I’ve always seen real life working artists like modern superheroes. There is something undeniably brave about pursuing your creative dreams; it is the ultimate signifier of passion for your work and faith in your abilities.
Seeing this bravery rewarded is always a fantastic thing. The Design Kids (who work to connect students within the graphic design community in Australia and New Zealand) and Print All Over Me (a New York based platform that gives designers the opportunity to have their work printed on apparel/ home goods and bridges the gap between creativity and commerce) teamed up this July to do just that. The TDK x PAOM collaboration resulted in five of the most eye-catching raincoats you’ll ever see, all the while giving local creatives some well-deserved exposure.
I had the pleasure of chatting to one of the featured designers, Monika Correa, a Brisbane based freelance graphic designer, illustrator, pattern maker and all-round rad creative, about the collaboration, her beginnings in the design world and her advice to those trying to find their feet in the industry.
How did you first get involved with the TDK X PAOM collaboration?
I was posting a lot of my progress with illustrations on Instagram and I noticed that one of my favourite groups, The Design Kids have what they call #tdkpeepshow. Basically, you use the #tdkpeepshow hashtag when you Instagram your designs/illustrations/current projects and eventually they will see it, and if they love what you’re doing, they will share it with the rest of their 24K followers! TDK regrammed one of my illustrations and I was beyond excited about that on its own.
A few days later, Frankie Ratford, the director of TDK, sent me a lovely email complimenting me on my Body Party pattern and saying that she had a very cool collaboration unfolding with Print All Over Me. The Design Kids scouted five designers across Australia including myself. I eventually found out who the other designers were and realised I already followed them all on Instagram and have admired their work for some time. I was so flattered to be a part of a project with all of these amazing artists.
The thing TDK and PAOM seem to have in common is the desire to give people the opportunity to turn ideas into reality, and to share those ideas with the world. Is this the crux of what you do, as a creative? Is connecting with people vital to the process, or do you think you'd still be designing even if you couldn't resonate with people the way you do?
Making connections through social media is vital to any creative and the opportunity for ‘brand’ development is amazing! Our generation of creatives (I hate to say it) is very lucky to have a social media platform like Instagram. Amongst the billions of floating selfies that hang around ‘insta cyber world’, there is also this huge genre of designers and creatives promoting their works. You’re able to see what other people like you are doing and where they are going!
I am very passionate about what I do and connecting with others through my work is fundamental to this. Collaborating with other creatives is also very important, particularly in that it provides opportunities to learn from others and also from yourself. It would be so hard to grow as a designer if you were in this big creative world on your own. In my view, you need the influence, inspiration and experiences from people around you in order to grow as a designer.
How did you begin designing?
I was enrolling for my second year subjects for my Fine Arts / Visual Arts degree and just decided to take up Graphic Design as a minor. I remember feeling really frustrated in Visual Arts because I felt like I wasn't good enough to push it any further and the conceptual world of art just wasn't for me. As much as I love to appreciate all kinds of art, I wasn't passionate about producing it.
As soon as I started my design subjects my grades went up and I automatically felt drawn to all aspects of design; illustration, typography, pattern making and visual communications. I felt more in control and definitely saw a future for myself in this industry. I guess I've only recently realised that there is something in what I do, and maybe I'm not the only one who would like my pattern designs on a pair of pants or a jacket.
What made you want to start?
I don’t think I can necessarily pin-point a moment when I realised I wanted to be an illustrator or pattern designer. Fortunately, I have known for most of my life that I was going to be a creative. My dad is very artistic, and growing up we lived in an art gallery for almost five years so I was constantly surrounded by a lot of artists–from those just starting out to artists who were quite successful and accomplished.
Describe your design style in 3 words?
Honest, ardent (and a lil’) cheeky.
What are the most important qualities for a young creative to have? Any advice on keeping positive & focused in such a competitive industry?
Determination and passion are hugely important qualities for young creatives to have. In my experience, people are naturally drawn to those who exhibit passion and, in a sense, it can continue to feed the creative spirit. Although I’m just starting out, I understand that a creative career is one that will be marked by many challenges. Keeping the passion and being true to my work is what will see me through.
As far as staying positive and focused, I make it a point to attend industry events and workshops. These keep me incredibly motivated, not only from the creative people I meet or the skills I gain, but also from the explosion of ideas that come from these. Sex, Drugs & Helvetica and the Analogue Digital Conference have been a real highlights for me in the past year.
If you love Monkia's work and want to learn how to work some creative magic, check out her upcoming workshop the mous house. For more info or to register for the workshop click here!
To check out more of Monika's work at her website and on Instagram @monikacorrea.