Monday, September 12th, 2016
Today’s blog post is presented to you by Daniel from Day Out in London and it’s all about creative hotspots in London. I love the places he found and I can’t wait to check them out myself to get my creative juices flowing. Enjoy!
London is the creative centre of the UK, Europe and possibly even the world. Where else could you pop into a world-renowned museum, follow it up with a musical matinée and finish off the day with a night out at the opera – all within walking distance of each other?
Creatives are drawn to London to see the best in their craft and to inspire themselves to achieve their dreams; thankfully the city is well equipped to help these people succeed. If you are a budding novelist or perhaps an actor in the making and you need a space to think, muse, write or rehearse, London is full of unique spaces where you can get the creative juices flowing. In this article, I talk about 5 of the best I’ve come across.
The Barbican Centre is one of my favourite places in London. It’s half housing estate half cultural hub; with theatre spaces, reading rooms, exhibitions, libraries and cafés all in one complex. Built in the 60’s as a social experiment, the Barbican Centre has hosted cultural events for nearly half a century. Walking around the complex is an experience in itself, the outside space is somewhat of a maze but it also beautiful in a brutalist sort of way.
Large sections of the Barbican are publically accessible all year round, including a huge library with free workspaces, a large hall with seating and free Wi-Fi and a range of cafés and kitchens for those wanting a bit to eat while they get creative. The library could be particularly useful for actors as it’s one of the few in London with an extensive play script section.
One of the Barbican’s best-kept secrets is its conservatory, a huge greenhouse with a range of unique species of fauna that few Londoners know about. This is a truly unique space in London and is an absolute must to visit, I promise you won’t be disappointed.
The National Theatre is one of London’s cultural gems. It’s hard to fathom the number of world-class productions that have taken place on its stages. I don’t think it’s wrong to suggest that ‘the national’, as it’s often shortened to, is the best theatre in the world. Great news for aspiring actors is that the National Theatre is open to everyone, from 8am till 11pm, even if you don’t have a ticket to see a show.
There is a huge foyer with plenty of seating, vast roof terraces, half a dozen bars and cafés and even free Wi-Fi. I myself used to work at the National Theatre and what was obvious is that it’s a huge hotspot for theatre groups, acting students and even working actors to meet up, go through their lines and rehearse in groups. There is a bookshop filled with scripts and plays and you can even go on a tour of the backstage.
Friday, September 9th, 2016
Have you ever heard of the London Design Biennale? It’s taking place right now at Somerset House in London until 27th September 2016. I visited the exhibition before it opened its doors and I could not wait to tell you all about it. At the exhibition, 39 countries represent their design ideas of Utopia. That’s a huge challenge in my opinion and I was fascinated by what each country came up with.
I haven’t really thought about it but I will reveal my thoughts at the end of this blog post. First, I want to tell you a little bit about what the different countries thought Utopia means. Bear in mind, that it’s an exhibition so there’s always an element of interpretation and that’s exactly what I’ve done. A few of the artists and presenters introduced me to their concepts but the rest is what I saw and felt when entering a room.
Some of the countries, such as Indonesia, Russia, and India, saw Utopia as a whole of human history. History has influenced how people perceive design and also how to predict the future. Design is a powerful element of telling a story, from objects to propaganda posters.
Other countries, such as Germany, Israel, and Taiwan, make Utopia an experience of senses. It’s what your eyes see, your skin feels and your ears hear. All this can be influenced by design. It puts each human being in their own world of Utopia.
Utopia was closer to real life for some of the countries at the London Design Biennale. Countries such as Australia, UAE, and Saudi Arabia particularly looked at problems the world has with water and by that, I mean water pollution and water scarcity. Design can help in many ways, either to express a problem or even to solve one.
NATURE VS. CITY
It was interesting to see that some of the countries saw Utopia as a harmonious togetherness of an advanced city and nature. China was very significant in showing the merge as well as Norway.
I loved the idea of Utopia as a collaboration. Utopia would not be possible without human beings helping each other and creating new things. I remember countries such as Sweden, Switzerland, and Italy showcasing art and design of selected designers.
I don’t know exactly how to describe this idea of Utopia but I have seen it “in” Austria, Japan, and Turkey. The idea of Utopia is highly individual with an open end. I can probably just describe it by telling you what each country created. Austria designed a sea of lamps which were very sensitive. If you touched one lamp the light switched itself off and on and also influenced the functionality of the other lights. Utopia represented the influence and environment of things and people. Do ask the artist when you’re there, I really liked his explanation but it’s really difficult to re-capture his thoughts. Japan on the other side was represented by an artist who saw everyday objects in a different light; out of the expected. Last but not least, Turkey created a machine where you can add a wish. You can follow the wish for a bit until it disappears somewhere in the building.
