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Monday, June 24, 2024
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Wisdom flows at Moda’s Careers in Creative Panel

Moda Magazine welcomes three distinct creatives for the continuation of their 2024 UW Fashion Week

In anticipation for their spring edition, Moda Magazine hosted their 2024 UW Fashion Week (UWFW) last week, complete with five distinct events in collaboration with University of Wisconsin-Madison student organizations, local artists, small businesses and community partners.  

The magazine’s weeklong event, titled “FUSE: Igniting Innovations,” was a celebration of Madison and the artistry the city inspires. 

“FUSE isn’t a set of stagnant events, nor does it conclude with the final event of UWFW. FUSE is a creative ignition, sparking innovation and stoking the flames of creativity in Madison,” Moda said in a press release.

On the second day of UWFW, Moda hosted a Careers in Creative Panel featuring the wisdom and experience of three creatives in the realms of fashion, art and literature. 

Guest speakers Ali Gilbertson, owner of secondhand store Happy Hours, Claire Kellesvig, artist and lecturer at UW-Madison, and Chris Perry, author of the recently released AI and automation guidebook “Perspective Agents,” all offered insights from their distinct corners of the creative world. Discussion spanned the topics of career risks, maintaining passion and finding value in your work.

For Gilbertson, the biggest career risk she took was moving out of New York City and back to her home state of Wisconsin. Gilbertson had spent nearly a decade working at an upscale thrift store in the city before feeling she needed a change of pace,  a decision that led to create of Happy Hours.   

“I was living the Carrie Bradshaw dream, and I thought I had everything, but I wasn’t happy,” Gilbertson said. “It was really hard and scary for a couple of years. I didn’t know what I was going to do, but I never regretted it.” 

Kellesvig cited a psychedelic experience as her reason for going back to graduate school at UW-Madison.

“I went to a Radiohead show in Chicago, did a bunch of mushrooms and realized I had to go get my MFA in painting,” Kellesvig said. 

She attributed her three years in the program as some of the most transformative of her career.

“It helped me learn that I should make the work I want to make, not the work I feel like I should be making,” she said. “When we can start to differentiate that feeling, we make big changes in our lives and big changes in the world.”

Prior to becoming an author and expert on artificial intelligence and automation, Chris Perry was a self-proclaimed “brick-breaker” on some of the largest accounts at communications consultancy Weber Shandwick. In his work with General Motors, Perry said he led his team through the social media revolution. 

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“As you get into the working world, you’re going to see things other people won’t, but it won’t matter unless you do something with it,” Perry said. “It’s one thing to see trends emerge. It’s a whole different deal to have the guts to go against the grain and realize the potential in certain things.” 

Despite their wildly different backgrounds, all three guest speakers agreed on one thing that was most pivotal to their creative careers: community. 

“We often take for granted friends in the path of creativity,” Kellesvig said. “There’s this stereotype of artists sitting in a dark coffee shop with a beret and a cigarette, but we need community to help each other rise.”

Kellesvig and Gilbertson both shared their experiences leaning on friends during the creative process, whether that be celebrating successes, critiquing work or even commiserating together. 

“Being around goofballs you are close enough with and can be honest enough with that they’ll challenge you while still knowing how to hold up your ego in the right way is crucial,” Kellesvig said. 

Even from a corporate perspective, Perry credited much of his success to those around him. 

“Execution is 95% relationships,” Perry said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re creating artwork, a store, a plan or a business, real relationships and friendships are everything.” 

Through risks, passion and community, Gilbertson, Kellesvig and Perry all distinguished unique careers for themselves and are now able to help foster the next creative generation. Even in an extremely STEM-based world, these three have never been more confident in the future of the creative landscape. 

“The future is in the hands of the artists,” Perry said. “The artists are the people that are going to make sense of phenomenons that we’ve never experienced before. They’re going to create new ways of seeing the world.” 

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