Hello everyone! I’m happy to present to you the next EVERYDAY CREATOR, Andrea from OHLIFESPEKI on Instagram! Andrea is actually a long time friend of mine from Canada and both of us have a passion for travelling, snail mail and journaling! If you want to learn more about Andrea and her awesome travels, or peak into art journals or amazing mail art, continue reading! Without further ado, I present to you Andrea, our seventh EVERYDAY CREATOR.
- Hey Andrea! Could you please introduce yourself to the readers? (What’s your name? Where are you located? What do you do?)
Hello! I’m Andrea, also known as ohlifespeki from Instagram. By day I am part of manufacturing support team for a cosmetics company in Vancouver; and by night I am a full-time daydreamer! Ohlifespeki allows me to express activities that I am passionate about – journaling, modern calligraphy, mail art and photography. Also a side note: my Instagram name was inspired from the Icelandic word “lífs speki” or “lífspeki”, which means “life’s wisdom” or “practical philosophy”. Everyone has their own set of beliefs, values and philosophies, but this word is so much more than that – to have a practical philosophy is to carry all these eclectic part of ourselves through what we do – our actions – which I believe is a more intentional way of how we live our lives.
- How long have you been crafting, journaling and creating mail art?
I always had a creative side, but I find that that was something personal to me so I never felt inclined to share it. The only people who really knew this side of me were my close family and friends. I have been journaling since I was nine years old. Throughout these years writing has been something I consistently do (secretly!), and it has helped me a lot with personal growth. In terms of mail art, I love sending and receiving mails since I was a kid! I think my dad must have started it when he used to send my family postcards from faraway places he used to sojourn to.
- How did get you started in crafting, journaling and mail art?
I’ve been crafting ever since I could hold a pencil! I’ve been journaling since I was nine years old, but it is only recently I’ve added “art” into it (e.g. adding watercolours, modern calligraphy, drawing pictures, etc.). I picked up mail art again in 2014. There’s a story behind this – after returning from an 8-month internship in the Philippines, I thought about the people I met along the way and I wanted to keep in touch with them in a more tangible away. I was still looking for a job at that time and I needed a hobby to pass time. I couldn’t afford to buy $5-cards so I thought why not make my own? I had a bunch of art supplies and bought stamps and the rest was history!
- As an avid traveler, how have your travels influenced your art and creative process?
I am truly grateful that I had opportunities to be able to travel to places that I only dreamed of when I was younger. I never ever take that for granted! Travelling to places (either new or familiar) allows me to exercise and stimulate my senses – the smell of the air, the textures of earth and moss, the colours of cobblestones, the different dialects and languages locals speak – these were invaluable experiences that influences my art and creative process. Also this quote has really pushed me this year: “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” Embracing change and out-of-the-box situations are experiences we are not attracted to, but most likely these unexpected and unplanned situations are when you have the time of your life!
- Where was the last place you’ve travelled to?
This past summer I embarked on a solo trip to Europe! I went to England, Belgium, the Netherlands and Iceland! It was an adventure of a lifetime!
- Are you planning a trip any time soon? If so, where are you planning to travel to?
I plan trips all the time in my head – after all I’m a certified daydreamer! The other week I daydreamed about going to Machu Picchu, Peru and staying with a local homestay family… Then that led to contemplating whether I should visit Bolivia instead since I’ve seen so many beautiful photos of little towns throughout the country. Locally, I have been thinking of visiting a friend in, Canada via train since going through the Canadian Rockies is in my bucket list. I’m also planning to visit a friend in New York next spring, but again these are all in my head and nothing is set in stone.
- Where do you draw inspiration from?
I draw inspiration from anywhere and everywhere!
- What do you do to get out of a creative slump?
There will be times when I don’t feel like doing anything, and I’m perfectly fine with that. Stepping away from my table and listening to music helps with the creative slump. I’ll know when I’m ready to create again!
- Do you think you have your own artistic style or aesthetic? If so, could you explain?
I never really thought of my artistic style or aesthetic, so this is quite difficult to answer. As of now, I’m still experimenting with whatever medium I have at home: pens, papers of different textures, magazine collages, etc. I’m drawn to vibrant colours and patterns and this is what I keep in mind when I am planning out my daily journal.
- Besides crafting and art, do you have any other hobbies and interests? How do these other activities tie in with your art?
A lot of people don’t know this, but I love to go swimming! It’s a sport that I gave up when I was a child because I became very conscious of my body, but recently I picked it up again (with less care about what others will say and definitely more self-confidence!) and I love it. When I’m swimming laps I feel very happy – like I was meant to do this! Likewise, it’s the same feeling I have when I’m doing my daily journals, writing a letter or painting a postcard to someone.
- What is your notebook or journal of choice? Do you have different notebooks and journals for different purposes?
Moleskine is my journal of choice! I prefer the plain and paper cover Volant version that comes in different sizes. I like how my pens and watercolours don’t bleed through the pages and it has been very functional to me. Yes, I have different notebooks and journals for different purposes! I have a ruled notebook as a diary; I have a mini Kislap leather cover from Alunsina Handbooks (an independent notebook/journal maker based in the Philippines) where I keep all my daily art journals; and I have a big Kislap leather cover where I keep my sketchbook, moleskine notebook and in the very near future my Midori 2017 planner!
- If you could meet any artist (alive or dead) who would it be and why?
I would love to meet Jose Naranja (@jose_naranja) who is one of the first notebook-makers I’ve followed in Instagram. His attention to detail on each page he writes into is impeccable. I’d love to sip coffee and sit with him and go through his art journals!
- What are a few of your favourite art supplies/stationery? What is one piece of stationery or art supply you have on your wishlist?
My current favourite is Zig’s Kuretake Gansai Tambi Watercolour set. Someone described its texture like painting with “butter” because it’s so smooth and rich – it’s so true! I definitely like the vibrant colours, and it sets well with my Moleskine notebooks. Right now a typewriter is on my wishlist!
- What does art mean to you? (What a loaded question!)
Job, this is an unfair question! I’m kidding. To me art means the freedom to express who we were, who we are and who we will be as a participant in this journey called life. Art is intrinsically timeless and borderless, and I’m honoured to be a contributor to something bigger than myself.
- Lastly, do you have any tips or words of advice to anybody who wants to start a creative hobby?
“If we wait until we’re ready, we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives.” – Lemony Snicket
Start a hobby without any assumptions about how you are going to progress. Just do it!
I hope you enjoyed the seventh interview of the EVERYDAY CREATORS series. It was a pleasure peeking into Andrea’s creative process and journey. You can find Andrea on Instagram with the username OHLIFESPEKI! Go show her some love and stay tuned for the next EVERYDAY CREATORS interview coming soon!