Interview with Leta Sobierajski from a series of six profiles of young creatives who created their dream job.
It’s a rare and very special thing to have a job that’s the same as the one you referred to in grade school when everyone asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up. Heck, it’s rare to have the one you talked about at your college graduation party. But, for the five women ahead, the careers they’ve created for themselves all have something in common: They’re each every bit the dream job.
Of course, “dream” jobs are as varied as it gets — one person’s mega-movie-franchise career is another’s raising-capital-for-start-ups gig — and none of them are easy to land. The young game changers ahead have not only worked hard to get where they are, but are constantly challenging themselves and their industries. For instance, there’s the just-out-of-college fashion designer who wowed street style stars with her playful premiere collection; the philanthropist who’s made it her mission to make sure all girls around the world have access to an education; and the artist who’s finding and creating beauty in the most ordinary of everyday objects.
However you slice it, the fearless ladies ahead have forged careers that amaze and inspire, and there’s no doubt they’re loving it, too. And, that’s pretty much the dream.
Graphic designer and art director
First job ever:
“I worked in a ski shop selling and repairing equipment.”
First job that I consider a major milestone:
“My first real graphic design job, which I landed upon graduating college. It was a small studio called HunterGatherer, where I got to work on projects ranging from branding, to animation, sculpture, and installation.”
First thing I do every morning:
“Unfortunately, I grab my phone and check my email.”
The person whose career I admire most:
“Maurizio Cattelan is a massive influence. His work, whether as a solo artist or through Toilet Paper, is the most impressive body of work I have come across, in which he gives his sophisticated content a tactile and youthful touch. I admire his decision to shift from the art world into the design realm — it has caused him to yield unbelievable results in his work and the change feels relevant to my own path. Each and every composition is completely unorthodox in principle and context, and because I can’t bear to look away, I feel constantly inspired to attain that same level of bold and colorful kinkiness in my own work.”
My big break moment:
“I feel like everything is always an experiment, and the project I have been most proud of lately is the Odd Pears Campaign for an Australian-based sock company. This was a project I acquired based off of my already existing personal projects. When I went freelance, the majority of the projects in my portfolio were personal projects. Odd Pears was the first project to challenge me to make something that people would have to actually accept, approve, and ultimately live with.”
The biggest career hurdle I’ve had to face so far is…
“I had to make the decision to go freelance and lose the security of a full-time job which payed consistently. Though this is an important aspect of a job, it doesn’t make or break a career and I knew that had I kept with it, It would ultimately sacrifice my freedom and spirit to do work I wasn’t excited about.”
The best way to spend my down time is…
“Spending time with my partner, Wade; visiting galleries, museums, and traveling.”
My career is my dream job because…
“I get to wake up and play every day. I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else.”
What has been the most important step you’ve taken that’s lead you to your dream job that you have today?
“Becoming an individual in your field requires that you build a passion that you can pour into your own projects, because people won’t hire you to do things that they haven’t seen you do before. I learned that I needed to have solid ownership over my work in order to build a reputation, and that forced me to build up my own arsenal of personal projects to leverage me once I decided to take a step on my own. I sacrificed my social life for a few years to create videos, photos, and illustrations that represented my own way of thinking, and completely rebuilt my portfolio.”
What’s the most surprising piece of advice you would give to anyone else who’s interested in pursuing a career such as yours?
“Work hard, don’t ever be an asshole, try new things, and push yourself with personal projects. Doing these things not only helped me find my own voice, but I feel like it helped me become more passionate about what I do as a whole.”
Your work tends to present quite ordinary items in ways we’ve never really seen them before. Do you have any memorable stories of when inspiration struck you?
“I’ll get my ideas when it’s the last thing I’m thinking about — taking a shower, walking to the subway, or even when in conversation! Sometimes I can’t write it down and I just need to repeat it over and over in my head until I can jot down a quick sketch. Have you heard that if you walk through a doorway you forget an idea? It’s totally true, and has happened to me countless times!
“It all began when I tried to spray paint a bouquet of flowers (which worked out quite poorly). Not wanting to waste the paint, or the productive day, I painted a few other objects and paired them with materials I already owned. I have a lot of odds and ends sitting around in my apartment, like hand-made wood blocks, rolls of tape, and candles. Because they are all so simple, it is easy to piece things together to create something more complicated than its individual parts. The inspiration behind them is merely to experiment: try, fail, and experience. It has helped me improve my skill and has given me the confidence to apply these mediums to my client-based projects.”