It’s All Vi

By Amanda Harth

Vi’s unique design practices are an evolution of traditional methods and her personal experimentation with art. I met Vi during the MOS project and the first thing I thought was “Why don’t more people dress like this? I never use the word fierce and she’s fierce. I bet you she’s not from Chicago!” Vi was wearing a two piece black striped outfit with Puma platform sneakers - I can’t recall the color of the shoes. Her fit wasn’t a suit. The silhouette was unstructured, slightly oversized with long sleeves and wide legged pants. Her hair was navy and cut in the style of the classic bowl shaped haircut.

As one third of the vibrant creative agency Her Notoriety Vi uses their strength as a visual designer for the company. Through both traditional and unconventional creative methods are used to provide their clients with the best options for the assigned project. Along side the other members of the company Lissy and Swiper they have produced work for local and national campaigns for Adidas, Blind Barber, Pogo, and Puma. We spoke with Vi about her creative processes, Her Notoriety, and a few lessons learned over the past few years.

AH: What is your favorite thing about being a creative? 

Vi: That's a hard question to answer to be honest — but I guess it would be the process of making? Ideating anything in order to iterate and have it manifest in so many forms. That's what's exciting for me about the act of creating and being a creative.

AH: Why did you choose photography as your creative form of expression? 

VI: Photography actually isn't my form of expression! Although I do incorporate it in my work when called for. I'm more design-oriented. I guess I identify within the terms of medium agnostic design — using Design processes to manifest my ideas into whatever form: whether it be through print, objects, spaces, etc.

AH: What are essential things you need to execute a project successfully? For example, is it a song or a certain type of mood. 

Vi: It fluctuates for me! Depending on the project scope I tend to isolate myself and just work in complete silence, or I need to be with a small team and have an ideation session where we brainstorm and it gets loud and high energy! Most times when the ideation part is done and the execution is left, I play whatever is on my recent liked songs on spotify—something not to abrasive but strong enough in composition/production that it doesn’t make me bored or sleepy. Right now it's a lot of Ryahn, Dounia, and Rosalía.

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AH: What does your creative process consists of when you’re starting a new project?

Vi: I kind of adopted the Design Thinking process and apply to really any project with slight variations depending on what I'm working on: immersion stage/empathic stage involves research for me → defining the project scope and what exactly we or I need to deliver and produce → the ideation stage wherein I collective what I researched and thought about to brainstorm possible ideas on execution → the iteration/prototyping stage is as-is, it's executing the project in iterations and prototypes to then → test it out and get feedback from peers or my team in order to iterate it again and again until I can reach a satisfying result!

AH: What resources do you use to market your work? 

Vi: I've mostly been using instagram as my main platform! I also have my own website that I market so people can see my recent scope of work because most often I don't post all my work on my IG.

AH: How has creative routine changed as a creative over the last year? 

Vi: I've learned how to set my own boundaries and establish better ways of communicating creative capacities when working in a collaborative environment/in teams because that was a thing I really struggled with last year. It helps facilitate a more healthy collaboration.

AH: Do you currently have any mentors that you look to for wisdom or advice?

Vi: I used to have the conventional definition of "mentors" in the past but that was when my creative practice was going in a different direction. Now that I'm still finding what it is I want to do and fleshing out my body of work, a lot of my peers and friends whose body of work I greatly admire have become pseudo-mentors for me as we look for wisdom/advice amongst each other!

HER NOTORIETY

AH: When did Her Notoriety begin? 

Vi: I wasn't around when HN began but I believe 2017. Lissy was the OG, and this current generation of the HN team formed in November 2018.

AH: Why did you choose to work collectively?

 Vi: I always held a stance that working in teams and working collaboratively produces work that has many layers and depth and I think that was one of the reasons why I joined HN. We all specialize in different disciplines but we use it to our advantage to tackle all aspects of a project that would've been difficult for one person.

AH: What plans do you have for the rest of 2019 and can you share what you’ll be up to in 2020? 

Vi: Currently, I'm focusing on HN and my own personal body of work. I also belong to two other collectives at the moment: Wash Cold, Hang Dry and Export Quality. Both have completely different points of interest for me so it'll be interesting to see what type of work I'll be making in the future with them. As for 2020, I'm anticipating a lot of creative and professional growth and seeing other opportunities whilst also continuing projects with HN and my other collectives!

This interview is part one of three. We’ll share our discussion with each member of the team and their experiences a Woman owned creative agency.

Amanda Harth