NAME: Alex Saba
COMPANY: Lusid Art
TITLE(S): Visual Story Teller/Illustrator
How would you describe yourself in 5 words?
Passionate, supportive, driven, resourceful, honest
What is the long version of how you got to where you are today?
(Sorry, it’s a long one!)
I’m only 24, and I’ve already come full circle. I still struggle to describe it, as it still leaves me in disbelief…
I grew up with a family background in fashion, but I never realized drawing was almost always in the forefront. I started drawing clothes on manila folders when I was very young and then something clicked, and my whole life and focus turned towards jewellery making and it turns out I was good at it!
I actually discovered Samantha Wills around this time (around 10 years ago) and she had an internship in Port Macquarie and I was too young for it. I made jewellery from year 7, selling it to teachers at school and entering (and winning) every design competition. By 2009, still making jewellery, my designs were just as detailed as my illustrations.
When I graduated, I went straight into studying fashion – where again I realized my strength was in drawing (definitely not sewing!) I even remember my illustration teacher saying my watercolour illustration was too detailed?! Jewellery making, and my love for it faded around 2011 as I was essentially creating pieces of art, too expensive to be sold and I could barely part with them. Right out of graduating my Diploma of fashion, I got an opportunity as an intern at SABA and moved to Sydney in 2012. The internship was NOT my jam, especially in design – my initiative and networking skills were totally unappreciated. I lived in Sydney for 8 months working 5 -7 days a week, I started getting lonely and bitter and another switch happened. To occupy myself I started drawing.
I was in my “individual” phase and I didn’t want to draw what I saw, I wanted it to feel familiar but not how you knew it, and that’s basically where Lusid Art came from. Even the spelling is familiar, but not how you know it to be. I came home and to keep creating – that plan spiralled, I became obsessed, I was challenging myself and creating so much “newness” and people were liking it. From 2013 – I started connecting with people I admired because of what of I was creating.
One of the first people to recognize me was Alison Wonderland, this was a very big part of why I kept going. I knew I had something and I was not giving it up, from there I kept connecting with people – my initiative, inspiration and passion SKYROCKETED and I became Lusid Art. Fast forward to 2015, I tried Uni for a year and a half and it did the opposite of what I hoped, little did I know the decision of leaving would lead me to working with a business coach, having my work published and produced globally and even QUITTING MY RETAIL JOB?! I started a plan to create things for those I love, such as Samantha Wills, which in turn led me to my dream job of drawing for my original idol, Samantha herself. Truly full circle. The last 4 years has been a whirlwind and as you can see, drawing and finding my passion and running with it has literally changed my life.
I think it is really important people can explain their main message in a concise paragraph – if the above is the full version - What is your elevator pitch on what you do?
I’m Lusid Art, a visual storyteller and illustrator. I create detailed illustrations, specializing in custom fashion and music/ians inspired creative concepts. I challenge you to rethink what you already know.
Are you doing what you thought you would be doing 10 years ago? (If not, what did you think you would be doing?)
I was creating jewellery 10 years ago and I was only 14, I don’t think I ever saw past fashion and jewellery but as much as I loved my past creations, I couldn’t ask for more where I am right now.
What does ‘success’ mean to you, and do you consider yourself ‘successful’?
I think I am successful, although I think with social media the definition can be blurred. I’m successful because in the time of illustrating I’ve been lucky enough to never become “stuck”. Instead, I’ve grown, adapted and connected with some of the most incredible people. Illustration has given me confidence and because of that I’ve put myself out there and in doing that – things have happened. I’ve made them happen and I’m proud of that.
What do you still want to achieve (personally and/or professionally)
So much, as confident as I am with my practice, I have so much to learn, creatively and professionally. I want so many opportunities, I want to create for my inspirations and be known on a larger/global scale for my work but I know they will come with growth and persistence and when they do, me and my work will be ready for it.
Did you study anything specific for the career you are in?
Totally self taught.
What have been the most rewarding things in your career to date?
Working with Samantha Wills, for obvious reasons was monumental. And being recognized by people I admire. Also quitting my job, I never even considered that as a possibility.
Tell us about your workspace (Office/café/couch/aesthetic) what inspires you about your workspace?
My workspace is relaxed, to be honest there’s not a strong aesthetic but in time it will be. My space has walls filled with inspiration from all walks of life. But weirdly not my own work.
What are some frustrations you have experienced on your career journey?
I think the most frustrating thing I’ve experienced so far has been comparison and competition – I’ve supported people in the past, it’s in my nature and it just turned sour and it became a really confusing and frustrating time period because I started to think my work wasn’t enough, I saw those people have relationships and past/present opportunities that weren’t appreciated, and something I work very hard for (always) and it was overwhelming – I just had to take some time and really evaluate things in myself and although hard – has made me even more driven because I know my worth from that.
When was the last time you were overwhelmed & cried from something provoked by work/workload?
I think it was the end of last year, I was working so hard and things weren’t really moving for me, I started freaking out thinking should I even be doing this (working fulltime)? I stuck at it and this year I finally started to see results from the hard work.