My favourite 5 countries and their idea of Utopia
I also liked Portugal, Germany, and Taiwan. I’m going back next week to fully explore Utopia in Taiwan, where I will discover the country through the sense of taste, I hope.
So, what do I think about Utopia and design?
I think it would be something you haven’t seen or experienced before. It’s an idea of something which can never exist, though. As soon as it exists it’s not Utopia anymore. I would actually compare it to a secret. As soon as the secret is revealed it’s not a secret anymore. If I had to exhibit at the London Design Biennale you probably would find a room with nothing. Or something you can see when you’re far away and when you come closer it’s gone.
Let me know what you think of Utopia and if you had the chance to visit the exhibition!
Tuesday, September 6th, 2016
The other night – yes, night… I seem to work much better at night – I created some new digital designs. I actually watched a video series on Skillshare (looooove it) about choosing vintage imagery which has been collected and archived on the world wide web to create collages. It was such an inspiration. So I just looked for cool vintage images on the Internet and here are the results. My favourites were the octopus, the butterfly, the fish, the flowers, and the bees. They’re all quite nature related, aren’t they? And since I’m also obsessed with geometrics (see my triangle obsession) I thought I combine both. I love to create contrasts like nature and geometrics.
I’ve already published these designs on my Instagram account but I was thinking I should make these designs also available on Casetify and Society6. What do you think? I used to update my profiles all the time and now there is so much on my plate. I don’t want to complain because I love all the projects I’m working on.
You probably already know but I’m a social media consultant and therefore, I’m always on the lookout for collaborations. Let me know if you’re a freelancer in whatever category, e.g. graphic design, copywriting, photography, etc. Connect with me on my blog or on Twitter here. Besides my new digital designs I also just launched my client’s new website which I created on WordPress. There was a little proud moment when it went live. Check it out here if you want.
Don’t forget to send me your feedback! What do you think of my designs?
Monday, August 29th, 2016
I love Instagram because I discover so many new talents and interesting people every day. One of them is installation artist Alexa Meade. You might not get immediately what she’s doing because it’s just too amazing. I wouldn’t say I’m a massive fan of installations but you can actually never say something like that, can you? I just didn’t know and haven’t seen all these amazing installation artists out there.
So, what is installation artist Alexa Meade doing? Her art looks like paintings but these paintings are photographed because they’re real people and objectives created as a 2D painting. Oh my gosh, right?! Not only is the idea brilliant, the execution is even more phenomenal. I love a great illusion. The fun part is to observe Alexa Meade painting her models. The process is as important as the outcome in her work. Check out her YouTube channel where she shows you how she paints.
I wanted to find out more about the installation artist Alexa Meade and watched this TED Talk where she talks about how she started. You’ll probably watch the 7-minutes Ted Talk but if not here’s an even shorter summary. Originally, she was studying political science but when she finished her degree all she wanted to do is experimenting with paint in her parents’ basement. She was fascinated by shadows and wanted to capture them. Pretty soon it was not only the shadows she wanted to retain but also the dimensions of the surroundings, e.g. people. Her first experiment was with a friend and it turned out pretty amazing. Since then she found some other candidates and herself to practice her idea.
Do you want to know what I added to my wish list? Being painted by Alexa Meade one day. That would be just too amazing. Spread the word so she can read this!
Have you ever heard of her?
Monday, August 22nd, 2016
I love interviews and getting to know people behind their ideas, projects or businesses. I went to Secret 7” twice in the last two years and always thought it’s such an amazing idea. I was lucky that my boyfriend knew the founder of Secret 7” so I asked Kevin a few questions.
Let me know if you have heard of Secret 7” before. I can’t wait to see the next “exhibition”. I actually wanted to take part this year but then time was flying; you probably know what I mean. Count me in for next year, though. Promised!
And now the interview!
1. Can you briefly describe what Secret 7” is & how the idea was born?
Since 2012 Secret 7″ has been combining music and art for good causes. Each year we take 7 tracks from 7 of the best-known musicians around and press each one 100 times to 7″ vinyl. We then invite creatives from around the world to interpret the tracks in their own style for every 7″. The resulting 700 sleeves are for exhibition and then sold for £50 apiece. You don’t know who created the sleeve, or which song it’s for until you have parted with your cash – the secret lies within. To date, we’ve raised over £170,000 for charities.
The idea came about while I was working at Universal Music. The staff was challenged to come forward with fundraising ideas and inspired by the RCA postcard sale, Secret 7″ was my response.
2.What has been your greatest success with Secret 7” so far?
I’d say successfully developing it year after year. The core concept of the show has stayed the same but we’ve grown into a month-long exhibition with a programme of events and various bonus material. This year we had sleeve making workshops with artists, talks, hosted a sleepover, gave the public the chance to record live to vinyl at the exhibition, reanimated a vintage jukebox and commissioned seven unique turntables with Thierry Noir and Rega. We’re a small team of two (see last photo), and when I step back and look what we output each year it’s incredible.
