Meet Chiel De Cuyper, your new host and co-curator of Let’s Talk Design in Ghent. To give a proper introduction I thought it was a good idea to ask him a couple of questions to get to know him.
What is your background?
My background is a pegboard on a wooden wall. It has some personal stuff on it like a stretcher gun, headphones, some sponges (there’s a story to it), Pinocchio, a painting of two-legged cat and some small design books.
If you’re asking about my life my first steps into graphic design were copying famous logos by hand. No, not a fraud. Just a kid exploring. A few years later that same kid got became obsessed with cars, especially Formula 1 racing cars and started designing body wraps for them. After the car thing blew over I developed my strange addiction in camouflage patterns. I designed so many of them as a kid I was quit suprised to find out the American army didn’t ask me for their new space uniforms. With ever-growing interests in art, illustration and design in the years to come it was only evident that I started education in law. Wait, what?! Yeah, and you would think a fox isn’t caught twice in the same snare. Well this one did get caught twice. So after failing my first year of law twice I finally started my graphic design education at the academy of Antwerp. After graduating I started to develop myself as a brand designer and brand strategist.
How did you end up at Wisefools?
After the academy, I ventured in few small agencies learning a lot about the technical stuff, like how to save a pdf and how to turn on a computer. However, I was never quit content with the types of projects or clients they brought to the table. In the years to come I went solo and started my own business. It was a creative revelation but also a though learning school. The only thing missing at that point were peers I could turn to for inspiration, feedback, progress and collaboration. It was then I realized I wasn’t made for the lone road. So, I rang the Wisefools doorbell and they let me in. Hello fools!
What are some of the key learning moments in your career?
• Going to art exhibitions as a kid (seeing the works of Jasper Johns, Pollock and Caravaggio to name a few)
• My very first graphic design job sure was a learning experience. Damn, I didn’t know shit.• The first time I attended a design conference and I discovered the wide world of creativity
• Staying up all night long waiting for feedback. What I learned from it? Not to do that.
• Nowadays every collaboration, workshop, brainstorm with clients, colleagues, peers…
Why are you hosting Let’s Talk Design in Gent? What is your motivation?
Conferences as such for me are a true source of inspiration. In my opinion it’s only logical you keep your eyes open for changes in the field. Staying relevant is the corner stone of progress. Talks are also a great way of connecting with other creatives and as such it’s perfect for expanding your personal network. Furthermore, the level of talks at ‘Let’s Talk Design’ is always of high standards so it feels amazing I can participate / contribute like this.
Can you give 5 tips for starting designers?
• Every experience matters. The process is as important as the result.
• Play, have fun and be curious.
• Take your mind off all the design stuff occasionally. An empty head makes for a clear mind.
• Find your focus. Don’t try to do it all. Be excellent in one thing instead of being mediocre in a dozen fields.
• Don’t take yourself to serious all the time. Why walk all the time? Tried galloping from your desk to the coffeemaker? Go ahead, it’s fun!