Welcome to our ongoing Q&A feature, where we introduce a member of the Artfinder team to our community. This time, we speak with Aljona, our Frontend Developer.
Q: Could you start by introducing yourself to our community?
Hello everyone! My name is Aljona and I'm 31 years old. I was born and grew up in Estonia, it's a small green country located in Eastern Europe.
Q: How long have you worked with Artfinder and what is your role in the company?
I've been with Artfinder for a year now and my role is front-end developer. In simple terms everything you see on the website is what I do. Layout, buttons, forms... my job is to make your experience of using our website as pleasant as possible.
Q: What have been your highlights of working with Artfinder so far?
For me it's a very interesting company to work for. I found out lots of new things about art that I didn't know before, and I am lucky to work within such a creative community. People who work here are really talented and passionate about what they are doing. While working here I even had the chance of meeting some of the artists, listening to their stories and even doing some creative workshops. The atmosphere here is very warm and welcoming and I'm proud of being a part of Artfinder.
Q: Do you come from a creative background? Do you engage in creative activities yourself?
Yes, since I was a child I was easily captivated with everything new, and of course I needed to learn it. As a result I learned quite a few skills throughout my life. I started working as a nail technician from 14 years old. What attracted me was the idea of being as creative as possible using a very small canvas.
At first I learned to draw miniatures, soon afterwards I started sculpting and using different materials. It lasted until I got into university, where in between lessons I would draw using a simple ballpen on a clean sheet of paper. I remember how teachers used to tell me that I needed to go and study to become an artist. One day in the dormitory, one of the guys, who was visiting my neighbours, noticed my drawings and told me that I needed to try myself as a graphic designer. So I registered myself on the site he suggested and tried participating in my first contests. What should I say? I was bad, really, really bad. I had ideas, but once I tried moving them into the digital world they looked like something a 4 year old kid would draw XD. At the time my knowledge of using programs for digital art was close to zero. I didn't give up though, I continued learning as I was participating in different contests and eventually it paid off. My skills improved, I also realised that I prefer vector art, it gave me flexibility and it was just closer to my heart and how I feel my art should look.
After 3 years of practice I reached the point where the quality of my art became very good, yes, it took me a long time from the point where I thought that what I was doing was terrible to finally making it look good. But something was still missing, like it missed my personal touch, my own style. I continued working while studying and after one more year I finally found it. It was developing slowly, bit by bit, even without me knowing or doing something on purpose. One day I looked at my recent work and I realised: 'I have it'. From then onwards my works started attracting more attention, they were highlighted as best art of the month, I started working with clients and even got into top designers of our community.
That experience brought me a lot. It proved to me again that if something doesn't go right, you shouldn't give up, you should continue working and one day it will pay off. It also gave me a great opportunity to communicate with people from all over the world and improved my psychological skills that helped me to better understand my clients, their taste and expectations. All the skills that I got from my past experiences, be it soft or hard skills, helped me to get where I am now.
Q: What does working for a B Corp mean to you?
This is my first time working for B corp, so it's still a little bit new to me. However, for me it's a realisation that we're doing something to make the world better, so that we can leave something behind.
Q: What do you like doing in your spare time?
I continue learning new skills! Recently I became interested in quality photo retouching. For me taking pictures is like saving a moment in time forever, looking at them later allows me to experience those emotions again and most importantly not to forget. However, you can not always take a good picture, but nowadays technology can do miracles, they can save a very important photo that you thought was lost, so I want to learn how to improve the quality of photos I take.
Another thing that I picked up during isolation is sewing. I was always interested in it, but I was a bit scared. When I was younger I tried sewing, but the needle broke in 3 parts, one of them flew in my face. I had never touched a sewing machine since. But eventually I thought that I really wanted to learn how to sew, so I got a sewing machine. It was different from the one we had at home, more sleek, modern looking, had a good light and even could thread a needle. When I got it I had huge eyes full of interest, like a child who just got candy. Needless to say that I still love it, it takes lots of time to actually make something, but in the end you get a great satisfaction from creating it with your own hands.
Q: How have you been coping with the recent Covid situation and do you have any words of advice for anyone who is not coping well with it?
This is not an easy question, simply because Covid can have a different meaning for everyone. For some it's isolation, being separated from those they love and from the lifestyle they are used to. For others it's fear. Fear of losing the most important people in life, fear of losing their own life. I think Covid digs out our most hidden fears, amplifying them, making us finally face them without the possibility to look away. Therefore, my advice would be: learn to understand yourself better. Maybe it's a chance for you to finally face some of the issues you were putting aside and figure things out.
Q: If you could take only three items with you to a desert island, what would they be?
Mobile phone, solar charger and a jar of coconut oil. Mobile phone because nowadays it can hold so many functions: photography, keeping up with the world, reading and talking to your loved ones. Every mobile phone needs a charger, so for the island I'll pick a solar one. I have a feeling that it should be easier to find sun rather than a socket. As for coconut oil, there's just so many fun ways of using it starting from oil pulling and ending with hair care.
Q: Finally, do you have any message for our community?
Thank you everyone! You are wonderful people and I'm happy to be here with you. I find the way you express yourselves through art is truly amazing.