WeMake Presents: A Conversation with Shawna X

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Did you come here to get inspired? Step into the graphic wilderness of Shawna X. Bold colors, check! Iconic imagery that’s flipped out and makes you question your own reality, heck yeah! Join the conversation about Shawna’s experience creating subversive alternate realities and a fresh approach to familiarity.

WeMake supports the design and maker community in Portland by bringing events and spotlights to local creatives. This year, WeMake Presents: A Conversation with Shawna X is coming to Design Week Portland in a new venue and invites you to get inspired.

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WeMake is a veteran of DWP. How many events have you put on throughout the years? What keeps you engaged as a returning event organizer?

WeMake has been a part of Design Week Portland since the first year. In total, I think we’ve put on 12 events. Each year, we try to do a design-in-action event, along with a sketchXchange event. This year, we are doing a new event entitled, A Conversation With Shawna X. Community is what keeps us engaged to play with DWP. It’s an opportunity for us to involve the design community in giving back to arts education and to bring inspiration and diversity to Portland.

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How do you decide which creative work to feature? What stood out about Shawna X for DWP?

It’s important for us to highlight independent design folks. Those who are forging their own path, independently from agencies. We’re interested in their journey, their process, and why they make. Being an independent designer is a hustle, and we find their stories inspiring. Our mission is to give back to underserved youth through our design-in-action initiatives. Part of this is being diverse in our programming, sharing unique stories with up-and-coming talent but also seasoned creatives. It's very important for us to bring people who are different, POC, women, and LGBTQ to the stage.

Shawna X stood out as a great candidate because of a few things. She is originally from Portland, so this will be a homecoming for her (she lives in New York now), and we love featuring Portland natives. Her work has pushed the limits in design by being bold, graphic, and uniquely her style. I would even say she’s a trendsetter with how she uses gradients and color. Shawna is a woman, a mom, and a person of color. If WeMake can do anything, it can make sure that our platform is one where these audiences can be heard.

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What are you looking forward to the most about this year’s event? How is that unique to prior events?

We are slowing it down a bit this year and focusing on one event instead of two or three. I’m looking forward to the ease of how that sounds. We are also trying out a new venue- Mississippi Studios- and we’re excited to have music play a bigger role in this year’s event.