Architect and Designer Raven Hardison I met through our mutual friends Aejie Rhyu. After 2 years of friendship, she modeled for the webstore . Raven is unbelievably talented at what she does, so here are 5 questions uncovering more about her design career. She graduated with a masters in Architecture from Yale, and now works at world renowned firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP or SOM in downtown Los Angeles.
Jill: What woman living today do you find to be the most inspirational?
Raven: I’m a huge a fan of Shonda Rhimes. She’s fierce! And so talented. The woman is unstoppable. And such a wonderful combination of creativity and business savvy. But really it's so hard to choose! We are lucky to live in a time with so many inspiring women to look up to. Living in such a political time, I've been happy to have fighters out there like Kampala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Michele Obama and of course Hillary Clinton. But everyday it seems I'm learning about someone wonderful, just yesterday I read an article about Pat Cleveland in Lena Dunham and Jenni Conner’s newsletter, “Lenny.” These are truly amazing times.
Jill: What were the roots to your creative career?
Raven: My dad is an artist, so I grew up around an ever changing assortment of canvases, paints and sculptures-in-progress. But of course like so many children, I rebelled and refused to do art. I instead studied music, singing in choruses and playing piano, for most of my childhood. And then a couple of months before heading off to college for the first time I picked up a pencil and started drawing. It was pretty surprising. In college I started with art and architecture and never looked back.
Jill: Can you describe your creative process in a couple of steps?
Raven: The first step is always observation. When designing a building or a space, I first sit with paper and pencil and reflect on the challenge at hand with words and drawings. How does the site feel? How is the sun coming in? What are the best views of the surrounding landscape?
Next I put on my engineering hat and size up the meat of the design. What are the most significant problems? What are the most impactful goals?
The last step is the crazy process of iteration—trying one after the next, either in physical models or digital ones until a spark ignites. That moment—when you realize you’ve really got something—is always the best!
Jill: What did your parents do for their job, and did it have an impact on the path your chose for yourself?
My dad is a social worker by day and an artist by night. On the one hand, it taught me that home was where creative, crazy projects happened. My life to this day is an endless pile of projects! On the other hand, it instilled in me a lot of perspective. We grew up hearing about families who were experiencing really difficult times. It made me feel that in one’s work, it is important to strive to improve the lives of others.
Jill: What is your dream project?
To design and build an entire neighborhood! Residential design is fun, rich and satisfying—and the way that we live and interact with our homes is constantly changing. I love immersing myself in creating a beautiful backdrop for life’s experiences. And designing a whole neighborhood would lend the opportunity to combine two of my greatest loves: landscape and architecture.
Jill: Tell us about how you styled the piece you chose - the Dip dyed sunset tunic
Raven: This tunic is perfect so it doesn't need much. I wear it paired it with black leggings and black leather ankle boots. I try to let the shape and the ombre be the star.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and process Raven!