“Creativity is for everyone” - Designer Evie Kemp on pursuing a creative career regardless of skill level
Welcome to The Creative Files, where we speak to some of the biggest crafters, makers and designers, gaining insights into their creative processes, inspiration and their advice for newcomers. This week we spoke with New Zealand designer Evie Kemp, who rebels against traditional interior design with her own unique take on eclectic and maximalist styles.
Who is Evie Kemp and what is it that you create?
I'm a freelance creative based in Auckland, NZ - my work spans across art, interiors and design. I have my own range of art prints that I sell, I style and consult on interior and event projects, and I also work with cool brands to create exciting and colourful content and crafty projects!
Tell us about your career journey to date. Did you always know you wanted to pursue this line of work?
Nope! I've always enjoyed being creative but was led to believe that I wasn't very good at it, and that you even had to be "good" at it to pursue it! After I left school, I started studying Law and Art History but eventually realised that wasn't for me and took a chance on my creative side by applying to study graphic design. From there, my career developed and grew into what it is now.
What does a typical working day look like for you?
It varies a lot from week to week depending on what projects I have on. A pretty standard day for me starts by sharing content on social media, then catching up with messages and emails. I've usually got a project to style and photograph at home which I do in the morning when I have the best light. If I have illustration work to do, I work on that in the afternoon and again after dinner, usually accompanied by some trashy TV in the background.
I generally have a couple of meetings with clients each week and also go out sourcing props for styling, or supplies for a project I'm working on (I'm in my local Spotlight at least once a week!). When I can, I try to make time to paint and connect with friends.
What has been your favourite project to work on so far?
For Christmas 2020, I styled the Spotlight press event and decorated the Breakfast TV studio in collaboration with Spotlight. I literally had a house FULL of Christmas trees and it was just so much fun getting to style them all and spread that joy. Spotlight then donated everything we'd used to a local charity I work with called "Woven Earth" who furnish homes for women escaping domestic violence here in Auckland. As far as a dream job, this was it - from start to finish!
Who are your biggest artistic inspirations and why?
I'm incredibly inspired by the Bloomsbury Group - a British art collective that was around in the early decades of the 20th century. They applied their art and creative way of life to everything, and championed craft as art - which I love.
Visually I get huge inspiration from colourful, exuberant and fearless design icons like Iris Apfel and textile designer Zandra Rhodes. Their passion and commitment to self-expression through colour and pattern is what I aspire to!
Do you have a single piece of advice you'd give to your younger self or someone looking to pursue a similar line of work?
Creativity is for everyone, and everyone is creative!
Enjoying something is enough reason to pursue something! We're so often taught that we shouldn't 'waste' time on things we don't excel at, and I think so much creativity fades under this thinking. Whatever you love, find a way to do it and remember success comes in many forms. Nurture your own creativity and be kind to yourself.
Find Evie here: