This month’s art is by Houston, Texas designer Moni Yael Garwil." Moni is (much more than) a pusher of pixels. She is a creator of lines, lover of learning, health, and women's rights. Moni believes, “The beauty of creativity is that it can be found in all of us and requires very little from us. Just a spark of curiosity and some form of inspiration can lead to innovative thinking and reinvigorate our inner artist.”
For a little more about what inspired this artwork, her process, and her life, here's a short Q&A:
Where is home for you?
For nearly ten years now Houston, Texas has been my home. After university I moved over to this ever-expanding city and have seen the arts and culture sector blossom. It’s here that I developed my career, explored my aesthetic, met my amazing husband, and continue becoming my true self. And while Houston’s landscape may not be as bucolic or dynamic as other major cities in the U.S. (especially in terms of hiking), it still has so much to offer.
What is your definition of a successful life?
Like many people in our society I grew up equating success with fame and fortune. Honestly, I would be a fool not to welcome them. But beyond those materialistic notions I have come to realize that a successful life has more meaning. It’s about understanding who you are; finding your purpose. Having the opportunity to learn and grow every day as you work through your passion is priceless. Genuine fulfillment comes from using your skillset to positively contribute to humanity, big or small.
Describe your perfect day.
This is a bit of a loaded question for me. I truly am grateful for the life I’m able to live, but to be candid I struggle with anxiety, and self-loathing constantly, so “perfect days” are a bit hard to grasp. I constantly feel a push and pull that easily leads me to a downward spiral of negative thoughts and imposter syndrome, which in turn affects my whole day or even week. But thankfully, through the help of an established routine and my kind and supportive husband, I find myself moving forward. I have learned that days filled with a five-mile run, weight training, yoga and the outdoors elevate my endorphins, creativity, and overall productivity.
How did you get into design?
Before the ubiquity of the internet and social media, I was only exposed to traditional career paths in the small town I spent most of my childhood and teenage years. I didn’t see my artistic pursuits as a strength or viable path into adulthood. Uncertainty accompanied me with each grade level and it was frustrating because I was already looking to the future.
It wasn’t until high school, junior year during my second semester, that I came across a library book covering some creative careers. I was floored and still very thankful that my BCIS teacher assigned that career project. Even though I didn’t really grasp the medium of graphic design, it stood out and I decided to pursue it.
I had a path, but after my acceptance into The University of Texas at Austin there was still a bit of uncertainty. At the time, the freshman couldn’t declare Design as their major. I needed to apply as a Studio Arts major in the School of Fine Art and wait a year to apply to the Design Program. The uncertainty was daunting, but thankfully I was selected for the program, where I learned about design and all its manifestations.
Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration in movement, interactions, and self-reflection. Keeping my mind and heart open by stimulating it with exercise, plants, poetry, crystals, research, meaningful conversations, and evening stroll.
What's your dream design project?
I really enjoy tackling extended projects that incorporate different facets of design: full-scale branding, digital development, illustrated assets, and experiential elements. Taking part in positive, impactful campaigns and seeing your creations within urban landscapes is always a dream.
Which designers or thinkers influence/inspire you?
I learn about so many great humans every day and there’s a plethora of designers and thinkers that are extremely inspiring to me. However, I do find myself thinking about the wisdom and wonderful contributions of Juana Inés de la Cruz, Leonardo da Vinci, Simone de Beauvoir, Ray Eames, Frida Kahlo, James Turrell, E. Fay Jones, Dan Flavin, Carl Sagan, and Renee Engel.
What was the inspiration behind this design?
The beauty of creativity is that it can be found in all of us and requires very little from us. Just a spark of curiosity and some form of inspiration can lead to innovative thinking and reinvigorate our inner artist. This piece was designed to pay homage to Matisse's loose lines and bold cut-outs because even in times of confinement and uncertainty I find joy in these explorations.
How does simplicity play a role in your life?
Incorporating simplicity into my life brings sanity and order. After moving a total of ten times in the past fifteen years I have come to embrace living a minimalist lifestyle. Beyond enjoying a clean and natural aesthetic I have experienced the benefits of decluttering, organizing, and streamlining everything, from our home to my digital files. It’s a constant, and sometimes arduous, practice my husband and I actively pursue to the best of our abilities.
At the moment, what is your favorite …
Color: White Pine and warm neutrals are currently my favorite starting palette.
Food: Natural, vegan-friendly foods sans heavy oils, creams, and sauces or high sodium and sugar. Having a simple and clean diet works best with my body and gives me the necessary nutrients to stay focused and energized.
Song: I’m enamored with both “Toy (Reworked)” and “Worth None (Reworked)” from Noga Erez’s latest album, RADAR Reworked (Live with Israel Camerata Jerusalem Orchestra). She is an inspiring artist and this album is masterful, from the lyrics to the avant-garde sounds.
Quote: “If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is compromise."
Begin your day feeling grounded and inspired.
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