If you were to look at the colourful pop surrealist portfolio of Columbian artist, illustrator and graphic designer Daniel Aristizábal (opens in new tab), you might assume he doesn't battle with the typical challenges of being a freelancer, such as staying motivated while working from home (opens in new tab), or mastering the art of networking (opens in new tab).
Specialising in bold 3D geometric shapes with a retro feel, Aristizábal's clients include Wired and Primark, and his first-ever 3D project, Cósmica y sus huevos for La Monda magazine [above], was picked up by the global design press.
Nevertheless, when we catch up with him at Barcelona's annual three-day creative fiesta OFFF 2016 (opens in new tab), he highlights financial security as his biggest challenge.
"Finding financial stability as a freelancer is one the aspects that worries me the most," he says. "Being super-active with clients and creating a budget are things that I'm currently doing to overcome this aspect."
However, with this comes the risk of tipping the work-life balance. Aristizábal has talked before about being a workaholic – does he have any tips for avoiding burn out while trying to achieve financial security?
"It's a double-edged sword," he reflects. "On one side, practice makes you better at anything, but if you don't take the proper precautions you'll burn out. Going out to the countryside, spending time with your loved ones and taking an outside hobby are things that I do to keep myself motivated and productive."
Pushing creative boundaries
Another typical challenge, Aristizábal adds, is finding time to do experimental work. This year he intends to dedicate more time to trying new tools and mediums – and has already implemented this strategy through 36 Days of Type (opens in new tab).
The project saw creatives around the world working through the alphabet to produce an illustrated letter every day. Aristizábal's results are striking, showing drastically different styles for each character.
"The hardest thing was being on time with the deadlines," he smiles. "I used Illustrator, Photoshop and a little bit of Cinema 4D."
His biggest message during his talk at OFFF 2016 was to "find your inner voice". As he explained afterwards: "Then everything will make sense in your career. Having a passion gives you that zen moment when things seem to go bad. Once you find that, nobody can take it away from you."
He also had advice for young illustrators and art directors: "Don't worry about failure that much. Being bad at something and accepting it is the best way to become better later on."
Daniel Aristizábal spoke on the first day of OFFF 2016. We're reporting from Barcelona throughout the three-day creative conference.