Image credit: Evangeline Davis

Lily Paris West does creative work under her own name, and plays bass in her band The Mermaidens. You can follow her on Instagram here.

Who or what did you want to be when you grew up?

As a child all I wanted was to blend in with nature and be a mermaid.

When I got a little older, I’d spend every night dreaming of being a guitar shredding rockstar one day.

Now I’ve ticked off both of those, I want to grow up to be a painter.

What is your professional background?

High school introvert and Art Dept. teachers pet turned graphic design degree dropout.

I started out doing creative work in a stereotypical way - making gig posters. This led to

freelance work, co-designing Salient magazine and then landing a job on the design team at Coffee Supreme.

Over all this time, I could never say no to a freelance job, so I thought I'd try it full-time.

I’ve been incredibly lucky that people value my perspective and trust me to realise their ideas.

When do you feel the most creative or inspired?

With friends, who are so brave, adventurous and wild (see Ana Scotney).

When are you happiest?

Concocting plans for new projects.

What’s the best stress relief advice you’ve ever been given?

I’ve suffered from anxiety, most often related to work. Be aware of yourself. Go for a walk. While counselling is not something accessible to everyone, Evolve Youth Clinic offers free sessions for under 25s.

What is your most treasured possession?

My Canon AV-1 film camera. Or guiltily…my orange pants by Penny Sage, bright colours definitely give you superpowers.

What is the most important thing life has taught you thus far?

Care for yourself while working your butt off.

What is your number one business tip for surviving (and thriving) in your industry?

Be a friend, have empathy.

Although, I’m just starting out, so this may backfire.

Image credit: Ezra Simons.

What is your big project or goal for 2018?

I’m overcommitting as usual.

To have time to indulge in personal practice and strive for authenticity.

To collaborate with my bandmate and start a publication for women in bands.

To start a new band and record an album.

To stop just feeding my sourdough starter and actually make a loaf of bread.

Who or what is inspiring you at the moment?

The amazing women running Girls Rock Camp Aotearoa - sign up your daughters!

Designers like Noemie Le Coz, who are doing rad social design projects like SheMoji and Notable Women.

It’s so essential to have role models. To open doorways, show you boundaries don’t exist. Brings a tear to my eye just thinking about it.

What do you continually ask yourself?

Where did I put my notebook?

Who do you collaborate with best?

People who listen and tell the truth.

People who are passionate and live their craft.

Who has challenged you to be better than you once were?

My bandmates in Mermaidens. Working with two extroverted creative forces has changed my quiet ways.

They’ve taught me to say yes, no and how to vocalise my opinion, loud and proud.

How does courage manifest in your work?

Creativity is linked to who you are, it’s very personal, so every day can be a struggle for your self-esteem.

It takes courage to pull something out, have it taken apart and have to build it again.

When has mentorship played a role in your life?

Everyday. I'm constantly drawing on the energy and wisdom of people around me.