I grew up in the big city of Paris as an only child. I was a pretty quiet child, and painting as well as dancing was a way to escape my isolation. My parents had a little farm 50 kms from Paris, and it was the first time I was in contact with the animals. Here, I would spend long summer days playing and painting portraits of my new friends; they all had names, powers, a job... Those times were the happiest moments of my childhood. Since then I’ve always been interested in human-animal interaction in our modern society through the making of art. But my primary inspirations came from home, my grand-father ignited my interest in art. So you could say I’ve always wanted to be an “artist” but in all forms and shapes (paint, design, dance) There was a time when I was thinking of becoming a vet!
What do you love about being in a creative field?
The journey. There is no routine and you meet a lot of interesting people. You explore new terrains, take risks, fail, recover, learn, then go on again, see something amazing... You take on new challenges, do your best, succeed... It’s the buzz you create and generate. It’s the idea that you CAN change something or pass a message, tell a story and reach many many people around the world. I would not see myself doing something else, really!
What do you think is the glamorous side of being a designer? And the non- glamorous?
Well the non-glamorous part is we are often seen as ‘designer’ only, and so we sometimes have no say in the business decisions at a very early stage of a project. Another thing is we are perceived as people who mainly produce psds everyday, well a good designer will probably spend 45% in Photoshop but at least 55% ￼thinking, researching, storyboarding, sketching but it has to be tangible and smart thinking. At one point, you have to deliver and hit deadlines. A designer should have the ability to tackle complex problems and provide a better solution, but the creative solution would have to be quite flexible so it can evolve over time. And that is the glamorous part of this job; THE PROBLEM. I love to take on challenges and especially with a team who are experts and enthusiasts. I also love the idea that design can often change things for the better and so does ART.
When I was a kid, I had a choice to go to Beaux Arts or AUGUSTE RENOIR, a visual communication and art school. When I was about 15 I was told by my school counselor that it will be hard to live or sustain as an artist. I got scared and chose to go to RENOIR. It was not a bad idea after all because I had art classes, as well as photography, design, film, Art History, typography, design strategy, marketing, philosophy, science classes... but I’m sad to think that we could potentially lose great artists because of this mentality. Fear can potentially lead us in the wrong direction but there is no need of fear, you just have to trust yourself. It’s not always easy, I’m still working on it. It may take months, years to take over the ridge, but nothing should stopping you. And so this year I decided to take that chance! I left news.com.au in July 2012, I got a part-time designer job at News Limited that allows me to maximize my focus on my art. Before I was a full time lead designer and I was doing commissions on the side but I had no time to really work on my own art projects. ￼￼￼￼
￼One of the biggest hurdles for creativity is time- how do you juggle your day job and your art?
Well time was definitely my biggest hurdle and I moved jobs recently so I can fully focus on my ART. This life can be sometimes a life of solitude, you can easily spend 4 days working and not seeing anyone! It’s a life that requires discipline, but I like the freedom of not having to answer to anyone and do what I want and when I want it. It’s a privilege. There's flexibility and opportunities in my part-time designer job that I can use to my advantage, like meeting new people, learning new things...
That is a great question! I don’t consider myself as an artist just yet, but this is the life i chose to live. Right now, I’m a painter, a drawer, a designer. I create. I want to create work that awakens, enlightens, and resonates with people. Being an artist is a complete way of life in itself. Maybe when I'm 60 years old I will look back on my life only at that moment I’ll be able to say ‘Ha yep, I’m an artist”.
Do you see your day to day work linked to your art, or do you try to keep them as separate streams?
The subject of what are the differences between art and design has been debated for a long time. I think it’s a personal choice, it’s up to you how you approach things. Like the visual storytelling / data viz that I did for news.com.au really influenced my art, such as the “Endcount project”. Endcount is a flash-generated digital piece that creates artworks using current population of a few endangered species. We’re using data, action script and my vector illustrations in order to create those art works.
￼Are you ever stumped creatively? What do you do?
Yes and it can be very frustrating but I think Sparkapolooza has the right recipe for it: start with a brief and a have a tight deadline. And so I started a project like 5 days ago, called #onedrawingaday. I committed myself to draw every day. It can be anything and I invite everyone to join me on Instagram @Lilyartist. Drawing everyday allows you to capture and play around with new ideas using different tools, then refer back to them whenever you need. It forces you to go beyond your comfort zone.
How do you approach a creative brief? Do you have any tips for people in approaching Sparkapolooza briefs?
Think outside the box and don’t be afraid to explore ideas and tools, and don’t take things too seriously. If it’s not the best work you’ve done, that’s not a BIG deal but don’t be afraid to show your work.
What do you think is underrated in life?
- Dipping bread in your coffee
- All living species (reptiles, fishes, birds, mammals, plants..)
- Hot showers
- Health & wellbeing
- Visit loved ones
- Laugh often
Have you ever had read or heard words of advice that stuck with you? What were they?
￼- If you want to change the world for the better, the best way to do it is to use whatever talents you have at your disposal.
- Get your work out of the studio as much as possible so people can see it and interact with it.
- Write and draw everyday.
- Look UP and AROUND you.
- Creating great art is about challenging yourself. If you do everything the same today as you do 10 years from now then you are not pushing yourself enough.
- Give yourself permission to fail. “If you haven’t failed, you’re not trying hard enough.”
What are some of your favourite websites for inspiration?
I can say that my artworks are a reflection of the daily observation: things I see, the people I met, my travellings. So best advice is LOOK AROUND YOU. Other than that I like the FWA, Fastcode design, AEON mag, the coolhunter, artistprofile, The Guardian (Art and Design), Scoop.it, artserved.com, ideo.com, cowbird.com, WIRED, Sparkapolooza ;)
Keep in touch with Lily: www.lilyartist.com her shop: http://society6.com/LilyPerthuis twitter: @lilyartist email: firstname.lastname@example.org (PS: she knows she used the word ‘artist’!)