“Working hard, being kind—that’s really important. Not taking anything or anyone for granted. Chill out. Be kind to people. Be calm when you can. Talk about things.”
Phoebe Lovatt—founder of The WW Club, a space for working women worldwide—hosted the latest edition of Work Party at a Hollywood Breather space. Adi Goodrich, award-winning set designer, art director and photographer, was the guest of honour, where she shared some advice on how to get creative and stay inspired.
Read more below!
In the “slashie” era, it’s almost derogatory to describe someone as a jack of all trades–but there’s truly not much Adi Goodrich can’t do. She designs products! She builds sets! She takes photos! She directs commercials! She lectures, curates, and gives workshops! The Los Angeles-based creative director is a veritable Woman Of Many Talents, casting rainbows wherever she focuses her aim.
I first discovered Adi’s work when I, too, was living and working in Los Angeles. The initial introduction was made by Ann Friedman (another highly-accomplished Woman Of Many Talents) who recommended Adi for a series of profiles I was writing on interesting creative women in the city. A quick Google later, and I was lost in AdiLand; an enchanting, colour-soaked parallel universe of geometric pastel landscapes and saturated gradient skies.
Whether she’s creating sets for Target or producing educational books for kids, Adi’s work bears the hallmark of a true out-the-box thinker with an aptitude for both humour and hue. And so it was Adi I first approached in late 2014, when I wanted to bring a dreamworld of my own to life.
I’d been granted temporary residency of the basement of the Eastern Columbia Building in downtown L.A. and was dreaming about creating a special, subterranean space just for women, where we could work and hang together. It was a big ask on a tiny budget, but Adi saw the vision and thankfully, was up for the challenge.
Working in a completely stripped-back space on an absurdly tight timeframe, Adi used her imagination and practical skills to create the very wonderland I envisioned, conjuring up the most beautiful pink-painted work and event space in a matter of mere days. I called that space The Working Women’s Club, and it was the start of so many things for me—not least a lifelong appreciation for Adi and her magical hands.
Since then, I’ve followed Adi’s progress and many projects, including the evolution of the charmingly-named Sing-Sing Studio, which she recently co-founded with her boyfriend Sean Pecknold on Chung King Road in LA’s Chinatown. When I returned to Los Angeles recently to host a Work Party session, Adi was the first person I asked to share her creative philosophy as a guest mentor of honor. Luckily, she obliged. Below are some of her many gems.
On Staying Inspired
“This sounds cheesy but I get really excited looking at a tree up close, and then looking at a tree from afar…My studio is in Chinatown, so it has this beautiful landscape of architecture, colours, and finishes. I’m always taking photos and putting them into folders on my computer and then keeping track so that when I get a job I’m not like: “Here are all these cool artists of today that I’m referencing”, but it’s more like: “I’m referencing this sick wall I saw in Chinatown, or this tile I saw on a trip to Japan.” You know? You can find inspiration outside of Pinterest and Instagram. Look at the world!
On Her Creative Philosophy
“Working hard, being kind—that’s really important. Not taking anything or anyone for granted. Chill out. Be kind to people. Be calm when you can. Talk about things. I feel like that’s the lady part of being a lady; we tend to look at things in a more calm and caring way.”
On the Pros and Cons of the ‘Gram
“A good thing about social media is that it’s often very positive, but sometimes you gotta talk real talk. Sometimes you have to call a friend and tell them you’re having a really difficult time with your career, right? No one wants to put that on social media, so social media is this kind of little cloud, where everything is cool and chill. I wanted to feel some realness from people, I wanted real talk, I wanted to feel things, I wanted to make art, for art’s sake, and explore what it was like to not be on social media for a couple months—just as an experiment. I was going on walks. I felt healthier. I felt better. I was looking more.”
On Establishing ‘Work-Life Balance’
“One thing that I did a few years ago was to decide to cut off emails at 6 p.m. After a while people realize you’re a business—I’m a human, but I’m also a business, and I have business hours. It was really cool to realize I’m at a place that I can do that, too. I think boundaries are about actually looking at yourself and being like: “If I was in business in a little tiny storefront, what would that look like? How would I close those doors? How do I maintain that storefront?” Just thinking about yourself as a business rather than a go-getter woman that can do it all, which is exhausting.”