I’m so excited to share this interview with Jerrod Tobias of Tobias Studios. Jerrod is one of the coolest people I have ever met; he’s an incredibly talented artist, loyal friend, and a devoted husband and father. When I had the idea to interview creative parents to learn how artists manage their craft while raising a family, Jerrod immediately came to the top of my mind. His work is completely original, full of vibrant colors, captivating portraits and artistic murals that are beautifying Fort Wayne. Jerrod, his beautiful wife Kara, and their 3 kids moved to the country to pursue a more sustainable life of homesteading, gardening and making art.

In this interview Jerrod he shares his tips on managing his career, marriage and family life with a zen like simplicity that cuts right to the point.

As a creative parent, I am so inspired by how much work you create.  And I know first hand how hard it can be to find the time to work creatively while raising a family.  How do you find the time for painting/ working on creative pursuits?  

Jerrod:  Finding time to create has always been essential to my daily life.  For years, I worked full time and made work on nights and weekends.  Eventually, I was able to go part-time at my job to focus on developing our business.  That decision was a big one.

Do you have any advice for parents who aren’t able to find the time to paint?

Jerrod:  If you want to be an artist, stop watching television and put down your phone.

Do you wake up early or stay up late?

Jerrod: I am growing to be a morning person as I grow older.  Monday mornings I start work at 4 am , so I go to bed earlier now too.

Can you describe a typical day in the Tobias house/ studio? 

Jerrod:  I get up and go work at FedEx every morning.  Kara gets the kids up and off to school.  Then we both work from home.  She helps manage Tobias Studios and her family’s drywall business.  We also garden.  Right now we are curating a group show at Wunderkammer gallery.  We don’t ever really stop working, but we are able to keep it in balance.

You are really one of the coolest couples I’ve met, and I’m so excited to feature you. The blog is all about finding the balance and juggling work, parenting and life.  How have you guys been able to find this balance, or perfect the juggle?

Jerrod: When we prepared to move to the country, we downsized our home and bills in order to lessen our dependence on full time jobs.  Then when we started our business, we saved a years income as a safety net.  We don’t take big vacations or eat out a lot.  Kara is a financial genius.  She’s a quiet hustler.

What are some of the ways you take care of yourselves and your marriage while raising 3 awesome kids?

Jerrod: After 17 years of marriage, we are in tune with one another and our personal needs.  We have a brutally honest relationship with our kids and each other.  Parenting is the most challenging and rewarding experience I’ve ever known.

What is it like having a teenager?

Jerrod: Having a teenager is scary.  The modern world is a lot different than when Kara and I were kids.  We try to be present, eat dinner together, follow their social media, and tell them we love them everyday.

How long have you and Kara been together/ married?  What have you learned about marriage and life together? 

Jerrod: Kara and I have been married 17 years.  We have grown up together, and learned a lot of things the hard way.  Personally, I believe that being married to Kara and having a family is the greatest experience of my life.  I found little value in my own existence before her.

What motivated you to take your artwork to street murals?  How is working larger different?

Jerrod: Painting murals was always a dream.  It took a long time to develop my skills and even get a shot at a mural.  Public work has added new meaning to my work.  I feel like I have a special opportunity to bring joy into peoples lives.  It’s an honor, and a heavy responsibility.

What does it feel like to drive around and see your murals in Fort Wayne?

Jerrod: Driving around and seeing the change that we have been a part of in Fort Wayne is pretty uplifting. It is a reassurance that the hard work is with it.

What type of project are you working on right now? 

Jerrod: Right now we are curating a group show at Wunderkammer.  Preparing to start a 30’x80’ mural on brick building from the 19th century, and designing a mural for a distillery.  We are also partnering with the public library to offer free drawing classes this summer.

Do you find yourself wanting to include your kids into your creative process? Do you encourage them to learn the fundamentals or explore with unbridled creative expression?

Jerrod: Our kids are exposed to the entire creative process since our studio is in our garage.  We share the space and materials.  We encourage them to develop drawing and painting fundamentals, but I don’t push too hard.  They will find their own paths.

What do you think about when you wake up?

Jerrod: When I wake up in the morning I jump right up and my mind is running.  I’m out before dawn pretty much everyday.  I like to send emails out before 6 am.

What kind of family traditions have you started, family dinners, movie night…. etc? What do you for fun with your family?

Jerrod: Family dinner, bonfires, camping, and concerts are our family traditions.

How has becoming a father changed you?  And if in any way, your artwork?

Jerrod: Becoming a father gave me a purpose to work hard and stay determined.  I was pretty apathetic about work when I was younger.  I appreciate the value of hard work, and my family has taught me that.

What was the last book you read?

Jerrod: The last book I read was How to Change Your Mind, by Michael Pollan.  It delves into the topic of psychedelic research and challenges the taboo around the subject.  It was in preparation for our psych show.

What would you tell your younger self?

Jerrod: I would tell my younger self, to get over yourself.

Thank you so much Jerrod for your time and the work you produce. Its a constant inspiration in our family and I hope I was able to spread the joy a little farther with this post. If you are reading this, see below links to Jerrods social media accounts, so you can follow along.

You can find more of Jerrods artwork on Instagram here.

And on Facebook here

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