Kanya Iwana
Art Director / Photographer / Visual Designer

Kanya Iwana

Art Director / Photographer / Visual Designer

Los Angeles, California

www.kanyaiwana.com
Instagram @kanyaiwana

 

WHAT DO YOU DO?

I’m an avant garde art director and visual + performance artist.

In the visual world I provide services like photography, graphic design, web / UX design, but I also extend my services to branding and identity consultation, art direction for photoshoots and film, and social media curation.

In the performance world, I’m signed to Clear Talent Group + The Green Room Entertainment across the board, so every now and then you might see me on the telly but I also like creating my own content and bulk up my portfolio in preparation for art shows or exhibitions!

In my work, I like to challenge traditional beauty standards and behaviors. I just like to be weird.

 

WHAT STEPS DID YOU TAKE TO GET TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW?

I received my degree in Performance & Theatre and continued my education in Filmmaking, where I learned so many aspects of it like Directing, Cinematography, and Production Design.

After I graduated I started freelancing for small projects. I had a lot of up-and-coming artist friends who needed branding help and websites, so I took those on. I was also doing a Work/Study program for Anthony Meindl’s Actor's Workshop where I created and curated content for their Instagram account. I also worked on branding and development strategy for it. After a year I got promoted and became their Lead Graphic Designer and provided even more extensive branding and visual consultation.

While in film school and after film school, I networked a toooooon (and by that I mean I started creeping on Facebook Groups looking for job postings) and landed some really cool Art Direction and Styling gigs.

Other than that, honestly, I taught myself everything. I’ve been twiddling with Adobe since I was in middle school, and learned everything I know through YouTube tutorials or merely trials and errors. Self-taught FTW!

 

FOR OTHER PEOPLE IN YOUR FIELD, WHAT DO THEY USUALLY LACK?

The trust that being a jill-of-all-trades is not a creative sin. I once thought that I have to just focus on one thing and master it, and it took me a while to realize that that was not my path. It took a while to trust it. However I learned that creating through so many mediums actually helps build each platform’s foundation, and eventually they all intertwine, creating an concrete portfolio.

 

WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?

I am so deep in curating my “I Don’t Fit In” Photography and Story Book. This project a collection of experimental portraits and authentic stories that challenges societal beauty standards and celebrates diversity and the eccentric. I’ve just completed PHASE 1.0 and now plotting out marketing ideas as well as brainstorming for PHASE 2.0.

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I’m also constantly working on multiple freelance projects, including narrative photography and portraits. I’m always taking on new clients and projects.

 

WHAT'S YOUR STYLE/PERSPECTIVE/TASTE? DO YOU HAVE A PROJECT THAT REPRESENTS THIS? 

I am a fan of colors. Right now I’m obsessed over the muted palette. Also, a lot of my photography work is cinematically driven. Every frame tells a story.

 

WE ARE ALL SLASHIES WITH MULTIPLE SKILLS, WHICH ONE DO YOU WISH YOU COULD DO MORE OFTEN?

I’d say Art Direction, because this can really pour into other mediums. I hope to be able to slow down my freelancing for smaller projects like graphic design + web design and start working for large scale projects. I’d like to walk in on set or a photoshoot or an event and just Mary Poppins the set.

 

WHAT IS FRUSTRATING YOU RIGHT NOW?

Not having my own work space or studio. I always have so many ideas and I always find a way to execute them (even if it takes a couple of months), but if I have my own space, I’d be able to work at a desirable, a.k.a waaaay faster, pace and create and produce significantly more content.

 

IF YOU COULD HIRE SOMEONE FOR $20/HR, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE THEM DO TO MAKE YOUR DAY EASIER?

Bookkeeping , errands (work-related or house-related), and help me watch my baby <3

 

LET'S BRING OUT THE TIME MACHINE. WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU COULD HAVE TOLD YOURSELF, WHEN, AND WHY?

Honestly, to take it easy, and that still pertains to now. I give myself such a hard time for not being as advanced as I’d like to be, forgetting how young I still am and how much learning I still need to do.

 

IF YOU COULD TALK TO AN EXPERT TO GAIN MORE INSIGHT ON SOMETHING, WHAT WOULD IT BE ABOUT?

To strategically navigate my career in the most satisfying way economically and spiritually.

 

WHAT KIND OF OPPORTUNITIES/PROJECTS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?

1. Photography: I want to work with small vintage boutiques, artists, and makeup lines and curate 3-dimensional work.

2. Art Direction for photoshoots and film.

3. Web and Graphic Design for small businesses or artists - something that could be collaborative but also fun!

 

DESCRIBE YOUR IDEAL JOB/CLIENT/COLLABORATION.

Like mentioned before, anyone that would allow me to Mary Poppins the set! An ideal client would be down to collaborate but also trust my creative instincts.

Logistically, I like to work with people who are straight to the point, committed, thorough in their feedback, and respond to my emails at a timely manner.

 

WHAT IS YOUR HOURLY RATE, RETAINER, OR SALARY RANGE? 

It really depends on the budget, the project itself, and the timeline.

My standard rate is $45 / hour across the board including photography, visual consultation, graphic design, and web design. Day rates for film or photoshoot art direction and crewing start at $300.

HOW SHOULD SOMEONE APPROACH YOU ABOUT WORKING TOGETHER?

E-mail me a brief pitch so it’s quicker for me to reply. And then after that we’ll of course get into the meat of things!

 

HOW DO YOU STAY CREATIVE?

Take longer showers.


This member profile was originally published in February 2017.