Questions with Creatives:
Who are you and what do you do?
Ridhwaan: photographer, graphic designer, object and food stylist. I like to consider myself a multidisciplinary creative, the quintessential Millennial 'slashy'. When I'm not tinkering away on creative projects, you can generally find me cooking, baking, eating, and sun baking.
How did you get into what you do?
My original plan was to study Chemical Engineering at university, and then halfway through my final year of school something just clicked. Despite being deep in the textbooks I decided that I wanted to pursue a career in a creative field. I had always enjoyed drawing and painting on the side, often spending lunch breaks in front of the computer screen or at my art class canvas. I think more than anything, I realised that despite being capable of pursuing a career in science, the joy I would experience in a more expressive career would be more rewarding.
After completing a degree in Creative Advertising and Graphic design, I worked for a short time in a small studio and was also lucky enough to have a design teaching position at Curtin University. At some stage in all of that I found myself seeking some independence and I branched into freelance design work. Thankfully the clients kept coming and I haven't looked back since.
My journey in many ways has not been entirely intentional. I started off doing branding and packaging work, then started taking photos of and for my projects, that then led me into a love for directing the style and feel for these projects. Each time an opportunity presented, I took on the challenge. I just had this crazy fire to learn and use these new skills and that has guided me in my journey.
At the moment I am working on transitioning my work away from commercial projects and more into an art practice. There is no timeline for this journey but my goal is to take my practice into more of a commission orientated direction.
What do you do to keep yourself motivated and interested in your work?
Innately, I feel like I just have this 'desire to create'. I often dream up future projects, in the middle of the night. I would say that is fed by a curiosity of the world around me, often the nature of people more than actual nature itself. I love that there is so much richness in the stories and experiences of our fellow humans and I love using these to add personality and flair to the projects I work on.
Lately, I have loved being inspired by film and television. These mediums are so saturated in style and visual techniques it sends my mind into overdrive. I find myself analysing the nuances of the set design, or the lighting, or the way the camera is positioned and moving. What strikes me or challenges me I try and feed into my own work.
For me - a striking creative solution is always the goal and the medium or way there is malleable. Sometimes it can be an inspired approach from reference material or sometimes it means experimenting. If I need to learn how to draw attention to the feature of an object, I might reference a lighting technique or I might just play with some fabric and the light available on the day. I really enjoy the challenges of collaborating with a client to find solutions that are considered and intentional for them.
Motivation is sometimes tricky I have to admit. Some days are better than others. Having different projects to juggle helps because if I am not motivated by one project or by sitting in front of the screen I can always switch the project or task. Sometimes a quick trip to the shop to source props is all I need to have a good reset.
What are your words of wisdom for someone starting out in your field?
I'll keep this super simple:
Always be curious and use that to constantly grow and learn.
Don't let anyone tell you can't or shouldn't do something. If your conviction is there, make it happen.
Be caring, considerate and respectful of your colleagues as well your own profession. If you don't conduct yourself in a way that is responsible to your own profession, you hurt yourself and your fellow creatives in the same process.
Take every opportunity that comes your way and use that to guide your journey through your field/s.
What has your experience been moving to Goolugatup Heathcote?
It has been such a wonderful space to grow into. I can't think of a better way to power through work at a desk than being in a gorgeous heritage building and native parkland.
Most importantly the community at Goolugatup Heathcote has just been sensational. The sheer amount of creative craftsmanship on site is inspiring. There is so much potential for cross-pollination of ideas and techniques and I am looking forward to observing, learning and collaborating with the lovely creatives that surround me.
I also love being associated with a site that acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land. This is something I feel very passionate about and it is so wonderful that the site and buildings have all been given Indigenous names.
Portraits of Ridhwaan by Flossy Photo