How I Earn a Living / by S. Joshua Brincko

It depends what you consider "living." I value actual living - that is doing things in life that I like to do. Those include baking bread, hanging out with friends and family, building things, playing hockey, teaching, surfing, watching the Seattle Sounders and Ohio State Buckeyes, and designing things. Those are the things that fill my life. I like doing them, so I keep doing them. Everything we do has negative aspects - including the fun stuff. Burning your arm on a bread dish, the cost of building fun projects, wipe-outs in the surf, building department debacles, etc. Despite the negative aspects, the good parts tend to outweigh the bad. The bad parts are so important though. They create CONTRAST. Bad makes good seem great. The same thing is true in design. Light enables dark, simple enables complex, closed enables open, etc. Doing a lot of different things in life also makes contrast. It is human nature to be inspired by contrast, and it is also human nature to feel good when inspired.

So, diverse living is how I earn a living.

Luckily I get paid for some of the living I do. I like talking about design and sustainability, so I teach college courses and participate in community events on those topics. It's fun, rewarding, and they actually pay me for it. It gives me a break from sitting at a desk, and it also gives me access to the school's wood shop. This brings me to the next aspect of living: building stuff. I have a lot of my own carpentry tools, but the school's wood shop has all of the items (and space) I don't have. I have built many of my own projects and helped students with their own projects over the years. This gives me the chance to experiment with different methods and materials which enables me to have a great understanding of custom solutions for my design projects. I also get practical construction experience from other places including my own home remodels, my rental home's maintenance, and because I commit to building one of my design projects per year. This is how I keep it real. When I suggest a design idea, I'm simultaneously thinking about the practical construction of it. I don't get paid for baking artisan bread or surfing - life's not that sweet. When one "job" is slow, I don't need to worry too much and hit the panic button. I can still keep my cool and focus on doing great work. The diversity of doing "other things" keeps my main gig so fun and exciting. When I'm sitting on my surfboard, staring at the horizon, waiting for the next set of waves, I feel at peace, and I can clearly think about the creative challenges that design work brings. I truly enjoy sharing my inspired mind with you.

 Josh Brincko advising a group of designers for a fashion show.

Josh Brincko advising a group of designers for a fashion show.