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Graduate Diploma Graphic Design graduate Thias Mota collaborates to create visual systems

Screen shot of web page with graphic design
  • Written byTyrone Huggins
  • Published date02 September 2021
Screen shot of web page with graphic design
Time Rebels
Graduate Diploma Graphic Design, Chelsea College of Arts, UAL | Photograph: Thias Mota

Thias Rodriques Mota recently graduated from the Graduate Diploma Graphic Design course at Chelsea College of Arts.

We spoke to Thias about her submission Time Rebels – a project about rebellion developed through collaborative workshops that grow into interlinked and self-generated visual systems.

How would you describe your practice?

Testing, experimenting, making and recording are an integral part of my research process.

As a designer I aim to be more visual and vocal about my work, inviting others to dive into my own process of exploration to share their perspectives, especially critical ones. I believe being more vulnerable and open-minded helps to push me forward as an artist.

I also like to incorporate collaborative practices within my work – it’s something I’ve enjoyed as a child and has just stuck with me. Getting other opinions and hearing how a certain thing make someone feel inspires me so much.

Screenshot of mood board
The Movement, work in progress
Graduate Diploma Graphic Design, Chelsea College of Arts, UAL | Photograph: Thias Mota

Can you tell us about the creative process and materials you have used?

This project was actually all about the process of making it. I have designed participatory and open access workshops in which activities required collaboration to be fully completed. Each workshop idea was pulled out from concepts mentioned inside The Movement’s Manifesto, which is a manifesto I first wrote in the early stages of my course.

I used different approaches to engage with these highlighted concepts – including stamping, layering, filling spaces and drawing according to arbitrary instructions. It was important to ensure participants were allowed to freely and creatively interact – in a physical and analogue way.

The outcomes were then placed in a squared grid in order to become part of a unified, modular and interlinked set. The modular grid system and coding are from a workshop I did in the beginning of this semester – Modularidad con Processing Nivel 1 – with the amazing Ecuadorian Designer and Illustrator Vanessa Zuniga. I used the base settings and knowledge learnt from that to adapt to this project.

What is the inspiration behind this project?

The inspiration came from a personal, intimate and powerful narrative that unfolded from the The Movement’s Manifesto, which became the research and development tools I needed to keep the project evolving with new concepts.

So, I would say that the motivation and proposal that holds it all together helps to design accessible workshops by turning the activities’ outcomes into collaborative visual languages. The aim is not to create uniform or predefined visuals. Instead, it is to embrace the spontaneous complexity that is generated by ever-changing and growing systems.

Image and text showing stages of research process
Workshop 4, research process
Graduate Diploma Graphic Design, Chelsea College of Arts, UAL | Photograph: Thias Mota

How has your practice adapted through the pandemic?

I do believe that the pandemic wasn’t an easy scenario for anyone. However, being in a learning environment kept my head away from overthinking or feeling stuck. For a while I had to adapt to different time zones – 4 hours apart – but it ended up being manageable. It wasn’t an easy year overall, but it was very much needed in terms of professional practice. It definitely changed my perspective in finding new alternative ways of doing things.

How have you found your transition from creating from home to being back in the studio?

For me it was great! I was actually counting the days for this to happen. Being around other people made me feel so much more motivated and inspired. Talking to my classmates, getting to know their thoughts and how they work, being part of a collaborative project, it all made this last unit feel lighter and more manageable. Also, being able to enjoy the university’s facilities made all the difference for me.

Screenshot of homepage of website showing brand assets including toolkit and manifesto
Time Rebels website
Graduate Diploma Graphic Design, Chelsea College of Arts, UAL | Photograph: Thias Mota

What are your future plans?

My plans are to mainly put into practice what I have learnt so far and keep expanding. For now, I do believe that I need some tangible work experiences. Career-wise I would love to work in a more experimental design studio, a place where I could explore alternative ways of learning but also deal with real clients and demands.

Do you have any advice for students considering studying on your course?

Be open-minded and willing to “deconstruct” yourself along the course. There will be many new paths for you to explore and experiment.

I would say that it was a personal and professional journey for me. A journey that went by so quickly but made me grow so much. It is intense and incredible – all at once. So, enjoy every minute, every class and every opportunity. Extract the most from activities and grasp all possible knowledge from the amazing professionals that will cross your way.

And one last piece of advice – strive to do your best in every project. Trust your process, listen to advice and don’t let self-doubt defeat you.