Hi Nils and Eliot. Thanks for chatting with us! How are you both?
I am good thanks. Just riding this crazy wave that is 2020.
I’m doing well, you can’t see but I’m smiling behind my mask.
Could you tell us a bit about your creative practice?
I’m a graphic designer and a visual artist from Bern, Switzerland. With Studio Flux, which I founded four years ago, we work in the field of visual communication and offer creative services for small to medium-size businesses as well as cultural institutions. Apart from that, I work on self-initiated projects which mostly deal with new technologies and how they alter our behaviour and the way we perceive the world around us.
How has COVID-19, or 2020 in general, impacted your creativity and mental wellbeing?
I would say, like most people, it has had quite a big impact on me. The biggest thing for me is that I find myself second-guessing my ideas more and finding that the meaning in things can get a little lost. In saying that though, I have been able to use my creative process as a form of escapism and meditation.
In a world which feels like you have little control, it's nice to be able to have full control over what you draw and the creative decisions you make. I find the process of creating work quite meditative and it's nice to start the day with a blank page and end that same day with a completed illustration. My biggest take away is to be kind to yourself and to cut yourself some slack.
As for all of us, 2020 has been a challenging year so far. Obviously because of the pandemic and the decline of new projects subsequently. But also because I decided to partner up at Studio Flux in March – just two days before the lockdown in Switzerland. So building up a new studio at these times is especially hard.
What have you changed in your life lately to make it more enjoyable?
Taking a break from social media and the noise of the world. I have to say it’s a hard habit to break but it definitely helps to keep you in a better frame of mind to enjoy the things around you.
I have started to work less hours in the day in order to enjoy life after work. And also to mentally leave work and projects at the office. Apart from that, I’m trying to keep up my routine of running regularly and being in nature, which both for me have a positive effect on my mental wellbeing.
As an industry, how do you think we can better support creatives and their mental health? How do we bring about collective hope?
Be as inclusive as we possibly can and to give those around us that are struggling a hand up. At times the industry can feel like we are all just competing against one another but it makes sense to champion the work of those around us. Plus I think we need to promote the idea that it’s ok to not be productive everyday. I think things like Instagram have created this idea that we need to be constantly making new stuff to show off to the world and this has created an unnecessary pressure on people.
I think this isn’t just a question of our industry specifically but rather a question for our society as a whole. It begins with destigmatising mental illness and raising awareness for it. In the past few years, there has been a change in this as people began to be more open about mental health issues which is great.
Lastly, what has working on this project meant to you?
It was nice to share experiences and collectively react to an event that has impacted us differently and in different parts of the world. Nils and I have very different practices so it was interesting to see those two styles married together in one image. Seeing someone else’s approach to the same brief definitely makes you think of your own approach to creating work.
I think as bad as the pandemic is, it has pushed us forward in terms of finding new ways of working together – remote and globally. Which might be the future of collaborating in various fields anyway. And this has been the basis of the Collective Hope project.
Apart from that – as Eliot mentions – it was great to have been teamed up with someone from a different visual arts field and figuring out a way to first of all communicate and collaborate and secondly finding an interesting outcome. What I really liked too is the iterative process and the inevitable unexpected result.