Her Creative with Irene Feleo
We are feeling the need to hola to our ladies and celebrate the mentors they look too.
We caught up with Irene Feleo to ask for words of wisdom and to find out what it means to be a creative chick.
How long have you been in the industry?
I have been working as a motion designer and animator in production studios for around 5 years, and freelancing with illustration in between.
Do you have any tips for fellow creative chicks looking to get into the industry?
Be head strong and confident in your abilities. The industry of motion graphics and animation is heavily dominated by males. In my experience of working in and out of studios, I would often be the lone or second female out of an all male team. While this has predominately not been an issue, I have definitely been in the position when starting out in my career where my abilities as a creative have been biasedly judged on my gender.
I was once told by a male boss that he would prefer I answer the phone as opposed to my male colleague (who was a fellow designer) because "It just sounds better when a woman answers the phone". Do not be ignorant of sexism in our industry - it can be rare but it does exist and I would advise being aware of it, educated and confident in your talent. Uncomfortable subjects like pay negotiation and promotions are only some of the things these issues can bleed in to, but if you are assertive and professional in your approach we can help break down these outdated prejudices. Actress Jennifer Lawrence wrote an incredible article about it here that is pretty good food for thought.
Make great work. I cannot stress the importance of passion and dedication to your work. When I graduated university I feel like I was given the impression that if you complete subjects then you will get a job. This isn't the case, and I feel like the quality of your work is paramount. If you do not have experience in the kind of work you want to be get into - make a personal project. Figure out what you love and go out and do it. Don't feel like you need to be hired by a studio to be doing the stuff you are interested in - go out and do it yourself. I feel like my most favourite illustration jobs I have landed have been because the client has seen something they like in a project I did just for fun or from a style I wanted to try out. Never stop learning, experimenting and creating.
what female mentors do you look to and why?
There are so many incredible women doing amazing work out there and completely owning it in their field. These are some of my favourites:
Jessica Hische is an insane designer, illustrator and hand letterer extraordinaire. Aside from her amazing talent and body of work - I admire her approach to give advice to young creatives. Her famous"Should I work for free?" chart is one of many insights that she shares and I really admire her transparency with her experiences in the industry.
Georgia Hill. If you are from Sydney then you would have definitely noticed the iconic work of Georgia Hill popping around. Her work is stylistically so unique and completely her own and if you check out her instagram she gives insight into the process behind tirelessly experimenting and developing it. Her work ethic is incredible, and she is just in general a lovely human!
Lena Dunham is a writer, actress and director - well known for her HBO series Girls. I popped her into the mix because I feel that she is someone that is unapologetically herself and has kicked ass in her career because of it. Her side projects like podcast Women of the Hour and newsletter Lenny Letter are also incredible and relatable resources for women that tackle everything from creativity, politics, body image and and social change.