(all photos on the blog today by Kristy)
Kristy and I have gone to the same school since elementary school, but we got to know each other better in high school via Tumblr and IB HL Art. I’ve always admired Kristy’s work, and have been so amazed and proud of all the things she’s been up to since high school (we’re both juniors in college now). As a peer, I admire how she’s pursued her creative passions. I never doubted that she could do it, but how?? She’s here on the blog today to tell us a little more about it!
Fun fact about yourself?
I was an obsessed Tumblr user back in the day. It’s funny to think about how absorbed I used to be, but that really catapulted things for me. I’ve scrolled a lot of miles but that’s also how I connected with Audrey! I love how we’re still in touch and it’s great to see how we’ve continued in this social media space. Thank you Audrey for inviting me onto your blog!
What activities/clubs are you involved in?
My university’s known as a commuter campus so being a commuter myself, I try to get involved because it allows me to stay connected with school. For the past three years, I’ve worked closely as a CD for my program’s academic society. I’ve done a lot to refresh the brand with the production of its marketing collateral but it’s also helped me generously in building my portfolio. This year, I also started working as a designer with my university’s TEDx team.
I’d also say I do a lot for my career development. I go to creative conferences (or volunteer cause that’s just a free way of getting into things), I pursue freelance photography and design, and just keep myself engaged through content creation and networking on Instagram. All these roles have helped fuel my passion for design and photography, but also pushed my goals further on a professional level. It’s also helped me get a better understanding of the creative culture here in Toronto.
How do you balance being a full-time student with all your creative endeavours?
I’m quite surprised at how well I’m able to balance my time with school and regular creative projects. A lot of my friends ask me this as well, but I really can’t explain it. It’s a balance I strive to achieve and it’s just become routine for me. At times, I’ve certainly sacrificed my academics for my creative work but it always pays off. I’m still a decent student!
How do you think you’ve grown creatively between high school and college?
With art, I’ve always been selfish in creating for myself. However since sharing my work online, opening myself up to public engagement has pushed me to create constantly. The fulfillment I feel from expressing myself with my work has been undeniably fun! Going into university, I remember feeling disappointed about my choice of school. The creative community on campus was underwhelming and my program wasn’t catering to my creative needs. However, I learnt quickly that I needed to change my perspective. I could either mope around or take full advantage of the resources around me. I guess you can assume which mindset I decided to take so yeah, I did more exploring, took more risks, and worked harder to make things happen for myself. Thinking back to how stuck I thought I was…that’s silly.
In the past year, I’ve definitely gotten more confident in creating work and sharing it with others. I’ve also spent a lot of time going out to photograph with friends and spending a lot of time editing and looking at other people’s work. Getting inspired to create is a feeling I love, but also one that can be lost quickly. One thing about learning photography is that it can become frustrating. You have a lot of fun in it when you start, but as you start learning more and more things lose challenge. Because you’re practicing it so much, but there’s often something you think is still off and missing. There have been many time’s where I’ve wanted to try all sorts of different styles, but at the same time I wanted to develop my own style. It’s an inner battle with yourself.
What are your favourite coffee shops?
Boxcar Social would have to be my favorite local coffee shop in Toronto. They have four locations set-up all over the city and I’ve been to all of them. The thing is with each, you’ll be welcomed with a whole different experience. I guess it just depends on the area of its location but it’s exciting! Same coffee, different coffee shop experiences. I really started to hate lounging around home in these past few years.
What are your insider tips to navigate Toronto’s art/creative scene?
Navigating Toronto’s pretty easy. Ever since coming back for university, I just felt very free to explore the new space around me. I was a little unhappy with campus life so I’d always just find myself in the city wandering around on my own. I used to get quite anxious when I didn’t have a plan of where to go. However, I’ve outgrown that feeling and have learned to embrace it. Just keep walking, you never know what cool spot you’ll find next! By making my surroundings my own personal playground, I want to prove that you don’t have to travel far to appreciate what you have. It doesn’t matter if all you have is your phone camera, but get out there and start capturing the things that are interesting to you.
What tips do you have for finding and connecting with local creatives?
Expanding your connections with different creatives can be helpful. With anything really, collaboration is a valuable component. For me, it’s hanging out with like-minded creatives who show passion in their craft and enjoy sharing it with others. You’re going to see the way others work, whether it’s how they hold up a camera, ask a model to pose, or how they work with the space around them, just seeing this behind-the-scenes action can teach you so much. Once you connect with one person, there’s a possibility of it spiraling into something greater. I’ve had so many ‘OH WHAT A SMALL WORLD’ moments, you’d be surprised. Other things you can do are to look into events happening in your community, attend a meet-up or even host one! It never hurts to just leave a message! Whether it be a compliment or question, I’m sure they would really appreciate it.
