Going Freelance
Maximilian Bode | Artist

  • Why You Should Care
  • Bio
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Why Should You Care

Maximilian Bode is an illustrator and fine artist born and raised in New York City. Bode’s first job out of college was as an art director at The New Yorker. After 5 years behind a desk, Bode knew it was time to move on, and quit to pursue the uncertainty of a freelance illustration career and his own creative practice.

In his interview, Bode discusses the unpredictable “ups and downs” of a freelance career, how to know when it’s time to quit your job, and the importance of creativity.


Maximilian Bode, a New York-raised artist, left his job as an art director at The New Yorker to work as a freelance artist.

His art has been published in The New Yorker and The New York Times, and his freelance clients include NASAColumbia PicturesMTVToyotaNickelodeonHigh Times and many more.

Maximilian Bode is a born and bred New Yorker; he was raised in the tough streets of Soho, where he lived until he moved to Brooklyn to attend Pratt Institute. Out of school, he largely supported himself as a freelance artist.

In January of 2006, Max was asked to join the art department of The New Yorker magazine as an art director, and the youngest employee in their organization. He remained there for five years, all the while focusing on his art. During that time his work was shown in galleries in Brooklyn, the East VillageDumbo, and Chelsea.

In 2010 Max left The New Yorker to devote more time to his own practice and to teach at Pratt Institute. Since then Max has continued to show his art and art direct for television and major motion pictures.

Read It

We are in my studio slash apartment, basically my studio apartment that functions as a living space and as a place where I make art.

You kind of have these examples out there in the media of living the freelife… you’re freelance you get to do whatever you want but I feel like a lot of what;is portrayed is illusion. People who are freelance and are doing what they want love what they’re doing, so for them they’re working 80-90 hours a week, but for them it;s something that they love to do and it’s time that’s well spent.

I think if all you want to do is relax and have the easy street I think that’s, you’re misinterpreting the picture being painted. People who are artists who are being invited to biennales and all these events around the world they’re working really, really hard to do that, it’s not just kind of drinking champagne by a pool and living the life, I think that’s a big misconception.

To go out and do freelance and make art and be on your own, be your own boss, it requires more maturity and more discipline to do it, but I think it kind of takes, you kind of also need an immature fun spirit and soul to actually make it work so it doesn’t become this rigid thing you were trying to get away from in the first place.

Made By

Cinematography: Danielle Calodney

Audio by: Andi Velazquez

Interviewed by: Laura Lehmann

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