The second read for our series My Bag, My Office features the extremely talented designer & photographer Nathan Michael, based in Chicago, Illinois. Nathan has a long list of business successes, but his most recent success is founding the creative studio Low Res
, which uniquely mixes events with its creative agency. Check out Nathan’s killer artistic eye here
, and read below to learn more about Nathan’s life as a creative nomad.
Tell us a bit about yourself. What is your creative background/interests?
I’ve spent a majority of my life exploring creativity through different mediums. As a kid, it took on the form of art & music. Over the past 10 years, it took the form of photography & design. Now I’m hoping to spend most of my time solving creative problems for others & exploring more of the fine art world.
(Left) The Rains Danish Backpack
stylishly reinterprets rain gear for the modern moment, and will keep all your belongings dry & secure. (Right) Nathan brainstorming ideas inside his studio with a Romeo Ballpoint Pen
on a Kolo Bristol Journal
Bento culture is becoming a part of a mobile creative’s life, and it’s a good move for your overall health. Check out the Sanyoshi Bento Bowl
from Japan, and take your on the go lunch game to the next level.
The Kolo Edison Pouch
is made for creatives who have pens, pencils, and chargers floating around all the time. The classic, compact rectangular shape and zippered design comes with an innovative feature: undo the snaps and the Edison unfolds to twice its size, revealing additional pockets.
Low Res Studio is a unique idea. What inspired you to create a space that functions as an agency but also a hub for creatives?
I’ve always loved helping brands tell a better visual story. I've worked the majority of my adult life as a freelancer, and I wanted to start building something larger than myself. I knew if I was going to create an agency, I also wanted to make sure it was something that was integrated into the community from the beginning. I wanted a purpose bigger than creating “cool” work (although taking pride in what we do is a big part of it.) Inviting others on the journey is important to me. Teaching what we are learning. Helping others grow in their creativity. Inviting them to contribute their talents to the world in their own way. Next time you’re in Chicago, come to one of our events
! And wherever you are, you don’t want to miss one of our episodes of The Creative Muscle podcast
A different kind of office: Low Res
was created to amplify creativity and build community, while helping some of their favorite brands do the same. They are a creative agency, event space, and hub for creative minded people, all housed in a space that was built around their mission.
Do you find inspiration in having a mobile work lifestyle?
I like to start my day early & will work the first hour or two at a cafe before meeting the team at Low Res studio. There’s a different energy when working around a mobile lifestyle. I found a rhythm that works for me, but it’s not for everyone. If the mobile work lifestyle helps you stay productive & focused — go for it. It’s really about discovering what works best for you.
How do you stay focused and organized with everything you have on your plate?
I end each day by setting my top 3 priorities for the following work day. This helps me stay focused on what matters & able to mentally leave work at the end of the day. I also use GoogleSheets to organize projects into four phases:
Doing (tasks / projects I’m focusing on this week)
Upcoming (tasks / projects I’d like to accomplish within the month)
Backlog (ideas & projects I’d like to develop in the future)
Archive (tasks / projects I’ve completed and want to look back on at the end of the year)
Who inspires & motivates you to push your work to the next level?
I’m most competitive with myself. I try not to focus on what other’s are doing around me. Comparison tends to rob me of joy, but seeing others live with purpose is always inspiring. I like to keep company with those types of people.