Art Director Elisha-Rio writes about how creative professionals can express themselves and their artsy style while still looking professional.
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There’s a lot of stigma that floats around about artists. “Oh, we’re just super creatively expressive people who will just randomly be obnoxious” and so forth. I can’t tell you how many times folks saw me and judged me that way, but as soon as I opened my mouth to present the business strategy ties the project my creative team and I worked on laddered up to according to the brief, their judgments were dropped.
Professionalism is all about your confidence and how you carry yourself. It’s about how you speak to others with respect, how you delegate, how you react to things that may happen that aren’t ideal. Because of this, it doesn’t mean you HAVE to wear some suit or pencil skirt with your hair always gelled up.
As far as the workplace you decide to work at, you need to make sure the culture is open-minded and accepting. That’s the number one thing I had to make sure of at any position I took on: are they okay with the half-shaved head I sometimes like to rock when I felt like it? Were they okay with my piercings and tattoos? If not, then no; I don’t want to work at a place where I’m being judged and don’t feel like I can be my true authentic self.
Express yourself creatively with your clothing/hairstyles/etc. But you can still be professional and well-respected by what comes out of your mouth. Just as long as you show up as a hard worker who actively listens to others and respects others, you’re good to go.
Featured image courtesy of Christopher Mariano (@marz26).
Artist, dancer, future art therapist. Advocate of the arts for social good and mental well-being. Will travel for art museums, because art bucket list.