Hi Louie and Yon. Thanks for chatting with us! How are you both?
I’m doing alright! I live in Melbourne, Australia and our 6 months or so lockdown has finally been lifted, so I’m excited to go out and catch up with friends.
All good! I moved to Amsterdam in September and I am currently studying the MA Studio for Immediate Spaces programme at Sandberg Instituut.
Could you tell us a bit about your creative practice?
I’m a graphic designer with an interest in identity and typography, but I’d rather not be too specific about what my specialty is yet as I want to be open to challenges and try different things. Recently I’ve been really into the field of web and digital design, which I want to learn more about and develop my skills in.
I am a graphic designer and visual artist. I like to combine, explore and play with conventions in visual communication and challenge techniques to achieve unexpected outcomes. A lot of my work explores the structures of power inherent in the performance of gender and sexuality.
How has COVID-19, or 2020 in general, impacted your creativity and mental wellbeing?
It definitely had a huge impact on me, especially as a graduate trying to start out in the industry.
I was planning to move to Japan with my family in April 2020, which was a move that didn’t happen as international borders closed. I waited for three months to see if travel restrictions will ease, and those three months was probably the most difficult time for me in terms of mental health.
I did occasionally create things during that time, but I think it was mostly driven by the fear that I ‘wouldn’t be good enough’ if I didn’t do anything with the time I had available. Which, now that I think about it, is a thought that is not true. No one can blame you for being depressed and not doing anything in 2020.
On the other hand, it really was a good opportunity to think about things like what I value in my life and creative practice.
It has been a very strange time for me. On one hand, my life has changed dramatically. I moved from London to Amsterdam, lost my job, lost my cat and I had to make many difficult last minute decisions.
On the other hand, I had the opportunity to explore new ways of living; enjoying more time with my family, learning how to stop worrying about the future, and invest more time in doing the things that I love.
All in all, I also managed to use my time in a productive way and (finally!) managed to finish my website.
What have you changed in your life lately to make it more enjoyable?
First of all, I gave up going to Japan, which ended up being a good move given that international borders have remained closed to date. I started focussing on looking for opportunities in Melbourne instead, which has resulted in an amazing internship experience at Love + Money Agency.
Secondly, things became much better when I became involved in a couple of things. One of them was joining a voluntary group that a friend of mine started, which is about supporting international students from Japan. It has been really fun getting to build a visual identity from scratch, and I’ve been enjoying meeting new people through the group!
In the beginning, I had a lot of anxiety because I had to adjust myself to a new reality. I applied for a MA program in Amsterdam on a whim and I never thought that I would be accepted.
After being interviewed and informed of my selection, I was not totally sure if enrolling in an official programme would be a nice way to handle these crazy times, but I can finally say that I am happy with my decision. I am enjoying being with my peers, and of course, it is always good to discover paths in life.
As an industry, how do you think we can better support creatives and their mental health? How do we bring about Collective Hope?
I’ve been loving that a lot of design events and conferences have been online this year. I was really grateful that many of them were offered for no cost too, as a jobless grad who was in lockdown for 6 months or so. I feel that this should continue in a COVID normal world too, to offer and make available more online programs for events, as it would lead to more equality, diversity and opportunity for the industry overall.
I agree with Louie. It is nice that the industry has realised that it is better to share the knowledge at no cost. I think that this idea of collective hope is really necessary. History has shown us that after a big crisis only through creativity and collectivism, we can reach a better future.
Lastly, what has working on this project meant to you?
The project itself was kind of hope for me.
I got to know Yon, who is a wonderful designer and individual, who I probably would’ve never met if the project didn’t exist. I got to challenge myself with making a face filter for the first time and collaborating with someone that I’ve never met in person. Being involved in Collective Hope is one of my highlights of 2020, and it gave me hope that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise.
It was a challenge, but I am really satisfied with it. Through it, I got to know Louie (a lovely person and amazing designer) and share our practice and styles together. Despite the distance and crazy times, we managed to discover a new field together that was completely new for both of us. We created a filter and we managed to negotiate and find a common style in our practice and style.
This project shows that technology in these special times is a bridge that allows creativity to flow and sets up one of the ways in which technology will dictate our work in the near future.