Creativity is one of the most valuable assets that one can deal with. It earns the future, often the future of many. The ability to create is sparked easily but in order to successfully master this powerful tool one must be committed. Committed to put in the time and effort, and a level of dedication that crafts ideas into reality.
GAHSP had the chance to sit down and talk to Cesar Idrobo, Head Pattern and Sample Maker at Yeezy, the creative mind - and hand - behind some of the most recent innovative concepts out there. The conversation sparked plenty of ideas, leaving it up to its readers how to translate the inspiring words into their own worlds.
What is your story as a Creative?
I’m from Colombia, I came here to the United States to study English as a second language and then, after completing that, it led me to pursuing college. I ended up doing my education in industrial design and then later on, after working for a year, I decided to pursue my graduate studies in accessory design where I learned how to make shoes and bags. Overall my creative journey has been geared towards building up my skills and my expertise towards becoming a Creative that has the ability to make things reality.
After I finished graduate school I did an apprenticeship which I heard it’s a little bit rare during your education in your profession. I did an apprenticeship with master shoemaker Marcell Mrsan for six months. It was pretty intense. Six days a week, 8 to 10 hours a day depending on what was needed. It was a really good exposure to knowing what it takes to be a shoemaker.
VALUES /// PROBLEMS
What are three fundamental values that you would like to embrace throughout your career?
IDEA /// INSPIRATION
As creators, we have to think about ideas that we’re creating, and we have to be mindful of where those ideas come from. I value my sources of inspiration a lot, just because that dictates the direction of what you create.
You could be at the right source of inspiration but if you don’t know how to translate that inspiration into what you’re trying to create, into your field, if anything goes missing in that translation from inspiration to idea, the essence of it could get lost. I would prefer being good at translating rather than being at the right place at the right moment because I don’t think there is such a thing. I think it depends on how you perceive and how you use that inspiration towards your ideas.
CREATION /// CRAFTSMANSHIP
Moving onto the creation aspect of things I value a lot craftsmanship because people have to live with your execution, not with your ideas. I would rather have an ‘okay’ idea but a very well executed concept, rather than having a really great idea, poorly executed.
METHODOLOGY /// AESTHETICS
To me values could also be translated into methodology, how you operate, how you think, how you work. I see it as a way of working, it’s the values that I have as a creative, it’s just having that regiment, that methodology of doing things. It’s not limiting, it’s more like a way for you to articulate and organise your thoughts.
There’s a time for methodology and there’s a time for aesthetics. It depends on the situation, depends on what’s needed at the moment. If I had to pick one, it would be aesthetics, just because of the visual aspect of an aesthetic, of what it looks like - because that’s what we perceive. Methodology is more process related, more personal, something I do to get the aesthetics I need.
What are three relevant problems that you wish to solve or improve with the help of your work?
I think it’s communication and how to clearly express your ideas. Making sure people from the outside are on the same page as you when it comes to your idea, what you’re trying to achieve, the vision that you are trying to show. Communication and visualisation, like expressing your ideas clearly, making sure they resonate with what you are trying to do - to me that’s the biggest challenge.
Execution and craftsmanship, especially when you’re trying to do something new, it takes a couple of trial-and-errors to get to a level that is presentable. So, being willing to take those steps, if I had to do something twice or three times, are you willing to do it? Not giving up at the first try, if it didn’t end up looking the way you just thought it was going to look. I think it’s important to spend enough time on a certain idea and then keep working on it until you get to the stage where you can make a better informed decision whether or not you want to pursue that idea. So that will be the second one. Trying enough times.
The third challenge would be judging at the end when you’re done creating something. Judging if this product relates to the brief or to what you were asked to do - does this relate, is this relevant to the big picture of what you’re working towards. Those are tough questions that you have to ask yourself towards the end of the creative process - is this contributing to a bigger cause, to a bigger picture?
I think I lean towards organic, just because in the process of making something, you make it work. Organic yields for a different outcome every time. From a wider range of ideas, I think it’s more suitable for creativity.
