Interview with Yaz Ashmawi, United Kingdom

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Yaz Ashmawi

Yaz is an inspirational designer, whose work extends from websites, videography, and graphic design.

Interview with the 2021 MUSE Creative Awards Winner - Yaz Ashmawi

1 Please give us a brief bio of yourself and your creative background.

Ok brief let’s see ‘sup I’m Yaz how’s things? Currently am caring about MaxEnt — interested in the intersection of life, entropy, and probability theory. Also have a website about art called [[ Pictures of Paintings ]] — it’s like a virtual art museum… You can find me chatting on YouTube about thermodynamics and non-violent civil disobedience for the sake of the climate; I take pictures, had a choir once etc etc.

2What made you become/why did you choose to become a creative?

I’m just sort of doing my own thing… I preferred the idea of developing my own interests to someone else’s.

3Tell us more about your business/company, job profile, and what you do.

So [[ Pictures of Paintings ]] is a museum website dedicated to the free propagation of art. Hundreds of my own photographs of art have been photoshopped into virtual frames, rooms and galleries, and every image on the site is freely available in high-resolution for any use.

On Youtube I share more of my interests and life, which is mostly spent thinking about problems in physics and biology. I’m also involved with Extinction Rebellion so cover their efforts to drive action on the climate and ecological emergency.

4What does “creativity” mean to you?

Hot take, but I reckon creativity is just about picking up other people’s pieces, remixing them, colouring-in the gaps and mounting it on the wall. Like… I think it’s a bit whack to walk around claiming creativity is not a collective effort. We all stand on other people’s shoulders. The genesis of genius lies in the sound congregation of desperate genres.

5To you, what makes a “creative” idea and/or design?

Are you asking what makes something good? Probably meaning… I think great art touches people by telling them something they already know but have’t heard before in quite so many words. It’s about speaking to our unsaid certainties.

6Tell us about your creative and/or design process.

Errr pretty random? I get very caught up in a single project for about a season or so. Last winter it amounted to chatting about MaxEnt in the desert on camera, explaining about boxes of gas and connections between probability and thermodynamics. This spring I’ve been massively obsessed with non-equilibrium stochastic statistics and learning to love Laplace transforms.

7What's your favorite part of the creative process and why?

I definitely spend far too much time looking at work when it’s finished. I watch things on repeat and suck all the magic dry until I’m uninterested.

8Describe your creative style and its main characteristics.

Edit upon edit upon edit upon edit; lots of sitting under trees; remember to be authentic; seek meaning and beauty; you don’t owe anyone anything.

9Do you think your country and its cultural heritage has an impact on your creativity process?

Don’t really have much of a cultural heritage #thirdculturekid. I’m lucky to have lived with human beings from across the world… we are all certainly something. I’m very interested in people… our differences are as beautiful as our similarities, somehow we need to find a way to celebrate both.

10Congratulations! As the winner of the 2021 MUSE Creative Awards, what does it mean to you and your company and team to receive this award distinction?

I know I’m treating this interview pretty chill but honestly it is very nice and thank you for the award. There is a lot of cool, inspiring work to be found in the winners, so it’s nice to be in the same rank as all these entries.

11Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2021 MUSE Creative Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?

This website is just a place to organise my various interests and display the things I’m doing. I was happy with how it turned out and threw in the submission!

12What was the biggest challenge with this project?

Probably… learning to design a website! Technically this is my 2nd website - I also have the art museum - but they were built pretty differently so it was a very fun challenge for a few of months to build this.

13How has winning an Award developed your practice/career?

It has had no impact on my life whatsoever.

14Where do you see the evolution of creative industry going over the next 5-10 years?

There is a huge and increasing demand for digital freelancers which will only continue in the coming years. I see a need for a common framework to facilitate connections between creatives and clients in a way that is robust and respectful. Rather than negotiating with studios and agencies, the commercial market would benefit from direct collaborations with artist collectives and individuals. I think it is only a matter of time before that arrives just by virtue of the demand for it.

15If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring MUSE Creative Awards submitter, what advice would you give them?

Improvement takes time, but it happens. Don’t give up if people don’t appreciate it, only you know your true potential, and you’ll always succeed in making beautiful things if you put your mind to it. Put your stuff out there and see how it is received without taking things personally.

16What resources would you recommend to someone who wants to improve their skills in the creative industry?

Ooohh good question! My favourite two resources are Webflow for website design and DaVinci Resolve for video editing. The former gives you all the freedom you could ever dream of without having to manually code the site, and the latter is glorious for colour-grading.

17Tell us something you have never told anyone else.

Ok, how about that for a given diffusive search process (with average absorption and residual lifetimes ? & ? respectively), the gained entropy associated with a resetting prediction is (to first order in average resetting rate r): ln{1+r(?-?)}

18Who has inspired you in your life and why?

To answer this honestly I have to say that my faith is actually the source of hope, purpose and inspiration in my life. I think people can do brilliant and wonderful things, and yes work can be inspiring absolutely… but regarding individual people? I’m not sure I have someone in mind… maybe Greta Thunberg? For just being an all-out legend and speaking the truth.

19What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?

Do your thing, don’t float into the sky, be careful what you covet, and give a shit about the end of the world.

20Do you have anything else you would like to add to the interview?

Let’s think, oh, how about how basically a quarter of animals on Earth are currently threatened with extinction and catastrophic population declines indicate that the sixth mass extinction event in evolutionary history is well under way and that in the absence of immediate decarbonisation of our global economy we risk the mass-suffering of millions of people so given the situation today one ought to engage in non-violent civil resistance against the state and to demand the implementation of deliberative democracy by means of legally-binding citizens’ assemblies but other than that nothing else thanks very much and have a nice day.

Winning Entries

— Yaz Ashmawi — | 2021

— Yaz Ashmawi — | MUSE Creative Awards

I think it's safe to say that I spread myself out wide. I'm into loads of different things: photos, videos, writing, poetry...
(read more at MUSE Creative Awards)

Yaz Ashmawi

Yaz is an inspirational designer, whose work extends from websites, videography, and graphic design.