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Mandy Damirali is a young, enthusiastic creative director, founder of “The Design” studio that specializes in corporate identity, logo, print graphics, web design and creative illustration projects. She shares her inspirations and views on design with us!
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Hello Mandy! Tell us what urged you to get involved with graphic design?

Hello EyeCandies people!
Painting is my passion. As a child, I had always wanted to evolve as a painter and was amazed at observing the works of art seen on books and exhibitions. Nonetheless, I had to consider finding myself an occupation in order to make a living, thus I took up painting as a hobby whereas I decided to combine my love for painting and creativity with design. That was the idea and so I got involve with it.

What in your opinion are the key factors to successful visual communication, especially when it comes to logo design, corporate design etc?

In two words I'd say targeted communication. To observe and comprehend the customer's needs and the different challenges of each project undertaken.

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Concerning your personal projects, what fuels your inspiration? In what kind of themes are you mainly interested in?

Inspiration stems from everyday life, from art and sometimes from very simple things in life. It may vary from the pictures of a great artist, a play, a music performance, to a lonely walk in the city.
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Your most recent accomplishment was? (awards, distinctions, exhibitions etc)

I was recently pleasantly surprised with the choice of "Newwebpick", a World wide e-magazine, to pick up one of my artworks as a cover for the special issue "Connection: Made in Greece-II", among the demonstration of other designer colleagues.

(This issue was a collaboration with Greek Graphic Designers Association in an effort to promote the Greek Visual Communication abroad).

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What was your latest most exciting project and why?

I really can't say but the most creative projects are the most exciting ones for me. A simple project can also be very exciting when it is done for a favorite place that you are going regularly not to mention working for an artist you admire...Happiness lies in the process…
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Would you share your top 5 inspiration links? (blogs, mags, other artists portfolios etc)

Too bad that most of the artists I admire don't have a website or a link..

Blogs, portfolios: 

1}  http://www.behance.net/  
2}  http://www.flickr.com/
3}  http://www.dripbook.com/
4}  http://www.zeroin.gr/
5}  http://www.yatzer.com/

Art & graphic design:

1} illustrator -  > http://www.jordilabanda.com/
2} design > http://www.artlebedev.com/
3} graphic design > http://www.arsthanea.com/
4} illustrator > http://www.colwynart.com/
5} artist - street art > http://www.vasmou.com/main.html

You can also find most of those links on my facebook page 

I share anything that interests me with people that love good design.


What else do you love to do apart from designing? Share your hobbies.

Snowboard, skating, yoga, excursions and nights out with friends, having a good time, dancing all night long :)

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How do you see yourself in 10 years from now and are there any future plans you'd care to share with us?

I tend to be on the move discovering more new things and ideas. I'd like to keep up this pace as there is always good room for new experience and improvement, both in professional and private fields. And yes, I'd love to be able to combine success at work with family life ... in about 10years is a good time :P (joking) ... I think that's a challenge for every woman.

Thank you for your hospitality Aphrodite. Wishing you all the best in your achievements!


LINKS: […]

http://www.thedesign.gr
http://www.myspace.com/designair
Facebook Page
Skype > mandydamirali
 
 
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Jean is the talented designer behind “3squares” where you can find elegant & minimal jewelry designs inspired by her passion for cooking. So, if you browse through her gallery you’ll find pieces entitled “Fettucine Puttanesca”, “Banana Foster”, “Pancakes”, “Triple Donuts” and many more amusing and original names. Today she lets us in her creative life, views and inspirations.
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Hello Jean, what triggered your passion for jewelry design and what does “3Squares”, the name of your brand mean?

I’ve been creating ever since I can remember, but had a hard time finding the best medium for me. I tried painting, sewing, ceramics… but when I held a sheet of metal and a jeweler’s saw in my hands, it just felt right.

The name 3squares comes from my culinary obsessions. I have a busy husband and a 13-year old daughter who I am always encouraging (nagging) to eat better. I love to cook, but with our crazy schedules we often just have to fend for ourselves.  Our goal is to get in 3 square meals each day. And dessert occasionally, of course. 
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What are your favorite materials and techniques when you assemble your pieces?

I’m a freak for metal, especially sterling silver. I’m attracted to clean architectural lines, and metal allows me to create interesting pieces without adding a lot of frilly details. I like to play with different shapes and finishes while incorporating accents such as hardware and leather to inject a little attitude into my work.

I create jewelry using only cold connections such as rivets, bolts, wire and screws. No solder here! It’s challenging to think through the engineering required to make everything fit together.
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Where do you find inspiration in order to start creating?

