15 Artists Under 30: Liron Ashkenazi
Each week, we’ll feature a few of our New Visual Artists—15 remarkable designers and creatives under the age of 30. Meet all of PRINT’s New Visual Artists in the Summer 2016 issue of PRINT Magazine.
This is the second year we’ve run our New Visual Artists: 15 under 30 in Print. What was for years a tightly edited list of 20 of the best and brightest up-and-coming artists and designers under age 30 working today has become a more in-depth portfolio of 15 of the most interesting, challenging, provocative new voices working in visual communications. Print’s NVAs have managed to make it happen and make it last. The list of past NVAs reads like a veritable who’s-who in graphic design: Scott Dadich, Eddie Opara, Alan Dye, Jessica Walsh, Jessica Hische. While their output is varied both in style and execution, the common denominator is a work ethic of epic proportions.
To achieve acclaim so young is certainly enviable. But our history of NVAs and our current crop of up-and-coming artists and young designers proves that design can be both timely and timeless. It will be interesting to see how the 2016 class of New Visual Artists grows and evolves over time as well.
Current city: New York City.
Education: School of Visual Arts (BFA, Design).
Earliest creative memory: As a teenager in school I didn’t do as well as my parents hoped. I had all the potential—or so everyone kept saying—but I was never in the right mindset. Instead, my thoughts would carry me towards spaces and shapes and my notebooks were filled with doodles and poems rather than notes. At the age of 21, I learned that I have ADD. This helped reconcile what had seemed previously like disparate parts of me—I was always drawn to do something, but lacked the means to harness my passions. Instead, I had developed my own methods to feeling fulfilled and self-worthy. The first activity I chose to partake in was photography. The camera gave me a way to express myself at a time in which there was no other way for me to shout to the world, “I am different.”
Path that led you to design: After completing my two-year service in the military, I knew that I needed to continue with the three things that, very quickly, became my biggest passions: composition, typography and motion. So I decided to apply to SVA simply because I knew it was the best, and decided to focus on design and not motion simply because I already had experience in that field.
Career in a nutshell: I can’t say what is going to happen next, but I do know a few things. I was fortunate enough to work very closely to both Jessica Walsh and Stefan Sagmeister at Sagmeister & Walsh throughout this year. The amount of knowledge and creativity I have been exposed to is truly singular. The studio shaped me a lot as a designer. Specifically, my close connection with Jessica, who taught me something new every single day. Next, I am hoping to partner with my husband, Gal Eldar, whom I’ve been with for 10+ years. We are hoping to work as a duo doing experimental web design, installation, motion, print and basically anything creative we feel passionate about.
Motto/design philosophy: Good content, good eye, less rules.
Work of which you’re most proud: My thesis project, “Fuck the Block,” discusses all the aspects of creative block from a helpful standpoint. I begged Jessica Walsh to join me on a journey to the unknown, as my mentor. As the months went by, I slowly found myself in a deep creative block and couldn’t produce anything meaningful. Jessica tried to help me in any way possible. … I realized that the only way I would be able to produce work was to just focus on the only thing I was feeling and living at the time—completely blocked. So I started researching how to resolve the situation that I got myself into. The project consists of six separate visual projects, each reflecting a different side of the block, all trying to find a solution to overcome it or a way to produce despite it. I’ve designed a card game, a few websites, two books, a packaging project, posters, an app, and collected stories and testimonials from other creatives about their experiences dealing with creative block.
What defines you: Passion, curiosity and love.
Cause that means the most to you: Fighting against animal cruelty, supporting animal sanctuary farms; also, helping people understand ADD better, and finding ways to treat children who suffer from it—with art instead of medication. What you want to accomplish before all is said and done: I want to make a change in the world through my art. I hope one day I can open a school that teaches design, conceptual thinking and art to students who aren’t given the chance to excel in conventional educational systems.
What you think the future of design is: More creativity, more technology, more individual talents. Design is becoming important and relevant to everyone in the world, not just designers. I see that continuing to move forward. Interactivity is becoming a key quality of good design, and I love it.
Anything else: The amount of creative energy I get from the people around me is massively influential: My friends and family, all of them in their own way or field, are the reason I do what I do.