THE CREATIVE PROCESS | Katherine Tochor

The Creative Process

Following artists and individuals who are exploring what it means to live a creative life.

Individuals who are driven by their craft, inspiring others.

Creating & innovating.

introducing | Katherine Tochor

Saskatchewan-bred, and Vancouver-based. Katherine Tochor possesses a strong balance of creativity and practicality. Tochor is a multidisciplinary designer with practice rooted in industrial design. Her eye for detail and passion have allowed her to thrive in fast paced environments. Whilst living on the Canadian West Coast I had the opportunity to get to know this talented lady. She is simply “the cool girl“. Kat possesses an essence you can’t help but gravitate towards. She is fuelled by human connection, evocative objects and human psychology. I was thrilled to reconnect with Katherine and admire her work ethic and drive.

Continue reading to learn about Katherine’s path to design.

 

 

H : I think we should all call you Cool Kat…you must get that already. Jumping right into it! I am curious to know where your desire to create came from? When did you develop a conscience interest in art and design?

K : Art has always been my thing. Even as a little girl, all I would do is draw. I think I’m drawn to art because it has this incredible way of conveying ideas in a way that can resonate with so many different people in different ways. Everyone makes something slightly different of it, depending on who they are, their upbringing, experiences and memories.

“I find that words and speech can often be too black and white – art leaves generous room for interpretation.”

My desire to create comes from the idea that things could be different; it’s just up to us to present the world with another possibility.

H : In my eyes, you come across as naturally creative. When did you find clarity and realize you wanted to become an industrial/product designer?

K : I actually never thought I would end up in design. After high school, I was at McGill University in Montreal focusing on science, but there were a few times where I was supposed to be studying for my finals but ended up awake all night sketching instead.

After my first year there, I just woke up one day and wondered what I was doing, and applied to Emily Carr University of Art & Design in Vancouver, not really expecting to get in. My acceptance letter was mailed to my parent’s house, and they read it to me over Skype – I cried a lot, and didn’t hesitate immediately accepting.

I initially went for art – specifically painting, but I quickly was drawn to design because it’s a mediation between art and applied science; kind of middle ground between the things I was good at.

H : I love how you transitioned from science to art! Very cool. Tell me more about your educational back ground. 

K : I did my year at McGill University studying science, then attended Emily Carr University.

Right now, I am in the process of completing my Bachelor of Design – I graduate in a couple of months.

To get your foot in the door for design, it’s super important to get work experience while you’re completing your degree, even though it’s not technically a requirement to graduate. So, right now I’m a design intern at Nocturnal Workshop (check them out by clicking here). I am insanely grateful for the opportunity.

They make really interesting minimalist backpacks, accenting them with a high-quality 3M reflective fabric. I think I learn way more about the industry helping out at Nocturnal than I ever did in school. It’s one of those things that you can only be taught so much in lectures – I think you just have to get in there and do it. I also did a research internship with the Health Design Lab at Emily Carr, where we ran a series of workshops for business start-ups in the healthcare field and taught them user-centred design principles to better their business.

H : I am also currently in an internship and agree that hands on experience is crucial to developing your skills! I am extremely curious to know what AND who inspires you?

K : Music inspires me big time.

I love how it has this ability to change your mood completely. My Spotify is my #1 – it really helps me get in a creative space (right now I’ve been jamming this vbnd track tons – click here to listen).

I also get really inspired by culture. In product design, it’s crazy how different people from the world have so many different tendencies when designing objects; it’s easy to tell if something has been designed in Sweden, vs. Japan or North America. Design from other parts of the world inspire me hugely, especially Japan.

As for people – I have two or three really amazing professors who really inspire me. I’ve been lucky because Emily Carr is so small, so I’ve been able to get a lot of face time with some people who have had incredible careers. I feel so lucky to have the chance to learn from them, have my work critiqued by them, and take what they give me and keep pushing forward.

H : Okay my favourite question. What has been your biggest challenge in pursing a creative career?

K : Pursuing a creative career is scary; there’s a cliché that saysart is a mix of absolute narcissism and crippling self-doubt, and I think there is a lot of truth to that statement (namely the ’self-doubt’ part). It’s a strange juxtaposition of having something you want to share with the world, but at the same time being unsure if your work is any good.

“Leaving (what felt like) the security of science for the unpredictability of design is a choice I still reflect on to this day, but usually only momentarily.”

Choosing a creative career is a life that’s less predictable; but that also means that it can be insanely exciting, and bring you to places and successes that are better than you could ever dream of (hey, who wouldn’t love to have Tinker Hatfield’s job?). It’s a gamble, but if you work your buns off I think the pay off could be huge.

H : I couldn’t agree more. I am a firm believer in letting your passion drive you to success. Constantly pushing creative ideas out of your brain is exhausting. What keeps you motivated?

K : I’m definitely motivated by coffee and by keeping active. I live to ride my little blue bike, and wholly believe that some fresh air can do wonders.

I’m also motivated just by making stuff. In design sometimes it’s important to just drop the academia and the conscious thought, and just let your hands do the work. That’s half of what design is; just thinking with your hands and following your intuition, hunches and ideas you have without judgement.

H : Tell me about a project you are working on!

The most challenging project I’ve ever worked on has got to be my graduate thesis project – State of Mine.

It strives to really highlight that visceral connection between the mind and the body; I think that connection is so essential and important to living a full life. The product is a hand-held biofeedback tool for university students with anxiety. It essentially guides you through breathing exercises that are synced with your heartbeat. There’s quite a bit of science behind it, and connecting your breath with your heart rate is proven to reduce your heart rate variability, which essentially reduces symptoms of anxiety. Complicated – I know.

This project has been in the works for seven months though, so there’s so much work behind it. I’m really proud of how far it’s progressed specifically over the past few months – I have made so many changes, and it feels good to keep iterating and keep improving.

“That’s all design is meant to do anyways; not label something as the absolute solution to a problem, but presenting a possibility, and continually improving it.”

H : Okay Cool Kat. What does 2017 have in store for you?

K : Right now I’m applying for jobs mostly related to technical apparel and accessory design, because Vancouver has become somewhat of a hub for those kinds of companies. I would love to get a job in the field and gain some experience for a few years, then my plan is to get my MBA.

I really don’t mind being in school and I would love to expand my knowledge about business and learn about where it collides with design.

My dream job would be to be a creative director or a design director one day – to be able to create a big-picture vision for a company and execute it alongside a talented team (I love working with people).

H : Speaking from experience, I love working with you! To wrap up I want to know… If you have any advice for your younger self…what would it be?

K : I would tell myself “don’t part your hair so far to one side, it looks dumb”.

Just kidding, in all seriousness I would tell myself to think less, and do more.

So many times I found myself down the rabbit hole, thinking myself in circles, when all you need to do to get out of your rut is to make something, anything. A model, a drawing, a collage. Get out and show strangers, ask what they think of it. Or grab a beer with a friend and work through it.

Get in the habit of externalizing your thoughts, even if it’s a rough draft that won’t be seen by anyone else’s eyes, ever. It also works as a source of inspiration for future projects.

Katherine Tochor is intensely creative and full of brilliant ideas. I am so excited to see her career unfold into a masterpiece of its own. She is tireless in her CREATIVE PROCESS.

Connect with Kat!

Website

Instagram + @fartsy_artsy

LinkedIn

Thank you so much for reading this weeks edition of THE CREATIVE PROCESS. If you enjoyed it scroll down and click the heart to “appreciate” this post! Stay tuned for next weeks article!

Live a creative life & progress with passion,

Hannah

 

Lifestyle blogger with a focus on inspiring and empowering individuals to find their passion.

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