Janelle Monaé’s, The Electric Lady, is the anthem of my life right now. The message couldn’t be anymore perfect and I can’t help but relate it to my own journey as a designer. According to Monaé, the Electric Lady is a new breed of woman: she is multi-dimensional, always evolving, she can’t be marginalized, and she is rooted in community. In many ways her description parallels with my thoughts of being a shapeshifter, but of course Monaé has way more of a cool factor.
The first time I ever used the term, “shapeshifter”, to describe myself as a designer, I was a sophomore at the Kansas City Art Institute. Its original definition was someone who thinks and sees in shapes and colors, yet throughout my studies its meaning has evolved. You can find it here. I remember some of my professors encouraging me to run with the idea, but at the time I was very hesitant. I couldn’t decide whether I thought the idea was cheesy or if I really liked it.
And after graduation, after reflecting on three life changing years, after trying to find my voice, after struggling with what’s next, this album dropped and just sort of confirmed everything for me. So I wanted to write a little tidbit in respect to Janelle Monaé and her efforts to create one million electric ladies. You can check one off your list!
I’ve sort of been in hibernation ever since I graduated. I’m not really familiar with the design scene in Dallas. It’s intimidating, but it’s time to get back out there!
So last night the Dallas Society of Visual Communication brought in Jeff Rogers to kick off their lecture series. If you’re not familiar with Jeff’s work, you can check it out at howdyjeff dot com. He was the perfect dose of inspiration and humility to get the creative legs kicking again. Just what the doctor ordered. One thing that really stuck with me was the importance of *giggle giggle* exposing yourself. If you didn’t notice the exposer in the image above, this would be a good time to scroll back up. It literally feels like being naked and judged when you show your work to others, but you just have to do it ready or not.
These past couple of weeks it seems we’ve been learning a lot about all the moving parts it takes to put together a production. Jessie and I had the opportunity to observe the fabrication for the Nelson-Atkins Museum’s Gala and the Fashion for a Cause event this weekend. It’s really exciting to see these projects in context. It’s quite magical.
One thing both projects utilized that was new to me were production companies. With the ADDYs I don’t think I noticed them as much. Maybe it was the extremely loud beeping of the cherry pickers that caught my attention this time around. There was a collaborating with/art directing production teams to create the right effect such as making sure projection tiles lined up, determining where to point lights so that it doesn’t interfere with the projection range, and etc.
I think we sometimes forget how much video can tell us. Life for me is about subtly and small experiences. Throughout the semester I’ve been trying to get myself to shoot 1-5 second clips of various moments. Here’s the sequence from our Austin trip.
These past couple of weeks Jessie and I were given the challenge of developing the presentation for the ADDYs. I’m not ever sure where to start, but I can say with definite certainty that we learned a whole lot from the experience. For this challenge to be only our second project, I still can’t believe how much they involved us in the process. It really only dawned on me when we were backstage waiting for our cue to hit the next slide, fingers hovering nervously above the arrow button on the keyboard.
Maybe it’s just the novelty of it all, but I think it’s still one of those monumental moments you never forget so I just wanted to take some time to write about it.
Overall, there were a lot of firsts. This is the first time I’ve ever been a part of a production with a lot of different types of people that required continuous interactions. Our main responsibility was to organize and typeset the contents of this massive spreadsheet into a digestible keynote. We also took part in multiple rehearsals with vocal talents, and various members of the AAF-KC board to make sure everything aligned with the script. It was very much a team effort to make sure every detail of the presentation was correct.
It was such an honor to have, Jeremy Johnson, the director of the AAF-KC Art & Copy Club acknowledge our efforts in the production that evening on stage. For that I’ll always be grateful.
The opportunity to talk about your work is like falling in love all over again.
This past week I’ve been having so much trouble figuring out how to lay out my portfolio. I guess it’s not surprising, but after going through this process I realized something. Maybe somewhere along the way I lost sight of what’s really important.
The act of talking about your body of work requires you to look within and pull out those memories. Often times the things you choose to articulate in these situations are the distilled sum of those projects. In other words, what matters most. Having fresh eyes and ears summarize and reinterpret those experiences, well, what’s left is who you are as a designer and what you want to become.
It’s so easy to get stuck in your own head. What was reiterated to me this Saturday was that my design is about people, interaction, and ideas. Since I’ve been having so much trouble laying out my work I’ve been going to the inter-webs for inspiration. A lot of the portfolios I found were from a particular school that often focuses on aesthetics. These portfolios were really nice and maybe because they seemed aesthetically beautiful, whatever that means, I almost took it as the truth or the way a portfolio should be.
I ended up in this circle of maybe if I put this folio here or move this over 5 pixels it’ll make everything better, but of course it didn’t. One of my reviewers mentioned that the way I talk about my work is very different from how I show it. His exact word were “it seems clinical,” I believe. Anyways the moral of this story is that your portfolio is a reflection of your work and a projection of who you want to become so don’t make it anything it’s not.