We had the good fortune of connecting with Emilie Hahn and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Emilie, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
To me, working independently as a freelancer allows flexibility, which was a big motivator. I love the variety of working on design projects, illustration, or stop motion animation, either collaboratively or independently. Having this flexibility is so fulfilling to me, as I find each medium supports and informs the others.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I work primarily as a graphic designer, but recently I’ve been exploring more illustration and stop motion animation. I’ve always loved stop motion and wanted to find a way to bring it into my work. So much of my design work is digital, which is why I love using clay and tactile materials to create funky experimental animations that explore taboo topics. It’s a great way to express myself, get away from the computer screen and just try something new. Building props from clay and animating by hand require so much patience, but there’s something so magical about pressing play and seeing a piece of clay or paper come to life.
Overall, building a creative career has been so challenging but so rewarding. Everyday I’m testing myself, pushing myself to do more creatively, and make the best work I possibly can. It can be hard to set clear work/life boundaries when creativity is both your career and your passion, so I make sure and schedule in downtime to avoid burnout. It’s so important to establish boundaries and delineate clear off hours for yourself, which is a skill I’m constantly practicing. Some jobs have more clear on/off hours, but to me creativity is always flowing, like a stream. For example, I’ll think about a project while I’m working on it, but I’ll also mull it over while I walk the dog, make coffee, or take a shower. Sometimes the best ideas come to you when you step aside and let it float through your brain unconsciously.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would take them to breakfast at Little Flower Candy Co. in Pasadena, for a delicious coffee and pastry. I also love browsing their store for cute candies, books and homewares. Then we’d spend the day walking around Huntington Gardens, or museum-hopping at LACMA, MOCA, and The Broad. And dinner at Hippo in Highland Park. They have the most charming patio, and their Ocean Trout is truly ~ chef’s kiss ~.
For a more lazy day, I’d share a cheese and charcuterie board from MilkFarm in the park, or lounge at Tilda wine bar, snacking on olives, cheese and wine. Haha, can you tell I love food?
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There is truly an army of people in my life that deserve a shoutout! I am so grateful to every coworker, teacher, friend, and collaborator that I’ve met along the way. I’ve learned so much from each and every one of them. I’m particularly grateful to my parents, for always supporting me in pursuing a creative career, and my boyfriend, who always humors me when I ask for his opinion on a new design for the 100th time. They keep me sane and humble!