I have a collection of more than 100 cookbooks, and I read them like novels. Really, at least a couple are sitting on my nightstand as we speak. A recipe or ingredient can spark an idea for a shape, color or texture. I generally sketch out my thoughts, and those often mutate into other ideas until I have pages (or envelopes or napkins) full of variations on a theme.

Can you share your top 3 favorite jewelry designers?

Well it changes daily, maybe more often than that. Today I will say Thomas Mann, Susan Lenart Kazmer and every member of the Jewelry on Etsy team.

How would you describe your selling experience in Etsy and what are your opinions concerning online promotion and advertising?

I learned quickly that the “build it and they will come” approach just doesn’t work. When I first opened my shop, I was a little nervous about approaching other sellers for advice and bloggers for feature requests. But once I reached out, I found a huge global community of generous artists more than willing to share lessons learned, give advice, and spread the word about my work.
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What was the last art / craft exhibition you visited and what were your impressions?

Not exactly an exhibition, but I visited the Robie House in Chicago recently. It was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1908, and it is simply a masterpiece. The level of detail is incredible, and Wright designed everything – the lights, furniture, gardens. Fantastic!
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How do you see yourself in 5 years from now as a crafter?

I try different techniques all the time, so I see my line continuing to grow in all sorts of new directions. I’m so lucky to do this every day, it’s so rare to really love your job. At this point I can’t imagine doing anything else.


LINKS: […]
http://www.etsy.com/shop/3squares
http://twitter.com/3squares
facebook

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Alexandros Cokkas
is a very creative and active person with an inspiring taste in both design and music. He shares his passions with EyeCandies and I’m sure you’ll love his cutting edge and fresh visuals.


Welcome to EyeCandies! What drives your passion for design?

Life and everything around me drives my passion for design, even if that is a simple thing or a single little fragile detail. In general, life as a theme, either within the text of socialization or breathing and nature is that makes me be so passionate. Either way, life has so many themes that it’s difficult not to be able to "play" and exploit them.
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What inspires you?

Life is also the main issue that inspires me. Whenever i run out of new ideas i prefer to go for a long walk to the super market, watch how people move and react within a certain area, their looks when they meet each other and the change of their attitude when they leave the place. Furthermore, there are times that when I am really mentally tired, I tend to take a walk to the shore, listen to the sounds that sea creates, the voices of the sea-eagles and the children's rhythm when they are playing. That long walk helps me clear my thoughts and be able to proceed my work.

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What elements should a striking visual include? What is important in good design in general?

In my opinion, for a pattern to be proper it must include the 3 basic shapes (circle, rectangle and triangle) even in a more abstract way. Nevertheless, the absence of any of these 3 does not necessarily mean that the figure cannot be good and here comes the role of color which I believe can eventually cover up this missing part. I do admire the way someone can create an image (an illustration or even a photograph) where, knowing the previous, he can achieve breaking the consuetudes laws.

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What was the most fascinating project of yours during the last years and why?

Ηousehold photography is my favorite project because there is a fascination when you capture your friends in simple and spontaneous frames, when they are not even aware that they are being photographed. The reason the public appreciated this album what that anybody can have this kind of pictures in their private photo collection. Simple photos, some off focused and maybe with their theme off frame but still they flood our souls with emotions and leave people wonder about what might have happened before and after a single frame.

Furthermore, the design of a t-shirt for the Amnesty International where after competition two designs were picked from the students of Middlesex University of London (AKTO) in Greece. That was a really interesting project that made me much more experienced and aware of people who are active in this field.
You’re also into music production. Do share!

I love music as it is a huge inspiration and makes me feel various and so strong emotions that cannot be exactly explained in words. This is the reason that made me start composing music as I wanted to give voice to these emotions that blossom in my soul. I try not to bring boundaries in my style of composition as i can create music in various music themes such us dub, reggae, trip hop, hip hop or even progressive and drum n' bass. Each one of my music compositions is unique and broadcasts the psychological condition I was at that time and that is why all of my compositions are free for downloading.

What was the last concert you attended?

Unfortunately I have not attended many concerts the recent years. The fact that people pay about 25-30 euros for an artist but cannot actually listen to him because of drug abuse and alcohol is the reason I do not longer attend concerts. Whenever I attend one, I try to observe the artist, listen deep to his configuration, otherwise I feel like going to a painting exhibition having my eyes folded.
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How is your average day and what are you hobbies (other than design & music)?

My average days are no different from other designers days. I wake up, turn on my computer, get some music playing and start working. What is good about freelance is that I have the ability to work any time of the day but unfortunately that is a restriction concerning my spear time and having other hobbies as well. The good thing is that I have achieved to transform my hobbies into work and so, I am generally satisfied with this.

