What Matters: Lyanne Dubon-Aguilar Talks Making Your World Bigger and Museums

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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.

Lyanne Dubon-Aguilar is a graphic designer living and working in Brooklyn. Originally from Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Lyanne has worked across many disciplines for Etsy, MoMA, Pentagram, and Local Projects. 

What is the thing you like doing most in the world? 

Anything that makes my world feel bigger: learning new information, seeing new places, meeting new people, making new things. 

What is the first memory you have of being creative? 

We spent our first years in America visiting every museum in New York. My dad would charge into the galleries with my mom, sister, and I trailing behind. I remember resting my head on my mom’s lap in the Charles Engelhard Court at The Met, tired and inspired, waiting for my dad to meet us. 

What is your biggest regret? 

I regret waiting for permission to take action. I am grateful to the friends, family, peers, and mentors who inspire me to show up and speak out. They remind me I have a voice. 

How have you gotten over heartbreak? 

I believe in community. Any disappointment or heartbreak I’ve experienced gets offset by the outpouring of love I’ve received from those that hold space for me. I’ve learned that when my heart is hurting, I can reach out to those that love me for support. Time also helps.  

What makes you cry? 

Tenderness and appreciation. It makes me cry whenever someone goes out of the way to make another person feel appreciated with a tender action. I try to keep my eyes open for this in NYC, and my heart swells every time I see it happen. 

How long does the pride and joy of accomplishing something last for you?

The feeling does not last very long, so I try to keep small mementos to remind me of that moment in time. I find these artifacts ground me when I feel uncertain or intimidated by an insurmountable task. 

Do you believe in an afterlife, and if so, what does that look like to you? 

I do! It’s very overwhelming to think about because I will get in my head about infinity and find myself in a “Droste effect” thought loop. It helps when I try to imagine the feeling. I imagine it’s love. 

What do you hate most about yourself? 

I think too much. Sometimes it gets in the way of choice and action. 

What do you love most about yourself? 

My loved ones are funny, smart, compassionate, resilient, and optimistic. I carry their (present and past) spirit with me everywhere I go. 

What is your absolute favorite meal? 

There’s a dish my mom makes that we call an “Especial” (the house special). It’s a plate of eggs topped with onions and sides of fried salami, two folded tortillas with mozzarella cheese, avocado, and black beans. It reminds me of home.