#LiveFearless: Set designer Anna Lomax opens up about her creative process

13 May 2014
Reading Time
4 minute read

The creative process is not easy; if it was it wouldn’t be anywhere near as satisfying. One of the most common – but least spoken about – factors creatives have to address is fear, and having the psychological, emotional and physical ways and means to overcome it.

To mark the launch of the new Jaguar F-TYPE Coupé – a car which embodies design fearlessness – we are investigating what role it plays. Over the next few weeks we’ll be hearing from creatives whose work excites and engages us to find out how fear crops up in their working lives, and how they cope when it does. We have also commissioned each creative to produce a new piece of work that reflects the triumph of fearless design.

But we want you to get involved too. Share the best examples if fearless art or design on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #LiveFearless and you’ll be in with a chance to win a week-long loan of the F-TYPE Coupé and a money-can’t-buy fearless experience. Visit the dedicated LiveFearless site for more information.

First up to answer our questions is set designer Anna Lomax whose piece investigates the precarious balancing act which anyone whose undertaken a creative venture will surely recognise!

What role does fear play in your creative process?

I think all freelancers have the sense of fear ingrained in their creative process, but I really enjoy new challenges and live off my fight or flight response. I love the pressure of a deadline and the uncertainty of how to do something I’ve never tried before. 

Tell us about a particular project where you had to overcome doubts or uncertainty. How did you do this?

Blimey how to choose! All the projects in the first two years after graduation were fairly terrifying. The fear of those just sort of blended into one long sense of panic.

Really every great project I have done had certain doubts. There are the obvious stresses – time and money that always feature high on the list – and then I always worry that I’ll get to the shoot and everyone will think I’m either a) under-prepared or b) have done a bad job, so I tend to massively over-prepare and work out every tiny detail into the wee hours before every shoot. I feel quite sorry for my long-suffering assistant who has witness this too often! 


Anna Lomax and Jess Bonham: #LiveFearless work-in-progress

What’s the most tense you’ve been around a project nearing completion? 

I find it a bit stressful when I have a project for a client that veers towards being more conceptual rather than product-led. For instance the Clarks Originals and Selfridges projects I did last summer, where the work became as much about me as it did about the client. It felt like even more was riding on them because I was trying to showcase myself as an artist on a really public platform rather than just selling a brand or product. It felt like an even bigger ask for both the client and the audience.   

How did you feel about the final results?

I loved them. I always do. The stresses and worry are always worth it as they make you push yourself further. It makes me really happy that some brands are up for working with people in this way; it’s what keeps me in the game really. 

h3. In design is fear something you should try and ignore or try and meet head on?
Absolutely 100% something you should meet head on. I think fear comes from the idea that you might fail at something but If you never fail, you never learn. Some of my biggest failures have led onto my best successes.

Which designers do you admire for being fearless? 

I really believe that if you do what you love others will follow and I admire anyone doing this, anyone that has honed in on their craft; Nagi Noda, Michel Gondry, Sharmadean Reid. I also love Samara Scott’s work, the whole beginning and growth with Dave Lane and Marina Tweed at The Gourmand and of course the photographer Jess Bonham who is so fearless she even agrees to work with me sometimes!

When we work together there is a great meeting of minds; she really gets my installations and photographs them in a way that makes them come alive. I think everyone who puts their neck on the line to start something is fearless; it’s a massive commitment and not for the faint-hearted. 


Anna Lomax and Jess Bonham: #LiveFearless work-in-progress

What’s the biggest creative leap of faith you’ve ever taken?

Probably deciding (or maybe blindly falling into) working freelance in the first place. That was pretty terrifying at the time – now I can’t believe I worried about it so much. 

Complete this sentence.

Creatively speaking, fear is… the fuel to my fire.

Do you agree with the idea that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself? 

My old business partner’s Dad always used to say 99.9% percent of the things you worry about never happen. Every time I start to worry about one element on a job, I tell myself that it will be the thing I least expect to go wrong that will, so there is no point even trying to work out what it might be!


Anna Lomax and Jess Bonham: #LiveFearless work-in-progress


Anna Lomax and Jess Bonham: #LiveFearless work-in-progress

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About the Author

Rob Alderson

Rob joined It’s Nice That as Online Editor in July 2011 before becoming Editor-in-Chief and working across all editorial projects including itsnicethat.com, Printed Pages, Here and Nicer Tuesdays. Rob left It’s Nice That in June 2015.

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