We are proud to begin the new year with our continuation of the FAIRspot original content series. This month we feature someone that should need no introduction. Having started one of the most influential design portals to date, Netdiver.net, and since being crowned the queen of all Powagirrls, Carole Guevin raises the bar when it comes to design leaders in the forefront.
We believe you will find this interview to be highly intelligent, informative and nothing but inspiring. So what are you waiting for? Get reading!
FAIRspot: Where are you from?
Carole Guevin: I was born, live and work in Montreal.
FS: What is your educational/professional background?
CG: Started drawing when I was 2, reading avidly at 7, improvised on piano at 13, wrote first play at 14. Contextually, it's 1967 and this is the era of La Révolution Tranquille, the war in Vietnam, huge manifestations happening all over.. wrote my life manifesto vouching to be an artist and change the world. I am a self-taught designer.
FS: What's the story behind Netdiver? How did it begin?
CG: I am a rebel to conformity-not just for the sake of being rebellious, but because I object intellectually to pre-hashed over baked answers. When I was very young, I knew that in order to change the world, some kind of a world wide communication platform was necessary.
So from three different circumstances in 1995; A group of designers telling me that they were looking for 'convivial' writers on the Net... an eye opening essay, Business Opportunities in a Cybernetic Age, written by some engineers, and discovering that the agency where I was working was screwing up both employees, and clients. Add these up and it was fuel enough to make the jump. I had enough of business as usual and it was time to reinvent.
Although, on the verge of finalizing our first music album (for which we had been working for the past 7 years), we dumped everything and ran with it, or to it, the infant web. We did 3 years of research trying to figure out all the possibilities, then decided to 'publish' the results. Most [results] had to do with how creatives were finally taking hold of the new media.
FS: And... Powagirrls?
CG: Women need to be recognized and that is my contribution.
FS: Has it always been called "Netdiver" or was it called something else before?
CG: Yep, always. It was in 'opposition' to net surfer which we thought was 'superficial' and whereas our mission was to do intelligence gathering and reporting. We were 'star trekking' the network-you know, pioneering the standards and posting the breakthroughs.
I remember very well, JF (who is my best friend, partner and geek head around here on top of being a brilliant creative thinker) impatiently saying, "but why do you want to call it new media?", and me answering quietly, "because it is a new media." In its etymological sense; a new means (of expression).
That may appear completely irrelevant and even alien for today's audience, but there is definitely a history that was written by a core community of visionaries, who seeked to manifest in wide sweeps what was beginning to emerge.
FS: Has Netdiver interrupted any of your life plans so far?
CG: No. After an amazing stint at the Université de Montréal, where I was introduced to world politics, a life long mentor, smuggling scientists, editorial work via structural topology, a new science, launching a new magazine, elementary particles and the primitive Internet. Bundled, these together and the sum makes the core basis of Netdiver: unrelenting search for uncompromising quality (not quantity), intellectual capital as the new international currency, "the world being in your backyard" attitude and tone, the greatest gift awarded humanity, a divingboard for artists and creatives to be known and circulate their work, a historically unheard-of-bullet-fast platform for ideas to proliferate and be shared and most importantly, a chance to DO good and see the results.
With the advent of the Internet, it is now possible to impact widely during your lifetime-something amazing to ponder with. Makes you think twice before you throw anything into the ether.
FS: Can you imagine yourself doing anything other than what you are doing right now?
CG: Yes, but that's because you don't know everything I have ramped up and still plan to accomplish. I love what I do-but I plan to do more within the scope of other medias. I am a doer, so I shy of speaking of plans in travail and not yet near launch.
FS: What's a typical day like for you?
You don't want to know. Hectic, busy, crazy, countless hours, delivering.. ahh dinner.
FS: Do you enjoy the business and marketing side of the industry?
CG: From the onset, I have aimed to redefine commercial models that were going to be viable on the Internet, and most came to pass. Everyone has got to pay the bills. But one thing that is exciting is that I predicted that 'freelancing' was going to become a major economic force in the industry-and it is, and will become increasingly so.
FS: Where do you want to see Netdiver in the next 5 years?
CG: Still in the game. Still discovering. Still reinventing.
FS: What keeps you motivated to continue working and pursuing your goals?
CG: The need to realize the vision. Gotta do it!
FS: Do you have time to work on your other personal interests and hobbies?
CG: Yes I do. Painting, to experiment with color. Photography, I'm rounding up pics to prepare a small exhibit. Reading about 10 books simultaneously and music, rebuilding the studio.
FS: What has been the most difficult hurdle to overcome as a designer in your life time?
CG: My ignorance. It still is the biggest challenge. So much to learn.
FS: Who are some of your favorite people right now?
CG: Mmm... too many. I would say that I am always impressed by talent in any given fields. Oh, and intelligence! My gosh, I hate mediocrity.
FS: Who is the coolest person you'd like to meet you've met so far?
CG: Al Gore.
FS: "Design for Life" or "Life for Design"?
CG: Both. Design is for people. I live and breathe design. I believe it's 'design time', meaning designers can change the world, like never before.
FS: What advice would you give to someone that wants a career in design?
CG: Never give up. Find your voice. Persist in striving for excellence.
FS: What would you like to see more of from artists and designers these days?
CG: Less bling more thought. Less talk more communication. Less hype more responsibility. Less trends more originality. Less conformity more expression. Less me more us. Less greed more humility. Less doubt more faith. Less jealousy more respect.
FS: You have 5 minutes to pack your bags. What are taking?
CG: My mobile phone, laptop, digicam, recharging decks, mini external disk, international electrical outlet device, passport, wallet, books, drawing pad, notebook, pens, underwear, jeans, piles of tee shirts, hoody, leather jacket, jean jacket, shoes, toothbrush, soap, Bible and digital tickets.
Like what you see?
All works above are produced by and copyrighted by Carole Guevin. To visit Carole's pride and joy, get the freshest news and inspiration and participate in the community, please visit Netdiver.net. If you would like to learn more about Carole, or just say hello, please click here.
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