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Rachel Deng, Art Director at Tilted Chair Creative

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SS: How did you get started as an Art Director of Tilted Chair? Was it hard to take the leap of faith to start your own agency?

I met my business partners during my undergraduate years at the University of Texas. We were all accepted into the Creative Sequence, an advertising portfolio program, where we honed our art direction and copywriting skills. When we graduated college, the economy was bad and jobs were scarce. We wanted to stay in Austin and work together, so we gave ourselves a name and opened shop. We didn’t have real world experience yet, but we wholeheartedly believe in the advice, “leap, and the net will appear.” 4 years later, it’s proven to be true. I don’t think we’ve made it this far by being the most talented or the smartest, but by being driven (and a super naïve) and taking every opportunity and giving it our 100%.

SS: How did you become interested in advertising?

I took a lot of business classes and competed in business clubs in high school— advertising was always my favorite. Since neither “Taco-Eating” nor “Sleeping” were actual majors in college, I went with advertising.

SS: What are  some beauty and/or fashion products you love? 

1. Cover Girl Professional Mascara (the waterproof one in the blue tube, my holy grail)
2. Kat Von D Concealer (doesn’t crease)
3. Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette (smells so yummy, better than the Urban Decay Naked Palette!!)
4. CeraVe Moisturizing Cream (moisturizing without being greasy)
5. Hermes belt (goes with everything!!!)

SS: How does your day job influence your personal style? How has your style evolved since starting at Tilted Chair?
Ad folks have always been super stylish (think Mad Men) and still are! Personal expression is always welcome and no one is forced to wear pantsuits (unless you want to for some reason). I think my style has grown a lot since finishing college and working in the real world. Instead of falling for trends, I’ve been collecting more classic and timeless pieces that can be styled many ways.

SS: Do you have any advice for those aspiring to go into the field of advertising?

Experience comes from learning from both successes and mistakes. Skill comes from the retention of what you’ve learned. My advice would be to venture on fearlessly and never stop learning.

SS: Where do you find inspiration for your work?

Inspiration can come from anything, anyone, and from anywhere. Innovation is not about creating something original, but re-purposing what we know and creating something new that others can connect with. Each person brings a unique set of experiences, talents, knowledge, and a unique perspective to draw from. That’s why I think collaboration is so necessary in creative industries. To develop yourself as a creative individual, it’s very important to absorb everything—art, music, culture, history, cat videos, dance moves, Vogue Italia, and whatever else you’re interested in—because it somehow all gets blended into the inspiration smoothie.

SS: What are some of your favorite Austin spots?  

South Congress for shopping & bites, Contigo for happy hour, Mozart’s for coffee & cheesecake, and Whole Foods Head Quarters for organic goodies.

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