On the side with . . . Steve Grant

2 months ago by

This series profiles our DA Friends and the side projects they’re working on to develop new skills, test ideas, help people and communities or just do, for the love of it.

This week we heard from Steve Grant, a freelance designer who’s one of a four person team behind PTAFTF (Part Time Artist Full Time Friend), a platform to support creatives who are not creatively employed, helping them see value in their creativity – and helping others see it too.

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you’re up to during the work week.

I’m Steve, a freelance designer based in Tāmaki Makaurau. I have a couple of ‘homes’ (desks) that I work out of, a little setup at home, one with the lovely humans at Milk, where I freelance on the regular. My work tends to have a heavy skew towards strategic-led brand and visual identity – which is a real passion of mine. 

I really enjoy the freelance life. No two days are the same. It allows me to meet a wide range of people and studios. 

I’ve learnt along the way that it’s important to surround yourself with like-minded people so you can feed/learn/grow off each other. Ideally, creating an environment that focuses on the simple equation: good people + good times = good work.

So much so, myself and a couple of old workmates (now close friends and bloody good humans) are in the early stages of joining forces to launch a design studio and freelance community. Like any personal project, it needs a deadline… so watch out 2042.

What does your day-to-day look like? Work rituals? Where in the design process do you spend your time? Research / Strategy / Designing / Client meetings etc

A ‘typical’ day would involve getting up outrageously early for the gym (5am), then either off to one of the ‘homes’ I have or off to the studio I’m currently at. Having this mix provides me just enough human contact to punish people with jokes/chats/yarns and solve some of life’s (design-related) problems along the way.

As a Freelancer that runs personal clients half the time, my part and role in the design process can vary from day-to-day, project-to-project. I suppose you could say I have many metaphorical hats.


On the side, we heard you’ve been working on a personal project called PTAFTF. Can you tell us more about it?

Part Time Artist Full Time Friend (PTAFTF) is a place where artists can simply and easily share and sell their art and where everyday people can buy it – without having to build up the courage to step into a gallery or settle for the mass produced prints regularly found online.

We can’t all quit our day jobs and make art for a living. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be passionate about it. And it certainly doesn’t mean we should give it up. 

That’s what PTAFTF is here for. To be a full time friend to other part time artists. To support creatives who are not creatively employed. Helping them see value in their creativity – and helping others see it too.

How did this project come to life?

Like any passion project, PTAFTF has come to life over a long period of time. PTAFTF is the brainchild of my friend Alyce Stampa. It started back in 2012 with a pop-up gallery of the same name kindly hosted by Auckland’s best (only) dedicated comedy venue, The Classic (where we both worked at the time). 

From there, the potential of the idea was realised and sat on for several years before Alyce decided to reignite it but in a digital form and brought me in to be involved. 

In essence, Alyce wanted to create a platform for herself and others like her to keep them motivated to make more work, be more confident in their talents, and make some money along the way.

Have you joined up with anyone else to help bring this project into fruition?

We have a little (and perfectly formed) team of 4. I’m the only one based in NZ, the rest of the team is based in Melbourne where we have Alyce (our fearless leader) Harry (social media mogul) and Chelsey (admin & logistics). 

A great little smorgasbord board of talents.

Where is PTAFTF at moment? 

We have been live for about 8 months, so we’re almost full term. PTAFTF launched on 22 September 2021, causing such a ruckus that may or may not have contributed to the earthquake in Melbourne that very day. The real work starts now, getting our artist’s work out into the world.

What do you have your sights set on for PTAFTF in the future?

The future for PTAFTF is a brighter future for all part time artists. Whether they’re directly connected to the brand or not, we hope to inspire creatives to create more, and to see value in their creativity. 

And it’s a better-looking future for everyone too, with more genuine, original, and affordable art on walls instead of mass-produced prints, live, laugh, love cutouts, or better yet, nothing at all. 

We’d love to grow the PTAFTF community and the business of many tiny businesses (artists). We want to share their art with the world, and maybe, along the way, some of us can quit our day jobs.

Why do you do it (have a side project while working as a full time freelancer)? What drives your motivation, love for your side project?

Firstly, it’s motivating (and rewarding) helping out my friend bring her long term idea to life. And secondly, providing a platform for Part Time Artists to fuel their creativity and see value in their talents, and get them paid in the process.


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