MEET: Kiwani Dolean
Meet Kiwani. She is, quite simply, extraordinary. And so are her illustrations. By day she’s a designer for Screen Time Labs and by night she’s an illustrator, creating ‘dreamy’ pieces of work. You may also know her as the designer of the Bristol Pound. She’s also an Italian who doesn’t like coffee but we won’t talk about that.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m a designer and illustrator. Mainly digital design, so I’m working on UI (User Interface) and UX (User Experience) design, web design and graphic design as well. And then I do illustrations.
I’m from Italy. Before I came to Bristol, I was working in London for 3 years in a few tech startups as a designer. I moved to Bristol last year, I love it here. It's amazing.
It's always been my passion since I was in high school, I always liked to draw and I started a little blog... it was at the beginning of the Internet (haha) and I wanted to make it pretty so I started to design it and realised that I loved it. Then I studied design as well and the rest is history.
What do you do in your free time?
Ok so lots of illustrations. It's a big one because I don’t do it in my day job so I do it as much as possible in my spare time. And in general art and photography. I also like going to the cinema, I’m a big indie film fan. I really love live music so I go to a lot of gigs as well.
What kind of work are you doing right now?
I work for a company called Screen Time Labs and we have this app that helps parents manage the time that their children spend on their devices, like smartphones and tablets. I’m the Lead Designer at the company and I work on the app and the website.
What does it mean to be creative?
I think that creativity is everywhere. Just seeing and hearing things and being inspired by them, and then creating something new or something inspired by something else... So I would say it’s a constant thing. It’s very dynamic in this sense. It's always there. You can create everything... even when you cook you’re being creative.
Is there something you know you do differently than most people?
I’m an Italian but I don’t drink coffee, I just drink green tea!
Who is the most influential person in your life?
I’d say my mum. Maybe it’s a basic answer, but she's influential in the sense that she always let me choose and do what I wanted to do and let me fill two shoes. She's always allowed me the space to be creative.
What motivates your work?
In my daily job, working on this app that my company does is amazing because it’s an app for parents and I would say it helps shape how children use technology. It’s very motivating in the sense that I know that I’m actually making a difference in people’s lives, especially the next generation.
What influences your illustrations?
A mix of what I see in life, films, music, Pinterest, and Instagram.
What challenges do you find trying to market for yourself and your illustrations?
Big challenges because I don’t actually do any marketing. I find it very easy to create but I find it harder to move past the creation.
Do you find it easy to make creative contacts?
Yes and no. Sometimes I feel a bit shy but I do go to creative events and it’s really cool to meet creative people and artists (but I should do it more).
How do you want people to perceive you and your work?
I’d like them to see my illustration style which is a bit dreamy, possibly indie, not mainstream and a bit unique.
Where do you want your career to go?
I love both design and illustration. I’d like to do more illustration but at the same time I don’t want to do illustration as a fulltime job and end up doing work that I don’t really want to be doing. That's why I love doing design in my daily job and then illustration in my spare time, because I’m doing what I want to do. So, if I was able to do more illustration and still be able to do what I want to do that would be amazing.
Does your work convey a specific emotion or message?
In terms of design yes, it's all about user experience in the app so it's about making it as easy as possible for parents and children to use it and to make their lives better. And the illustrations, it's more like a happy feeling that people get when they see them. I do have several messages in my illustrations, for example I like them to be gender neutral and diversity as well is important to me.
Happiest moment of your career?
This year I participated in the Bristol Pound Design contest and my illustration was chosen so that was a happy moment.
One thing that you personally think would really improve your career?
I think putting myself out there or having someone do it for me *laughs*. Just taking that step further and not stopping after a creation.
When you’re feeling down what’s your best way up?
Illustrating is a really great creative outlet. It helps a lot in terms of feeling better! Also listening to music, just chilling in general, and exploring my feelings through illustrations.
Favourite piece of art?
I really love films. Wes Anderson would probably be my favourite director, his films and aesthetic inspired me a lot.