Here is the third and final set of extracts from the interviews we conducted with Direction 16 speakers for Scroll Magazine. These are only snippets – to see the full answers, come to Direction 16, where all conference and workshop attendees get a free print edition (88 bound pages of articles and interviews with full colour photos and illustrations). Scroll will also be available for digital download post-conference.
Do you see yourself as more of an artist or a scientist?
Mark Pesce (Inventor, VRML):
I see myself as a problem-solver. Having an engineer’s education and temperament, I do occasionally get an eye to creating an artistic work, and then approach it with a bizarre mixture of pragmatism and intuition.
Caroline Sinders (Machine Learning Designer, Buzzfeed):
I guess I’m much more of a scientist now, but it’s really hard me to shake the fact that I started my career off in art, and I tend to approach everything as a photojournalist, as a photographer.
Pasquale D’Silva (Product Designer, Hype):
99% Artist, 1% other. Computers have always been a means to an end. The less I’m aware of the fact that I’m using technology, the deeper the flow state I can get into.
Jacob Bijani (Product Designer/Engineer, Tumblr):
Of the two, definitely more of a scientist. I did go to art school, but I’ve always enjoyed the technical side of making things more. I really enjoy seeing something I’ve built come together and take life.
Jenn Bane (Community Director, Cards agains Humanity):
Hmm… neither. I’m not an artist, I’m not a scientist. I do think of myself as a writer now. It’s part of my identity and my brain is wired for storytelling.
Jonathan Shariat (Product Designer):
You must be a scientist in your approach to understand problems, possible solutions, and your users’ needs. You also need to be an artist by putting a little of yourself into your work and making it pleasing to use.
Anna Pickard (Editorial Director, Slack):
Artist, I guess, if I have to pick between the two. But artist more in the sense of craftsperson – I write as if I’m putting something together with my hands, moulding it, hacking things off, adding things on, making whatever it is function the way I want it to function.
Matt Griffin (Film Maker & Designer):
I see myself as a craftsperson. Which has elements of both, I suppose. Art is largely for expression of the self, design is for solving problems.
Aubrey Blanche (Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion, Atlassian):
I definitely see myself as more of a scientist. I’m always joking that I’m a ‘recovering academic’, but anyone on my team can tell you it’s true.
Andy Clarke (Designer & Art Director):
For me, working on the web isn’t about problem solving, as it is for many people. My fascination is with how we can use the web as a creative medium to tell a story, communicate an idea or maybe sell a product. That’s something that the fine artist in me still loves to do for our clients.
Josh Clark (IxD, Big Medium):
It’d have to be science. I’m a systems guy. I like to figure out what makes things tick, what makes people tick. I’ve always been excited about studying and creating systems that help to empower and enable, to amplify what folks can do.
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