‚DISH‘ of the Day

Linda has kindly offered to design the logo for our Blogger_LU facebook fanpage and to be part of this interview. I believe that everyone who has seen her work would love to immediately hire her. The health foodie with both Greek and Luxembourgish roots is a multidisciplary designer and illustrator. Her art is contemporary and as wide-ranging as her vivid imagination: child-like hand lettering, beautiful fonts, colourful illustrations as well as powerful social statements with an ironic twist – her ‘pretty images’ are highly intriguing and full of detail and love. Her apartment looks also similarly creative and artistic: wide open spaces, floor-length windows and painting of various sizes brighly decorating every single corner.

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Hello Linda, you’re well present in the blogging sphere. Your website ‘DISH’shares your work and portofolio and Orla Collective is a collective blog as well as an online magazine. So tell me,

WHEN DID ALL OF THIS START? HAVE YOU ALWAYS BEEN INTO DESIGNING AND ILLUSTRATING?
When I was a little kid, I loved to hide under tables and scribble little sketches. When I was a teenager, I was very introverted and would live in my bubble. In high school, while others used highlighters or pens to keep notes in a study book, I would scribble all over it and not even remember what the teacher was talking about. I was really, really bad at concentrating. But I’m lucky to say that by the time I was an adult, it was an evidence: I wanted to do something creative for a living. I just didn’t know what yet and wanted to find out. In my late teens I started getting interested in posters, design and so on, so I thought I’d go to a design school to figure myself out. We had all sorts of graphic design courses and projects that were very based on practice. I went from introverted to extroverted and started to open myself to the world, getting inspired by everything that surrounds me. It was a lovely time. But by the time I got my diploma, I still didn’t know what I wanted to do. People asked me: “So, what do you want to work in? Graphic Design? Web design? Illustration? Advertising? Art?”. This was the most dreaded question for me but I learned to answer it correctly: “I just want to be creative”.

CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR JOB? WHAT DOES YOUR JOB LOOK LIKE ON A DAILY BASIS?
Let me tell you, I’m so grateful to be able to do what I love for a living. I really wish that everyone would be able to do that for themselves, because the world would be a happier place.
It seems that all I had to do was to keep doing what I love and then one day it started paying off. I have such a complicated mind but my life came together so simply, what a coincidence.
I am living my own dream and I’m not hired to live someone else’s. My days are all completely different and I have the freedom to choose how I want to spend them. For me, creativity doesn’t work on a 9 to 5 schedule anyway. I’m happy to have a lot of variety in my work, too. I can be doing a mural illustration in the morning, go fuel some inspiration in the outdoors after lunchtime and then be working on a web project in the evening or prepping a blog post at night. I typically work from home on my desk but I can choose to do that anywhere I want if I feel like it. I also like to co-work with people or just have someone else working by my side, it helps. Of course, it’s a big responsibility to keep this together. But it’s totally worth it.

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BEING SELF-EMPLOYED IS EXCITING, BUT IT CAN ALSO BE TIRING AT THE SAME TIME. HOW DO YOU RECHARGE YOUR BATTERIES AND WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR INSPIRATION FROM?
Some people say that it’s important to keep your personal and work life separate, but I don’t fully agree. I live and breathe what I do, 24 hours a day. It doesn’t mean I’m working all this time, but I’m accepting it’s part of my lifestyle. However, you can only live this “fusion” if you know how to listen to your body. When I’m out of ideas, when I feel dull, I don’t punish myself but accept my mind needs a rest. I don’t switch it entirely off, just take it easier and recharge with what I need. I like to recharge my batteries and oxygenate myself with long outdoor walks or yoga practice. I also love to meditate or do things that feel meditative to me, such as cooking, gardening or having endless conversations with friends. I get my inspiration from all of that, but also from the people and projects I meet or that I discover. I love to meet people and listen to their stories.

WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE PROJECT SO FAR AND WHY?
That’s a really hard question, as I don’t have a favourite project, but there are many projects which I truly enjoyed and that helped me grow. I realised that I tend to fall in love with projects which have a meaning. Design can sometimes feel superficial, but when something means a lot to me, it’s a whole different approach. This is why I love to work with small businesses, entrepreneurs, eco-friendly minds and foodies who contribute into making the world a better place which is not solely based on profit. This is why Orla Collective is also very important to me.

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ANY ADVICE FOR OTHER CREATIVE PEOPLE WHO WANT TO START THEIR OWN CAREER?
You don’t need to have a perfect business plan. You don’t need to have it all figured out. You are good enough and there are many amazing things that you can do in this world. It’s ok if you don’t know it yet. Here’s the hint: Just do what you love and what makes you happy, whenever you can, as much as you can. Learn and try things out everyday. Seek inspiration. Repeat. Nothing is meaningless. The more you feed your passions the more they will grow and one day, sooner or later they can possibly become a business. Or at least a huge part of who you are.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR ART?
Playful. Fluctuating. I don’t like to be stuck in one place and I like to try different things. I always thought this would be counter-productive and wouldn’t allow me to find my “style”, but I realised that I don’t have to worry about that too much. It’s just about having fun. Lately, I’m very inspired by natural elements, such as flowers, vegetation, fruits and vegetables!

