Niki St. Angelo a.k.a. Niki Saint is a mixed media artist based in Toronto. In the past two years she’s shifted focus from collage, to digital, and most recently killing it in animation and brand building.
Niki, thank you so much for this beautiful work! Working in all these different mediums, it sounds like you’re no stranger to our monthly intention of Fresh Starts.
I think that’s what was so compelling to me about this intention was that I worked in a corporate role for about 10 years and I finally took the jump at the end of 2019 to go freelance. The most incredible thing for me has been working with so many different people and a lot of women who are starting their own businesses are trusting me with their huge dreams and trusting me to create a visual identity to it. And that's really something beautiful and something that I love. So I think doing the same thing over and over again really doesn't appeal to me. I'd much rather be trying to figure out something new and something specific to each client. And it’s funny because in the past two years I've had full-time job opportunities come to me that I would have killed for two years ago that I've actually said, I don't think it's right.
Which is so interesting! Do you think the pandemic played into your priorities shifting or just time?
I think it was time and working. I worked at the same place for about 10 years and as beautiful as it was, there was so much red tape. There was such a ceiling that you just couldn't get past. So once I left, I started to think, oh, you can go this way or this other way. You don't have to, just do one thing. So, yeah, leaving the job and then the pandemic really opened up a whole lot of doors and windows and spaces I didn't even know existed before.
I think sometimes we get so caught up in that whole corporate ladder that you also feel, am I capable of doing anything else?
Absolutely. Imposter syndrome is so real.
I feel like you’re an expert in this, but what do Fresh Starts mean to you?
I love a fresh start. I feel like I have one every three months, which I love. It definitely resonates with me. It's like taking that time to get your priorities back, figuring out your intentions for the next three months, what’s next? Even like the day when you wake up, what's your intention. And also knowing when to let go and not be afraid, because you can always start over — and that's the beauty of being human.
Absolutely. That's so well put. And where do you find that kind of motivation —every three months?
I think fresh ideas and fresh projects are really my motivation. I never want to get stuck where I'm doing something just to do it. Like I always want to have fresh eyes. New clients mean Im looking at things with fresh eyes, and coming up with fresh products. That’s very motivating.
I love that. And it touches on one of our topics this month which was procrastination. You mentioned imposter syndrome earlier, does that play into it as well?
Absolutely. Sometimes the whole “ah, I don’t know what I’m doing, am I good enough for this?” etc plays in your head. But then I usually just try to, even though it's so hard, I try to take a break, go for a walk or something, just doing something to move that energy for me. But sometimes it is putting it away and not looking at it for a day or two days.
But that’s something I’ve learned over time, it doesn't come right away. But now I’m two years into this and I’ve got a pretty good grasp on doing things that excites me. It’s become pretty clear when I’m trying to push through something or putting it off until the very last second that it maybe isn’t something I should’ve been doing in the first place.
Very True. Especially in the freelancing space where you’re constantly hustling. The ability to be patient and maybe choosy about what you’re working on must be very important.
Yea — what I learned this year, early on, was saying no to things I don’t align with. I’ve done things before for money or because I thought it was going to bring my career to the next level. And that's when you lose that drive.
If you find yourself struggling to do something that should take you 20 minutes, you’ve got to look deeper at why, and ultimately let it go.