Interview with Lotta Nieminen
One of the things that we admire most about Lotta Nieminen is her passion for exploration. This Helsinki-born designer and illustrator doesn’t confine herself to one medium, and realizes that progress and personal development usually lies at the end of the road less travelled. We spoke to her about her career and some of the challenges she’s faced along the way.
What have been the major milestones in your career?
Moving to New York was both a career milestone as well as a personal one: living and working in New York had seemed like an unattainable dream, so I’m proud of eventually taking the risk of trying it out. I think proving to myself that I could survive something that I didn’t think possible changed my outlook to the way I worked as well – after realizing that good things generally come out of risk-taking, it’s been easier to take on professional and stylistic challenges as well.
Realizing that I can identify as both a graphic designer and an illustrator was a big revelation for me at the time. When I started my graphic design studies, I built my professional identity heavily on being a designer: I thought that you should try to master one thing well, instead of hustling around doing a bunch of things with mediocrity. It wasn’t until after my exchange semester at the Rhode Island School of Design that I decided to pursue illustration as an equal part of my professional practice. I realized you can develop multiple visions and voices simultaneously – and not only is it doable, but the different type of work will also feed one another. Nowadays my professional identity is much looser: I find it important not to have to be stuck to one specific way of doing.
What is the best constraint you’ve ever had to work within? Asked by Hum Creative
I find material or format constraints the most interesting to me – working in mediums that I haven’t explored before pose interesting challenges to the work, and that forces me to take my style and process to a new level. This was the case when I got to work on my first fabric, or my first window display. Different mediums require a different approach and thinking, which also helps my style develop by posing new challenges.
What is the last thing you googled?
1. How much of your day do you spend working?
An average day at the studio is typically from 10am to 7pm.
2. Where is your ideal work environment?
Quiet and sunny like my current studio. I also need a tidy desk in order to think.
3. What do you hope to get across with your work?
That I enjoy the entire process.
4. What inspires you?
Seeing someone genuinely excited and invested in what they do.
5. What's the secret to a successful day's work?
Shutting down that inbox for a few hours.
6. Is there anything in your life that you can't live without?
7. Is there anything about you that people might not know?
I’ve skydived (just kidding – a lot of people know that because I’ve actively bragged about it for 3 years)
8. What would be your dream project?
One where I would get to expand outside of the fields that I already work within: like try interior design or directing a short movie.
9. What is the most time-consuming aspect of your work?
Emails. Getting into a deep work flow.
10. What legacy would you like to leave behind?
“What a lady!"