behind each one that intrigues me. I am seriously hoping to have a paint sesh with her soon. Anyway enough gushing. Thank you Maja for being our Fearless Nomad feature this week!
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT WHAT YOU DO?
I’m a dabbler! Painting is a recent exploration of mine, but I also enjoy planning community events (most recently a monthly art + wine night for local artists, as well as an event for DWP, called Good Company, featuring some incredible makers… designweekportland.com). As a designer I enjoy working with small lifestyle brands with an affinity for quality made products, environmental and social awareness, and general bad-ass’s working to make the world a better place.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT FREELANCING?
I enjoy freelancing because it allows me to pursue outside interests and gives me flexibility to travel. In terms of work itself, I continue to be excited about work because I have clients in multiple areas; fashion, tech, food + drink, etc. Being able to adapt my style and stay on top of new trends keeps me on my toes and always learning.
DESCRIBE ONE THING YOU HAVE LEARNED FROM FREELANCE WORK?
Oh man, just one? There are so many lessons, honestly I’ve learned more from freelancing than any other work experiences. If I had to pick just one, I would pick one that I apply to my life daily as a designer and human. Trust the process. As a freelancer you don’t really know when you’ll have the next big project, how big or small their budget will be, but in the end we always make it. Provided we have faith and work hard. We’re all going to be OK. Life is like a boomerang–everything you put out there will come back to you. So make sure its good!
HOW DID YOU FIND CLIENTS?
Most of the work I’ve done in Portland has been through word of mouth. Portland is such a close-knit community wherein having a few good connections will get you the job when there is an opening. I have also started getting viable work through my Instagram account, which has been a wonderful way for me to showcase my personal influences and work within those interests.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE WANTING TO START FREELANCING?
Start small. Brand your friends startup, help a non-profit with a promo piece, and aim to add work to your portfolio that is outside of school projects. It forces you to lose the safety blanket of the school environment and teaches you the ropes of client communication.
WHAT IS YOUR MANTRA/MANIFESTO THAT YOU LIVE BY EACH DAY?
I really believe there is power behind the energy we put into the world. Putting out good energy brings good energy back to you.
WHAT MOTIVATES YOU?
I’m motivated by my goals for the near and far future. Knowing where I want to be in the next 2, 5, 10, 15 years—or having some idea of where I’d like to be—helps motivate me to work hard every day in order to attain those goals.
WE LOVE YOUR ARTWORK! WHAT HAS INSPIRED YOU TO PAINT VERSUS DOING TYPICAL DESIGN WORK ON THE COMPUTER?
Thank you so much! Truly, it means a lot. I was going through a bad breakup in June of last year and I was searching for an outlet to express myself in a new way. I ended up falling in love with the process of mixing colors, painting with various methods, and expressing current moods in an abstract way. It’s been a really incredible journey of personal discovery for me.
WE NOTICED YOU ARE STARTING AN ONLINE SHOP, TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THAT PROCESS?
Yes! I posted my process and work on Instagram, and I was getting good feedback. I started commissioning work here and there, and then decided to sell limited edition prints per requests from friends and my instagram community. It was very humbling for me to receive interest in my work, which was a result of self-taught experimentation, and no fine art degree. I feel like that realization has made me even more of an advocate for people pursuing the things they’ve always wanted to do, regardless of previous experience, because you really never know where you could end up until you try.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT SO FAR?
The biggest thing for me has been being able to sustain myself as a freelancer. For the longest time I was dreading having to do production work for 40-60 hr. a week at a big company for the rest of my life in order to live and do the things I want to do in life. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but I knew it wasn’t going to be a good fit for me, personally.
After graduation I decided to try freelancing fulltime, and to my surprise I’ve been able to do so successfully. As a freelancer I am able to sustain myself, experiment, work with all kids of business’s and people, and best of all I’ve given myself the freedom to explore my inner self and what else is out there. As much as I loved being in school, I feel like the real journey begins once you’re out on your own.
WHAT DO YOU DO IN YOUR SPARE TIME WHEN YOU ARE NOT CREATING?
I really enjoy collaboration with friends. I’ve crossed paths with many incredible makers and doers who have shared their time and invited me in to help with their passion projects. To me, this is the greatest pleasure and honor—to make something together that would otherwise be nonexistent.
WHERE IS YOUR FAVORITE PLACE TO FIND INSPIRATION?
I love finding inspiration outside of the city. I love driving out to my parents house and spending some time in the gorge, around nature, flowing water, wind rustling—peace and tranquility grounds me and inspires me.