1. Brief description about yourself
I’m originally from Caracas, Venezuela. I was raised by very supportive parents that let me explore the arts at an early age.
When it was time to go to college, I decided to follow my father’s entrepreneurial spirit and go to business school. (Little did I know that my visual notebooks explaining charts, markets, and stocks were going to be so popular that they would become a resource for many on their final exams!) After three years and little time for painting, I found myself less motivated than my peers and decided to explore a creative career.
I discovered my undergrad school through my painting professor. Here, I understood and got obsessed with typography, composition, negative space, and grids. After two years, I started interning (and later working) for one of my professors; he had a multimedia studio where I immersed myself in web, interactive CD-ROMs and flash animation, and some basic web development skills. Later on, I had the opportunity to pursue a Masters in Design and Technology in New York. (I made the decision to go in a two month period of time, but that’s another story!) This program helped me shape the tools that I already knew (unofficially) and made me embrace and appreciate the connection between design and technology and its relationship with humans.
Thanks to all of these opportunities, I’ve been exposed to and involved with Open Source technologies and communities. DIY (do it yourself) and DIWO (do it with others) has become my approach (even in the corporate world). I’ve taught artists to code and program sensors, fashion designers to create interactive garments, and children to create electronic toys with crafts. I’ve translated Open Source books on design principles (Digital Foundations), collaborative work (Futures of Collaboration), and design software (Inkscape and Gimp) into the Spanish language and organized Portuguese translation as well.
I currently balance my life between freelance interaction design; my design studio, Candelita; and new media projects. I love spending some time abroad working on new projects and collaborating with other artists.
2. What inspired you to get into design?
Design happen while studying Visual Communications in Caracas. I was pursuing an Illustration career, and to be completely honest, I didn’t understand much about Graphic Design. Luckily the Visual Communication program had a core foundation of the design and communication basics. Falling in love with Typography and Composition became a weakness to me and made me pursue a more Graphic Design-oriented career. I still work in Illustration, but that’s a little secret that just a few know!
3. Did you go to school for design? If not, how did you learn that skill?
I did go to school for Design, but the school I attended was not an ordinary Design school. It is the one that gives you an integral knowledge of Visual Communication and has a strong focus on Graphic Design, Tridimensional Design, Illustration, Drawing, and Art History. These are mandatory areas!
4. What advice do you have for any designer or individual(s) who want to own their own business?
Starting you own business is very exciting and scary at the same time. This is your opportunity to do the type of work you love and do it under your conditions, but you will also need to create a system to make your time productive. Be bold! Tell everyone about your business; nurture it and see it grow every day.
The biggest challenge for me was asking for help. There will be a point where you are doing everything: client meetings, networking, books, social media, customer service… you need to reach out and find another professional to help you with these tasks so you can go back to what you love: Design. It’s not easy, but it will change your life and your business dramatically!
5. What have you found to be helpful & impacting ways to market yourself?
I use Social Media to market Candelita, but I also have a great network of friends and colleagues (as well as former clients) that have written about me, have shared my information with their friends, and have given beautiful testimonies about my work. I believe that word of mouth is a great way of promoting yourself, so be kind to everyone you work with, be respectful, and always treat your clients like Premium customers.
6. How do you want to continue to challenge yourself as a creative person?
Collaborative Projects! This is the way I find inspiration from many other fields that are not related to Design and think of the ways to add that extra creative layer to my work and make it powerful. Working with others lets me grow as a person and as a professional. It gives me the opportunity to be part of projects that I wouldn’t normally.