I love going back to work after a holiday. I always have a refreshed energy and can quickly find a stride in my workflow. I get great satisfaction from productivity and obsessively enjoy ticking things off lists; tiny gratifications, daily. I try to build success into my routine, and being task-oriented and people-focused has allowed me to find success in various managerial roles. So this week, while I was settling into the work, I wanted to chat with someone else who enjoys productivity, Jennifer Adekyn, aka, Flashfoxart.
JL: Hey, Lady. Want to interview for my blog?
Flashfox: Awwwww, sure!
JL: Yay! Okay, then my first question is, What is Merpets?
JL: They are so cute. Tell me everything.
Flashfox: Thank you! I've always loved collectable things. When I was a kid, I collected stickers, erasers, enamel pins, anything cute I could gather. I was also drawn to the idea of making collectable things. Before the pandemic, I started looking into living off of my art rather than being a full-time web developer. Enamel pins were especially appealing, so I decided to try and design my own and see how they do. Merpets came about as a series of enamel pins based on dog breeds, with the idea of branching out into cats, bunnies, ferrets, etc. later. There are currently only three, but they have been a success, and I plan to create more in the future.
JL: How did you become a web developer?
Flashfoxart: I wanted to go to school to learn animation, such as CalArts, but I couldn't afford it. So I put those dreams on hold and started looking at a more practical career. I figured I'd work my way back to it later. So my father, also in tech, suggested I look into graphic/web design. I went to a nearby community college while working full time to pay for it at Circuit City, selling computers. I worked at quite a few computer sales jobs while learning some basic HTML/CSS and Flash animation. My boyfriend at the time knew some programming, so together, we quit our jobs and struck out to become a freelance team, and I took illustration/animation work as I could find it as well, but it was harder to come by. We took web development jobs from Craigslist and learned as we went. We got some exciting clients such as Ira Newble, a basketball player. We built an animated computer-based training experience in Flash for Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. I still didn't know much about coding, but I was learning a little here and there.
One illustration client I had was a Flash site development agency. They asked what else I could do, and I told them of my basic HTML/CSS knowledge, and they gave me some web work, some flash animation work, and some illustration work. I designed apps for Bacardi, worked on microsites for Cartoon Network. I loved working for them because I could get a taste of everything. Eventually, they offered me a full-time job, and I took it. I enjoyed the company vibe, the pay was great, and the work was pretty fun.
So in a way, I still found ways to put my passions to use. It's not quite the same as being a Disney animator, though.
JL: Would you say most of your skills have come from learning on the job?
Flashfox: Definitely! Nearly all my experience has come from being asked if I can do something, doing the research and discussing with my peers, and then getting it done.
JL: That is a rare skill, the ability to ‘do’.
JL: So, how many projects are you on now?
Flashfox: Just in NFTs or outside of that as well?
JL: Either, both, it’s up to you. I am just trying to get a feel for your workload.
Flashfox: Outside of NFTs, I am helping a company in LA with a small animation project called Pet Hotel. Inside NFT land, I have done/am doing some light development work for a couple of NFT projects, such as Indra Tor’s Prjkt 52 and 2476’s Token, but my main focus and most of my day is centred around Kiki City.
JL: How did you get involved with Kiki City?
Flashfox: I met Kiki in a Discord, I believe the FND Discord, and he was talking about enamel pins, and I offered my knowledge to him because I had made the MerPets pins. He showed me his community, Kiki's Playground, which I joined. Kiki's Playground is essentially an incubator for upcoming artists in the NFT space. He covers the mint cost for a kickback when the art sells. I liked the generous spirit of it and joined his community. We started talking about what a Kiki PFP would look like and decided to team up and go for it.
JL: What do you do for Kiki City?
Flashfox: I am the co-founder of Kiki City, and I wear many hats. My main job has been Creative Director and artist for the Kiki PFPs, but I also built the website, helped set up the game server, and did some marketing. Now that the Kikis themselves have been created, I am shifting my focus to help with art and development for the Kiki City game.
JL: Which aspect of Kiki City excites you the most?
Flashfox: I'm super excited to start fleshing out the game. The list of ideas we have is a mile long and keeps growing. It will always be a casual experience, but we want to make sure there are plenty of fun things to do and be an excellent place just to hang out and chat. We have already talked about some of our plans, such as pets, mounts, apartments, and currently, laser tag is being improved, and I will add other mini-games soon. We have to keep some other things under wraps for now because we've seen our ideas being copied almost immediately after announcing them, but over the next year, it will become quite a fun place to be.
