by Lauren Festa
The future of work is remote. And if you haven’t caught on yet, here’s some inspiration for the freelancers among us. Australian born, New York-based Freelance Motion Designer Paolo Garcia, with over 10 years in the design industry, works remotely all over the world. Literally. Whether it be from a train in the middle of Russia or a cafe in Tokyo, or this interview we did while he was hanging out in a bamboo hut in a rice field in Indonesia. This past year, Paolo was only physically in New York for 6 months, the rest of his time was spent traveling and working remotely. The Former Senior Designer at National Geographic Channel-who built the Design department from the ground up-is the recipient of numerous awards on a national and international scale. Since leaving his post in Sydney, he’s been continuously traveling the world, searching for new experiences and inspiration. Paolo works with many international brands including Discovery Networks, Vice, ESPN & Pepsi. He hit us up with an incredible reel that shows the breadth of his work and journey.
Watching your reel we noticed a few things. You obviously love to travel, as the opening would suggest (2 years, 49 locations!) That’s impressive. Some people “can’t find the time” to travel, if it isn’t for work or on their own dime. What advice do you have for creatives that should, ‘get out more?’ How has travel influenced you personally and professionally?
It’s not about finding time, but making time. There’s always going to be some kind of distraction in your life that gets in the way of traveling, (i.e. work, money or family). A lot of people say, they’ll travel when they’re older or retired, but why wait to see the world until then, when you can use your experiences in your everyday life now? For me, leaving my home country and traveling ignited a fire, a hunger to explore more and see as much as I can. It’s helped me become comfortable in uncomfortable situations. To think broader and be adaptable to many different clients and projects.
We know sometimes we can get lost in our ‘New York bubble.’ Why is it apparent to exploring and understanding different cultures?
A greater understanding of cultures will reflect in the way we approach problem solving as designers. It expands your reach not just to New York and the U.S. but to clients all over the world. It also gives us better insight into how other cultures and countries do business. What works here in New York might not work in other parts of the world.
Do you keep a journal? Are you more of a photo documenter? Or do you sort of experience the journey and consolidate everything into your projects after the fact?
I’m pretty adamant about staying present and in the moment. So it’s a balance of both. I photo document as I go along and come back to it once I’ve had time to process it all. Otherwise, the experience will pass you by, while you’re too busy trying to get the right shot.
What is one stand out place you have visited and why?
The Gobi Desert in Mongolia. Two months ago my girlfriend and I spent 5 days roaming through the raw desert in an old Russian van, stopping to sleep in Gers with the Nomads. Their way of life was so unique. I had never come across it before; moving their home and their few possessions in conjunction with the seasons in search of a suitable place for their livestock. The sights of the Gobi were incredible. Climbing nearly 100 stories to the top of the sand dunes and feeling like you just landed on Mars and wandering the Flaming Cliffs where the first ever dinosaur egg was discovered.
A greater understanding of cultures will reflect in the way we approach problem solving as designers. It expands your reach…to clients all over the world.
You’ve done an impressive amount of work over these past 4 years and what is more amazing is the variance in subject matter. From sports to fashion to elderly care, is there anything you won’t try?
I guess it comes with the territory of freelance and being open to new experiences.
If you had to describe your style/aesthetic in five words or less, which would you choose?
Clean, calculated, fluid & informative.
Why or how has being an ADC Member helped you in your creative pursuits?
Being a part of ADC has given me access to some of the best creative minds in the industry. Being amongst like-minded people drives me to create more and push my skills further.