We had the good fortune of connecting with Olga Hashim and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Olga, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Over the years I definitely grew to appreciate the balance a lot. I used to be the one checking my emails right after waking up, skipping lunches in favor of getting more done (or snack on something not so healthy instead) and guilt myself into work on the weekends. Luckily, I gradually came to realize the importance of work and life balance and how it effects me physically and mentally. I’m a workaholic, so something that really helped me to re-evaluate my habits was to start looking at them from a different perspective. Instead of thinking of a lunch break and workout time as something that take up hours from my work day I began to perceive them as investments in the future me, mainly my well-being. I also realized that when I feel my best physically and mentally, it will translate into the quality of my work. I feel much more happy, energized and productive when I exercise, eat well, get enough sleep and rest as an opposite of me pushing myself and trying to squeeze it all out of my day. For me personally, constant hustling doesn’t always mean productivity. Rather, it creates an illusion of it while draining me out of energy. On the opposite, work and life balance actually helps to sustain productivity while keeping me feeling my best.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My journey of becoming an illustrator was definitely an interesting experience because I didn’t really plan to become one. I thought I’d continue working as a graphic designer while sharing some digital drawings on Instagram. It just so happened that by establishing my online presence I attracted my first illustration clients, and before I knew it, I was working full time as an illustrator. I have to say that I really enjoy it and am grateful for discovering the wonderful world of illustration. When creating I get inspired by my daily life, as well as casual situations and events I get to observe, plus thoughts that are provoked by all of the above. I enjoy it when people can relate to my work and it gives me a great deal of motivation when it happens. The past year was an exciting one for me because I finally found my illustration style. It balances between an abstract and realistic approach which I think is something that makes it stand out. Aside from that, I feel like my illustrations are united by a color palette of pinks, blues and purples. I love these shades and use them in almost all of my pieces. I also enjoy incorporating minimalist backgrounds into my illustrations, giving the viewer just a few hints of what’s going on there. I feel that we all like a little bit of mystery. It’s always entertaining to guess! Finding my own illustration voice was quite challenging. It didn’t happen overnight and I put a lot of work and experimentation into it. There were moments when I thought I would never get there and that having a style was not meant for me. Nevertheless, I kept going and pushing through until one day I realized that I developed a style. This experience taught me that if one has a goal in mind and takes a step towards it every day, they will get there eventually. Yes, the journey isn’t easy at times, but as much as it is hard, it is also exciting and rewarding.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
One of my favorite places in Houston is the Museum district. I absolutely love the greenery there – it’s a perfect place for long walks. While in the area, you can spend your afternoon visiting the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, stroll around Hermann park and then enjoy a sunset by watching it at James Turrell’s “Twilight Epiphany” Skyspace. One of my other favorite places in Houston is the Buffalo Bayou Park. It’s a gorgeous escape from an urban life within the city limits. The park is perfect for walking around and enjoying the nature. It’s full of beautiful little sculptures, narrow hidden paths, flowers and whatnot. If you want to have a meal while enjoying a cozy ambiance, stop by The Backstreet Cafe. The food is delicious, the staff is super friendly and the atmosphere is really snug. You can dine inside or out on the patio. The latter is super cheerful at night when they turn their lights on. For those of you who enjoy an upscale feel and a calm atmosphere, visit Del Frisco’s Grille in The Woodlands! The food there is mouth watering. They have a beautiful patio overviewing the lake, perfect for a cool spring night or a warm night if you prefer! If you have a few free days after all that walking, consider going on a road trip! Austin and San Antonio are my favorite road trip destinations because of the fantastic nature attractions the two areas have to offer. If you travel to Austin, make sure to visit Hamilton Pool Preserve or Longhorn Cavern State Park. For those who enjoy hiking, I’d suggest visiting the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. If you are heading for San Antonio, don’t forget to pack a swimming suit with you for a tube ride on the Guadalupe River.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to dedicate my shoutout to my dear loving husband Javed who has been a tremendous support throughout my journey.