Meet Ana, the fierce designer and illustrator behind our 'hear me roar' jaguar.
Name: Ana Gudiño Aguilar
Place of origin: Chihuahua, Chihuahua, México
Place current residence: Düsseldorf, Germany
Occupation: Graphic Designer & Illustrator / Tap Dance Teacher
About you in a nutshell: I’m the youngest of 3 sisters. I was born in Chihuahua (north part of Mexico) but my parents come originally from the State of Mexico. We lived there because of my Dad’s work and for the same reason we lived in different cities during my childhood until we landed in Mexico City again, where I spent my whole teen years and my early twenties. When I was 17, my parents moved again to the north of Mexico, but my sisters and I didn’t go with them. One of my sisters studied to be an opera singer and the other one studied art. For all of us, the big city had much more opportunities to offer. When I was 24 I decided to come to Germany. At the beginning I lived with my former boyfriend in Hanau, a city near Frankfurt. Every day I took my German classes and was determined to learn fast so I could apply for a job. It payed off and a few moths later I got an apprenticeship in a big advertising agency (McCann Erickson). After a hard learning process, I moved to Düsseldorf, where I had the great luck of finding a job as a graphic designer in a small design agency. My boss at that time really fought so I could get my job visa and after 3 months of waiting, I finally got it. I worked 8 years in this agency. I had the chance of making a lot of cool projects, including the planing and branding for a new Concept Store in Düsseldorf that also belonged to my Boss. I got to design and illustrate many posters and postcards that where sold in the store. That is how I really got into illustration. At the end of 2017 I decided to take a next step and in January 2018 I became a freelancer. And here I am, making this interview :)
Any passions? tap dancing, intelligent design & collecting children’s books.
1. What are strong work ethics for you?
To always be honest with my clients, to take responsibility for my actions if something is misunderstood and to give every process transparency. I take projects that I like and I believe in. That way I can always show my clients that I’m 100% with them and that their goals are also mine.
I love to work with clients that are really passionate about the work they do. Their projects are like their babies and it is a beautiful thing to be able to help them achieve what they want to achieve.
2. Did you always wanted to be where you currently are?
Not really. When I finished school I wanted to become an animator. I dreamt of going to the Vancouver Institute of Media Arts (VanArts) and someday working for Pixar. At that time there was no University in Mexico where I could study animation and I didn’t have the resources to persuit my dream in Vancouver. That is why I decided to study Graphic Design. I figured it would give me the basic knowledge needed to apply for a Master in Vancouver after finishing my studies in Mexico City. During my major, I took a few stop motion & 3D animation workshops and I even got my degree with a final project about animation. I never stopped loving and admiring this art, but somehow along the way I lost the will of becoming an animator. Eventually, I moved to Germany and started a new job where I had to make illustrations and wall art in general. I never saw myself as an Illustrator, it just kind of happened because I had to come up with new visual ideas and I always said I could do it (even though I wasn’t really sure I could). That is how I kept developing what some people call a „style“… I don’t know about that. I just try to do the most faithful translation of the ideas in my head to an actual illustration/design.
And on the other side, I finally dared to try tap dance. I always wanted to dance. Growing up I lacked of self-esteem and I was too shy to even try to put myself out there and dance. It was until I moved to Düsseldorf (age 26) that I finally signed myself up to tap dance classes. It made me soooo so happy! It made me grow. I remember one of my best friends saying: you are always particularly happy after you take your tap dance class! She was right! That is why I decided to dance every day. I started a 3-year professional program (Daniel Luka's S.O.N.T.I. - System Of Natural Tap And Irish Dancing- approved by the UNESCO Dance Council) after work and every weekend with tap & jazz music history, music theory, technique, etc.. Tap Dance became such a great part of my life. I found in sound and on stage, a spring of happiness and a whole other way to express myself. I’ve had such beautiful opportunities to perform with people I love and admire. Now I get to share the little knowledge I’ve been given by teaching my own classes. I am very thankful! I never imagined I would live all these great experiences.
3. What do you think has been the most important thing you have accomplished so far?
Defeating fear. Fear can stop us from doing what we dream of doing if we allow it. I still have to remind myself that in many situations, but the truth is that the best things in life are on the other side of fear.
4. What do you think it will be the most important thing you will accomplish in the future?
My goal, to be honest, is to change the world through design. I want to use the power of design as a tool to make people’s behavior change in a positive way towards environmental sustainability. If I can accomplish that, it would be definitely the most important thing I´ve ever done.
Dancewise, I would love to reach the level, where I have such control of my body that I can produce all the sounds and rhythms that are in my head while improvising. There is still a lot of work to be done.
5. Which has been the most recurrent stereotype you have had to deal with as an entrepreneur?
Some people try to discourage you… I heard some comments like these when I said I was becoming a freelancer: „oh! Are you sure? It is so hard“, or „but what are you going to do?, you don’t even have any clients“ and „maybe you should stay safe and just look for a new job“. And now that I am one, I sometimes hear: „sooo…how is it going?“ (With worried face) or „I know people who tried to be freelancers and they all eventually gave up and got a job…it is thaaat hard". I try not to take it the wrong way. Luckily for me, I’m surrounded with more of the „go for it“ „you can do it“ kind of people :)
6. You used to work in a usual 9-5 job, what drove you to make yourself independent?
I felt I needed to do something more meaningful and new. I needed to be able to decide for myself and just go for it. I wanted to search for clients that share my way of thinking in terms of sustainability, fairly work, environmental protection, etc. I felt the time was right... that I had the energy, will and professional tools to do it. It was the best decision I could make!
7. What inspired you to create the black jaguar motiv for a plucky girl?
I was thinking about the meaning of being „plucky“, which is showing determined courage in the face of difficulties. I thought also about the role of women in society and the things we face in all of the phases of our lives, our ability to cope with change and how, in a lot of situations, society wants to make us think we can’t or shouldn’t persuit our goals because „girls don’t do that“.
With all those thoughts in mind, I had to think of all women as brave female jaguars living in this wild dangerous jungle, always trying to tell the world „I can do this“, „hear me roar". Why specifically a jaguar and not a tiger or a puma?
The jaguar is the most enduring symbolic animal in Mexico since ancient times until this day. It was associated with skillfulness, magic, greatness and spirituality. Since a plucky girl' s founder is a mexican woman, the jaguar suited perfectly.
8. How does a perfect day look like to you?
Sun, warm weather, a lot of laughs and NO pollen allergy!