What Matters to James Sommerville

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Debbie Millman has an ongoing project at PRINT titled “What Matters.” This is an effort to understand the interior life of artists, designers, and creative thinkers. This facet of the project is a request of each invited respondent to answer ten identical questions and submit a nonprofessional photograph.

James Sommerville is an unemployed British street artist turned co-founder of ATTIK. Then, VP Global Design at The Coca-Cola Company. Now, founder of KnownUnknown, a decentralized creative community aiming to rethink the traditional agency model.

What is the thing you like doing most in the world?
Professionally— changing what I see in front of me. Not in a “I must change this” arrogant way, but sometimes it’s the small, unnoticeable, softer things. But overall, making these changes (daily) delivers a sense on progress while holding onto what works.

What is the first memory you have of being creative?
I drew a violinist at junior school (age 7) and my teacher, Mrs. Shagoola, raved about it to everyone. She had a gift of making kids feel special.

What is your biggest regret?
Not buying Bitcoin in 2009 just after I sold my agency and was wondering what to invest in.

How have you gotten over heartbreak?
I have lived in 26 homes / houses. As a kid, constantly moving = constant heartbreak and forces you to find a new street corner.

What makes you cry?
The Lion King.

How long does the pride and joy of accomplishing something last for you?
It’s a delayed reaction. Sometimes maybe 15 or 20 years later. At the time it’s a job, but over time becomes a story.

Do you believe in an afterlife, and if so, what does that look like to you?
I’ll meet you in the Designverse.

What do you hate most about yourself?
I’m a confident introvert.

What do you love most about yourself?
I’m a confident introvert.

What is your absolute favorite meal?
Chicken Tikka, glass of red.