Camille Walala to share tips on creative perseverance at Adobe MAX
Ahead of Camille’s talk at Adobe MAX next week, we check in with Camille for some hints on the subject of her presentation, and what she’s looking forward to learning at the creativity conference.
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- 14 October 2020
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- 4 minute read
Once a creative “makes it” within the industry, it’s often difficult to recall a time before they were thriving. Camille Walala, a “purveyor of positivity” through patterned work which adorns murals, whole buildings and intricate installations, is most definitely one of these creatives – but it’s taken hard graft to get here.
It’s this topic and the struggle of getting to this stage “which people sometimes find surprising,” she tells It’s Nice That, which will centre in her talk at Adobe MAX next week. “I’ve been doing this for over 20 years now, but it’s only in recent times that I’ve become more successful,” the artist continues. “There can be so much we learn from struggle and perseverance, so I want to talk about this. Believing in your vision,” she adds, “despite everything!”
It’s a pertinent theme given the difficult times we find ourselves in 2020 and one Camille will discuss via the vehicle of two recent projects. The first is her studio’s Walala Parade in Leyton, one of her largest pieces, and one of the biggest pieces of public art in London; encompassing a whole parade of shops reaching a distance of 150 metres in total. Built around and with the community in the neighbourhood, “it’s been really nice to connect on this local scale and help transform the neighbourhood, to brighten up the streets and the city,” the artist tells us. The second is another large scale piece, made as part of the London Mural Festival where Camille has adorned the architecture of Adams Plaza Bridge at Canary Wharf. A new challenge – it was Camille’s first bridge – it’s a project she describes as “a totally extraordinary one, so I am lucky.”
Discussing this intersection of creative perseverance, community interaction and endurance as part of her upcoming MAX talk, Camille also adds that as an artist who works with the public in mind, 2020 has presented plenty of new hurdles to jump over. “I think when you do creative work, there is always a need to adapt and change,” she says on the topic. “I feel lucky to have opportunities to help the community and work on smaller projects. This has felt really important, to be more ‘helpful’, in a way.” Also offering some sound advice to those looking for a chance to utilise creativity for social good, the artist adds: “My advice would be to try and be helpful with your skills, to work with charities or companies that are doing good things, and help the public as much as possible.”
Camille also makes the firm point that right now is a vital time to be creative for yourself but to bring joy to others too, even though the downtime of certain aspects of life can feel dampening in many ways. “If there’s less work, this can often be a super important time for you as an artist,” she says. “Being busy and delivering projects all the time isn’t good as you don’t have time to think and find new inspiration – you end up making the same work again and again. This is a vital lesson to learn.”
The artist has also been looking to unlikely areas during this period to keep her personal creativity going, and not place too much pressure on herself to create, create, create. “I also made sure to take off, to feel refreshed during this period,” she adds. “My top tip is to do something playful every day, not to worry if it’s good or not and to have fun things – especially cooking! To be creative you have to be refreshed and feel connected with other people. I really believe in that.”
Adobe MAX’s wide swathe of inspirational speakers, therefore – from Wes Anderson to Stefan Sagmeister, Roxanne Gay and Annie Leibovitz – is a great opportunity to find inspiration from the best of the best. For Camille in particular, being part of this year’s Adobe MAX line-up (its first digital and totally free edition) is a real thrill, her personal highlights including Kate Moross, Miranda July, Wes Anderson and Annie Leibovitz. Not only has it been an event to look forward to, Camille reveals that although digital, Adobe is placing its own spin on the Zoom-led talks we’ve all seen of late. “I like how Adobe MAX has sent film crews to speak with people so it’s not just on video calls, you get to see into people’s studios and workplaces,” she explains. “It’s digital but has a sense of the physical!”
The artist is right. Although we’d love to be together watching these talks physically, one positive effect of virtual talks from creative’s homes and studios is the opportunity to look into the lives and working spaces of inspiring creatives worldwide. To register for your free ticket to Adobe MAX head here – we’ll see you there!
Camille Walala: Adams Plaza Bridge at Canary Wharf for London Mural Festival. Photography credit Sean Pollock (Copyright © Camille Walala, 2020)