This weeks feature is with our very own, Imogen ! Imogen is a creative, currently enjoying her first industry job as a Content Manager. Born and bred in Glasgow, Scotland - the friendliest place in the UK or at least she thinks so! She is a 2021 graduate in Film and Media and a self-proclaimed illustrator. She is passionate about feminism, mental health advocacy and human rights!
Give us your best joke! 😜
Ohh a toughy, I’m not usually one for jokes and just mask everything with intense sarcasm but ‘What was Vincent Van Gogh’s favourite Wham! Song? - Wake me up before you gogh-gogh’ ba dum tss. Well, I definitely won’t be moving to stand up anytime soon…
So you started an Instagram account for your art in 2020, and an Etsy shop followed shortly after - is this something that you wanted to start for a while?
During University, art was something I majorly put on the backburner. I was struggling quite badly with my mental health and the pandemic gave me the time to be introspective. I chose art because it always was an escape for me as a child. I received encouragement which in turn led to me starting my Etsy - it was the push I needed.
You mostly create art to empower and motivate your audience; does creating also help with your own mental health? Do you use it as an escape?
I wanted to involve my passion for empowering (women specifically) and motivating people in my art as it’s something I know helps people majorly - myself included. I have struggled with anxiety and depression since I was in my early teens so it’s something I’ve learned to process. By using art, it helps me to express my emotions; positive and negative. I find it’s a worthwhile escape as even at the end I have created something tangible that hopefully helps other people experiencing similar things.
By using art, it helps me to express my emotions; positive and negative.
The Void - Mixed Media
What's your favourite medium to create in? 🎨
Hmm, I’d say traditionally it would be painting or using charcoals because of the freedom of motion it allows me! But since my ipad came into my life it is so easy to pick it up and start creating something from the comfort of my sofa with netflix on in the background so maybe digitally.
How does it feel to see your work on display in someone’s home?
It feels really surreal, to think that even people from different countries have gifted my art to their loved ones is a big compliment and means a lot to me that my art is being used to bring people joy. That’s all I could really ask for.
It means a lot to me that my art is being used to bring people joy. That’s all I could really ask for.
Using social media for your job and to promote your own business, do you believe in the importance of a ‘digital detox’ to prevent burnout?
Definitely! Especially since I researched social media for my Film & media dissertation - there are so many negative effects caused by social media. One main drawback for me is imposter syndrome and constantly comparing myself to others successes and putting myself down for not achieving ‘as much’. At the end of the day everyone is on a different path and has a different starting line - life isn’t a race. Everyone makes progress and grows at different rates, I believe as long as you support other creatives and you stay true to your passions you’ll end up in the right place.
At the end of the day everyone is on a different path and has a different starting line - life isn’t a race.
How has your business evolved since starting back in 2020?
I recently started a creative job after working in a retail job I didn't like. I now feel I have the energy to spend time developing my own projects. So I have just announced my transition from Etsy to my very own website: hijadesign.co.uk - I’ve been wanting to make the leap for a few months as Etsy didn’t allow me enough creative freedom and it’s more corporate than I’d like. I have been learning some coding in my spare time so I put it to use! I’m really happy with how it looks and I feel it represents me.
I recently started a creative job after working in a retail job I didn't like. I now feel I have the energy to spend time developing my own projects.
How do you see the business evolving in the next 2 years? Do you have any big plans? 👀
I definitely want to venture into creating more products than just prints and greeting cards - I would love to expand my inventory to include tote bags, journals or wellness diaries, something that coincides with my aim to reduce the stigma around self care and looking after your mind. It’s something that needs a lot of time and thought put into it as I am a bit of a perfectionist. However, I am looking into making some connections to get my prints into some local shops in Glasgow.
Jo and Laurie (Little Women)
What advice would you give to creatives who spend too much time worrying about how to fit in rather than embracing their style and standing out?
Well, I still don’t think I have settled on a style. I think an important thing to remember is, some people may develop their style over years. Creatives are constantly evolving and ever changing. I don’t think there’s anything negative about not having a set style that everyone recognises you for. I think the biggest take away is that there is no method or time frame for finding your personal style - Just do what you want to do and if nobody else gets it then f**k it.
I think the biggest take away is that there is no method or time frame for finding your personal style - Just do what you want to do and if nobody else gets it then f**k it.
Self Care Study
What are your top 3 films? 🍿
You’re asking a film grad this? oof, well currently it’s:
- Ladybird directed by Greta Gerwig (it’s been a fav for a while)
- 20th Century Women directed by Mike Mills, I promise I don’t only love A24 films :)
- Fresh directed by Mimi Cave - if you have Disney+ then definitely watch it!! It’s a mix between a thriller/comedy/female empowering movie.
Lastly, Who are your top 3 she/they crushes?
- Adwoa Aboah - a model, activist and founder of the podcast ‘Gurls Talk’
- Florence Given - raging feminist, author of ‘Women Don’t Owe You Pretty’ and bi icon - if you haven’t read her book yet you should
- Dua Lipa - a role model, she always speaks her mind and she makes absolute tunes, what more could you want!
Thank you, Imogen, for sharing your story with us all and for sharing such positive and inspiring artworks -- I, and I'm sure many others, feel very inspired by your illustrations, so keep up the great work !🤩