Growing up in Thailand as a little girl, Suparom Ronyut was inspired by the storytelling and rich visuals of Disney and Spielberg films her mom bought her on VHS. Once she grew up she moved to Australia on her own and got a job as a Food and Beverage attendee at the Art Center of Melbourne—one look at an exhibition and she knew she wanted to study design from that moment on.
Suparom was finally able to pursue her creative dreams at Shillington Melbourne! We recently caught up with Su to chat to her about landing the amazing Creative Fellowship at Rare with Google. Read on to hear more about her immigrant journey, greatest influences and much more!
Prior to Shillington, you graduated with a degree in film and worked a variety of creative jobs. What motivated you to study design?
Since I was a little girl, I have loved to watch the film because my mom loved to buy me the VHS tape. I’m a big fan of Steven Spielberg and of course, Disney. When I was in primary school, I loved staying at my aunty’s house during the school break because she had cable TV to watch the music channel; MTV and Channel [V] Thailand. I loved watching the music videos and MTV’s title always amazed me. I grew interested in storytelling and visuals without knowing it. I also love making stuff by hand. For example, during my math class, I always took extra time to design my assignment paper and I ended up weaving it or making a pop-up card for my dad. I knew that I wanted to work in the creative field related to film and music and I ticked all those boxes. After working at the movie studio, I realised that it wasn’t for me. Then I moved to Australia on my own. I couldn’t continue the job I had in Thailand because I have some barriers; language, visa status and of course limited finances to support myself in the new country. I got a job as Food and Beverage attendee at the Art Centre of Melbourne. I remember I walked past the hallway was hung with many posters from the previous show.
I felt goosebumps, and I knew I wanted to study design from that moment. I have always wanted to pursue my career in the creative field, and this time I just changed the medium to communicate and express my ideas.
How did you learn about Shillington? How did the design course stand out from the rest?
I believe I saw the Shillington ad from IG and Frankie Magazine. Then I checked on the website and I saw the works of the Shillington students. Their work stands out, it’s legit and it amazed me.
The course duration isn’t long, and it suits me who wants to change a career path. Most importantly, it’s affordable.
Originally based in Thailand, you studied design at Shillington Melbourne. Were there any particular challenges or blessings studying abroad? Did Shillington help support your creative journey in a foreign country?
I struggled in English, and I didn’t feel confident in myself because I couldn’t communicate in the way I thought in mind, but I learnt through my course at Shillington. Especially when we had to present our work to teachers or classmates verbally and written, but Shillington had prepared me. As long as I can communicate my ideas, concept and explain why I made this decision for this particular design, I did an excellent job because I tried to communicate it (I try not to be hard on myself).
Studying design, I feel like I learn another language and it’s universal. Through the course, I receive a lot of support and guidance from the teachers; Chris Norman, Wayne Smith, Spencer Harrison and Annette Dennis. Also, my classmates who always supported me throughout the course until I graduated.
I feel so blessed that I have met those fantastic people in my life and thank you for being a part of my new journey.
You recently did an interview with Across The Network, speaking about your immigrant journey. Do you have any advice for people looking to start a new life abroad, particularly in the creative industry?
You have to remind yourself that you’re amazing, brave and you’ve achieved so much by moving, living and surviving in a new country, living in a new culture or even speaking another language. I know you might experience some struggle, but please don’t give up. Use it as a tool to push you to wherever you want to be. Don’t let people tell you what you can or can’t do and don’t wait for a chance to come but go for it. I always believe that when you have a drive and work hard enough, you’ll achieve it with a bit of patience. Start to connect with creative people, keep practicing your skill and stay curious always.
After graduating Shillington, you landed the Creative Fellowship at Rare with Google! Can you tell us more about that and how that happened?
I had a story similar to the new graduate. I finished Shillington in December 2020, and I was looking for a full-time job. I had a few interviews, but unfortunately, I didn’t land a job because I had less experience, which is fair enough. I felt frustrated and saw the advertisement of the Creative Fellowship Program from Rare on Google’s Instagram account. It was the last day before the application closed, so I applied. They were looking for a diverse background of underrepresented emerging creative people who had just started their careers and had less experience. They will be selected to work in-house at Google for eight months. The selected fellows will have a chance to work with the specialists, have a mentor and work on real projects during the program.
This year, they had selected 16 fellows working across The US, the UK and Australia teams, and I’m one of the four fellows in Australia. It’s a fantastic program and it has changed my life; not only I’ll learn and gain experience as a designer, but also it’s made me believe in myself again.
I’ve made a great friendship with other fellows who live across the globe during this program. How wonderful is it!
What’s the most exciting opportunity you’ve had during the fellowship? Can you share details about any recent projects?
I feel excited about every fellowship project because I enjoy the journey. I’ll say my sticker gifs for the Women Will social project if I choose one. I used my life experience as inspiration to create the gifs series to empower women to feel confident speaking up their minds and comfortable saying ‘no’. With this project, I tried multiple approaches and learned new tools along the way. At first, I did a character design. I turned it into a vector-based illustration before animating it in Adobe After Effect. My second approach is using a frame-by-frame technique that I drew with Procreate. More importantly, I learned along the way that don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I have such a fantastic team who support and trust me to create this work. I believe it’ll launch soon and meanwhile, you can check other inspiring stories @Womenwill.
What inspires your design work? We’d love to hear about any particular experiences or influences on your practice!
I love the work of Yayoi Kusama and Andy Warhol. I believe I got influenced in the sense of using colour from them. I also got inspiration from Sci-fi films, the film of Michel Gondry, Sofia Coppola and Wes Anderson. Music has always been a big part of my life; shoegazer and lo-fi music always inspires me. I love to observe things surrounding me and things that happen to my life. I believe that life experience is a good source of my work. The more I see the world, the more I have resources and it helps create the work. We live once, so I love to explore. I like to ask myself what else I can do, and I don’t want to limit myself to one box.
Where do you see yourself in 12 months?
That’s a great question. I’ll continue working as a designer because I love it and land a full-time job somewhere, perhaps at my favourite place.
What was the part-time course like? Did you make any lasting connections with your classmates?
The part-time course was intense, but you have time for working and doing your assignment. You will have more time to produce your best work during your portfolio, but I recommend taking that time off from my experience. I have made a lasting connection with my classmates; even though we didn’t have a chance to meet in real life, we still keep in touch online and we organise meet-ups once in a while.
What would you say to someone who is feeling a bit skeptical about the Shillington course?
The best way to know it is to try it out, but first, you have to ask yourself what you want to be and what you want to learn. What are the other conditions you need to consider? From my experience, Shillington answered all my considerations, and it works.
Shillington prepared me to work in the real world. It’s the best course and the best investment in my opinion.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone starting the part-time course at Shillington, what would it be?
Work hard, keep learning, keep practicing and ask questions. You all are in a good hand, and all the teachers will support and guide you until the end. Please don’t forget to sleep and eat well.
Anything else you would like to share? Surprise us!
I’m always open to work opportunities and keen on collaboration. I love to connect with other creative people; please reach out to me @suethewombat.design if you want to make something fun or even have a virtual coffee chat up. Next year, I’ll get married, and I’ll use my design skill to create my wedding invitation!
Huge thanks to Suparom for sharing her creative journey! If you’d love to see more of her work make sure to check out her website and follow her on Instagram. At Shillington, we love the diversity and rich perspective our students bring from all over the globe. Feeling inspired by Su’s story? Learn more about Shillington’s 3 month full-time and 9 month part-time courses Online or on campus in New York, London, Manchester, Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane.
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