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spotlight on designer Yana Sakellion, by Ellen

October 19, 2010

The first time I went to designer and artist Yana Sakellion’s website, I was blown away by her work and its stunning originality. Her videos are still haunting the pathways of my brain. Yana doesn’t draw a distinction between her design practice and her fine art and in a recent interview explained that she feels the two areas are “thinking in different modes about the same set of questions. Ideally, you would be solving the same problems.” Part of that perspective comes from her graduate education at the Rhode Island School of Design, which valued interdisciplinary exchange. Personally, I see a cleanness and clear focus that cuts across both her design portfolio and her astonishing visual and interactive art. There’s a distillation that occurs, so that several months after seeing The Dress, I still see a lone kitten referenced in the video.

But being a creative mastermind doesn’t always mean that you’re easy to work with. Yana excels in this area as well. She gently coaxed me to thoroughly think through what image we were going for with Kitchen of Innovation. In our initial meetings, she encouraged me to freely associate words and share ideas even if they seemed silly. When we didn’t have answers or hadn’t thought about a certain option, Yana would gently make suggestions, creating connective tissue from what we did have. And then she didn’t rest until the postcards were in hand. When there was an issue with the online print service we were using, Yana logged in, argued with the support people on our behalf, and then sent me a screen shot of their chat so I could know exactly what had been discussed in case I needed to reference it! (Did I mention that she agreed to donate her services to Kitchen of Innovation?!) Maybe all graphic designers are this wonderful and client-supporting, but I don’t really think so…. So check out the site of this amazing local artist; we are lucky to have her!

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