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Interview with Jaimie Ota

Home > Designer Interviews > Jaimie Ota

Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Jaimie Ota (JO) for A’ Design Award and Competition. You can access the full profile of Jaimie Ota by clicking here.

Interview with Jaimie Ota at Saturday 25th of July 2020
Jaimie Ota
FS: Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
JO: I have always had creative interests, but I have to give credit to my mother. She would always be making some sort of craft. She would make clothes, create art projects for me, she would knit or croquet; she always utilized her creativity and demonstrated her knowledge. When I was a kid, I used to draw on the walls of my house and put stickers on all my possessions and she would never scold me for expressing myself. She passed down her creative gifts. My interests carried into my adolescence, but I did not formally study art and design until I was in college. No one in my family has a college degree in the arts, so I went down this path without much guidance. I studied for years at a community college to complete my general education and figure out what direction I want to go down. I took a few classes with an instructor who introduced me to a different type of art that was not illustration, graphics, or painting. He introduced me to Product Design and that intrigued me. Once my time came to transfer I wanted to be a part of a program that involved many parts of the arts. I studied at Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles for Visual Communications. Upon completing my studies of that program, I was offered an internship to be a part of a company that designed and created props for famous retailers. That job led me to another job at a different company, but in the same field. I began to feel a desire for change. I reflected on my experience and reevaluated my career direction. I wanted to explore my past interest in Product Design and decided to enroll at Academy of Art University for Industrial Design. I did not make the decision lightly and it has been one of the best decisions I’ve made.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
JO: I am currently a student that craves more knowledge. I do not have a company or studio, but I hope to work and learn under such disciplines to get to know design and business better.

FS: What is "design" for you?
JO: Design is everywhere. It brings interest, awareness, stimulates the senses, and provides information to all aspects of life. It is communication or a visual language that is changing constantly. Design evolves by the connection of ideas created. It is also the product of history, stories, experiences, goals and passion.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
JO: I like designing household products. I have great interest in furniture design and cookware.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
JO: My favorite design I have created is called Vadr. It was my first project to create a table. I made a table and my father gave me tips and feedback along the way. My father didn’t quite understand my passion for design but he was supportive. It’s a sentimental memory where he viewed my creative process and work. He was able to understand my passion and that’s why it is called Vadr, as in “vader” which is Dutch for “father”. It is also from one of my favorite movies.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
JO: The first thing I designed for a company were ideas for props to be used at a retail trade show. The trade show was being held in Las Vegas and the company I was working for was going to feature their capabilities at their own booth. It was exciting to be a part of something professional that would get a lot of exposure. I was happy and it was fulfilling to be on that team. The work was fun and memorable.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
JO: I feel the most creative when I am cooking. I had heard many people say that the best idea comes in the shower, but for me it is when I am making food. I am highly motivated by it. I also get into a zone when I cook, I focus and cook with love. That passionate state brings out some of my best ideas.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
JO: I love the ideation phase. It is typically the initial stage of the design process. I feel free and not limited to certain ideas. This stage is free flowing without judgment. The boldest concepts are created here.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
JO: I feel empathetic and intellectual. I want to create a design that is for the people. I don't want to design what I want and benefit only me. I hope that people understand my direction, but they aren’t forced to like it. I also feel intellect because it is where I feel like I do critical thinking in ways some people may not understand. I have to think outside of the box so that my designs make sense. It’s a lot of thinking.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
JO: I can be shy when I receive approval. I am the hardest critic on myself and feel like I can always improve. Sometimes I feel proud, but am a little insecure because I tend to pick at minor details.

FS: What makes a design successful?
JO: I believe delivery is important. The process of design can be a mess, complicated and troublesome, but the end result is the fruit of the labor. It is important to see how the work is received and how it connects with the audience. I also think integrity counts and it shows through the presentation of the product.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
JO: Presentation is always the main impression from a design. It reveals the professional level, care and management of the design process, and the heart of a project.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
JO: The designer has the ability to be a part of a movement that can revolutionize a change. I think designers often have the moral capabilities to make decisions in ways that their gifts allow. Creativity and design allows us to address and solve concerns in ways some people cannot visualize. Designers also have access to information and the knowledge on how to solve issues through their resources.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
JO: Design is always evolving aesthetically, culturally and technologically. Style is defining and there is visual appeal that everyone can be drawn to. Culturally, traditions can maintain design, but as communities evolve, they draw attention to what is relevant with the present time. Through technology we can improve efficiency through the design process. So much is available at our convenience. We can deliver creativity in quickened and accessible manner.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
JO: I find inspiration through my experiences. Visually I draw attention to small details. I can be interested in the formation of a plant, or a silhouette of the edge of a car design and develop something from it. I feed off of forms from nature and my personal experiences. I fuel my creativity by seeing what is already done and thinking of how I can make my ideas stand out. It’s an exercise and a battle.

FS: How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
JO: My design style is derived from my culture. It is based on my experience as a second generation Japanese raised in Los Angeles. I grew up spending much of my youth around a Asian Americans in an equally predominant area of Latinos. I have Asian influences running through my designs. I also design with care and compassion which is something that carried through from my upbringing.

FS: Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
JO: I live in East Los Angeles, California in the U.S. I truly believe my designs are influenced by my heritage. I would be designing completely different things if I were raised in Japan than in the U.S. Coming from an Asian community, there are standards and responsibilities that are expected in different aspects of life. There is a respect that needs to be carried on to our work.

FS: How can people contact you?
JO: Please contact me through email jaimieota20@gmail.com.


FS: Thank you for providing us with this opportunity to interview you.

A’ Design Award and Competitions grants rights to press members and bloggers to use parts of this interview. This interview is provided as it is; DesignPRWire and A' Design Award and Competitions cannot be held responsible for the answers given by participating designers.


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