Some projects will give you that experience that might not be useful at that time but it might be useful later, so you gain that experience that you went through by doing. It’s very rewarding at the end saying that I created a reality. You gain confidence, you gain intuition, you gain knowledge. You know, just overall, you gain a lot.
How are we going to bring more focus onto creating positively and creating positivity?
Question asked by Thierry Chow, Feng Shui Designer, Hong Kong
This answer could be split into two aspects. Making people feel good about creating, celebrating creation and creativity, celebrating the courage that it takes to create something - I think that itself is an accomplishment. And then, even though what you created might not be perfect, I think it’s worth documenting and saving because what you do could inspire someone else to do something else or something different. Creating that environment, creating that space, having this conversation that we are having - it’s important for people to be exposed to experiences because people look for inspiration, people look for the right trigger that will help them to carry out what they want to do. This is a clear example of what helps push things forward in a positive direction.
How will the value we place on aesthetic shift in the future, both collectively and individually?
Question asked by Kate Devine, Writer, Paris
I think it depends on the viewer. Making sure the viewer values the artistic interpretation of the artist or of whoever is creating. You have to appreciate their creation for what it is. From the artist’s point of view, it’s about creating something that is unique.
The viewer being open to new experiences and the artist being open to creating new experiences. For both the viewer and the artist, making sure the relationship is healthy and that it’s very receptive.
I think education is a very effective way to help people empathise and help people connect better with creatives just because when you go through the process of creating, you go through an art class, a drawing class, you can resonate, you can relate with what artists are doing, creating. You go through the same process, you go through the same dilemmas, you go through the same struggles, challenges, so I think taking that step of going to art classes and being in a creative environment helps you to speak that same language.
How will the parameters of artistic taste be defined in the future with increased automation and technologies?
Question asked by Jonny, Photographer & DJ, Las Vegas
I think there is a space for a happy, harmonious relationship for that type of medium and for those resources. I think, to me, technology is just another tool, I wouldn’t say it’s another result or like the ultimate final result. I don’t see it as the latest and ultimate frontier.
How can art be used for personal and collective forms of meditation and as a tool to express the injustices we see today?
Question asked by Asia Ahmed, Poet & Photographer, London
I think being creative and creating, it’s in our nature, allowing us to have the space, the time and the tools to do so. It’s healthy, it goes with who we are. Having these conversations, being in creative spaces, being involved in creative courses, it’s good for us. It’s good for the soul, it’s good for the mind, it’s good for your heart. And again, just because that’s who we are. We are creative creatures, and I think that is also what separates us from the rest. We have the ability to create, to be creative. No one else can do that. It’s powerful.
I think it’s important for the creative to set the pace and set the vision, because you have the power to influence how people think, how people perceive when you’re creating. So I think it is our responsibility to make sure we push for a certain vision. When we try to please everyone, nothing great comes out of it, so I think it’s important for us to create something that’s strong in every level, like functionality, aesthetics, innovation.
I just want to be in the position where I am able to bring more ideas to reality. Sometimes that’s the challenge I have, it’s not having all the assets to bring things to life - but by having all the right tools, all the proper settings, I think, it will allow me to bring more to life. That would be my only wish.
/// ON SUCCESS
What is your definition of success?
I think to me, success is being happy with what you do, having fun when you are doing what you are doing. I think that’s when you know, you made the right choice.
SUCCESS /// RESPONSIBILITY
I think just the responsibility, I will call it commitment, just having the commitment to do your job, to do your part. If you don’t do it, then there’s no success, there’s no result. So first, you have to be responsible for putting in the time, putting in the effort to make things work.
Responsibility to educate others on how to be as successful, or even more successful than you.
SUCCESS /// FAILURE
You have to fail in order for you to find out why it didn’t work out, and then try again, which increases the chances of you being more successful. If you haven’t failed, you wouldn’t have been successful - failure is needed in order for success.
SUCCESS /// PROGRESS
They are like synonyms, I would say to go hand-in-hand. Sometimes failure is not failure, it’s just progress. It just means that you haven’t arrived at the destination yet, to success. Progress and failure are in the same plane which leads to success.
Written and edited by Julia Horvath
Image Courtesy by Cesar Idrobo