Being a student in a distance education capacity, sometimes I feel alone in the world of design. I very rarely have any interaction with real designers and creatives through my educational institution. There are some things you just cannot learn in books and online. My frustration with having little contact with the local design community in Sydney spurred my interest in going to Semi-Permanent, a two day conference showcasing creatives from around the world. Here is a quick summary of how Day One went down.

The speakers:

The brains of magazine Demo.
Supports the fusion of art and music at the Mart Gallery.
Quote: If you do nothing, nothing happens.
Self-less promotion – promote someone else
To be interesting, get interested.
Creativity = Power. These days knowledge is easy to obtain, so knowledge doesn’t hold as greater power as it used to. Creativity cannot be googled. creativity is more powerful as it is harder to come by.

Kelly Thompson
Illustration and photography: website.
I love how she demonstrated her passion for illustration and photography through giving us an understanding on her thoughts and process with each design. She talked about how she draws her illustrations on paper, scans them in, then finishes off the job in photoshop. She also mentioned that she always uses her photographs as a reference. I loved how she broke down her design process and made it sound so easy. I really feel I could employ this same process to my own works. I have learned from Kelly and other speakers that the best way to illustrate a design is to use traditional pencil and paper.

Corey Arnold
Have you seen this cat?
Fish Photographer: Website.
Corey explained the circumstances which lead to some of his curious and random photographs.

Annie Sperling
Production Designer
Her showreel says it all.
Annie spoke to us about set design. Work is a struggle between Time, Money and Creativity. Hopefully in most circumstances, creativity comes out on top.

Created the closing sequence for ‘Tomorrow when the war began’
Check out the Semi-Permanent opening sequence on their website. Very awesome.
Quotes: Ability should not dictate the execution.
Keep doing work for the soul
Bring more stylized work to Australia
We give credit to those we work with
Always Artisitic ability over Techical ability
Celebrate being proven wrong – always keep learning
Stand up for yourself
Undercutting the competition hurts the industry – it devalues the work
Best/most used program/application: a pencil and paper

Rej Mombassa
Icon / artist / musician: Website.
Created the $19 Note – to keep people thinking, has a whole ‘Australian Jesus’ series, like the image below.
Preferred mediums: Charcoal / Colored pencils (chalky)
Draws a lot of inspiration from impressionist painters such as Monet. Is a proud New Zealander. Made the audience laugh every two minutes almost consistently. Art is quite political and humorous.
Quote: Cant tell the truth without being a hypocrite
I don’t like going to the edge of the paper. It is disturbing. I try to avoid that.

After day one, my head hurts, I neglected to stay hydrated in favor of spending the maximum amount of time listening to the speakers. I got a free yo-yo and a chupa chup! I came out of it almost jumping out of my skin, wanting to go home and start illustrating and creating random designs that just come to my head. I went by myself, and met Mariana, a young design student about to start up at Shillington College. I have mixed feelings about Shillington. Their course is quick, expensive but does get you into the workforce sooner, and realistically, most learning is by doing. However, I don’t believe the course gives you a deep understanding of design as a whole which, in the end, will pay off in better design and in making the right choices for yourself. I’m happy chipping away at my 6 year distance education university course, which seems like a lot now, but will be nothing in a couple of years once done. I totally recommend distance education. If you can make it work, it shows initiative, self discipline, and a passion for design exceeding any other because it is all done on your own time.