At Home With Ana Cecilia Thompson Motta
An interview with the PLAYLAB, INC. design director
April 30, 2020
Let’s get the profile stuff out of the way—what is your name, age, city, and profession or craft? For how long have you been doing what you do?
Ana Cecilia Thompson Motta
Los Angeles, CA
Design Director at PLAYLAB, INC.
5+ years experience
How would you describe the style of your work?
Since I started working at PLAYLAB, it’s been hard distinguishing my personal style of work from us as a collective since we are all so in tune in the way of thinking. But that being said, I believe my work is research-based, purposeful and pragmatic. I’m all for the bells and whistles but only if they have a purpose in the design. I also try to add some humor to everything I do and that’s easy being around the PLAYLAB boys.
Who or what inspires your work?
I’m mostly inspired by artists. Even if they don’t have the same aesthetic as I do, I’m usually inspired by their thought process and work ethic. The earthwork artists are a big inspiration to me—artists like Michael Heizer, Robert Smithson, Christo and Jeanne Claude, Agnes Denes and many others. They all had crazy big ideas and fought for years and sometimes decades for their work to be made. Not a lot of people have that level of grit and perseverance. Another big inspiration is the late John Baldessari. That man wasn’t afraid to try anything. He did it all.
How does nature or the outdoors play a role in how you work or live?
As soon as I saw art outside of gallery walls, something clicked. I visited Michael Heizer’s Double Negative a few years ago and it just hit me how I could think big and outside of the “rules” of design. I’ve been chasing that feeling in my work ever since and I try to do one road trip every year to the big scale artworks and architecture so that I can clear my mind and be open to new ideas. That was one of the reasons I was convinced to move to LA—being close to what inspired me the most. Apart from that, I’m Brazilian so I really really love the beach.
What are three brands or products that inspire you?
@mcnallyjackson—not exactly a brand but found a lot of my inspiration in there for the past 8 years
What are your thoughts on life after the lockdown? What do you imagine will change?
I think there will be a shift in what we think is essential in our lives. People will be more conscious when buying new products and hopefully taking a more sustainable approach as well. I hope we all become more appreciative of the simple things in life. As well as the things we already have and the people we love. After living in New York for 8 years, I never thought it was ok to take a pause and maybe that will be the new normal. People taking time to access their lives instead of being in constant motion all the time.
What defines “making it” for you? But much more important for us… what are your thoughts on the journey to “making it?” [For example, for Season Three, that journey can be lonely, hard, chaotic emotions, and that the overall sacrifice doesn’t really resonate with people who are not also on a similar path.]
I struggle with that question because a lot of the people I admire, like artists or musicians, are not the people I want to be. They let their personal lives suffer for their art so even though they “made it” it’s not my idea of making it. I strive for balance. Every couple of years my dreams and goals change in a professional sense. However right now, when I’m working on projects where I think all my ideas are not there and it’s just not feeling right and I wake up at 4am stressed about it, which would normally be considered a low, I kind of see it as a high. Nothing motivates me more than finding that moment where everything clicks. And when that moment comes it’s great and all but you already want to jump to the next thing because the journey is the ultimate high. So to answer the question, I’m not sure I’m ever going to think “I made it” professionally but personally, “making it” is being happy and making the people I love happy.
Ana can be followed at @anacthompson on Instagram.