An Interview with Simon Rand

Hello all. It’s that time of the week again, when we introduce a creative type and ask them the seven handsome and pretty questions.

Today’s guest, Simon, brings a new slant to our usual interview. As you can read in his biog, he is “torn between … the left and right sides of his brain”. It’s something we here at H&P have been discussing a lot recently. About having people on here that are extremely creative but who channel that creativity through jobs which, from the outside, may not seem ‘artistic’. We sometimes think there are boundaries to what and who is an artist, but is this actually correct? Why is an accountant not creative working with figures and spreadsheets? Do you have to have a paintbrush in your hand or be on the stage? We certainly don’t think so.

So Simon is somewhere in between as he says himself …

“Simon Rand is director at iorum, a Dublin based web and mobile development company established in 2006. He has programmed since he was 7 years old, got into graphic design in his teens and studied industrial design in NCAD. As a result of this, Simon is constantly torn between satisfying both the left and right sides of his brain, not helped by a burning desire to return to his band playing days of old.”

How and where are you today?

 I’m good. The July rain is pouring down on the rooflights above me and I’m sitting at my shiny desk in our office in the very centre of Dublin. I’m sitting in a chair I wrote an essay about in college, which I bought with money I got with a design award I won when I graduated.

How would you describe the journey that has brought you to this place? And was this the destination you had in mind?

Looking back on it my journey has been much more calculated and intentional than I realised at the time. The control freak in me could be warping my memory to think this way, but there has been some moments where I made big decisions which I can clearly see affected where I am today. It’s obviously naive to think we are the sole orchestrators of our successes and failures, but I believe there is some truth in this, I feel too many people are too afraid to admit it and take responsibility for their actions and decisions.

 On the face of it, where I am at this point is pretty close to what I had in mind, but I don’t think anyone, or anything, can prepare you for the reality of when you arrive. I’ve come to accept that the process will never end, until I ultimately do. I’m glad that in some aspects of my life I never waited for the day I thought it would all start, but there are some other parts that I was a bit of a coward and spent time waiting for my wisdom or experience to tell me I was ready to begin.

Do you have a process to ensure you are in the right frame of mind to create?

I have grand ideas about this, but in reality I create when I have to. I’m happiest with the things I create when they just happen, but this is the rare case, usually for things to happen, I have to have some pressure applied. This does seems to be changing as I get older, maybe because my priorities are changing, as I realise I can no longer spend my life working, so that feels like it is be becoming the pressure that makes me create.

 As this changes I think it’s important to accept that you’ll sometimes be in the right frame of mind, and sometimes not, the key is giving yourself the time and space to allow this to happen.

 Day to day, I’m a terrible list maker and ignorer. I’ve tried every methodology, computer programme, app and web site, and I’ve yet to find the right way to give me the time I need to create. (Pen and notepad always wins by the way)

 How do you think your background and culture influences your creations?

I think these only influence me to a certain extent. There’s inevitable consequences as a result of your background, like the opportunities that you are given and the people you spend your days with, but I do believe there’s a cutoff point. I suppose when you enter the world on your own, you realise that these things are somewhat irrelevant, and at that point you can choose to carve your own way regardless of where you’ve come from.

In terms of my work, I don’t think there’s the opportunity to express myself greatly in what I do, my creations are far more functional than expressive. I’m ok with this, I’ll always have this to hide behind when someone criticises something I’ve done.

What does beauty mean to you?

Beauty is solace. It’s in a loved ones face, an environment, a painting, music, a product, a line of code, whatever gives you a sense of calm, joy or any other number of (both positive and sometimes negative) emotions. Beauty takes you from your own internal thoughts and reminds you that experiences are there to be had and creation is something we all have the power and ability to do.

If we had interviewed you when you were 11, what would you have told us you wanted to be when you grew up?

I’ve told this story to so many people at this stage.. I wanted the world, but I had three passions, cars, Lego and planes. I now have a friend who works as a designer for Aston Martin, I have another friend who works as a designer for Lego, that leaves a pilot–I think there’s still time for me yet?

What advice have you received that you want everyone to benefit from?

I’ve found this question the hardest, there’s very little advice that I’ve been given that I remember. No disrespect to anyone who’s given me advice, I’m sure it’s gone in and has been stored, but there’s not much coming to mind when I try and think of one particular piece.

Some advice that was important to me when I was younger was something my Mum used to say, I could be a bit of a anxious kid, and she always used to tell me that “everything will pass” if I was worried about something. I still use this to get me through things but as I’m a little older now this has taken on another meaning in that good things pass too, so it’s important to make the most of them.

***

Thank you so very much Simon, we love your answers. Welcome to the family!

handsome and pretty

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