Firstly, what does success mean for you? (How much of a role does your creativity play in your career? Do you want creativity to be your only source of income or are you looking at other possibilities?)

I’m not keen on the word success because it’s a completely relative concept that looks wildly different for everyone. Society tends to equate success with financial success or important sounding titles, and I try to separate myself from that as much as I can. It depresses me that worth is so often measured based on those values.

Success is also not a constant. It’s not something you achieve once and get to keep. A career is full of ups and downs, successes and failures. For now, my goal is to be able to continue to support myself through my freelance work, because I love the freedom it gives me! It’s tricky at times but I’m so glad to have found an alternative to the 9-5 office routine that works for me. I’m sure I won’t be able to sustain it forever, but I plan on having lots of different jobs and careers in my life!

How do you cope with the hypercompetitive market of today? (In your area of interest, do you have any techniques on staying relevant? Do you have an agent?)

Yes, there’s lots of competition out there. But for freelancers that work on the internet like me, the world is literally our oyster. We can look for work all over the globe! That’s not to say that commissions are always flowing, a lot of time goes into reaching out and promoting my portfolio, it’s a whole full time job in and of itself.

I’m represented by a wonderful agency (Folio Illustration) and consider myself extremely lucky to have them, as a lot of that workload gets taken care of by them. I don’t think you should compromise your style for the sake of staying relevant as things change so quickly and trends come and go. But I do think it’s important to keep up with technology and new creative tools that are being made available.

Promoting yourself and your work should not be considered negatively. Have you found that this is the case? How have you found is the most effective way to make your voice heard among the many that are out there?

That is not my experience at all! There is a wonderful creative community online that posts and shares and likes and forwards and I love that exchange. I’m proud to show my work and I gather lots of creative energy from other artists doing the same.

That being said, in my experience the best way to reach out for professional enquirers is through good old fashioned email. Speaking of staying relevant, do you feel it is true that there is an “expiry date” on graduates for them to be interesting or is there merit in a “slow cook” approach to your reputation?

Everyone’s creative voice develops differently and at different paces. University can be a wonderful experience but it doesn’t guarantee any kind of creative breakthrough. I know there’s a lot of pressure for students to find work immediately after graduation, but the reality is that those two things aren’t necessarily correlated.

Hard work and dedication is a must to get anywhere, that much is clear. But everyone’s story is a little different, what’s the one thing you wished you’d learned sooner?

Perhaps admitting that yes – hard work and dedication are essential – but a whole lot should be attributed to pure luck and circumstance. I know plenty of brilliant artists who are struggling, and that’s not from lack of work nor talent. Opportunity isn’t always given to the people who deserve it.

If you had a miracle two-step plan for success, what would it be? Visualise the kind of lifestyle that would make you feel happy and fulfilled, and chose a type of work that will allow that. Your desired lifestyle should dictate the type of work you do – not the other way around.

Most people don’t have the luxury not to prioritise money as a means of survival, I understand that. But there are so many alternative ways of living that don’t need to circle around conventional professional roads to ‘success’.

Check out more of Kiki here: