As a creative freelancer and member of our Photographer swarmTina makes impactful work across a variety of genres and is inspired by the work of French artist JR or Everyday Projects...

1) Congratulations on being featured as one of Hiive’s ‘Ones to Watch’ for September! Can you introduce yourself and your creative work/interests?

My name is Tina, I am a documentary storyteller and visual artist from Latvia, currently living and working on a canal boat in London.

I graduated from BA Photographic Arts course at the University of Westminster in 2012 and have since been working as a freelance photographer, journalist, graphic designer, researcher and tutor.

Much of my work is aimed at finding creative solutions to social problems and is fueled by the belief in the power of storytelling to inspire changes in the society.

2) What are you currently working on?

I divide my time between a number of commissions and self-initiated projects.

Last year I founded Story Dots marketplace for ethical fashion, where instead of browsing products you read stories of people who made them.

It has been a steep learning curve which forced me to step out of my comfort zone, since I had little to no experience in fashion, business management, marketing and so on. It's still in its early days, but has been a very rewarding project to work on.

3) Who/what influences your work and where do you find inspiration?

I used to spend a lot of my time on creative research; reading, watching and listening far and wide.

I love ideas that push the boundaries and reach the audience that would never go to an art gallery, like the work of French artist JR or Everyday Projects.

However, for the past few months, I have been searching for inspiration 'within' instead, taking long walks, runs of cross-country bike trips. I tried to see how my other interests in politics, improvisational theatre or knitting can feed into my creative practice. So far, this has been a journey full of discoveries that changed the way I view my work.

4) What are your future creative ambitions?

I try not to overplan and go with the flow as much as possible. I would like to see my work having impact on the problems I am trying to address, but I have no strong career goals at this stage.

5) What advice would you give people aspiring to work in a similar creative field?

Always ask yourself 'why?' and be brutally honest with your answer.

Why do you do what you do, is the path you chose the best route to reach the goals you set? As a creative freelancer, it's very easy to loose the sense of direction and start doing things because everyone else does them.

Letting go and focusing on what really matters to you has been the most important thing I learned and - something no one prepared me for in the arts school.


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