In Conversation with: Taffy

Taffy is a multi-passionate and free-spirited Visual Artist, Graphic designer and Creative Entrepreneur who basically wants to do it all!

How did fit design creations come to be?

This was an effort to merge two of my favourite and most consistent things in the world and make it into a brand I guess. I wanted people to know me as that person that can inspire you to take care of your mind, body and soul but also be the part of the next creative project, creating Art and Design work or collaborating in order to inspire and connect with people.

What do you enjoy the most about the creative process?

Free flow. Those moments when you let go of all the pressure (external and internal) and just let yourself follow your impulses, inspirations and curiosities and see what happens. It’s usually magical and I think as creators this is when we are at our most creative and powerful.

What makes your brand unique?

Simply put, I think it’s unique because it’s me. Meaning there is nobody else like me. Nobody with my perspectives, or my subjective experiences or gifts in the way I express them, and I like to believe that spirit is carried through into my work giving it a unique and authentic imprint.

Of all the projects you have done to date, what has been your favourite?

I would have to say my final Undergraduate major project Idid at university in 2015. It is titled ‘OVERHEARD, OVERREAD, OVERSEEN. It was a combination of conceptual and typographic experimentation which explored the ubiquitous nature of the language we use everyday. I wanted to bring tolight how that correlates to human interaction, experience, society, and emotions. By taking language out of its original context we have a more exposed platform that forces the reader/viewer to interact with it, ask fresh or perhaps awkward questions. When words escape their traditional confines, it allows the hidden assumptions to become explicit.

As a lover of typography, I took this opportunity to experiment with different mediums of typography, from the traditional method of letter press, to photography and 3D rendering and digital print. This one of my most fulfilling projects to date. The entire process was so organic and beautifully turbulent. I am proud of how courageous I was.

Which creatives inspire you the most?

Oh man. I have so many and from so many different walks oflife and diverse creative mediums. If I were to name them all we would be here for a while! The ones that come to mind right now are Taunyane (Mandlashonhiwa), David Carson, Deun ivory, Vuyelwa Chaza, Tino Nyandoro,Franchesca Ramsey, Banks, Jared Leto, Chauntelle Lewis and Sherida Kuffour.

What have been the highs and lows of life as an entrepreneur?

Lows:

1. Figuring shit out! Like How much to charge a client, how to secure myself when it comes to doing work and getting paid, how to deal with potential clients that feel entitled to free work or discounts.

2. Not being paid for work on time or at all by trash clients or feeling like I have to justify why I am charging what I am charging.

3. Creative block right in the middle of a looming deadline.

4. Finding a nice balance between passion driven projects and money driven projects and a fitting market for my creative style and work.

Highs:

1. Learning every day to trust myself over and over again, believing in my creative abilities and not self-sabotaging when an opportunity to create or collaborate comes along.

2. Meeting and/or getting a chance to work with amazing people who trust my creative process and abilities and who give me the room to be myself and a platform to share my perspectives.

3. Finding courage to set boundaries and communicating them and not feeling bad or ashamed about it. Learning to say no to a project or a client request when it really doesn’t resonate and to not feel like I am obliged to agree to every single opportunity – sometimes it just doesn’t fit and sometimes I’m not the one for a project or a project is not the one for meand that’s totally okay.

How did you get into fitness and what impact has it had on your life and well-being?

In hindsight I think I was always a physically active kid, I played tennis and hockey and did rowing between junior and high school. I continued with rowing in university for a year, but it’s a time-demanding sport and after first year I remembered I was actually there to pursue a whole Art and Design degree that was also very demanding, so I eventually stopped rowing. I had been at uni for about 6-7 months and this was my first time away from home. I clearly had previously taken my parents’ efforts to raise us on good wholesome and organic food for granted, let alone how better the quality of food from home had been compared to the UK so I went up 2-3 sizes in terms of clothes.

At the time I was also struggling to adjust to being away from home; making genuine and good friends had not been easy for me. I was uncomfortable in my body, I generally felt unhappy, homesick and melancholic. That summer I decided to make a change in terms of my eating habits and to get myself on a consistent clean eating and workout regime. I researched and experimented until I found things I liked to do and that were also effective. That is when the fitness lifestyle journey most people know me for began.

Long after the weight had melted off I was genuinely having fun with the fitness thing; From experimenting with various ways of eating, to trying out different training methods, I realised it wasn’t just about being able to wear shorts or a crop anymore – it had become a lifestyle. I noticed a change in my mood. I was happier, more confident and productive. I felt strong and self-empowered. Fitness gave my life some structure, purpose and a solid routine. I liked how focused I was when I was in the gym. I was impressed by how I really believed in myself and believed I could do anything in that room. I could use my mind as a tool to push beyond self-imposed limits. I began to realise I could transfer these skills to other areas of my life. Fitness was basically a bit like free therapy for me, and to this day it continues to be something very sacred and important to me.

It’s the place I go to when I’ve had a hard day, when I’m feeling on edge, when I’m happy when I’m frustrated or when I’m excited, angsty or inspired. This is where I can shut off the world, stop worrying about stuff for a moment, put some good music on and do my thing – either way when I walkout of there my mood is so much better!

What is the one thing that you can’t live without?

A Gym membership/working out. I was actually laughing at myself the other day at how whenever I am deciding on where to move, work to or live, the first thing I check is if there are good gyms in the area. That is definitely a big weigh in for me and really affects my decisions.

What is the soundtrack to your life?

Wow, again so many answers to this. I like a lot of things –a liker of things! My soundtrack changes according to my moods. I have a playlist for the moods or phases in my life. Does anyone else do this or it’s just me? For example, I have playlists named after particular seasons in my life. So, whatever I am going through during a certain period alongside whatever songs I’m into during that same period feed into each other and it’s always cool to look back and be like “ohhh this playlist or this song! I remember at that time a, b, c was taking place!” But currently a song I’d say I’m really into right now is ‘High Hopes’ by Panic! At the Disco – it’s like my “I can do, be and have anything I want” song.

Describe a typical day in your life.

When I wake up I try to go straight into my morning pages journaling practice and/or meditation. After that I do my gratitude/appreciation list and some affirmations. From that I head over to get some food in my belly; Usually two eggs, oats with peanut butter and honey +some coffee. I shower, check my emails and move forward with the day accordingly. If I’m going to be away from for most of the day I pack a lunch, some snacks and fill up my water bottle. I am so blessed to have flexible working hours no day is exactly the same.

Normally I prefer working out at the end of the day when all is done. After that if I have no other plans pencilled in I head straight home for some post workout dinner and a shower before getting ready to wind down for the day. I’ve recently implemented a new rule for myself: “no social media after 2130 or before doing my morning rituals”. It’s my first week at it so I’ll see how it goes!

What are you most proud of about being Zimbabwean?

The fact that we are happy people and generally approach most things with humour versus anger or violence. I love that we live in a very spacious country compared to other parts of the world I have lived in. Growing up it was always really cool that people generally had room to easily grow vegetables, fruits and flowers in the backyard without feeling squashed and still have space for luxurious stuff like a pool or whatever if they wanted to and if it was affordable. Also, I think our weather is beautiful!

How would you like to be remembered?

As the little feisty but warm and bubbly human that fought for and lived a life true to herself as much as possible while inspiring and empowering others to do the same through her work and self-expression.

Social media

Twitter: @_fitdesigner

Instagram: Art & Design work page: @_fd_creations

Lifestyle, fitness and well-being page: @_fitdesigner

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