Turning work into art
Joseph Farnack, communications design, has had his share of life experiences in the past. Currently a resident of Catasauqua, Farnack finds himself working full time and going to school part time like many others. The 32 year old lives with a “permanent female partner” Dori and his six year old daughter Eisley.
When asked how long he has been a student at NCC, his response was honest;
“For freakin’ ever,” Farnack chuckled.
He explained how his difficulty in receiving his degree is due to the lack of evening classes available to co-exist with his work schedule. Farnack started taking classes at NCC with one semester in 2006 and later returned in 2009. He’s been working towards his degree ever since.
Farnack started out as a diagnostic medical sonography major, but later realized that art was the career he wanted to pursue. He felt that, after getting a B in anatomy, he could not compete for one of only 15 spots in the competitive program.
Since then he has been exploring different art styles in hopes of finding one that spoke to him.
“I tend to change gears with it all the time,” he stated when asked what kind of art he does.
In finding his individual artistic style he discovered a passion linked to his full time job.
Farnack explained: “For the last nine months I’ve been doing card games and using crayon and dying markers to do portraits of disabled adults I work with.”
His inspiring story of how he discovered his artistic style came from a popular source; troubling times.
Six years ago Farnack found himself without a job and a newborn baby to take care of. He took advice from a family member and applied for a new job in a different field of work.
“There was a point right when the economy took a nosedive in 2009 right after my daughter was born and I had recently lost the career I had been working on. I was doing granite countertops as a fabricator. I started getting really sick from it and I lost my job. It was hard finding work. A cousin of mine suggested LifePath,” he explained.
LifePath is a company that provides various services to adults with disabilities through art, technology and other friendly activities. It is here where he met his art subjects. Since then he has left the company and started a new job in a similar environment.
Farnack currently works as a monitor at Colonial Intermediate Unit, a school specializing in the education of school aged kids with special needs.
“Colonial Intermediate Unit supplies developmentally disabled individuals with an education. I work in the transportation department,” Farnack explained.
Not only did the hardship of having a child and being unemployed lead him to discover his artistic capabilities, but taught him a life lesson that he carries with him every day.
“Before I had responsibilities, like having a daughter, I would slack because I thought I had so much time. I was more interested in socializing or partying. And then afterward, [I realized] there is no time. But my skill level went up tremendously and I commit to it. I’m just much better at it now and I can do a lot more in a lesser and lesser amount of time. With the time I put into it now, I would not have done anything else when I was in my 20’s,” Farnack reflected.
He now finds time to spend at least three hours a day working on his art and attending classes. Farnack also volunteers as a consultant of Youth in Action Now, a nonprofit gang prevention program in Allentown, founded in 2001. Youth in Action Now focuses on inspiring kids through art, dance and theatre. He assists with logo design, flyers, advertisements and even writing plays for the kids to perform.
After the Spring 2015 semester, Farnack has two classes left before he receives his degree.
“…But it could take forever,” he stated half-jokingly.
After graduation he plans to release some of his card games, continue working for Colonial Intermediate and work on some freelance work.
“My plan is to release a couple card games I’m making, along with other projects hobby wise and see if any of them start returning the investment of time and analyze what I’m doing.”
Farnack also plans to join KickStarter in the near future in hopes of receiving donations for his new card game.
To Farnack, good art is, “Something that you find and is multifaceted or something that you make that is multifaceted.”
He also explains that, when creating art, it is important to, “Recognize that the moment is there to do it, recognizing the surroundings and materials that are there at the time. I have this superstition that the stuff is making itself and reflecting you.”
Farnack uses software called Unity and Gimp to design his card games and the Adobe Creative Suite to design all other digital art.
“I’ll keep working my current job until my hobby turns into a career,” Farnack stated aspiringly.
Farnack will have art on display on June 6 at “Suddenly Samantha”, a hair salon and art gallery located in Easton.