Tania Debono is the multimedia artist behind The Writing and is based in Sydney, Australia. With an eye for a simplistic aesthetic, her ambition was to create art through words, penning down inspired truths, cliches and catchphrases overheard in conversations on the streets or created in her mind.
So you’re a full time artist?
Technically I’m a full time creative. I don’t sleep much so I can divide my time between working on my clients for CAKE (digital/social strategy, and creative activations) and the rest of the time and every moment in between I’m working on my art. The creative process is interesting… sometimes I’ll be asleep and wake up thinking of an idea I just have to try… It’s not uncommon for me to get up at 3am to go to the studio and paint. I think you just have to go with it. Anyway, I’m a full-time something!
What does a day in the life of Tania look like?
Well sometimes I like to pretend that I have routine! However, depending on what city I’m in, I do like to start my day at a favourite coffee place where I work out my day/plan and consume as many espresso shots as possible - it’s my secret weapon! Then I check out articles on what’s happening in the land of social media. After that it could go anywhere - client meetings, brainstorms, events, emails, etc. This all changes, and depends on what I’m currently working on. If I’m on deadline with some typography work, I can be running on minimal sleep and on 3 different time zones because my clients are UK and USA based. I love how much each day changes, but I always make time for a Pilates class. It’s my Zen time and I make a conscious effort to look after myself.
What were you doing before you worked for yourself?
I started in TV working for a news channel, then went into radio. Then I worked in PR, and from there I moved into advertising for their digital departments.
Why work for yourself? Why not work for someone else?
Working for myself gives me the freedom that those stuck in offices dream about: making my own hours, my own rules, my own money and executing projects based on how I see fit. I don’t think it’s for everyone though. Some people like structure and rules, and that’s great. If we all wanted to be our own boss it would be a lot harder to make it happen. I think working for yourself is a lot like leaving home for the first time - once you leave you don’t really go back! Yes, the lure of security is there, but I wouldn’t trade it for the freedom I have.
Who is your dream team - the support people who helped you get to where you are now?
My friends, my family, my boyfriend. Without them in my corner I definitely wouldn’t have been as brave to take risks. I’m not going to lie - I’ve worked harder these past few years than I ever have in my entire life. Your work becomes a part of your life. The best advice I’ve ever received is that there should be no divide between your work and your personal life. Sounds a bit extreme but when you truly love what you do, you never want to stop.
How’d you get 91.4K followers on Insta?
(Laughs.) I have no idea! Okay, I do, but if I told you, I would be giving all my secrets away! No seriously, read The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. Create content that inspires, is visually appealing and adds value to people’s lives. It has also helped that a few big name celebrities and entities have become fans of my work.
Your business ‘The Writing’ is such a simple concept. What was your inspiration?
I think I was my own inspiration…at the time of its inception I was going through a really dark time. Reading things that lifted me actually helped, so I started to contribute. I wrote things to myself which I put on my Instagram. The rest is history.
Did you know it would work?
Honestly, if you told me a few years ago that this would overtake my actual line of work I would have laughed! In fact if you told me anything that I’m doing right now would actually happen I wouldn’t believe you for a second… it’s been a really crazy but amazing journey.
What has been the main key to your success?
I have 3 - hard work, sacrifice and a vision. Take a look around at successful people. They all work hard and long nights. They sacrifice, and never, ever give up. I can’t even count how many parties, dinner parties or sleeps I’ve missed in the past few years, but it’s all been worth it. I do take time to chill sometimes…
What is your favourite movie?
Oh I hate these kinds of questions! I have a few movies I like: The Social Network and Jobs when I need inspiration. Pulp Fiction – always a favourite. Breakfast At Tiffany’s when I want to be reminded of beauty.
What’s hot on your playlist?
It’s a mix of Bon Iver, Gary Clarke Jnr, Ta-Ku, Dre, Flight Facilities.
What tech tips can you offer for anyone trying to run their own business?
I can’t sing the praises of Square Space enough – to be taken seriously you need to package yourself professionally. Emails, business cards, social channels that are business driven/directed. Photos of you at the club, bar or whatever are not a good idea. I listen to TedTalks whenever I can and I love seeking out events and workshops at places like General Assembly or Creative Mornings.
We love the tone of voice you use in your art. Do you ever get haters and was it hard for you to choose that edgy voice and roll with it?
Thank you! I didn’t even realise I had a voice or an edgy voice! It’s just me, I’m being totally myself. And everyone gets haters. Weirdly, I kind of like the haters… I just want to cause a reaction, and if people want to hate, that just fuels my passion.
What are your 5 top tips for young people trying to make being an artist their full time career?
1. Be prepared to not make much money at the start.
2. Keep going. When you’re about to quit, remember that saying: Those who quit never realised how close they were to success.
3. Take criticism but only from those who matter.
4. Keep creating/evolving and finding your own style and stick to it.
5. Believe in yourself. As Sylvia Plath said: Self-doubt is the killer of creativity.