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The Great Discontent
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Own your discontent. Interviews with today's artists, makers & risk-takers via print & online mag, live event series & podcast.
Own your discontent. Interviews with today's artists, makers & risk-takers via print & online mag, live event series & podcast.

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Deepa Subramaniam was born and raised at a cultural crossroads—in California's Bay Area and in southern India. As a result, she's learned how to successfully shape-shift between distinctly different worlds; a skill that has made her a better thinker, collaborator, and problem solver. From tiny, disruptive non-profits, to large, high-functioning corporations and startups, and even the Hillary for America campaign, the NY-based digital product director had seemingly done it all before making the move to working for herself. She spoke with us recently about what led to that decision, and how her broad range of experiences has only made her hungry for even bigger conversations and greater impact. (Photo by Ryan Essmaker) #interview #digital #newyork
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Allan Yu has felt creatively and aesthetically driven his entire life. But it wasn't until he had gone well down the path of predictability—an education and early career in accounting—that he found the courage to finally break away from the identity his parents, and culture, had prescribed. With a client portfolio that includes the likes of Google and The Line, the Brooklyn-based designer has also observed a daily sketch practice over the past two years in order to confront his fears and to continue pushing himself in new, riskier directions. We caught up with him recently to talk about how failure initially fed that daily practice, Mars Maiers; about straddling the line between stability and predictability as a freelancer; and why self-forgiveness and coming to terms with his identity are two of the hardest things he’s had to tackle as a creative. (Photo by Ryan Essmaker) #interview #design #brooklyn
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Shawna X was born and raised at a cultural crossroads; her Chinese heritage on the one side, and a newly-formed Asian American identity on the other. When she moved to the US from China at the age of 7, she quickly realized that language was a barrier to connecting with other kids. So she learned to cultivate a different, more universal kind of language—drawing. Here, the Brooklyn-based artist/designer reflects on rejecting her family's expectations for her future, and how she eventually reconnected with her roots through art. Touching on ethnicity, sexuality, tokenism, and cultural pride, Shawna gives us a glimpse into the backstory that's informed her iconic illustrations and paintings. (Photo by Collin Hughes) #interview #design #brooklyn
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Adam J. Kurtz has been making, commodifying, and promoting what he makes since he was just a teenager using the internet to connect and share with community. Here, the Brooklyn-based artist and author reflects on his self-made creative path and process; from setting up shop at church-basement emo shows in the Baltimore suburbs, to the novelty t-shirt that saved him during a period of unemployment, writing his first book of essays, and the accidental mantra that's made all the difference in his outlook. (Photo by Felipe Duque) #interview #design #brooklyn
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Angel Olsen's music defies any single genre. Since her 2010 EP, the Asheville-based musician/songwriter has released multiple albums, including 2016's acclaimed My Woman, and her most recent, Phases; each with its own distinct vision and sound. Here, Angel reflects on her past year of extensive touring and recording, the inherent politics of making music, the person vs. the performer, and what one stands to learn through the process of looking back (Photo by Elizabeth Weinberg) #interview #music #asheville
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Jessica Bellamy works with creatives at the local and national level to promote conscious and responsible design practices for social change through traveling workshops and motion graphics. Here, the Louisville-based designer discusses her mother’s early influence on her creative drive, the powerful effects of collaboration, and how she’s inspiring designers to join forces with their local communities through GRIDS, the Grassroots Informational Design Studio she founded in 2015. (Photo by Angelina Castillo) #interview #design #louisville
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As the child of designers behind one of Spain's most well-known fashion brands in the '80s, Paloma Lanna spent much of her youth traveling the world with her parents—learning the ins and outs of the industry by closely watching them work. Here, the Barcelona-based photographer and designer talks to us about both the rewards and challenges of growing up in the family business, what she learned by working alongside her mother before starting Paloma Wool, and why experimentation and collaboration with other artists has been critical to keeping the vision for this totally unique fashion project alive. (Photo by Carlota Guerrero) #interview #photography #fashion #barcelona
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Gary Taxali's body of work has influenced many artists and illustrators over the years, and the imprint of his distinctive aesthetic has touched everything from children's books and toys, to album covers, men's fashion accessories, and even 25¢ coins for the Royal Canadian Mint. Here, he recalls childhood days spent in Toronto's Little India, and the impact both Bollywood "bad guys" and Hindustani classical have had on his work; why he's always felt like he was born in the wrong era; and how he's channelled his lifelong love of the classics into a successful, decades-long career as an artist, illustrator, and educator. (Photo by Gemma Warren) #interview #artist #illustrator #toronto
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Laura Letinsky grew up in Winnipeg, where she had the freedom to experiment artistically without any concern over who was watching or judging her. Having since made her life in the US, she continues to push societal norms and expectations though the artwork she makes. From her studio in Chicago, she spoke to us about the roles that tenuousness and imperfection play in her process, why it's important for her to provoke and unsettle by way of the photographic still life, and how there's really no such thing as 'balance' in her life as an artist, professor, and parent. (Photo by Lyndon French) #interview #photography #artist #chicago
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Gail Bichler's tenure at the New York Times has seen her through a number of roles; from designer, to art director, to her current post as the Design Director of the New York Times Magazine. Here, she reflects on the creative path that led her there, including her early beginnings in fine art, and choosing what she loved to do, even if that was a job. She shares why working in a team is far more satisfying to her than working as a team of one, and the importance of taking risks in concept and form, even if they sometimes don't work out. (Photo by Julia Robbs) #interview #NYTmag #magazine #design
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