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HAVE YOU ALWAYS BEEN INTO ‚HEALTHY LIVING‘? IF NO, WAS THERE A SPECIAL EVENT THAT MADE YOU QUESTION YOUR FORMER LIFESTYLE?
My mother has definitely been into healthy living before me, and I guess that it influenced me as I grew up. She always stood out from the crowd, as she looked brighter, happier and more energetic than everyone else. However, I had a rough phase of accepting my body when I was a teenager that led to eating disorders. It was an experience to overcome, as I had to learn how to live healthily. And especially how to connect with myself. Throughout the years, I learned more and more about conscious living. I watched a couple of documentaries on food and animal exploitation and became a vegetarian. Later I got into whole foods and started studying holistic nutrition in my own time. I got into yoga and mindfulness. Then I got into ecological issues and got interested in sustainability. One thing led to another, layer by layer. And I keep learning new things and growing everyday. It’s really cheesy to say this, but it’s a “journey”.

WHEN DID YOU CREATE ‚ORLA COLLECTIVE‘? HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE IDEA?
I’m very happy to realise that the world is (slowly) becoming a more conscious place. As I learned about people living alternatively and as these subjects are being more and more talked about, I wanted to be a part of that and expose all of this in Luxembourg. I have met many delightful people here who live mindful lifestyles in their own ways, but I have the feeling that we are only a minority. So I started thinking about an idea to bring these people together, expose what’s there and create a positive local wave. It’s very vast, there’s no right and wrong. It’s just about people choosing to avoid ignorance and just be happy and connected. So I teamed up with a few friends first and we started a collaborative blog or what you could also call an online magazine.

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WHAT’S THE STORY AND CONCEPT BEHIND THE NAME?
People understand the term “Collective” as it’s about collaborating and being a community of people, but I often get asked what “Orla” stands for.
I spent quite a long time picking my brain to find a perfect name. At the beginning of the process, I had written a list of rare or old people’s names. I was looking for something unique and that could represent the “return to the roots” aspect. Orla is an irish name, and apparently, it is said that people with this name have a deep inner need for quiet, and a desire to understand and analyze the world they live in, and to learn the deeper truths. I also really fell in love with the pronunciation of this name. It’s a playful and open sound when it comes out of your mouth. Happy and positive just as I imagined it.

HOW CAN PEOPLE GET INVOLVED?
Anybody can get involved in any way they want!
In the online magazine, we are always interested in hearing about people who might have something interesting to share within Orla, and they don’t need to be ideal role models, just have something to share within our concept: mindful living, healthy tips, foodie recipes, green and eco inspiration and DIY (check our “about” page in details if you want to know more). Basically we give anyone who is interested a little opportunity to be a blogger without having the burdens of running their own and while having a good visibility to start with. Any little tip or contribution helps, and we make it easy for everyone because we come up with an easy how-to and we’re always there to show them around or even exchange ideas. We’re very proud of people who contribute in their own ways and we like to give back and expose them! In the same way, We are also always attentive towards people who are willing to get involved by helping us create workshops, any type of community event such as brunches or gatherings, of anyone who’s willing to team up with us for any additional ideas to make the movement grow. How it works? Just send us an email at hello@orlacollective.com and the conversation can begin 🙂

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WHAT DOES BLOGGING MEAN TO YOU?
Blogging is a way to share something with the world, while giving you an exciting opportunity to grow as a human being.
What people don’t realise is that blogging can really shape someone. Writing and gathering information has a healing effect and gets you more connected to who you are, what you like, what the meaning in your life is. When you have a blog, you take a little part of your soul and you put it in there, just like with any other creative process. The main difference in blogging is how it connects you to the rest of the world and like-minded people!

HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE PERSONAL HAPPINESS?
Happiness is so simple but we make it so complicated. Happiness happens when you stop listening to your mind and start listening to your soul. The mind is controlled by external factors such as fear, pressure, duty. Your soul is were the truth is. Just being in the present moment and accepting what comes in. Not living yesterday nor tomorrow, just living now and making the best out of it. Yes, even when you are stuck in a traffic jam.

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DO YOU HAVE ANY OTHER COOL PROJECTS COMINGUP, YOU WANT US TO KNOW ABOUT?
Orla Collective is currently growing really well. We’re so happy about it, and it has allowed us to have so many interesting exchanges. Our first video has had so many positive responses. I’m going to have a recipe featured in Lëtz go Local magazine. We’re thinking of taking Orla to a next level by creating workshops, events and gatherings to enhance the sense of community! We’re lucky because we have a spot where we can do this, any many ideas. We also want to get in touch with more people and possibly make storytelling videos about them. It’s so exciting and I can’t wait to see where it will lead us.

THANK YOU LINDA FOR YOUR WISE WORDS!

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