We had the good fortune of connecting with Kat Stockton and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kat, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
When I first started my career in 2009, I just focused on being at work from 9-5 and that was about it for structure. I was young and having fun. Personal and work life were intertwined with friendships, collaborations, and after work happy hours. As I have gotten older I’ve started to value more separation between the two. I am more picky about my relationships at work and try to bond professionally with colleagues who love the work like me and just want to make something really cool. This doesn’t mean I’ve given up on happy hours and bonding, I’m just more careful about who I go to happy hour with and try to elicit more control over the discussion. Another difficult lesson in work life balance is saying no. Sometimes you get multiple freelance opportunities at once and you really want to say yes to all of it, but if you do, you won’t sleep for weeks and you will be miserable. It is important to say no sometimes and know your limit. Use the opportunity to recommend a colleague and let the gig go to someone else who is in need of work. You never know when they will return the favor. Since the COVID lockdown, I’ve been working full-time from home as a lead on an animation project. Working from home has afforded me more time and the ability to structure my work and home life differently and more efficiently. I set up a to-do list that includes both personal and work tasks for the week in my sketchbook and cross them out as they are completed. I add and remove tasks as needed and if I fall a little short that’s ok. I move the uncompleted tasks to the next week. Work tasks always take priority, but I try to keep my work hours at 40 a week and I’m very selective about the extra freelance work I take on.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My curiosity had led me to have a wide range of skills. My undergrad was Illustration with a fine art minor focused on painting and printmaking. I studied at public and private institutions. My undergrad led me to a career in animation where I worked in visual development, created backgrounds, and eventually lead creative teams. The production company I worked at won and Emmy in 2016 and we all got to share in that achievement. In 2017, I took a break from animation to go back to school at The Creative Circus, in Atlanta, where I studied Design and Art Direction for advertising and communications. I need to challenge myself and wanted to diversify my skills and make new connections. I left a stronger creative, with new friendships and a Gold ADDY award. Since graduating in 2019, I’ve been freelancing at various agencies and animation studios as well as building my personal brand and developing my style. I have not been without work, which is awesome, and it varies now from branding to illustration, so there is no monotony. I just want to make new things and help others bring their visions and dreams to life. There are of course challenges, difficult decisions, and mistakes to overcome, but focusing on the road ahead will get you through them.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Atlanta has so much to offer and it depends on what they are in too. If they want the best time ever they need to come during Dragon Con and join that party. For a wild night and a decent hangover I would take them to Glenwood or East Atlanta Village. Maybe finish the night at the Clermont Lounge. If they like nature, Mount Arabia in the Spring, Stone Mountain, and Sweetwater Creek. If they like the strange, Old Car City and the Georgia Guide Stones.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My family first and foremost have always been supportive of my art. When teachers tried to take away my sketchbooks in school, my parents stopped them. When I got detentions at school for drawing on my notes, my parents did not get upset. When it was time for college and I wanted to go to art school, my parents did what they could to send me there. My brothers have always been my biggest fans and continue to cheer me on and celebrate my success. I’m truly lucky to have a family that has always supported me and my talent. My OG friends. Our spirits have been bonded since childhood, and I know we’ve all enjoyed and supported each other’s creative journeys. My husband, Nabil, who selflessly supports my ambitions and dreams. He is my best friend and love of my life.
Other: Behance: https://www.behance.net/katstockton Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/katstockton/