Kate Moross at TYPO Berlin 2013 © G. Kassner
Kate Moross presents: The punk rock guide to business! What does the punk approach to work entail? Being good at bullshitting. Or to put it in a less in-your-face way – being adept at the art of improvisation.
Kate Moross is known for her illustration, design and art direction, but this talk focussed on the things she’s not so well-known for – video, photography, record label ownership, and all the other stuff she made up as she went along.
The process of discovery has been part of Kate Moross’ life and work, from childhood and onwards, into her professional life. She taught herself to code so she could sex up her Myspace page (Myspace, lol); she learned how to attach a camera to a microscope and film sugar, window cleaner and food dye to make a dreamy, kaleidoscopic music video; she became a “music visuals person” so she could go on tour with her favourite band; she discovered that to film an ice-cream you make one from mashed potato. Her career has been an exercise in bullshitting – in finagling and fudging; in not being afraid to venture into new territory, to learn as you go, to take a nutso brief and say “sure I can do that”.
The theme of Kate’s talk – “there is no wall” – was all about removing the mental limitations you place upon yourself as a creative. Most of us, when we talk about our work, define ourselves by the media we are comfortable in – as a photographer, or an illustrator, or a web designer, or a typographer. But really, as a designers, we are problem solvers. Our work always involves a set of constraints, and it’s our job to find solutions to those constraints and problems. We often come to a wall when we work – “I’m not a letterer, I can’t hand-draw this logo” – and the easiest thing to do is to stop and walk away from it. But Kate Moross doesn’t accept that – the wall is really only ever in your mind, and our minds are amazing, adaptive things.
So don’t be afraid to experiment, learn, hack, improvise, and maybe sometimes fail. Be comfortable, but not too comfortable. Challenging yourself keeps the creativity alive.
Kate is still learning, every day. It’s a well-worn phrase, but it’s true – you can be whatever you want to be.