Shosha Kamal is a product designer and interior designer who’s got big dreams about the power of art and design. She walks us through how designers can consistently maintain their creativity and gives some essential tips about where to start if you really want to enter the wonderful world of design.

What do you do consistently for time management?

I’m horrible, horrible, at managing time! I don’t want to be a bad influence but to be successful you don’t have to do everything perfectly. It’s okay you might have some negative attributes and flaws but you can try to compensate for them. So, regarding time management, I’m horrible! I double book my meetings, I’m late for everything. I’m always in a rush! However, I try to do everything to make up for this. So, I follow detailed networks I use as many reminders as I can. I try as best as I can to work until I drop! So, I don’t manage my time. I use it fully, as much as I can and especially if you have the passion for the job. You would not mind working 24/7 because this is what you love.

I do however have consistent habits to keep my creativity going because creativity is not something that we own. It’s not something within you, it’s something that you get. It’s like a blessing from God and I have consistent habits to keep it going. Firstly, التأمل you need to keep observing everything around you. And you need to keep seeing the beauty of everything, there isn’t a thing that doesn’t have beauty. I can even go as exaggerated as saying trash has beauty, a thrown crumpled chips packet. The folds of it, it’s full of beauty it’s full of inspiration. So, I make sure to keep observing everything around me.

People always ask me “how do you get your ideas?”. It’s by observing everything, everything. If I’m peeling a pomegranate I keep observing the way the seeds are bundled together in a very consistent, perfect way. I keep observing color codes. I just keep observing everything around me from nature and outside of nature too. The pomegranate is of nature, while the trash isn’t.

The other thing to keep in mind is to read. Not to read in art and design, which is of course very important. But, reading in everything like philosophy, history, just reading in general. Because the more you read, the more you get different and better ideas. And there is a positive relationship between the level of culture and the quality of art that you can produce.

What is one resource you wish you knew about when you were starting out?

There is one resource that I personally think is really good. I found out about it pretty late but only since it came out recently. The amount of information about design in this resource is incredible! It’s a Netflix series called Abstract: The Art of Design. They have 6 big designers, in different fields. So, there is a product designer, there’s an interior designer, an architect, a set designer. They get the best of every field and everyone speaks about design, they take you through everything. It’s incredible! And the way they walk you through their design process I totally recommend it.

What’s the best career advice anyone has ever given you?

The best career advice… It’s not from someone I know but it’s a quote from the French painter Henri Matisse and he used to say that “creativity takes courage”. And that for me is just on the mark. Because the minute you start to be creative the minute people start rejecting you and your ideas. This was great advice because it prepared me for what was to come, what I would see. I need to be very very brave when I’m fighting for my ideas and creativity because really it’s a rule that people will start rejecting and fighting those new ideas. That was advice that I learned, and I am willing to keep fighting for my ideas as long as I’m working in the field of design and art.

What do you do to motivate yourself when you feel like giving up?

Of course, I definitely feel like giving up with every person that attacks my ideas. I feel very down, I sometimes feel like: “Well, why didn’t you pick something easier to work in? Why put yourself through this?”. But, the thing is, it’s fine. I don’t prevent myself from giving up. I leave myself the space to fall apart and give up. Then, a day later, I start remembering automatically why I got into design in the first place. I promised myself years ago that I would keep on spreading beauty and creating more beauty in the world as long as I live. That was why I started working in design. Then, later when I did that goal, a lot of things started happening that were a lot better than my previous goal.

I learned that I can really help the world, I can save the world with design. I started in lighting up Africa through good design, I began helping children suffering from cancer through design. These things make me feel like “No, I’m hooked here, forever”. So, every time you feel like giving up you have to remember the people you can help through your profession, through design. You start waking up again and getting what you require to go back on your feet and rekindle that passion.

What does it take to merge between your technical thinking side and the creative side?

No one can do everything on their own. You need to collaborate with the right people you need to get the right people on board.  No matter how great you are, you need good people on board. To balance between my creative and technical side, I partner and collaborate with people that have a stronger technical side than I might have.

The other thing is, my design process starts with complete creativity without constraints and without technical input. This is something I learned when I was studying in Italy. My professor used to tell me the beginning of the design is the creative side. If you input the constraints of the technicalities, the quality of your design and creativity will drop. So, you shouldn’t do that in the beginning. I just leave myself and give myself the complete freedom to be as creative as I can be. Later, I start to see how my creative work can become technical how it can be realized. That’s when I start collaborating with people that have the technical input that I might miss.

 

Photographer: Khaled Marzouk

MUA:  Randa Tawfik