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COLLECTIVE HOPE

Follow us at @collective_hope

COLLECTIVE HOPE

Collaboration No.20

In Conversation With

x Aaron M. Leyva

Tara Lea

November 25, 2020

Tara and Aaron want to help others spark an idea and ignite a dream. We chat about music as inspiration and making connections across the world through creative projects.

© Aaron M. Leyva
CH

Hi Tara and Aaron. Thanks for chatting with us! How are you both?


TL 

Hey! I’m doing pretty good.


AML

Hello! I’m very good thank you guys.

CH

Could you tell us a bit about your creative practice?


TL 

At the moment I’m a freelance designer with a focus on illustration. My practice is heavily inspired by the music I listen to. A lot of the illustrations I make come out of me just putting on an album, hopping on Procreate, getting into the zone and just doodling until something appears.


AML

My practice is related to music too, when I want to make an illustration I get inspired by it! But also from the smallest things... The cold breeze, a memory, something I saw in the past night could be a highlight to ignite my next piece.

CH

How has COVID-19, or 2020 in general, impacted your creativity and mental wellbeing? 


TL 

On the creativity side, it’s been great. I’ve had more time to focus on creative projects which have led to wider recognition and opportunities (like this one!). On the mental wellbeing side, it's been a bit of a rollercoaster with everything being so uncertain and in limbo – it did cause a bit of anxiety. Some days have been harder than others but it’s getting easier now that we are starting to ease lockdown restrictions where I live (Melbourne).


AML

Well, this had a very important impact on me. There were many changes, many projects cancelled and a lot of doubts about being a visual creator these days.

It was a matter of perspective and seeing where you stand right now, then it was a pull of energy to keep the light bright and non-stop. There are many fears that you can't fight on your own, but always try to keep a clean mind and see an opportunity in a lack of wellness.

© Tara Lea
© Aaron M. Leyva
© Tara Lea
CH

What have you changed in your life lately to make it more enjoyable?


TL 

I recently started playing Magic the Gathering. Very enjoyable but I’m a little bit addicted so it’s not good for productivity, haha!


AML

I started to focus on other things that I left behind because of the lack of time, but I started to take pictures and play guitar. Also, I could not play Magic the Gathering with Tara, but maybe we can have a duel of Yu-Gi-Oh! Haha.

CH

As an industry, how do you think we can better support creatives and their mental health? How do we bring about Collective Hope?


TL 

I think things like this where you can make connections with other creatives is important. I always thought of myself as an introvert and I am, but this year especially with the lockdown, I realised how important social interaction and connections are to maintain a healthy mental wellbeing.


AML

This is a good start for something bigger, I found this initiative a very strong pillar for making new connections. Also seeing how other people are interested in mental health and fighting for this, I find it so comforting.

Maybe [the industry can] introduce something outside the social media platform, including more digital experiences and giving more information about mental health.

CH

Lastly, what has working on this project meant to you?


TL 

It was awesome to meet Aaron who is such a talented illustrator. Hope to stay in touch and perhaps work on something together again in the future.

It was also a cool format to work in Google Sheets in a collaborative way like that.


AML

It was a very good way to meet new people from the other side of the world, and working with Tara was a lot of fun. I think we connected as a team and we talked about our lives and got to know each other better. And yeah! Working in Google Sheets was very new and fun, I’ve never expected to work in this format before.

Tara Lea

Aaron M. Leyva

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