Thoughts about social media and how it influences/helps/(or doesn’t) your creative endeavours?
Social media has offered a hub and a home my work. With my interests in photography and design, this means I can do more with less. To create, share, and connect with all the different communities online has all become much more convenient and efficient.
Concepts of community play a fundamental role on Instagram. It’s what I’ve indulged in with deeply in the past year, and is what I believe sets it apart from being “just another online photo-sharing platform”. Through my interactions on Instagram as a photographer, I’ve quickly developed an understanding to the numerous interest-based and sub-communities that have grown out it – the photography community in particular. From street, food, fashion, lifestyle, travel, and wedding photography, these sub-communities can help cultivate a strong, dynamic, photographic conversation with diverse viewpoints and visual experiences.
Social media has also helped with my social anxiety. Very quickly, I’ve grown to love meeting people from online to offline. It’s been equally important because of the good support system it’s offered me with my creative endeavours. To be around individuals who understand your craft and why you love it, these people can continue to elevate your work and keep you going at it.
What’s your aesthetic?
Well, I guess that depends on what we’re talking about! I know most people know me by my work on Instagram, but I do love a good combination of photography and visual design. I love how I’m able to shift between the two roles but they certainly have a strong influence on each other. Ultimately, it all comes down to creating experiences — ones for myself, but also ones for others. It’s my form of storytelling but just through multiple mediums.
Now if you really want me to break it down…
With my photography, what I capture through my lens is often guided by how I feel. With editing, this allows me to enhance these feelings even more. Warm colours to induce comfort, but also a moodiness which I hope calls for intimate invitation. This atmospheric style of mine has developed almost naturally over the past few years. What I’m doing isn’t that special, but I’m delighted to have finally discovered my own voice and method of storytelling. I just want to keep in mind that I can explore and take risks openly. MOODY is the word I repeat to myself as a mantra to maintain my vision.
With my design work, it’s a little more difficult to pinpoint. I’ve felt pressure from myself to find an aesthetic but thinking about all the creative things I pursue keeps me grounded. On design, it’s something I pursue more professionally too, so flexibility is required depending on the client or project. I really do love the flat and clean aesthetic though.
More recently, I’ve started to combine my eye for photography with my design work. From little decisions such as having my design work photographed as mock ups, or having the design process photographed, it’s ability in overall presentation can really create an impact.
Where do you get your inspiration? What are your influences?
Whenever I share my work, I’ll always have a few people joke about the strange things I spot and gravitate towards for a photograph. Now I don’t mean that in a negative way, but it’s amusing to see how differently our eyes perceive things. I’m in constant observation mode. Whether an alleyway, rugged staircase, or how the light might be hitting a wall, I’ll feel indulgent to stop and capture the moment. My eyes are often over stimulated by little things…that hasn’t changed much. I’m also pretty connected online. This includes platforms like Tumblr, Instagram and Youtube, which all helps tune my senses in so many ways. I would say travelling and living around the world has also exposed me to different architectures, landscapes, and cultures. I’ll always try to think of creating content that is unique from the rest but I do see myself doing that with photography more so than with design.
What are your favourite creative tools/equipment?
A lot of what I create is based on my intuition and how I feel. I honestly believe that the best things I create come from that. In terms of technical equipment and tools, I love using Adobe Lightroom and my nifty fifty Canon 1.8 lens for photography. For graphic design, my tools shift all over with the Adobe Creative Suite! Photoshop and Illustrator are what I use most though.
I’ve recently begun to animate a little more too. Before having full access to the Creative Suite, I was limited with how I could do things. I found a solution to do what I wanted to though. I wanted to animate, so I went to presentation tools like Keynote and Powerpoint, played around with some of the animation features, exported it as a movie file, into photoshop and exported it again as a GIF. Ta-da! I’ve definitely gotten comfortable with this tedious process but it’s what I know best. I love little processes like this that I’ve created for myself.
What’s your favourite thing about being a creative?
What are your plans for the future, creatively or otherwise?
I definitely see myself falling into a creative career, I’m anticipating lots of movement within the field though! As of now, I’m curious about working in an agency, haha I’ll have to see who wants me. As for freelance, it’s actually something I pursue lightly at the moment. It’s been a good thing to have along with school but I don’t think I could put myself fully into it.
What creative projects are you currently working on? How can we support you?
You can find me connected on Instagram most of the time so just stop by and leave me a message! ALSO if you’re ever in Toronto, hit me up. I’d be down to chat/hang/go on a photo walk!
PS: kristy shared some of her photos on the blog last summer