Today we’d like to introduce you to Channin Fulton.
Channin, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My story is a flowing, creative river. I got my start in the arts at a young age (s/o to my first grade horse portrait). I grew up with crafts-parents who were both very creative themselves – my mother, a loving maker/crafter, and father, a humble illustrator/designer/repairer of broken things [often] using make-shift methods. I’ve always appreciated these traits in my family and stayed curious from a young age. I was also the competitive soccer player, soulful surf rat, and sensitive art kid growing up (yes, all at the same time). I think these experiences and traits have carried me into what I do for a vocation now – owning my art + design business.
Born and raised right here in sunny San Diego, I grab a ton of inspiration from California beach and Mexican street culture. I really love people, so I approached college with the mindset that I could study design as a way to solve human problems using an artistic approach. I worked at a fabulous local brand agency for a couple years straight out of school. Then I got laid off from that dream job, went into a year of depression (paralyzed mindset) in fear of finding another “best”. In the midst of that, I was encouraged to just keep making and from there, figured the only way to continue to move towards what I loved (merging art with design while staying in close proximity to my family, friends, and ocean) was to start it myself. So, that’s what I did. It’s been a couple years and a lot of late nights but I’d like to think of my vocation as lift-off! It’s only up from here.
Has it been a smooth road?
If I claim my story as “a flowing, creative river”, that would imply some rough currents and silty shoals. I have always struggled with two things in particular: confidence and anything “financial” (negotiations, taxes, budgeting, counting change, the likes… haha!) I’m not quite figured out here on the financial advice end (probably just get a financial advisor and ask a lot of Q’s) but I think one of the best offerings of advice I could give in regards to confidence would be to surround yourself with supportive people and activities to boost you up. Decide that mentorship is a choice you have – to fearlessly seek out the special person whom you admire or trust. The good ones will stick. I have some close friend-mentors who’ve really heard/helped me through those difficult times in life. Of course, activities like making and giving have also been incredibly therapeutic for me. The key idea being “stay active”. Rush yourself into a confident, optimistic mindset through activities like meditation, visualization, mindfulness, prayer, community service, journaling, party-throwing, walking the park, cooking, working out (punch the air!), lip-syncing Sia songs in the car, taking out the trash… honestly, whatever you think works for you to stay happy and healthy in your particular situation. Explore it. For me, mentorship and happy/healthy activity seems a good starting point for confidence!
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into Channin Fulton Art + Design story. Tell us more about the business.
I’m a designer-illustrator more than anything these days. I often walk the fine line of art (with a self-serving, experimental lens) and design (with its client-host, problem-solving approach). My work mindset is always naive, in the playful sense, and warmly analog, in the “hand-crafted”, iterative sense. For having no team, I’d like to say, I’m still very much a team player, who loves to collaborate.
My illustrative work is diverse and scalable – I’ve designed everything from a 2-inch weed label to a 450 sq ft church mural. The visual contexts sometimes seem endless for me, but I want my brand practice to continue towards a sun-baked, west coast vibe that’s always optimistic at its core.
What do you feel are the biggest barriers today to female leadership, in your industry or generally?
I think one barrier is confidence. Partly stemming from irrational cultural norms and historic systematic oppression. That’s one big mouth full, but I think many woman struggle with confidence because years and years of being cautioned, placed, harassed, paid less, etc. All these factors into a women’s sense of their own capability and value. I feel there’s a bit of a cyclical idea tucked in here: feeling valuable and capable boosts confidence. Confidence (when nourished in a healthy, non-egotistical way) boosts the workplace. Workplace diversity is more profitable in so many ways. But, that means system norms/oppressions must be challenged to boost up women who enhance our industry [and general] well-being.
When a woman sees other women blaze the way despite irrational norms and systematic oppression, those women create more opportunities for our future. And THAT is something to celebrate and not be jealous of. Women: unite, nourish, stay humble but competitive, and GO for it!
- Address: 4966 Santa Monica Avenue, Studio D
San Diego, California 92107
- Website: channinfulton.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @channinfulton
- Twitter: @channinfulton