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Something to be said about me
Welcome note to new people (and old) who will be joining my dispatch now
Let me get straight to the point. I suck at introducing myself and describing who I am and what I do. I envy people who are able to write lengthy texts about themselves. But what if doesn’t come easy to them too? What if I try?
As I keep living this beautiful and the only life of mine, it seems that I am getting gid of this unnecessary shyness.
So let me tell you who I am and why you might find it interesting to subscribe to my Substack here.
My name is Vera Golosova, and I used to be many things. Now I consider myself an artist, book art director, letterer, photographer, youtuber, community builder and also (maybe) a writer. I am also a mom, a nerd since I remember myself, a book freak, D&D lover, dog owner, Russian, therapy adept, nature observing enthusiast, amateur bird watcher. Many things.
I am here on this Earth for 38 years, and I am kind of an example of a person who walked different carrier paths over the last 20 years that I do actual work and get paid. For all these years I mostly did creative work. It will be okay to say that I am quite brave and adventurous enough to try out completely new things with absolutely zero experience.
This is me, caught by Maria Dofaminova
This is a story how I got my first creative job gig when I was 20 (or 19?), when I was studying Sociology in the University (yes, I have a Mater degree in Sociology of social communication, pretty cool). I had a course on the History of creative ideas in advertising and as final paper we were supposed to create a poster for a car rental shop (or second hand car shop). And while my classmates did some scribbles with blue ballpoint pen in a workbook checked sheet of paper, I went out of the box and crafted a very primitive poster in photoshop. I did very simple collage and added up some slogan and call to action. Professor of said course appeared to be a head of strategy at the real advertising agency. And he asked me if I actually want a job, because their creative director had this idea of assembling a creative team of very experienced industry workers and somebody very much fresh. Advertising tabula rasa. Maciek (creative director) asked me - do you want to be a copywriter or an art director? I got shy, because my photoshop was very basic and said, well, let it be copywriter. This is how I got into the industry completely by surprise, for a fulltime job, while studying in the University. My student life ended here abruptly, but I broke into the world of The Real Job.
I stayed in the advertising world for 7 or 8 years, worked as a copywriter in such renowned places as Ogilvy or Saatchi and Saatchi. It was mostly fun and crazy time, I met amazing people during those years. I was 20, they were mostly older. And they taught me so much. I also inherited not a fun thing - writing block. When I wrote and re-wrote words many times, was harshly critiqued or just asked to do another attempt, I started feeling disgust with any text that I managed to write.
Lately I feel that I have something interesting to share, but writing words is still very hard for me. This is one of the reasons I decided to start a newsletter - to have a gentle practice of writing. And presumably people who will read me are the people who consented to read me, so it is not as shouting into the void in Instagram and having this fear that some mean people might come and say bad things about me.
But we should go back to my story. At some point while working in the advertising industry, I was exposed to great photography and developed a habit of making photos here and there. Mostly I filmed music gigs of rock and metal bands. There was a moment when I basically had 2 jobs - copywriter by day and photographer by night and weekends. I realized that actually my freelance income is the same as my paycheck at the office and that I feel that I could do more with photography and videography. Canon introduced their first video filming DSLR camera and I dabbed into video making.
My Discord server avatar
I left my office job. And started my freelancing journey, which organically combined photography, o video making, then calligraphy added up, then lettering and a little bit of graphic design and craft. When I look back at these years, I see how I grew, how I took interesting projects, how I won and how failed, how I had awesome clients and how I got clients from hell type of them.
In 2016 I got pregnant and worked till the last days before the labor. I did calligraphy on handmade ceramics a lot back then. When I was almost due, my husband was laid off. I still hate these people who thought it was a good idea to fire a guy who is about to become a dad and family income is very much dependent on him. But I also think that me being a freelancer saved us, my partner also got pretty nice payments because he forced them to pay everything he could get.
So for half a year we lived off these payments and my freelance gigs. Now I think that it was an amazing chance for us to be together with a baby before “it was cool” (meaning before pandemic and the spread of work from home lifestyle). It is so sad that quite often while one parent parents (usually a mom), while the other one is carrying the financial responsibility for the whole family and has very little resources and time to connect with a new born child.
It was quite a pivotal moment for me. When Lucas joined us in this world, I realised that I don’t have any time left for myself. I could snatch a tiny bit of time here and there. And I asked myself - what do I want to do in these bits of time? DRAWING came up immediately to my mind, I didn’t even knew that it would be that easy. I clearly saw that my creative life was a curve towards that. I was just now sure that I am good enough or talented enough. But the birth of Lucas made me see that these thoughts make no sense. And that advertising (remember that question if I want to be a copywriter or an art director?), photography, lettering - all these things are about making a visual. I just never could trust myself that I can actually produce a visual by drawing.
I shaved my head when pandemic started
Photo by Marina Kozinaki
I started sketching, taking classes, at some point I founded a sketch club in a café near my home. Then pandemic hit. And I moved sketch club offline and we started to draw together and it literally saved my mental health. Discord became my fav app. At some point in 2021 we kinda started to get our life back. I had offline sketchclub again, together with online, I created a YouTube channel on art and vlogs, I have been thinking about art plans and everything. I had Patreon, paypal, all that. And then 2022 came. I committed to film and upload one video a week. And then 24th of February hit. Everything came to a halt. Everyone I knew watched news in horror and disbelief. I still cannot comprehend how is this even possible.
A bit before that, I was approach with an idea to go fulltime as a book art director at a publishing house. Job description sounded amazing. 100% work from home, my area of responsibility would be young adult fiction and geek stuff, I was specifically needed for my lettering skills. Perfect match. I was a bit hesitant, but I wanted to get back to a hired position. To do team work and do full time work for the first time in 10 years.
And again 24th of February. It was my last interview. I was sure I won’t get a job. Because well… Most businesses suffered greatly because of new political realities. Guess what? I got the job!
Some covers I art directed from scratch or adapted
So for the next 8 months I was working as a book art director at a publishing house. It was the most intense work experiences I have ever had in my life. Most probably I will write more bout these months - what I learnt, what I achieved, what I felt, and how I grew as a person and as a professional. I will send you out this letter at the first day of my sabbatical, because life makes shifts again and complicated decisions have to be made. Very symbolic, huh? We are leaving the country soon and I won’t be able to provide intense work services in the foreseeable future. I am very grateful for the understanding that I got from my colleagues. Some of them became very close to my heart. It is amazing that despite them being very sad and frustrated with my decisions, they gave me support and comforting words.
So it is my art journey until now.
I am an artist, letterer, book art director, photographer, video maker, community builder.
My hope is to have an opportunity to hone my skills in every aspect of my professional life. You are welcome to join me in my journey. I’d be happy to share my stories with you.
Thank you for your support and care <3
Here is my Substack and you can subscribe
Here is my Discord server where I host my sketchclub and chat on art and life
Here is my YouTube Channel
And here is my website which will be updated soon with my latest works