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Life and Work with Juliana Johnson

Today we’d like to introduce you to Juliana Johnson.

Juliana, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I grew up drawing and painting, taking extracurricular art classes in elementary school, attending an arts-focused high school, and then was accepted to ArtCenter College of Design, graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design. I worked on Apple campaigns in an advertising agency for two years after graduating before taking the leap to freelance, and haven’t looked back since.

Has it been a smooth road?
‘Smooth’ is not a word I would use, and I can’t think of a single friend or colleague that would either. Our culture trains us to expect black and white solutions and choices; a clear beginning, middle, and end – and the truth is, the creative process (and life) are often not that simple. The nature of creativity is to bring forth something from nothing, and with that comes an element of unpredictability. This process is sometimes painful and nonlinear, but the most invaluable and rewarding moments also have to potential to be found in the unknown.

I find that freelance, in particular, has higher highs and lower lows – from feeling capable and fulfilled, having a more flexible schedule, getting to travel, and working on a variety of projects with talented folks, to wrestling with uncertainty and identity crises.

Some of the best advice I’ve gotten from a mentor in the early years of my career was: “all you have is your process.” To me, that means not only trusting the process but accepting the experience as the true teacher. Keep making.

Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I’m an art director & graphic designer freelancing in Los Angeles at the moment. I also take photos (sometimes as a purely creative outlet, sometimes for money) which have been featured in a few publications. I have a background in identity design but lately, have been gravitating towards spatial and experiential design. Together with Pearlyn Lii, I’m also co-leading an art collective in creating an interactive dance performance titled Displaced, which explores both the bounds and transcendence of human identity, aiming to launch in New York over the next year.

What advice would you give to someone at the start of her career?
Know your references. Travel – travel alone. Practice confidence. Ask to be paid a higher dollar amount than you may initially consider. And keep making stuff for yourself.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Young Blood Pop-Up Show Poster co-designed with Pearlyn Lii; Displaced is a collaboration between Pearlyn Lii (Creative Director), Juliana Johnson (Creative Director), Connie Bakshi (Creative Strategy Director), Maria Malmstrom (Lead Choreographer), Cameo Lethem (Lead Dancer), Anthony Stein (Production Artist), Jeff Park (Creative Technologist), and Joy Matashi (Hair + Makeup Stylist)

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