Go Mighty’s 31 Days of Inspiring Women, #14: Adrienne Pitts
Meet Adrienne. She’s an award-winning art director (PPA named her 2012 Designer of the Year) and photographer from sunny New Zealand with an incurable case of wanderlust. She likes coffee, dogs, puddles of sunshine, foreign languages and far-off places. She now lives in London, and you can pretty much always find her with a camera in her hand.
Learn more about Adrienne’s story and her Life List below.
So, Adrienne, what’s your story?
I’m a New Zealand-born photographer and art director, currently living in London.
I’ve had a varied career path which has seen me work in both roles in a few different places around the world. I’m currently Art Director of Jamie Oliver’s food, travel and lifestyle magazine ‘Jamie’ here in London, whilst also freelancing as a photographer and doing the odd design project in my spare time.
My career to date has been a mixture of very hard work and a few fortuitous twists and turns! I completed a Bachelor of Design degree (majoring in Photography) at university in New Zealand after spending a year living in Chile as an exchange student. Having a year overseas before going to University really helped me feel confident in my chosen area of study, and also managed to feed my insatiable wanderlust. Whilst studying I had made sure that I had taken a lot of graphic design papers as well, so I was lucky in that when I was starting out, I did both photography and design to make ends meet… And I still do!
I’ve worked and lived in New Zealand, South Korea (a year spent teaching English to lovely little kids!), South America, and now London, where I have been based for the past 5 years. I always have a weather eye on the horizon, and my feet are starting to get tingly again!
I started specialising in magazine design about 7 years ago, first working on some smaller publications in New Zealand, then eventually relocating to London where I have worked on much larger titles. I’ve been in the role of Art director of Jamie for the past 4.5 years, and it has been a great pleasure to work on such a fantastic publication which gives me such great creative freedom. I even won an award for it last year!
I’ve been working on more side projects as of late, and am loving immersing myself in photography again. As to what the future holds, I think it might eventually be more photography, and a little less design. Participating in a creative retreat for photographers last year has really given me the push I needed to pursue what it is that makes me incredibly happy – which is taking photographs. My preferred genres are portraiture and travel photography – they combine my love of people, culture and travel and really make my heart sing.
Tell us a bit more about these ten goals from your life list. What’s the inspiration behind the goals you chose?
Unsurprisingly, when I read it back, most of them involve travel! I think it’s something about being from New Zealand - we are raised to go forth and travel and experience the world. I’m not sure that I’m ever going to be able to stop, though…
For me, life is about the experiences you have, the people you meet, and the impressions that these people and places make on you. Being in a creative field like photography means I get this amazing opportunity to document and share these things.
I’m a firm believer that travel makes us all more understanding, more tolerant, and more accepting of ways that are different to our own; and that if given the chance, we should all venture outside our comfort zones. Not only do you get a greater understanding of the world, but the sense of self (and of self-purpose) that it provides is pretty monumental.
My goals are a mixture of areas of personal and creative fulfillment – I know the things that already make me happy (creativity, travel, meeting new people, photography and design) and the things I know I want to do, but have yet to experience in life like raising a family and creating a home. I hope that these things will come together at some point. And that I will always hold a valid passport.
Any advice for others on how to stay motivated/focused on achieving their goals?
I think the thing that has held me in good stead is being willing to just give things a go. To take a leap, or to step out of my comfort zone in order to try something new – it’s what has worked best for me!
I have this kind of motto which I guess sounds a bit macabre, but it definitely works for me whenever I am um-ing and ah-ing over whether or not I should do something. And it’s that the only thing that is permanent in this world is death. So if I try something new or take that big risk and I end up not liking it, I can always change it. It helps me to remember this when I am scared or nervous about making a change, or taking a chance in life!
The other thing is to have confidence in yourself, and what you can offer the world. If you don’t believe in yourself then you can’t expect other people to either. Sometimes that can be a little easier said than done, but remember never to talk yourself or your work down. Accept critiques and be open to all feedback, as it’s the only way you will grow as a creative.
Follow Adrienne’s journey through completing her Life List here.
Want to make a Life List of your own? Easy—join the Go Mighty community here.
(Photo by Melissa Webb)