As a part of our ongoing Member Spotlight series, we recently had an opportunity to talk with new member, Designer, Djelicka Pillot.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I was born in St-Germain-en-Laye, a western suburb of Paris. I came to the US in the early 80’s. Being a Francophone has always been a very important part of my identity.
I grew up overseas in eight different countries, so from a very early age I experienced many beautiful countries, culture and art. My mother being an artist herself always sat with me to draw and encouraged my creative talent.
I finished my schooling in Arlington, VA where I lived for 12 years before moving to Norfolk, VA.
It wasn’t until a few years later that I changed career paths and attended Tidewater Community College where I earned an Associates Degree in Graphic Design. Gaining knowledge of the technical side of design was important to me. This being my first summer off, I’ve been busy with my endless artistic pursuit and taking care of my family.
How and why did you get involved with AIGA?
I don’t recall how I first heard about AIGA, but my first involvement was at an AIGA Community meeting in mid-2017. It wasn’t until the second meeting in 2018 that I decided to join. AIGA is a great way to meet like artists in my field. Everyone I’ve met has been so welcoming and kind.
What prompted you to become a designer?
In the early 80’s my mother was a Graphic Designer for Elle in Paris. I grew up submerged in the world of art and design. I have very fond memories of her showing me her portfolio and explaining the layouts of the fashion editorials.
It wasn’t until many years later that I decided I didn’t want to spend my career climbing up corporate ladders. I realized I would instead focus my time and future on design and art.
I believe so strongly that it’s important to do what you love in life.
What are you excited to learn or work on next?
I am currently working on creating an artisan brand. Through this venture I’d like to share my cultural and artistic background. My first collection will have design prints, screen printed items, jewelry and an array of home decorations. Coming out of college can always be a little scary so I’m always working on ways to put myself out there.
Do you have any advice you would give to emerging professionals?
Don’t be afraid to take criticism. Encourage it from your professors, peers and other creatives. Sometimes people are afraid to give feedback, which can be detrimental to emerging professionals. Also, absorb the world around you and take in the streets around you. There is always evidence of past and current design everywhere you go.
What inspires you as a designer and artist?
I have always been very proud of my heritage and I love the idea of preserving culture. I am always inspired by artists who share that passion. Recently, I attended a Charles White exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago.
I was so inspired by his work and representation of African American culture and it’s struggle. His distinctive approach to charcoal and figurative work was overwhelmingly inspirational. I am also inspired from early 20th century designers and painters.
You can find Djelicka ‘s work at djelickapillot.com and Instagram
AIGA Hampton Roads strives to highlight its members. If you have any ideas for our next spotlight, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.