Creative Conversations: Ely Kim + Dora Budor & Maja Cule
Interviewing interesting people is just one perk of being a Young Gun. Blog with the stars! Travel the internet! Enter YG11, May 1!
Ely Kim: Do you work mainly as fine artists now?
Dora Budor + Maja Cule: Yes. We don’t do design that much anymore.
Ely: I think that is awesome. I got my MFA in graphic design. But after I left graduate school I wanted to be an artist and make my own work.
D+M: Do you manage to do some work on your own?
Ely: Yeah, I do. It’s difficult when you are working as well. But I have definitely tried to keep up my own personal artistic practice. There are definitely some projects out there where my voice can come through, but I find it is fine for me to also separate that. It’s like, okay that is my professional work and what I’m doing for them and then I can do whatever I want when it comes to my own work.
D+M: Yeah, it gives you a certain freedom, which is important you know.
Ely: Yeah, definitely. What is your favorite movie?
D+M: I’m now really hooked on Cronenberg and I’m re-watching everything he’s done. But from time to time I’ll have my favorite director and then I watch just their stuff. So at the moment that is Cronenberg. And yours?
“Troop Beverly Hills…gave me some sort of funny ideas about wealth and luxury.”
Ely: Mine is Clueless. A lot of my favorite movies are from my childhood and it is kind of the most comforting. There is also a film called Troop Beverly hills. It’s about these girls in the Beverly Hills who have a girl scout troupe. They are all awkward because they are all rich and don’t know how to go camping. It was so ridiculous and over the top. As a child I watched it and thought, wow rich people have a lot of problems too. I thought that rich girls don’t have a perfect life, they’re awkward when they go camping. It is just particularly ridiculous and fun but it kind of gave me some sort of funny ideas about wealth and luxury. I like to make a lot of my work a sort of about that. I feel like a lot of my work is really influenced by growing up in Las Vegas.
What kind of specific perspective has growing up in Croatia given your work?
D+M: It gave us a lot of perspective. I think a lot of references we make are in contrast to what we used to do in Croatia. There are a lot of things in American culture that clash with eastern European culture which we use. Maybe even unconsciously sometimes.
Ely: I definitely see a lot of references to commercial work in your work. I was just wondering where that comes from.
“That is our reality, just an overload of imagery.”
D+M: We both started working as designers and we know what is happening in branding and advertising and we follow that. We find that very interesting actually because that is our reality, just an overload of imagery.
Ely: When you worked commercially as designers did you always have this inspiration to make your own work as fine art?
D+M: Yes, it was always like that. But sometimes you are happy just to do commercial work as commercial work and your own work where you don’t have to make any compromises.
Ely: I’m interested in how your creative partnership developed and how you guys feel about working together.
D+M: We started working together in design school and then we started a design studio together. We moved to New York and were working on different design projects and we at the same time wanted to change that and go more for fine art work. So it grew for us simultaneously and now we are doing completely different work, but we still collaborate together. It is really interesting because we end up doing much, larger, and much different things working by ourselves. We also like to collaborate with other people a lot because from working with other people you learn the most about work actually.
What are your plans for the future? What is your dream job?
Ely: I want to continue making my own work and having that be more of the focus of the things that I do. I’m also perfectly happy working on some commercial stuff and I think a lot of time I see my voice come through in odd ways that surprise me. But I think my number one is to just have fun.