I’ve always had a thing for the side project.
Now… I’ve never been one to take on a lot of them. And they really need to be something pretty special to keep my attention and inspire me to put the time in that it takes to make them worthwhile.
But you know what? Not that long ago I tried to swear them off.
And the fact that I couldn’t give them up completely showed me something – as much as I truly love what I do working in the background of other people’s brands, there’s just something special about having something of your own.
Memphis Type History began long before me. Years, in fact. First, it was a photography project by Jeremy Greene called Memphis Type. Then it evolved into a series of paintings by Rebecca Phillips called Memphis Type Illustrated. I ended up involved in the background of her art career and promoting her work with a Kickstarter project (among other things). But an email from a book publisher and the kind invitation by Rebecca to join her in writing a book changed all that “in the background” stuff.
After a brief rest from the book launch, Rebecca and I regrouped and continued on with the blog we’d started during the book writing process. In fact, we started it as soon as we decided to self-publish because I knew we needed to start marketing right away! But after several months of writing ourselves and letting contributors post (we’re still taking those on, if you love history and Memphis…) the blog sort of fizzled out. Rebecca returned to full-time employment as the art director for a local creative agency. I decided to get an MBA while maintaining my own business.
We posted here and there, but it wasn’t as consistent as it used to be. It was also harder to get a post together because our time was so limited. And then I moved to Shanghai, China.
You might think that living on the other side of the world would mean an elegant bow-out from a Memphis-based project. But you’d be wrong! I managed to convince Rebecca that instead of trying to write blog posts, we should talk them out to each other instead! And she totally went for it!
So now we have another evolution of the Memphis Type History project. We get to connect on a regular basis to catch up and chat about one of our favorite things: Memphis signs and stories.
Sure, having a podcast isn’t easy. But I’ve come to realize that I just need at least one thing that’s “mine.” Even though Rebecca and I are of course making decisions together about the project, it’s different from making decisions with a client. This one’s got my name on it, you know?
If you haven’t taken a listen yet, I’d love for you to try the podcast out and tell me what you think! You can subscribe on iTunes, through your favorite podcast app, or stream any episode that intrigues you at Memphis Type History.