Over the past few months, we’ve been able to converse with some of our Creative Suite enthusiasts through our Creative Suite Ambassador Group*. We’ve learned more about what moves them to create and have seen some inspiring work. Today we are sharing the first in a series of interviews from one of our Ambassadors through our ‘Ambassador of the Month’ feature.
I’m happy to introduce, Verneda Lights. Verneda is a poet, performer, graphic artist, and a M.D. We caught up with Verneda to find out how she started her professional career as a designer and much more.
Creative Layer: You obviously wear many hats, but what you drew you into the creative field?
Verneda Lights: In the aftermath of 9/11, I had difficulty expressing what I felt. My skills as a wordsmith had abandoned me. Then, during one day of soul searching, I sat down at my brother’s computer and came across a small program called ‘Paint’. I read about how 24-bit true color gives you access to 16 million different colors. I thought, “Da Vinci would have loved this,” so I tinkered around with the colors, which made me feel wonderful. I felt like had just stepped into a well of mysteries, and I was refreshed.
I started to draw with the mouse, and was amazed to see that I could draw. Shortly thereafter, I came across free trials of Paint Shop Pro and Photoshop. I created an art memorial for the victims of 911 called ‘Beauty for Ashes,’ and that’s where it all evolved.
What’s your day-to-day like?
Since I work for myself, my day-to-day life is pretty much as I design it. I do try to work from a to-do list that I put together on my iCal. I have planned to make my business as portable as possible. So I work from home as well as from my Colony Square office. My unofficial motto is “Have Mac. Will travel!”
What inspires you to create and/or where do you seek inspiration?
Since time was so scarce, I bought a digital camera, started to take pictures, and joined the Street Photographers’ group at Saatchi Gallery. The pics were quick, and when working with a digital camera, the workflow is great. Upload, edit in Photoshop, publish, discuss. It was crazy, but also fun. I could document the Olde South (which is quickly vanishing) and edit the photos while sitting at a relative’s bedside.
When working with clients, I take my imagery cues from the person I’m creating for. I had an assignment to create a custom tile for the gift baskets that were to be given to a group of 40 international dignitaries who were visiting Atlanta as guests of the State Department as part of the American Experience Program. I had a long free-style association session with the Director at the Metropolitan Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, and I used the images from the session to create the tile design. The package, which also contained signed certificates of authenticity, which I created in Photoshop, was ready for to be picked up 2 days later. The tile, “Atlanta 2010: The Heart of the American Experience,” was featured on the Creative Review website.
Any words of advice you would offer those getting started?
Yes. When people say you’re crazy, don’t believe them. Take a chance on yourself, and keep pushing for your dreams until you find them.
*Note: Our Creative Suite Ambassador Group is currently a closed community. We will evaluate future opportunities to open the group. For those interested in joining, please stay tuned for more updates on group openings.