Would you say you put pressure on yourself? Has this increased or decreased as you progress in your career?
HAHAHAH Holy shit. Yes, I put pressure on myself and yes, it’s increased – because I’ve put myself in a position where I’m responsible for my income. Most of the time my friends and family see it as a negative but it drives me, it’s my fire. Yes, sometimes it’s too much but I couldn’t be happier where I’ve gotten myself and along the way I’ve learnt to take things off my plate.
If you are a business owner, and you often can’t just check out/ have a week off when you are dealing with personal things, how do you keep on keeping on with your business when things get tough?
Even in the year of full-time creative life – I’ve seen the waves. November-December, I was freaking things weren’t happening, money wasn’t coming in. January – March, I sold more in 2 months than I did in the whole previous year, and commissions were coming in. By the time I had another quiet period in April I freaked less because I knew these were waves. I just keep working towards my own personal goals and am always ready for work, but in the meantime, I’m always making things happen.
Has your career affected your personal life/relationships? If so how?
Yes, I’d like to think in a positive way mostly, from being creative I’ve just attracted an incredible creative support network and close friends who get it – and that’s also why everyone is beyond supportive of each other and we drive each other.
Has your journey at times felt lonely? How?
No, even though I’ve gone through competition, unstable income, let downs – I’ve always been supported
What causes you anxiety/sleepless nights?
People! I’m learning, but I still find it hard to deal with people in negative or high-pressure situations.
If you had your time over again, from when you started your career to right now, would you do anything differently?
I don’t think so, the hardest parts have been the best lessons and I just keep banking it up for the next hurdle
What advice would you give your 21 year old self?
Things will always change and you’re just going to have to roll with it because you, out of all people will find your way and make it work.
Who are some women in business you admire & why?
There’s a lot. But the stand outs.
Samantha Wills – she never took no for an answer, she knew she was onto something and she was relentless
Jasmine Dowling – Not only has she supported me, but she’s dealt with so much in her career already and handled it with so much grace and she’s always gone against the grain and gone her own way – we’re close in age so she was the one to really show me what’s possible
Ecca Vandal – That girl is so genuine and filled with so much passion, talent and love and is like a finger print – there’s just no one else out there like her and it’s set her apart and taking her places
Alison Wonderland – She’s relentless, creative and supportive and now she’s using her success to support the world that’s supported her. I wouldn’t be where I am with out these ladies.
What traits do you admire in people you surround yourself with?
Honesty, openness, acceptance, passion, support, balance
Work life balance; does it exist (I don’t think it does!) and how to maintain it, or a sense of it?
95% of the time I don’t see drawing as work, I could keep drawing around the clock (if I didn’t love sleep so much) and I know if I don’t rest my mind my work isn’t as good. I take most weekends off and I call that my reset so I’m fresh for the next week.
Have you ever thought about giving up / quitting? If so, does that feeling hit from the same triggers? Why haven’t you quit?
I thought about going back to retail, it definitely gave me the same dying internally trigger. I didn’t quit because I knew the amazing plans I created for myself would keep me too busy and when things come up unexpectedly because they ALWAYS do, I didn’t want a team to depend on me when I couldn’t commit to something I didn’t want to do.
What is the biggest misconception about what you do?
That’s a hard one. I think from the outside – people think things are always happening for me maybe they are and I’m too busy working, it’s not that they’re not happening but I just see it in a different way
What advice would you give someone who is starting out in your industry?
Depend on and trust yourself first and foremost – people will always put themselves first and work hard in silence and be nice to people.
If you knew what you know now, about how much work was involved to get you to where you are now, would you do it again or do something different, if so, what?
No – that’s been half the fun and I wouldn’t have learned as much as I have. If anything, I might be a little less quick to react to things – that would save myself stress.
I like the quote ‘Don’t just have a job, have a purpose’ - What do you want your legacy to be?
Determination pays off – when you find your purpose, it doesn’t mean it’ll be less hard, but the reward will be worth more than anything you can ever ask for.
The SAMANTHA WILLS FOUNDATION is about bringing women in business together – why do you think this is important/(why did you want to be involved in this interview)?
The people that have made the most difference in my life are almost all women – I think that says something. This has become more and more important to me since taking illustration seriously. I think having unquestionable support, consciously and subconsciously makes the hard parts easier. There’s always someone who has been in a similar situation and that can be of support. I think an important part of giving that support too, is not expecting anything in return and even if it’s hard sometimes, celebrating your peer’s successes genuinely – those two qualities in support can make a big difference for someone.
What are some of your favorite quotes?
Be the better person – Mum (1992 – present).
It’s not the lack of resources, it’s your lack of resourcefulness that stops you – Tony Robbins
What woman would you like to nominate to be featured for a profile on the SW Foundation, and why? Jasmine Dowling – Seeing this girl flourish into her own brand, she’s dealt with so much trouble with her work and even herself being replicated. She’s dealt with it like a legend and it’s motivated her to always be different, and challenge her practice and also be honest and authentic with people that admire her.