3. What has been your most favourite sleeve of the past 5 years?
That’s a really tough question. I’ve 3,500 to choose from now! I’ll reference two sleeves, one by Non-Format (who sealed the record inside a concrete block) and the other Boneface, both for Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer last year. They are equally brilliant in their execution and yet worlds apart, I think they show how wonderfully different two people can interpret a track through the project.
4. How long does it take you to organise such a big event?
A lot of hours! We’ll almost start picking up conversations with partners and venues for the following year as soon as one show ends. It gets really hectic and sleep deprived from December till May for the two of us.
5. If you don’t organise the Secret 7” show what do you do?
Now that 2016’s show has come to a close we’re exploring more projects as Goodness, using our skills and network across music/art to deliver meaningful campaigns.
6. Last but least, how do you stay creative?
Good question. If I’m looking for inspiration I’ll get out in the world – walks, holidays or a drive. If I can’t go far and need a clear mind I’ll have a shower. At peak madness bringing Secret 7″ together, I’ll shower three or four times in a day.
I’ll update you as soon as I know when the next Secret 7” show starts again.
Monday, August 15th, 2016
Last week, I went to the Mayfield Lavender Fields close to London. It was such a cool trip that I needed to share it with you. There were several reasons why I wanted to go there.
Number 1: I barely leave London so this was a great destination to finally leave the big city for a few hours.
Number 2: I wanted to find a really nice location to take photos of the Föllinge products (more about it in a second).
Number 3: I can finally go on adventures during the week because I’m freelancing so that was the first big chance (silly reason, I know).
So I went to Mayfield Lavender Fields with my friend Emelie last Friday – we’re in the middle of organising our event at the moment (coming soon on my blog). She is also the one who introduced me to an amazing organic beauty brand: Föllinge. You can see a couple of their products below. Föllinge is a Swedish product – so is my friend (not a product though) – and it was founded in the north of Sweden in 1985. I’m very happy they made it to the UK (and other countries – you order their products here). I’m a huge fan of Swedish design and I can tell you that their beauty products are as amazing as their design. Well, at least Föllinge is. Their organic products are divided into products for your face, for your body, and wellness. I just started trying a few of their products and I love how they feel on your skin.
Although I could not travel to the north of Sweden to take some beautiful photos of the products, I thought the lavender fields are very suitable to take some nice photographs. England meets Sweden, right?!
As I mentioned before, it was a great day and I could refuel my creative juices. If I wasn’t concentrating on taking photos of Föllinge I would have sat down to work on my art journal. And if the lavender fields wouldn’t be a 4-hour journey in a day I would spend more time there for sure. BUT, sometimes you just need to put a little bit of effort into something in order to get good results. For me, it was taking 2 hours to get to the lavender fields and 2 hours back. I had a wonderful day of sunshine, treats, and fun, and of course, I couldn’t resist buying some lavender for the house, too.
Do you have a favourite place where you can feel the magic?
Thursday, August 11th, 2016
If you’re in need of a creative break, I found the perfect stay in London for you. Please let me introduce you to the new hotel citizenM, a creative paradise as you can see in the photos. I was invited to attend a design blogger event at citizenM a couple of weeks ago. I checked in early because I wanted to have the full experience of being a mobile citizen in the hotel. Luckily, I live in London because I didn’t want to leave the hotel. I spend almost 24 hours in there and it was fantastic.
If you’re a freelancer like me you can work from anywhere. So I checked in, got myself a coffee in their café (yum!), and then worked in the lobby. I was surrounded by art and so much attention to detail. Okay, I had to be careful not to get distracted too much but it was such an amazing creative environment.
Before we – the bloggers – met downstairs, I also quickly checked out my room. I spend a couple of too many minutes playing around with the technology in the room. You could pretty much control everything from the iPad they provided you with. I loved the personal welcome as citizenM Uli, too. You could open the blinds, have different mood lightening and they also had German TV. I know, this is especially important for you LOL
I finally met the other bloggers after a couple of hours exploring the hotel and working from the lobby. I couldn’t wait to see the bar with the amazing view. Scroll down to see what I mean. By the way, the room I was staying in had the same view *LOVE* We pretty much hung out at the bar for the rest of the evening with a short break to have some dinner. Believe me, you wouldn’t want to leave that bar either.
Last but not least, I had such a great sleep in the huge bed and an even better breakfast in the morning. I really liked that the hotel also provided healthy options.
Can you see why this hotel is the perfect stay in London? It just opened. So if you’re travelling to London soon or just want to have a little luxury break from home, like me, then you know where to go. Oh, and did I mention the WiFi is perfect?! They have everything a freelancer needs – the Internet, coffee, a creative environment, and a bar.
