We had the good fortune of connecting with Dusty Ferguson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dusty, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
Throughout college and into the following four years, my balance was fairly poor. Easily my work life, or even just being busy, took a large chunk of my daily time. Honestly, it wasn’t till I finally burnt myself out, that I realized I had overworked myself. I had ignored the moans of my body and failed to rest. While attending college I worked and lived in the same place. I was in charge of watching over first year students and helping them adjust to their new independence and dorm life. A lot of it was fun and I have great memories, but I also had to deal with conflict resolution, dorm vandalism and countless other issues that arose in our dormitory. You can only imagine. Apart from having a weird working/living environment, I was also a full time student with classes, homework, club meetings and parties. I think this type of lifestyle was slightly addicting; constantly jumping from one thing to the next. This rhythm followed me after college into my first full time job. It was hard for me to say “no” to projects and outings. Granted I loved this job very much, I didn’t realize how it was slowly wearing me down. After four years, I finally had to go. I took a lot of time reflecting on my experiences and patterns. For the next two years I worked a similar job, but left work at work. I started using my free time to exercise and enjoy the outdoors. I slowly started to understand the importance of work/home boundaries. Those two years felt like a much needed vacation. Even now, when I’m doing a good portion of work from my home, I learn to “shut off” or “unplug” and don’t feel bad for saying “no”. I think it’s a trap many people fall into, thinking that they have to always be busy or “productive” to be valuable. I’m still learning to step back and listen to my mind and body, but like to think I’ve slightly grown in this area.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I realized in my life that I would always be someone who had to simply create. I’ve worked many various jobs like landscaping, warehouse, ministry, public service, restaurants and even was paid to chase bears out of campgrounds, but I always found time to create something. I have been hooked on music and playing music for as long as I can remember. I even have faint memories of my first song I wrote in 4th grade. I also loved drawing and writing stories. I simply have a desire to create. It’s very satisfying; a bit of freedom. In 2006 I chose to major in graphic design because it seemed the most realistic way to create and make a living. (Although I still hit hard times) That was just my young way of understanding. I have always enjoyed skateboarding and skate mags with all the photos/design work and I think that also helped sway my decision to focus on graphic arts. In 2006 I also discovered the magic of film photography and the darkroom in college. It was the only place open 24/7 so I could work all night if I decided. After graduating in 2009, I took many different jobs. None of them specifically doing design work. But when I got home or had some free time I created logos and branding; mostly just satisfying my creative need. I didn’t land my first full time design job till 2016. The same with photography. The last five years I’ve taken steps to create and show large photo series, yearly, in small galleries and shows. In the last two years I’ve released two photography books that I am very proud of. Doing all the film development and creative processing at home. Neighborhood walks, day trips and vacations all take on new light. Even though I may not be doing photography as a day job, i spend a lot of time visioning for my series, planning trips and organizing the final collection. A huge help in continuing this creative journey is the support from my friends and family, as well as feeling satisfied when completing a project. I have no plans on slowing down.
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?
Our town, Redlands, has some great eateries, breweries and parks. I would mostly encourage walking or riding bikes around town. You can really see the charm it has. Top spots to stop and relax at would be Olive Ave Market, Stell, Wildgoose Coffee, Ritual Brew Co and La Volata Pizza. Another option would be a bike “brew hop”. Ride bikes to three of our main breweries: to Hangar 24, Ritual and end at Escape.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My wife! She encourages me, keeps me grounded and lights that fire when needed. We have just celebrated our 11 year anniversary but have known each other for something like 16 years; we’re 34 now. I can’t imagine going through life without her. It’s great to have someone you’re close to and be able to watch them grow as a person; seeing their new developments and passions come to life. We are very patient towards each other and I think that has been key in our relationship. As well as being folks who enjoy the creative lifestyle.