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Life and Work with Gabrielle Parris

Today we’d like to introduce you to Gabrielle Parris.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Gabrielle. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I always knew from a young age that I would pursue a career in the arts. Growing up, my parents were art advocates and had their ways of expressing creativity in our home. Whether it was music, fashion or painting, they always kept the creativity flowing. They appreciated art deeply and always encouraged me to follow my dream of one day landing a job that involved just that. Though, they definitely didn’t hesitate to check me when my other (non-art) classes weren’t up to par.

Throughout primary and secondary school, I learned to appreciate fine arts. I would spend my free time (and not-so-free time) in class creating anything I could imagine. For me, being imaginative was a getaway from the mundane things in life. It was the only thing that could keep my attention for an extended amount of time. It wasn’t until my brother got into graphic design that my view of creativity pivoted.

He opened up a door to this unknown world — I could use art in a way that could help people. Graphic design is art with intention, and it serves as a means to solve problems. It isn’t always apparent, though, and that’s what I love about it. Design is everywhere. It’s there to better your experience without you even recognizing it. Something about that intrigued me enough to pursue it as a career.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
As fun as design sounds, there are a lot of factors that make it difficult. At times, I’ve found myself questioning whether or not I wanted to make my passion my career. I’ve had creative blocks that would last for weeks. There were times where I fell short on projects, and that can be really humbling. Being a woman in a male-dominated industry, I questioned if I would be able to secure a decent job after I graduated college. Graphic design doesn’t have the best reputation when it comes to gender equality. It was something that I knew was improving but it’s still an issue. My advice to women starting their journey is to give yourself time to process your pain points and use them as a method to propel yourself forward. Let your adversities be your motivation.

However, everything I was experiencing was just a part of the territory. Also, I love challenges. Growth without pain isn’t real progress. Like most artists, I’ve had periods where I’ve been very hard on myself. I’ve had to quickly learn that not allowing myself to process the pain I was feeling was a disservice. I turned the frustration I was experiencing into motivation to jump back in and try it again.

We’d love to hear more about your work.
I’m currently working at a software company called Bark as a graphic designer. My day-to-day design work includes social media graphics, illustrations for our website, emails, newsletters, presentations, and more. But I also focus on motion design, too — creating animated videos for our social channels and website. Eventually, I’d like to break into that industry.

Outside of my full-time job, I also do freelance work. I provide design, illustration, animation/motion, photography, and web design. I’m proud of my ability to connect with my clients. Solving their problems and emphasizing their narratives through design is always my end goal. Discovering visual language that helps the client and myself better understand where we’re coming from is so important. For me, that’s the key to having a successful project.

What advice would you give to someone at the start of her career?
Always know your worth and never undersell yourself! It’s very easy to buckle and fold under the fear of seeming too demanding. Your time, experience, and skills are valid.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
For GP_04.gif:
Illustration by Sean Chancey, Animated by Gabrielle Parris

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