Joel is the creative mind behind The Urban Factory a Trinidadian based studio that produces uniquely designed accessories for the stylish & minimal individual. When we reached out to him, he graciously agreed to share his perspectives with us, so here we go. Do enjoy.
How do you define creativity and what does it mean to you?
I think creativity is the ability to turn your thoughts, ideas & feelings into something other people can see, touch, wear, share & relate to. Creativity to me personally is a way of materialising my imaginations.
How much of your creative ability do you think is innate? Or is your creativity a skill that you have developed?
Since I was little I have always been into dismantling things to see how they work and then reassembling them. White paper was always an exciting site to me cause it meant I could use it to draw on or fold up. I won't say it's a skill I developed, but, I have gotten better at creating.. or maybe it's my creations make more sense now lol.
When did you realise that you wanted to express your creativity? Was it encouraged by others (e.g., parents)?
I can't place a date or time to it specifically, but, I remembered doing some artwork on a t-shirt and my older brother found it so cool that he offered to buy it from me. Since that day I found myself considering and thinking about creating things that other persons would love to have and won't mind paying for.
What is your standard for evaluating your creative work and the works of other people? Do you think that monetary rewards can be compatible with creativity in general? Are financial rewards relevant to your projects?
Personally, I am very particular and according to others even a bit OCD, so I strive to create items that look machine made while actually being made by my own hands. I can't or won't evaluate other persons work... their personal style or make up will define how they create.
LOL... Having money is not everything, but, it's right up there with air.
Do you think your perception and evaluation of your creative endeavours are influenced by the views of other people? What role do you believe the culture that you live in plays in your creative efforts?
I honestly do not let others influence my work. Most people don't even know what they want until it's created, so I prefer to create what I'm pleased and satisfied with 100% of the time.
Trinidad has such a diverse culture with the exception of Carnival. I try, however, to create in a manner or style that is accepted across the board by everyone or anyone with a sense of style and simplicity.
What do you do when you experience a creative block?
I try to engage myself with visual stimulants whether is by skimming through stylish magazines like GQ or sometimes even viewing music videos from a few of my favourite entertainers, but video gaming tends to really help aka "pyounging game".
How do you make the leap from a "Spark" in your head to the action you produce?
I literally go right to my workshop or wherever my materials are and begin to create the "Spark", or sometimes I head to the retailer to get all or most of the material I would need to create what I thought up, in the event I didn't have any at the time.
Do you have any special rituals that you do to achieve your creative goals?
Hmmm.. no, not really.
Stylistically, has your creativity changed as you have matured? If it has changed, please explain how?
Stylistically I am a lot simpler now, my designs are really clean and minimal. A few years back, let's just say it was the opposite lol.
What has been the greatest sacrifice that you have made for your craft?
Not having the comfort of a stable 8 to 4 as they call it.
Who or what has helped you to persevere and not quit?
Satisfied customers and clients who turned into loyal friends of the brand that don't allow me to rest or lapse on creating new items.
Do you believe that it is important to be accepted by others as being creative or is just doing what you love to do enough to justify your work? Explain.
Doing what you love is always enough, seeking the acceptance of others sometimes means conforming to their ideas and that may not always be in line with your taste or style.
Has rejection ever affected your creative process? Explain.
Nope. I'm a bit cocky when it comes to my brand, so rejection doesn't phase me.
Looking at what you have created in the past, would you change anything today? Why or why not?
I think I would have changed a lot of my past styles if not all.
Style changes with time and the more someone grows the more they learn as well as develop.
Have you ever doubted your talent? If so, how did you work through your doubt?
Constantly doubting my talents helps me work harder to better my talents. I think if I allow myself to get comfortable, it will then make me lazy creatively.
What piece of work are you most proud? Why?
All to be honest. Simply because every item I produce I have to put my name on, which means I have to put my all into it. So, in reality, each piece has a bit of me when it leaves.
What is the best advice you've received that helped you move forward on your creative journey?
Eldon Thomson told me once "only you can do what you do, God gave you a gift and your gift is the talents you possess, so appreciate the gifts you were given and use them, cause only you have the talents you have".
To a young Creative emerging in your field, what advice would you impart unto them?
Be yourself. Do what makes you happy or makes you feel good.
For what would you like to be most remembered?
Being a down to earth, stylish, cool, friendly, professional and caring person to both friends, clients, family and strangers.
If you were a crayon, what would be the name of your colour?
Matte Black... it's both Bold & Simple. Adaptable & Stylish.