JL: How would you describe the game to someone who has never seen or heard of Kiki?
Flashfox: The game is a pixel art social MMO. It's a clubhouse for Kikis to hang out, play a little laser tag, do some quests. We'll have an inventory to allow you to collect items in-game and badges for your achievements.
JL: What is something you are proud of the most?
Flashfox: I think I'm most proud of how far I've come without a college degree. I took some risks when I was young to live a freelance life. I had to scrounge for coins in the couch cushions to afford dinner a few times in my life, but I pushed myself to learn so many things over the years that I can now safely work for myself again and not worry about finding the jobs to pay the bills. Now I just want to carve more time out for my creativity and explore my art.
JL: What is the next Flashfoxart you will drop?
Flashfox: It's hard to say. I have several unfinished pieces to choose from, so I'm unsure which will be next, but it will probably be a 1/1. I also have a piece for Robek's Curio Remix project nearly ready, so that should be dropping soon as well. Also, I like to have a clear mind when I make art. If I have a lot of work to do, it's harder for me to focus on my art because I am constantly reminded of other pressures.
JL: What’s the Curio Remix?
Flashfox: It is a project made by Robek where artists redraw his original Curio Cards, the Wizard, the Bard and the Barbarian. Here’s an example.
JL: Do you think you are good at time management?
Flashfox: Yes. I am more disorganized and chaotic by nature, but over time I have learned how to juggle a lot and still get it done. Working at a job where I had many clients, some of whom I was their only dev contact, and having to juggle hundreds of small tasks while also building full-on projects put me in the position to force good time management. I sometimes have a hard time saying no to those I care about and end up with more work than I'd like, but I just put my head down and focus, and I rarely miss a deadline.
JL: Do you have a structured day? Week?
Flashfox: My structure has changed a bit since leaving my job. Currently, I wake up at 6-7 am and look at all my messages. Then I get conversations with my teammates out of the way. I make a mental note of tasks and priorities and then sort my day accordingly. I keep harder, more thought-driven jobs for the morning when my brain is awake and more creative tasks toward the evening when I just want to relax and disconnect. That way, it never FEELS like I'm working as much as I do. And one thing that's nice about having multiple roles is that if I am not in the mood to do one thing, I can switch to something completely different as a break, which keeps me feeling fresh.
JL: I understand entirely. I am very similar. I also have a weekly cycle too. I like specific tasks done early in the week, and on Saturdays, I try to work very little.
Flashfox: Yeah, I'll front-load hours so that I don't HAVE to work more later if I don't want to, but if I'm in the mood, I will keep going.
JL: What software do you use to organize yourself?
Flashfox: Jira is super helpful to me because I love being able to mark a task done, so I tend to keep up with it better than others. I even suggested it to Prjkt52 as well. And now that we have more people on Kiki City development, I will be putting it up for them too. For my personal work, it’s more of a mental note because my brain will bug me to death until I complete it anyway.
JL: I use Jira for Dorkis too. Is your work area tidy?
Flashfox: My workspace is reasonably tidy. If it gets too cluttered, I can't focus, so I stop to fix it and then resume.
JL: I bet you have no outstanding notifications either.
Flashfox: Hahaha, I can't handle them. I MUST clear my notifications. How did you know?
JL: I recognize your workflow. It is the same as mine.
Flashfox: I'd love to hear more about what tricks you have in your routines to stay on task!
JL: For real Girl, sounds like you got all my tricks already. I do also make a handwritten list every morning for personal tasks like: ‘Text Mom’, ‘Schedule vaccine booster’ and ‘hang up laundry’, but it is only for things I plan to do that day.
Flashfox: One other thing I do when I want to get in my "zone", is I put on either lo-fi beats or lately just one of those "10 hours of a roaring fireplace" videos on the TV as background noise. It’s funny, I get so used to it it's almost Pavlovian. Like my brain goes "roaring fire = focus time." While I was making the Kikis, I sat on my couch, pulled up a nice comfy blanket, lit a candle and turned on the roaring fire, and I could sit there for hours and focus. It was amazing.
I enjoyed chatting with Flashfox. We had an amiable and thorough conversation about all her projects, her family, and growing up in the Southern part of the United States. I appreciated her openness, directness, and timeliness in her responses. But it was the enormity of her workload, the variety of her portfolio and her keen organisation that struck me. I hope those reading about her routine will be encouraged to find success through organisation and discover their own workflow.