PS: If you’re not travelling to London, you can also stay in a citizenM hotel in Amsterdam, Glasgow, New York, Paris, or Rotterdam.
Monday, August 8th, 2016
Meet the gorgeous stationery brand Lonetree and its founders, Sara and Emma, a lovely sister duo (see image below). They got in touch with me a couple of months ago on Instagram and it took a lifetime to finally introduce them to you on my blog. Life gets always in the way… You know I’m a stationery fan and I’m so happy Lonetree found me. Their stuff is absolutely my cup of tea. Emma and Sara introduced themselves as paper-holics which I thought is an amazing description. You can definitely see the love for paper in their stationery products. I’m also very jealous that they work from an old converted stable block on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors. Sounds dreamy!
Without further ado, please get to know the faces behind Lonetree below.
Have you heard about Lonetree before?
Thursday, August 4th, 2016
I just spent a wonderful week in Germany, so apologies if I haven’t updated my blog as usual. Today, I want to talk about the good things in life. Sounds good, right?! Everything started when I was invited to a brunch at Albion Clerkenwell by 451life a couple of weeks ago. You might be familiar with some other ‘Albions’ in Shoreditch and Bankside. The Albion Clerkenwell just opened its doors and I’m already in love. It’s a perfect location and it’s so cosy inside. I could spend the whole day there and it probably will be my new freelance hub from time to time. I wish it was there when I was working at We Are Social just around the corner.
But it’s not only a café. There’s a whole story behind it! And that’s where 451life comes into the picture. As I mentioned above, it’s bringing the good things in life to us; all the little stories about makers, creatives, designers, and more. You won’t be able to NOT fall in love with the people of 451life. How to better tell a story than with a video?! At the event, we watched the story behind the Albion Clerkenwell, the story behind The Wild East – A Pop-up Story, and the story behind Tatty Devine Jewellery. I honestly couldn’t tell which story was more interesting because they’re all very unique.
451life is a subscription based platform. You can test it 24 hours for free or you can sign up with the code 451ALBION until the end of August for a month of free content (found on their Facebook page). There’s also a free section but if you want to benefit fully from unlimited access to content, amazing offers from their talented contributors and invitations to very special events I recommend signing up here. I really wanted to write about this because I think it’s a wonderful idea. I always want to know more about a product or place and 451life gives you the opportunity to get to know the creators better. I also think it’s very inspirational, especially if you think of starting your own business.
Tell me, what’s your story?
Monday, July 25th, 2016
I finally found the time to write about how to become a successful freelancer. It has been more than 6 months for me and I already can tell you a few things about what to do and what to avoid. I have written a blog post about the beginnings before, but here’s my progress. When I talk to people about how to become a successful freelancer there’s such a big halo around it. Don’t misunderstand me, I like it when people think it’s a big deal but I also think if you’re a creative person who likes to find solutions, becoming a freelancer is easier than you think. It has a lot to do with your own attitude.
Before I give you some useful tips I want to tell you when I decided to go freelance and how I started. As far as I remember, I started thinking about freelancing 4 months into my new job when I also started this blog in January 2015. I secretly told myself I have one year to make the jump. So I’d say my thoughts lasted way longer than my actions but that’s quite a common thing. The urgency of becoming freelance is mostly developed out of an emergency, e.g. getting fired, or a huge dissatisfaction, e.g. the job is not fulfilling anymore. My job was alright and so were all the others before but my problem was that everything was too slow for me and I could barely develop my own skills because I had to follow processes and rules. I know I sound like such a rebel but I knew for a long time I might not be the best person doing what other people tell me to do, at least not without questioning it. So freelancing was the first step into independence. I’m guilty of not being prepared enough, i.e. I didn’t have savings when I made the jump. I just couldn’t wait anymore. It might not be the best starting point but on the other hand, I really needed to push myself to make things happen.
At the moment, I still have a mix of different jobs. I work sporadically for an agency as a social media manager and I do have my own clients. I’ve been incredibly lucky that my clients can see such a big potential in me and trust me with my expertise. I not only help them with their social media channels, I also provide help with branding, PR, and marketing. The truth is that I can do so much more than social media but sometimes it’s tricky to sell this to your client when your obvious expertise is social media. Once people get to know me and have seen what I’m capable of we’re rocking their brand together.
But enough about me and my clients. I want to tell you a little bit more about how you can make it, too. Here we go!
Please share your thoughts with me! Are you thinking of going freelance? What does stop you? Where do you see your biggest problem? I’m happy to give some more advice and encouragement!
Working from the coffee shop around the corner of co-working space Campus London.
Working with my freelance friend Emelie on my shared terrace in East London.