Making change and finding meaning: Four creatives discuss the issues affecting the industry today
This month’s Nicer Tuesdays saw Olivia Twist, Dada Projects, Made Thought and Aidan Zamiri present four inspiring talks.
One of the biggest learnings we got from this month’s Nicer Tuesdays is that now, more than ever, is an exciting time to be a creative. Each speaker proved just that, discussing the issues currently affecting the creative industry today and how they’re working to change them. This included topics such as building community through illustration, making space for womxn in digital design, attaching meaning and purpose to your work, plus the art of creating a story through video. To start, illustrator Olivia Twist opened the events and ran us through her projects to date; Christina Worner from Dada Projects discussed a lack of female representation in the industry; Made Thought showed us how to work with brands to build a better world; and Aidan Zamiri closed the evening with a wonderful talk about his journey, process and collaboration with FKA twigs. If you weren't able to attend, more details of their inspirational talks can be read below!
Olivia Twist on building community and transforming everyday scenes into vibrant illustrations
During her talk, not only did the London-born illustrator Olivia Twist reveal just how much she loves trainers, but that there are so many layers and reasons behind her work. For starters, she explained how it took her a little while to land on the distinctive style we all know and love today. Pinpointing the exact moment, it was when an old tutor referred to her as a “visual chameleon” that she set herself on carving out her own aesthetic, landing on a sketchy, colourful and bold technique that uses “simple tools to make complex marks”.
After this, Olivia continued to detail the other layers that make up her practice: one that involves a sketchy process, and turning everyday moments into a vibrant illustration. “I’m somebody that sees beauty in the mundane,” she said. By doing so, she opens up conversations that she cares about – topics involving politics, activism and society. We saw a broad mix of projects presented up on the big screen, from a campaign rallying against the cancellation of free travel for London’s youth to a project documenting the growth of her brothers. “I really like commissions when it feels like personal work, the stuff you would have done anyways,” she explained. For Olivia, building community takes time, yet for her, it’s one of the most cementing aspects to her practice – and to creativity, for that matter. The audience were amazed and moved by Olivia’s discussion, not least amused by the quips and humour that she naturally exuded on the stage. Let’s just say it was the perfect opening to an inspiring evening!
Dada Projects’ founder Christina Worner discusses gender imbalance getting more women into CGI
We’re all aware of the continued gender imbalance in the industry, but thanks to creatives like Christina Worner – founder of Dada Projects – she’s working to provide space for womxn in the digital design. Focusing on CGI and 3D specifically, Christina kicked off her talk with a discussion of this topic and how she personally experienced it during her freelancing years. “It’s still a very male-dominated industry,” she said. “I was wondering where all the CGI women were hiding.” This drove the practice and ethos of Dada Project, which centres itself around being female-led and getting women inspired to do 3D “in a collaborative and cosy environment.”
A few laughs were shared as she showed a video of herself and friends raving – “we’re passionate ravers ourselves,” she added. “A lot of people will hate me for showing this, so I hope you enjoyed it.” Yet these interests are what drove the incredible project for 121 Festival, a music festival in New Zealand. A harmonious mix of nature and brutalism formed the backbone to the identity, with the Dada Projects team pulling inspiration from natural flora and fauna found in the country. The audience were all amazed by the details and skills that go into a project like this, all of which is spearheaded by the talented female-led studio of Dada Projects. The list of empowering womxn in this field is growing, so if anything (or anyone) were to inspire you to get involved in CGI, then this is it.
Made Thought shares the details behind projects for Xeros, Pinterest and Brewdog
“Thank you for literally making me feel like the oldest person in the room,” joked Paul, co-founder of Made Thought in the opening of their talk. Jest aside, Made Thought’s experience in the field shone through powerfully as the pair enlightened us to their ethos and how this transfers across each one of their projects. “There hasn’t been a better time to be a creative,” Paul said. “We’re in the next creative revolution.”
Presenting three projects, the first was probably the most surprising. Did you know that billions of plastic fibres are expelled into the water (and ocean) when you do the laundry? We didn’t either. Working with Xeros, Made Thought’s Alistair Davies asked, “How do we make people care?” Urging us all to consider the ways we manoeuvre about go about our daily errands, this project set up the talk to be an impactful and provocative one. The studio is known for pushing the boundaries when it comes to challenging the status quo and normal methods of doing things, and this can be thanked to their alternative mindsets and where they source their inspiration. Sharing some useful advice, Paul said, “One of the best pieces of advice I got at university was to look outside of design work. I think the opportunities come from those unexpected places.” Other points included a run-through of a project for Pinterest and Brewdog, before closing on a thought-provoking point: things take time. But by attaching meaning to your work, “genuine” change can really happen.
Aidan Zamiri on storytelling and working on a video series with musician FKA twigs
Aidan Zamiri refers to himself as a photographer-director, and at his Nicer Tuesdays talk, he certainly showed us why. First thing’s first, he revealed how his real name actually isn’t Zamiri: “I use my grandmother’s maiden name because it's easier to Google and sounds a lot nicer”. Secondly, he pointed out how a lot has happened for the incredible creative over the last few years. Since graduating from Central Saint Martins and becoming a lot more “attention seeking”, Aidan has carved out his own reputable name in the industry – that which is inspired by 90s music and fuels itself on storytelling. “I’ve always been a fan and that’s the thing that’s been most helpful in my career,” he shared.
From working with a host of musicians, the most recent accomplishment is a video series for singer songwriter FKA twigs, named Caprisongs. Straddling “performance art and civil disobedience”, the series is made up of short form content, “things that will be made on social media”. The pair collaboratively spewed out “a lot of stuff” and created a whopping collection of videos in a mind blowingly short space of time; they were making 10 videos in five days, which equated to around two to three ideas daily. “We didn’t have a lot of time to chill out.” One of the highlights, besides seeing how Adian’s work comes together, was getting to hear more about what its like to work with twigs herself. Aidan – who’s both friendly and talented, plus a lot more – has a knack for transferring a musicians vision onto the screen, and this project was the pinnacle of that. “She felt a large section of her personality wasn’t being communicated very much,” he said. “She’s a very funny and real person. I wanted to give her a space to be funny, reckless, creative and free.”
Mailchimp is an all-in-one marketing platform for growing businesses. Mailchimp empowers millions of customers around the world to start and grow their businesses with world-class marketing technology, award-winning customer support, and inspiring content. Millions of businesses and individuals – from community organizations to Fortune 100 companies – trust Mailchimp to help them connect with their audience with the right message, at the right time, in the right place.
El Rayo Tequila is transforming the way you think and drink tequila – one T&T at a time. By partnering with artists and designers, it’s building a lifestyle brand around its tequilas. Tequila & Tonic is a thing now.
We’re excited to partner with Love Corn the UK’s first crunchy corn brand as our snack sponsor. Its delicious crunchy corn kernels are packed with flavour and made with love. On trend with being low sugar, gluten-free and vegan, it’s the feel good snack so please enjoy!
Nicer Tuesdays Online is our monthly event of creative talks. You can find out more here.
Did you know that if you join Extra Nice, It’s Nice That’s new membership programme, you’ll automatically receive a ticket every month for Nicer Tuesdays Online, for the entire year? That’s just one of the many perks that makes Extra Nice so special. To find out more about this and all the other benefits of joining Extra Nice, head over to the dedicated part of our site.