The Block

Art & Culture — 4 years ago

Living Your Art With Dean George

The Hustle Crew community put their questions to multidisciplinary creative Dean George.


We first shared our Diversity & Inclusion roadmap a few months ago, and one of the first steps we’re taking is our partnership with Hustle Crew. This is a two-way exchange; as well as providing our team with invaluable D&I training and workshops, our content series will see our community join the Hustle Crew community on a journey of shared knowledge and expertise. 


As part of our ongoing series, the Hustle Crew community have put their questions to four exciting creatives who’ve worked with us: artist Roshan Ramesh, Gabriel Gabriel Garble, whose work spans illustration and animation, creative director and director Dean George, who runs the bi-annual magazine GAUCHOWORLD, and illustrator and lecturer Olivia Twist



To close off our series we speak to Dean George, whose output spans creative direction, film direction and photography, with a client list that includes Nike, Adidas, Stone Island, Matches Fashion and Puma. On top of this, he runs the bi-annual magazine GAUCHOWORLD, which explores the intersection of music, fashion and sport. “We provide an authentic insight to the culture, through an alternative perspective,” he says. “Our team has a deep-rooted understanding of the scene, bringing you closer to it via organic forms of documentation.” Here he shares his insights on everything from establishing your worth, to building genuine creative relationships, to making the transition to freelance. 

Courtesy of Dean George

Help! Where do I even start?

I think starting is the hardest part, as there is a fear associated with your ideas not being good enough. However, it helps to bear in mind that when you manage to overcome that fear and take a carefree approach, the result will be that a vision that only existed in your mind will now get to live in a public space. 

How did you build the confidence to put yourself out there?

I was determined to make a change, and I knew that if I succeeded I would be able to make an impact in my community. My priority has always been art, and I was often left frustrated when seeing the culture, which I am heavily involved in, documented in ways that aren’t beautiful.

How can someone prove they’re good at what they do if they don’t have formal training?

In this social media-driven era we have a platform to do whatever we want, whenever we want. If you have a passion you now have the ability to share it with the world with the push of a button, and I’m a big believer that if you share and promote your craft the right eyes will find you. Hard work does not go unnoticed.

Courtesy of Dean George

Hard work does not go unnoticed

How do you determine who your main audience are?

For me attracting an audience should happen organically, as it should be a reflection of what you know. If you have a genuine care and understanding of your audience this will show in your output. Community is everything.

How do you work out how to set rates and what to charge for your work?

When setting rates and charging for your work you must ask yourself, what is my value? When you’re thinking on this, think about factors like your experience, your skill set, and the standard of your previous work. It is important to remember that the more experience you have, the better you’ll be at your craft, and your rate should reflect this.

Courtesy of Dean George

How do you decide which of your work you want to ‘sell’ versus which is personal?

I feel as though that once you find something that you love and are passionate about then you will almost feel that you are not working, your life becomes your work and you begin to live in your art. Things that I do in my everyday life stay quite personal to me, for example my personal collection of holiday films, even though these could easily be sold.

How do you go about partnering with other brands or creative industry peers?

It is vitally important that you don’t get caught up in disingenuous relationships. Money should never be a priority here, instead focus on whether there is genuine creative alignment from both parties; if this alignment does not exist then the end result will not align. A question I always ask myself is “does this make sense?”

Community is everything

Courtesy of Dean George

Have you ever experienced burnout? How did you overcome it?

If you’re working in the creative industries burnout is almost inevitable, and my way of dealing with this is by reminding myself that I am in this position because I have worked hard, and that this hard work warrants a break. When I’m feeling burnt out I tend to put myself in new environments, as these fresh settings inevitably provide me with new creative zest.

How do you bounce back from situations that don’t work out? How do you know when to stop vs. when to keep trying?

Every situation that doesn’t work out should be looked at as a blessing. Any opportunity to fail is an opportunity to learn, and when you have passion for something you should never stop.

Courtesy of Dean George

What was the transition like to becoming a freelancer? What tips would you have, if any, for transitioning successfully?

This transition is something that shouldn’t be rushed. It should come from sensible planning, and when you take this step you should be able to completely invest in yourself. This is not just a financial investment but an investment in your time and effort too. Once you can confirm that you are ready for a journey of hardship and constantly hearing no, then you are ready to be a freelancer.

Any opportunity to fail is an opportunity to learn

Courtesy of Dean George

Do you have a mentor?

Yes, I do have mentors. Our relationships tend to be loose, but their knowledge and understanding of the industry is far superior to mine. I know that I am provided with a constant safety net and that I always have access to the information that I may need. They also provide me with an access to their network, which makes me more engaged within the industry.

How do you decide how much self-promotion to do on social media? What tips do you have for using social media well?

Just be yourself, the right people will buy into you. 

Read More: Looking To Your Community With Olivia Twist