Artist: Kathryn Lawrence
Age: 21 years
Art Form: Interior Design & Visual Art
Why do you do what you do? When did you realize a passion for what you do?
I am currently pursuing my Bachelor’s degree in Interior Design. I chose to study this field in Grade 9, because, growing up, I truly loved Visual Arts and the idea of creating things.
As I grew older I found that in addition to liking Visual Art I began to like Technical Drawing, Math and Physics. I eventually found that there came a point where I had to choose a path.
At the time, it was between Interior Design or Architecture. However, I chose Interior Design because it was more intimate and personal.
I believe that people truly experience a space from within and I wanted to create spaces that spoke to the occupants and complemented their needs.
What are some of the challenges that you have faced while trying to pursue your passion?
The major challenge that I have faced is coming to terms with the fact that I have more to learn and to observe, and that I may not actualize, in the next 2 – 5 years.
That was initially scary but I realized that I have to enjoy the process. There will come sacrifices, grief and moments where I say “I wish that I had done something that was easier/more ideal.”
Those moments have most definitely come before; moments where I had to walk away from things that would interrupt that process. However, I know it will all be worthwhile in the end.
Have you encountered people who have been skeptical about your dreams?
There is so much stigma attached to Interior Design. Many people think that it is simply decorating. However, it has so much more to it.
As an Interior Designer, I will be manipulating the interior partitions (walls), doors, interior glazing (windows) and do the spatial planning of the space. Interior Designers work with the architects, engineers and other consultants to plan the ceiling layout and so on. Basically, what I am studying is Interior Architecture.
I remember in high school, I had mentioned that I wanted to study this profession and one professor said to me, in front of the whole class in Grade 9,
“You are wasting your intelligence on Interior Design, that is a profession you retire into.”
Another said to me
“What if it doesn’t work out?”
Others have said,
“Are you sure there is an industry for that?”
The list goes on…
How did you initially react to those people and how do you act towards them now?
Initially, it would irritate me so much. I would get very defensive, especially when people would introduce me and say, “Interior Decorator.” All my friends had a long speech that they had to listen to that explained the distinction between the two, and now even defend me without me being there! Big up yourselves, you know who you are.
However, now I don’t care. I don’t have to prove myself to people. I know what I do and that’s enough. I love what I do and that is a true privilege to be able to say. For that, I am extremely grateful.
Also, contrary to the belief of many, my dream is to do corporate buildings and hospitality (hotels, resorts, nightclubs and so on). So, many of these people who speak about my field in that way won’t be my clients and therefore don’t affect me.
What are some of the fears that you face even today?
I sometimes do question if this is what I truly want, especially when I am facing something that is extremely difficult.
I remember, especially in my third year of school, when I had begun to explore Ubuntu more and develop the project I was conflicted. I wanted to give Ubuntu my all and that was a distraction.
I also had moments that I feared I wasn’t good enough and that I’d never be able to truly handle client work.
Another fear was that I would make it out into the industry and encounter so many others who displayed so much more talent than me, or that I would just be average.
How do you deal with those fears?
Constant positive affirmations!
I tend to spend a lot of time in my mind and I can be very harsh on myself. However, those moments when I feel a low, when I question my field, I remind myself that there is no perfect situation.
The best things in life come when you are willing to step out of your comfort zone and fight through the difficult regardless. The number of times that I have observed that fluctuation with Interior Design has proven that it is for me. It’s like a relationship, there will be highs and lows.
So, I continue to push, because the high moments prove that it is truly worth it. As it pertains me comparing myself, that is a constant struggle. However, I remind myself to keep my eyes on my own lane.
There is a quote I love from, Oscar Wilde
“Be Yourself, everyone else is already taken!”
… I love quotes.
I just remind myself that there is a place for me and I know what I like and my design style, so it’s just for me to be confident in it.
How do you work? What is the method to your ‘madness’ and how do you filter your creativity?
I am still trying to figure that out. I just try a lot of things and hope for the best.
Typically, when it comes to a project I start with research. I do extensive research on the subject and I look at case studies and really try to get my design concept from that research.
For me, design is like Visual Art, so I try to find that focal point that I can use as the motif in my work. From there it’s just a period of trial and error. I start with preliminary sketches of symbols and try deconstructing them. Then after that I solidify and execute the space planning starting with the floor plan then the reflected ceiling plan, elevations and then the renderings of the space.
It may sound pretty straight-forward but there are moments of creative block and intense frustration along the way.
What is some advice that you would give to anyone who is trying to walk the same path as you?
Creative block happens.
Don’t get frustrated when you’re stuck, and you can’t seem to move forward. In fact, give into it. Allow yourself to give into that low feeling, because sometimes it’s just your body and mind’s way of asking for a break.
No matter how much you love something you will need a break from it from time to time to recharge.
I believe that a lie that we tell ourselves is that we must wake up and always be enamoured with whatever it is. The moment we begin to feel those lows we question it and we begin to think “maybe this isn’t my path.” Nah, it is, just keep pushing and allow yourself to feel.
Also have hobbies and priorities that are completely different from your passion. These will help you to completely disconnect every now and then so that you can be ready to give it your all again.
Another piece of advice I would give is always bring something that can document your thoughts and ideas with you. Whether it is a sketch book/note book, or an app on your phone. Also keep this near your bed, because you’ll never know when an idea will hit you. I’ve woken up in the middle of the night to write down an idea before.
What role do you believe “the artist” has in society? / How do you feel your art form has the power to benefit society?
I believe that artists play a key role in helping to build the foundation of our society.
They bring us entertainment, insight, building infrastructures and pleasure. I wouldn’t say that they are more important than non-artists but I would say that we are equally valuable and help to create diversity and colour in society.
I do believe that Interior Design has a definite role to play in society. People are in a built environment everyday and operate in this infrastructure. It affects their moods, their mental and even their physical health.
I believe that, when done properly, the interior space can improve productivity and even increase the overall feeling of positivity that workers and patrons have.
Where do you see yourself going?
One thing that I’ve realized about life is that we are constantly growing. So, I’m not truly able to say, with complete assurance, what I ultimately want to be doing.
However, right now, with Interior Design I see myself working in the hospitality industry back home, in Jamaica. I know I have a lot to learn and that, because of this, I won’t be able to just jump back home right after I’m done with school. I have to stay in Canada for a bit to understand the industry here some more.
With Ubuntu, I see growth in it everyday. What started as a desire for a small scholarship became an entire movement so quickly. It is overwhelming where I see this going. The funny thing is that, the overwhelming part is not that I just see what I want but I’m also realizing how I would achieve these things.
With my visual art, I really want to go into more professional art therapy. I love the idea of using art to heal people and bring them joy and I’m excited to find out how exactly I’m going to go about that.
By what terms do you measure success or perfection? / when do you feel like you can say that your work is finished and ready to be experienced by others?
Perfection for me is a myth. There is no such thing as perfect.
I often find that there is a cut off point where you have to say “this is the best I can do, and I can’t do anymore than this.”
Perfection is also very relative to who you are, you have to work to know yourself and know what your output is and what you can do.
“Perfection … is a myth. There is no such thing as perfect. I often find that there is a cut off point where you have to say ‘this is the best I can do, and I can’t do anymore than this’.”
~ Kathryn Lawrence