Can you give us a sneak peak of your future plans?

Α
t this time, a new Typeface is under construction called "hexafont" but ... Army is calling...! Ι think I’ll go and get done with it. After army I am thinking about getting my university degree in Building Renovation and Rehabilitation and afterwards keep up with motion graphics. Moreover I am thinking of moving in Athens for about five years at least and then move back to periphery and built my own personal studio. I am also thinking about leaving big cities, the noise and all that irritating stuff ... In between, I am planning to get married and have three children ha-ha

LINKS: […]
www.myspace.com/al.cokka
www.youtube.com/alcokka
www.vimeo.com/alcokka
www.facebook.com/al.cokka
www.reverbnation.com/alcokka

EMAIL: al.cokka@yahoo.gr
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Thodoris Markou, photo by Th. Chliapas
Thodoris Markou is a young & talented creative with a true passion for photography and especially portraits & conceptual projects. He may started his artistic pursuits accidentally as he mentions, but his work so far proves that he was probably destined to capture beauty through photographic lens! I’m sure you’ll love reading his interesting views as much as I did!

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Hey Thodori, welcome to EyeCandies. Tell us what fuels your passion for photography and how did it all start?

My entanglement with photography was accidental – when I was doing my army service, back in 2006, I had a lot of spare time so I toyed with a film camera I had acquired a while back. Soon, I was captivated by the photographic creation process, and photography became the most important part of my life. As for my passion, this is simple – when I make a good photograph, I experience fulfillment – you could say I am a photography junkie. Therefore, I am in constant pursuit of my next dose.

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Most of your photo projects are conceptual and I distinguish a preference towards black and white shots. How do you communicate your ideas visually? Give us a brief description of a particular project of your choice.

I would not say that most of my projects are conceptual. I consider myself a portrait photographer and only recently I started visualizing conceptual projects and begun working on them. On such a project (and on standalone portraits, indeed), my aim is to communicate feelings to the viewer. I have a soft spot for paranoia, melancholy and loneliness and naturally I try to express these feelings through my photos. Take Quiet House, for example – it’s a huge empty building up in a mountain near Athens that, upon sight, fills you with awe. I wanted to record its emptiness to the fullest, so I created the kind of characters which would express the feelings of being lost, of being alone, of the complete silence that characterizes such a setting.
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Have you experimented with Polaroid or older cameras and if yes, what do you think makes the difference in comparison to new media?

After that first brief encounter with analog photography that started it all, I moved to digital. It was a choice based on the cost-effectiveness of the digital media, and obviously I thought that being able to see a photo immediately after I made it, was a godsend. However, I soon became disillusioned with the process – I realized I was spending more time in front of a computer screen than behind the camera. So, in 2008, I started migrating to analog, by acquiring a very old (and very cheap) medium format camera – it was a german Twin Lens Reflex camera dating back to 1958. This old beast yielded some magnificent photos and I was instantly hooked. Film changed my way of thinking – now I’m 99% analog. I keep digital around for specific uses (mostly concert photography and other kinds of photo-reportage) but my heart is not up to it – I only feel joy when I use film. You ask me about the difference? Film makes you think more – you don’t have instantaneous feedback, so you put more thought into a photograph before you take it. Film has soul, it has personality – it is made up from chemicals, it has grain, it has imperfections – it is alive and you can feel it. Many people may not agree with my opinion but, hey, it is the medium that allows me to express myself.
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How do you choose your models and sets for a photo shoot? Have you ever found yourself in a weird situation during a session?

There is not a specific process to it. I have a lot of concepts in my mind, and I constantly look out for faces that match with my ideas. If I see a face that I want to photograph, sooner or later I pop the question. As it is obvious from my photographs, almost all of these faces are female – I have a weakness, I confess. Most girls are shy but quite a lot have no problem with posing for me. I can’t remember a really weird situation – photoshoots are usually joyous – we laugh a lot and we enjoy ourselves. One recent funny incident I can remember was during a fashion-like photoshoot: the model was wearing a wedding gown and we went to a grocery store at Kolonaki – on our way there everybody was looking at us and one guy stood with his mouth open as we were passing by and said loudly “oh how pretty she is” – luckily the model didn’t hear it at the time, she would have turned red out of embarrassment.

Who are the photographers that inspire you and why?

