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Slow It Down.

Updated: Apr 2

Feral Interview with Saj Fareed.


I am a slow artist with a mission to help us to create a slower pace in our lives, to help us feel empowered and lead a more fulfilling life. My aim is to inspire a life through the art of slow by exploring creativity as a tool for expression and mindfulness for our self care and overall wellbeing.

It is so important to me as an artist and for my creative process, I take inspiration from Slow Art and Mindful Art. My aim is to use these principles in the work I create and when I work together with groups on education and participatory projects.

Since graduating in BA Hons Fine Art in Cardiff, I have developed my career as a visual artist and artist educator in a broad range of art education projects. I have worked for museums, galleries and other establishments for over 25 years including: Fabrica Gallery, Towner, Arts Council England and most recently ITV.


I have a keen interest in promoting the arts to a wider audience and as a tool for creative expression and learning. The aim is also to empower and inspire individuals in their own creative process.


What area/field are you in?

Visual Arts and Education


Describe in as many ways as you like what you do. Tell me all your job titles.

I am slow artist with a mission to help us to slow down so that we can live a more fulfilled and empowered life. I set up the Facebook group – Slow Living for Women, to create a space for like-minded women who wanted to connect and get support in their desire to slow down.


I am an artist who is really interested in the process of making/creating, rather than just focusing on the end result. Mindful based activities are so beneficial for our wellbeing and my aim is to promote this.


I create art works which are predominantly textiles based, including wall art and jewellery.


I also have a subscription box for mindful creativity called – The Art of Slow Box. I wanted to produce monthly art and craft kits to help those who want to do creative projects for their self care time.


I run a variety of workshops for all ages and groups including schools, museums and community groups and that can vary in themes and topics.


My many job titles…


Visual artist

Educator

Artist educator

Socially engaged artist

Slow artist

Freelancer

Community artist

Textiles artist

Project manager

Mindful artist

Project co-ordinator





What is the biggest eye roll you’ve given a question or comment about being a freelancer? Or what would you like waged people to understand about working as a freelancer?

That you have all the time in the world. That you must sit in coffee shops all day!!


I want waged people to realise that we don’t get sick pay or holiday pay, there is no job security. There is no financial security unless you are lucky enough to have savings. You can feel isolated and not have a network to be part of for support.


What’s your favourite part of being a freelancer?

That I can choose my hours and work around family life. I don’t like 9 to 5 culture and I have always hated the idea that you live for the weekend when you work standard Monday to Friday. That would mean only 104 days of enjoyment!


I love the fact that as a freelancer I get to work on a wide variety of projects. I am always learning and being kept on my toes.


What is the hardest part?

The insecurity of the availability of work. Having to always hustle and not knowing where or when your next job will be.


How long have you been feral?

21 years now


It is hard work as you are always hustling and you do need to be a particular type of person. Freelancing isn’t for everyone.

What have your highlights been? (Take a moment to have a brag about your accomplishments)

Gosh I have so many highlights, my recent one was working on the ITV Creates 2020 project. Socially engaged artists were selected to work with a community group to recreate the ITV logo. It was then screened 24/7 for 2 weeks before every programme in January 2020. I worked with a group of women to produce a slow stitch artwork. It was such a buzz seeing the work screened on national TV.


Why did you decide to become self employed?

I just suited me to work for myself and be my own boss. I didn’t enjoy being part of the rat race and ordered by someone else. I wanted my creative freedom to choose what I wanted to do.


How do you protect your work time from distractions?

Ah well, this is still something I am learning!! I try to focus on one task at a time, instead of spinning too many plates but I am still a work in progress even after all this time!


Where do you work? home?studio?/favourite cafe/all of the above?

I work from home, I would love to have a dedicated studio space. It can be very challenging especially with little kids but I just have to make the best of the situation.


Do you think you’ll ever retire?

I’m an artist, it is a fundamental part of me. To retire would be like the end of life and I am in no rush for that.


There is nothing like following your dreams and ambitions and making steps towards your goals

If money wasn’t factored into your work choices, what would be your most glorious dream for your future as a freelancer? Be as outrageous as you dare.

I want to travel the world and work with different groups in collaborative projects. I would love to produce large scale installations and consistently sell. I would have a team who would handle all the admin and other aspects so I can spend more time creating.


Anything else you’d like to highlight about the life of a freelancer?

Its not for everyone as it can be precarious, uncertain and there’s no safety net – yet I love being able to make the decisions for what I want to do. I love being able to meet wide range of people to work together and also enjoy working solitary.


There is nothing like following your dreams and ambitions and making steps towards your goals.


It is hard work as you are always hustling and you do need to be a particular type of person. Freelancing isn’t for everyone.


Thanks to Saj for taking the time to contribute to my blog and share all the beautiful work she does. I loved the wee video of the project for ITV, it was really heartwarming. You can find links to Saj's work below.


Pull and Pin website


The Art of Slow Box website


Slow Living for Women Facebook group


Instagram


ITV Creates




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