Meet Channin Fulton of Channin Fulton Art + Design
They say that good things come to those who wait. But I’m convinced that good things come after a kick out the door. I didn’t anticipate being laid off in 2016 from my dream job—I had been working as a junior designer at a local brand agency at the time, and I remember feeling so grateful for my opportunity to be there, but also feeling a bit stagnant and frustrated about sitting at a computer 9-5. Lay-offs happened, I was let go, and I remember feeling so defeated. I had no plan, no sense of “what next”, and no real motivation. After almost a year of sulky, self-paralyzing unemployment (and a small hand full of job interviews around town under my belt with a dwindling savings), I decided it was time to think in a different direction. I began drawing again. Getting hands on. And I landed a job re-branding a small local small business in town. That re-brand led to illustration and murals, which led to a social media success and success for the small business. That project got me out of my funk and open my mind up to the potential to become a full-time freelancer who designs with an analog approach.
It was definitely rocky starting my business. It still is. And I’m now realizing that it never gets easier, so I’d actually re-phrase this question to present-tense. Ha.. You just grow into having to solve different problems. I sort of took this “blind dive” into running my own business. And it was scary! With not a single business or financial course under my belt and the bad financial/organizational habits as a mid-twenty year old, I started a business anyway because it felt like more of a self-preservation decision at the time—I knew I had so draw and paint and make with my hands to stay alive. I was too stubborn to work for someone else, but, more importantly, I felt like the only way to do the type of projects I loved meant that I had to start it myself. I also knew I wanted to stay close to my family here in San Diego, and I didn’t see any business models around town that hired muralists and illustrators. So with each new job I’d take on, it felt more right that I was doing what I loved. Mural inquires, small business branding, custom logotypes jobs, and illustration work started coming my way.
My business is visual thinking. But I specialize in illustration, lettering, and murals. I take pride in joy, connection, diversity, empathy, and look for opportunities to create with an optimist-activist lens. I often take a democratic approach to design, which is why I typically create on the streets instead of on crisp, white gallery walls. I think something that distinguishes my [mural] work is the bold shape and vibrant color I use to to incorporate with social/environmental content. Positive messaging is also a huge theme in my work. As an illustrator, it’s fulfilling to receive outside reactions that cause delight and thought. If I can achieve both of those at the same time, it’s a “home run” for me!
Success is connecting people and ideas with creative visual craftsmanship.