The Block

Art & Culture — 9 months ago

Creative Living: Jemilla Pir

Artist and designer Jemilla Pir shares her creative life. 


Jemilla Pir was working as a firefighter when she started doing her own projects on the side, and she credits social media with helping her find her voice as a creative. Today, she still goes her own way, following her instincts rather than pursuing any prescriptive path. 


“My general working conduct is somewhere between artist and designer,” she says. “I’m not as easy going or free as an artist, I have to have a pretty solid idea as to what my end product is going to look like, but I’m not as particular or neat as a designer. I tread a happy and sometimes chaotic medium.”


Originally from Hull but now based in Hamburg, here Pir shares her thoughts on deadlines, routine and not getting stuck. 


Shop the Ur So Cool store here

Everpress Team
Courtesy of Jemilla Pir

When do you feel most creative?

I don’t have a specific time but I would say usually when I am happy, even if that’s pretty cliche. Strangely, I used to have real creative bursts when I would get home from a 24 hour shift working at the firestation. I’d be sleep-deprived but getting stuck into some art project, trashing my house while still in my uniform. 

Tell me a little about your relationship to deadlines? Do you meet them easily? And do you need them to motivate you?

I respect a deadline, but I don’t need or want them. I find that I can meet deadlines but it’s not always easy, especially if you have creative block or it’s something you’re not overly passionate about. (Unless you’re reading this and want to work with me, in which case I love a deadline and you can count on me!)

I respect a deadline

Courtesy of Jemilla Pir

Do you need routine?

Absolutely not. I don’t think there’s a single thing I repeat every day. Routine is not part of my creative structure or life whatsoever. 

How much do you adhere to a ‘conventional’ 9-5 working week?

I have to, somewhat, for my part time job, but otherwise not at all. I am used to working shifts. I was a PA for years prior to this though, and couldn’t work a proper 9-5 ever again.

Do you work better in the morning or the evening? 

It depends on what else I have on in the day. If I’ve got a gig to go to, then morning. If it’s raining and miserable (which it often is in Hamburg) then I can work all night. Again, having no real routine means I’m pretty flexible. 

Courtesy of Jemilla Pir

Do you work on the weekends?

I will for myself. Usually weekends are pretty packed with social activities but I have no rules against it!

Do you try to draw a clear line between ‘life’ and ‘work’ or does it all blend into one?

I don’t try to no, I feel like everything is pretty blended and a constant hustle really, especially when you are working for yourself. But I think it’s also nice to allow yourself to be inspired by your surroundings and think in a way that lets that seep into your work. 

On days when you hit a creative block, what do you do to get past it?

Get outside, listen to new music, listen to old music, walk around and see what’s going on in the neighbourhood. If my head is busy and needs clearing, going for a run or exercising always gives me a little reset.

For years I had imposter syndrome

Courtesy of Jemilla Pir

How has your relationship with your practice evolved over the years?

The social media age has given me much more confidence to share my creativity. For years I had a bit of imposter syndrome because I didn’t go to art school, I didn’t study graphic design, I hadn’t been at a marketing agency etc. I have always winged it on my own, and still do. 

Instagram, YouTube and TikTok are invaluable for creatives for sharing their work, ideas, tips etc. They make it easier and more accessible to learn and help empower you to give anything a go. For me, social media has helped me create a supportive network, and has helped me arrive at a point where I think, “Yeah okay, I’m not an Adobe pro (yet), but this is a cool design.”

Read More: Creative Living: Lhaga Koondhor