You got me there. I am ashamed to say that I have not studied the history of photography as much as I would like to. I see a lot of photographs but I never give them the time they deserve. I like the classic documentary photographers, H.C. Bresson, Andre Kertesz, Robert Capa, Elliott Erwitt. However, I feel I am most influenced by portrait photographers like Francesca Woodman and Sally Mann. My latest discovery was Vivian Maier, nothing to do with portraits but a lot to do with photographic paranoia – this woman spent almost all of her life documenting the world around her with a Twin Lens Reflex camera, but she never showed any of her photographs to another human being – her work only became public when somebody bought her unexposed films – there were hundreds of them. This woman took photos and didn’t even bother to see the outcome – she was doing it for herself, for the joy she felt went she pressed the shutter… isn’t this photographic self-analysis a beautiful and mysterious thing?
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Do you have a very special photograph that you are emotionally attached to? What’s the story behind it?

I am emotionally attached to all of my photographs – each “good” photograph creates two moments of ecstasy, the one being when I press the shutter and think “I’ve got it” and the other when I see the result, days later, and I’m proven right. These twin moments of ecstasy are burned into my memory, and when I see the photographs later, I remember these moments and feel bliss. Obviously there are a lot of cases when I was proven wrong and I didn’t really get it – they are also remembered – you should love each failure as much as you love each success – you just needn’t feel happy about it.

What part of Athens inspires you and why?

I love the old neoclassical buildings of Athens – I love the way they were built, the way their space was arranged, their elegance and their style. Compared to modern buildings, they are inefficient and have a lot of imperfections – well, I think that their inefficiency gives them atmosphere – I am terribly bored of efficiency, it tends to be dull and devoid of life. I am obsessed with wooden floors, windows, dead corners, high ceilings. I don’t care much about the city itself – it is a great place to spend your night-time but a nightmare during day-time. I have to conclude that Athens, as a city, has never really inspired me.

Use a link to express your current mood (video, image, site, anything)
Thodori thank you for participating in the EyeCandies Blog. Would you like to add anything else?

It was a great experience answering all these questions – I thought it would be easy but it soon became a two-way interaction. While every person has a definite knowledge of his/her likes and wants, his/her feelings and thoughts, the process of putting everything in words for another person to read is quite a trial and develops into a psychological tidying-up. Thank you for this gift..!

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Olga and Anna, 2 talented fashion designers decided to join their powers and form “Akira Mushi” an alternative clothing brand that is mainly inspired by their need to create easy fitting, contemporary and playful garments  along with cool accessories. Today they share their point of view with EyeCandies:

Olga, Anna, welcome to EyeCandies! Please tell us what inspired your brand name“Akira Mushi” and on what basis has the collaboration between you two initially began?

Hello Aphrodite and thank you for this interview! Akira and Mushi are the names of our two dogs. We decided to use their names instead of our surnames, like most designer duos usually do. We liked the idea that our two dogs are designing clothes for humans! We first met at tell a story trade show whilst showing our separate collections: as “lost toys” and “blanket lo”.

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Talk to us about your latest collection 2009-2010. What are its strong points and what differs it from your previous designs.

The spring/ summer collection of 2010 is called : “sorry mushi I have no time for you”, referring to close modern relationships which have no time for each other due to this fully booked lifestyle.Akira Mushi clothes have a specific philosophy behind them which we like to maintain throughout the different collections. They have a minimalistic and versatile aspect.

What is your opinion concerning Greek young fashion designers? Do you think that we have a lot to show in this field and how has fashion evolved during the last years in Greece?

There is a lot of talent in this country, and through new  platforms such as blogs, markets and tradeshows  the first  promoting actions become  more possible.
What is your source of inspiration when it comes to designing a collection? Can you give us a brief description of the creative procedure?

We usually get inspired by the fabrics that we choose every season. The procedure consists of stacks of paper, pencils and loads of erasers!!!

If you were assigned to dress a celebrity using strictly Akira Mushi fashion wear, who would you choose and why?

Akira and mushi would like to dress Chloe Sevigny because her style fits the brands philosophy.

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Favorite fabrics / colors? Does Akira Mushi have a particular palette? Furthermore, are you trying to communicate a message through your clothes?


Akira and mushi’s favourite colours are the basics: black- white- grey, and all earth colours in mostly eco friendly fabrics.

The message is the clothes themselves, which provide simplicity and an easy fit.



What are your top 5 sites where you often seek inspiration?

www.akiramushi.com
www.akiramushi.com
www.akiramushi.com
www.akiramushi.com
www.akiramushi.com

How do you see Akira Mushi evolving in the future? Where would you like to be 10 years from now?

In Bali drinking cocktails and designing the new collection by the sea side.

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Last but not least, give us a sneak peak of your plans? What should we look forward to?

Our plans are many…many….many!!!

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