2020 until now: a evaluation

KESHA FELIPA illustration

2020 until now: a evaluation

At the beginning of this year (new decade) I had a lot of new plans. I decided that I must find a really good balance and even face my fears. And take a path I deliberately walked by (high end level and products) over the past 10 years. 

And then, in March everything changed. The Netherlands went in a so-called intelligent lockdown. And the whole world came to a standstill. And for my plans: some were put aside, because shops were closed and events were postponed or even cancelled. My side job (not creative related) had to let me and a bunch of my colleagues go. But the lockdown also gave me room to think and write down everything that I have ignored all these years.  I could do some reflecting. 

I also pick up my initial illustration style back again. First I posted these on a separate Instagram profile, because my main IG profile was a missmash of everything I tried the past years. And to my surprise my ‘true’ style was received much more positive than I could ever imaged. Also people I knew very well were so positive to see this. 

Another plan I have worked on was applying for an admission to the study Educator of Visual Arts. Back in the Fall of 2018 I visited the Open Day. And got really enthusiastic about the study and the potential of teaching. In 2009 my tutor Illustration already pointed out that I should teach illustration. But at that time I was 22 years old and I thought I was a bit too young. And I wanted to see what outside school. In the end I regret that I didn’t try teaching earlier. So this year I did the application during the lockdown and I got accepted to the college year 2020 / 2021. 

And a final thing I really have work on was my first series of workshops. I had a couple ideas, but I started with an introduction to fashion illustration workshop. I did promo online and offline in my hometown. And the first edition was a good one. Received good reviews and compliments. It is so strange that if you really – but really – stick to your core values and point of view that you can accomplish things you could never dream of. 

With August almost at an end and the numbers of COVID-19 cases rising with each day, I still see a bright future (pulling a Billie Eilish here ;). It seem crazy that in these hard times I found what I was looking for all those years. And it was just in front of me. At this moment planning is very hard, because as the numbers here are not going down I suspect that we have to go back in a lockdown. I have planned a few dates for my ‘introduction into fashion illustration’ workshop. But I keep in mind that these might be cancelled if the Dutch government prohibits these kind of activities. Even if it just a very small event. The last months of 2020 – that sounds strange – I am looking into what I can do online to showcase my work, knowledge and make a beginning of a small community like-minded people. 

Why An Update Of The Studio?

Why An Update Of The Studio?

You might have seen it: the website and Instagram of my studio have got a new and fresh appearance. After more than four years that I started this studio I want a new approach regarding my design philosophy. At the inception of the studio I  followed the framework I have worked with since my graduation in 2009 and 2012. And times have changed. Even though I created from out a continuous flow – not so much based on hypers. But still I saw a thread that lead back to my retailers stylist experiences. This is focused on trendy, pre-made and no connection to what real good design can do. And beyond that, life can throw lemons at you that you will see that the way you are walking on – or better said in this day and age: fighting through – isn’t the way. 

Let’s we dissect what I want to say, because with no background it be a bit confusing why I have changed the look of my studio. Let we first start at times have changed.

Times Have Changed

As trained designer I did had lessons in college about sustainability back in 2006 and until graduation. But it wasn’t sexy or hot. And you’re young and in need to create your identity. I did make a garment based of the Japanese Hakama pants that you can wear in different ways. The idea was that we modern humans are heading up to the big cities. A very trend forecasters insight I had at that time of my life. And with spaces will be scarce in such places, I created a concept that we have less items that still give us a diverse wardrobe. Again, very foreseeing of me, this was a very Minimalist approach back in 2006! But as fashion student you quickly move on to the ever changing and meretricious catwalk shows and thick September issues full with the latest trends ready to hit the streets. 

At this moment discussions about our need to consumer is in question due the change of our climate. The making and quick disposal is absolutely a disaster for our planet. I know that are people denying it for multiple reasons. I know that – as someone who studied design: chemicals can harm people who work with it. And work circumstances can be deadly for the people who are making our fashionable clothing and gadgets. And another argue is that our economical system is build for forever growing growth. So new things to buy are essential. 

As designer you need to be the frontrunner to create, but do this in a way that a product will last. There are two problems you need to solve: how do you earn a living when you will not sell gazillions of stuff? And how will you earn more on one product that you can pay for life? I will start at the last problem: make something that isn’t super on trend. Look at classics: e.g. chairs, buildings, materials and colors. Classics are often not over-abundant, made of high quality materials and will fit everywhere and anywhere. Knowing this the first problem will be tackle too. When you create something that could be designed in the 1950s or 2020s you know it has a modern and classical appeal that can last for decades. And that my friend, is good design. 

Lemons of life

I studied fashion design, because back in early 2000s are where a lot of fashion companies in The Netherlands. Even though ‘real’ fashion is created in Paris, London or New York. Fashion at that time would give me more certainty that I will have a job after graduation. I really wanted to make illustrations or / animations, but I saw that the opportunities were small at that time. These observations lead to my choice. 

Due to the stress of trying to find a job, then to make the choice to start a studio, trying to sell my products, joggling a part-time job in logistics, the journey of producing sweaters and a pop-up store in Amsterdam I didn’t pay attention to my mind and my health. With terrible result with a lot of doctor visits and even surgery. This period gave me time to rethink what I want to create and what kind of story I as creator want to tell. 

In the beginning of 2019 I thought I will be a kawaii designer with everything cute and pastel. Positivity in overdrive! But then I realize that I don’t feel comfortable walking around all in kawaii things. I passed the thirties and I didn’t feel it to be honest. I started again to think what I wanted to do. I asked myself a few questions to find my path:

  • How can I as creative designer contribute for a better world?
  • What can I do to inspire for change? 
  • What is there about creativity that spark a light in me?

After thinking about these questions I got showreel of my life where everything just fall into place. And my first idea for life – illustrations and animation – would be a huge answer to all my problems. 

New Chance

Somewhere in February of  2020 I got a bit of energy again. I slowly started to change the style and the steps to make my studio a source where I can life from. Where I can create high quality, consider, timeless and still playful products. My studio where illustration, print, animation, philosophy and life forecasting comes together. I hope you will join my journal to a positive, inclusive and open world.