If you are looking for some insights to the “Open to better” brief, we recently asked Vanessa Mundle, an illustrator and graphic designer to share her thoughts about her creative process, what “Open to better” means to her and what resolution inspires her the most.
TH: Where are you from and what is your background story?
Vanessa: Currently I live in Leipzig, Germany. A very vibrant and culturally rich city. I was born and raised not far from here in the smaller city Erfurt. There, I grew up in the suburbs with my parents and my sweet younger brother whom I raised and still try to raise from time to time. After all, he's 11 years younger than me.
Before I went to Leipzig to dedicate myself full-time to art, I studied philosophy and worked in political education - both shaped me and my artistic work to this day.
TH: What medium do you typically work in?
Vanessa: I typically sketch with pencil and fine liner on my favorite paper. After that, I scan my drawing and do all the details and coloring digitally on my pad or computer. I love the freedom that working digital gives me - I can just try out everything possible without producing a lot of paper waste. If I don't like a color choice in the end or have to redraw some elements, I just delete or add another layer. But despite all the freedom, I can't do without my pencil and the feeling that the pen creates on the paper while I try to bring the images in my mind to life.
TH: How do you find creativity before starting a project like this one?
Vanessa: There is a lot that inspires me. Since I am still working in political education I am very concerned about current political and social issues. As soon as I turn on the radio or read the news, pictures, themes or visual elements instantly appear in my mind's eye, which then has to be put on paper. When I am preparing for a specific project I also tend to take the dog for a walk in the forest - there I let my thoughts circulate freely and associate from one word to the next until images form in my imagination. And last but not least listening to music and dancing through the studio always help to get the creative juices flowing.
TH: When reading the Coca-Cola Creative Brief what stood out to you and why were you excited to work on this project/campaign?
Vanessa: I think what resonated instantly with me was the phrase “Open to better” and the first sentences of the brief about art being used to inspire change. This is something very dear to me as I try to inspire change and keep people engaged in social issues with my work. What really excited me about this campaign was the huge platform that an established company like Coca-Cola creates and the thought about the reach and impact on society this campaign combined with the platform can have.
Further the invitation to think about what I can do myself, to stimulate a change for the better directly inspired me. That in addition to all the social issues made me think about my own environment and the range of my actions - I just had to pick up the pen straight away.
TH: Once the excitement of the brief subsides, How did you approach the brief?
Vanessa: As mentioned before I immediately started to think about big socio-political issues and big global changes that would make for a better world. Yet, during a nice walk in the forest I came to think about my personal experiences last year and all the challenges that laid ahead. So, I thought about how I felt throughout the year, how I kept my relationships alive during social distance and what I did to take care of myself and my loved ones. As the pandemic is quite challenging for me and everyone I know I wanted to choose a resolution and create a piece of artwork that is about caring and kindness, lifting oneself and others up, especially during times like these.
TH: What affirmation have you chosen and why?
Vanessa: I chose the resolution “This year distance won’t get us down!” because the experiences of this year has changed something in me and my social environment. Especially now when you are often alone and thrown on one's own it is so important to stay connected. To show to yourself and others that you are not alone, that you are loved and supported.
TH: How have you used your personal style, personal story and Coca-Cola’s campaign open to better to come up with your piece of work?
Vanessa: Inspired by the resolution “This year distance won’t get us down!” and thinking about this past year, I immediately thought about my friendships and the lovely people I work with on different creative and political projects. I thought about how lost I sometimes felt and how moments of connection are even more enriching and intense now. Connecting with the people around me kept me going and helped me not to lose sight of the good. So, I knew this was where I wanted to go. Additionally, my personal work is about visibility, solidarity and body positivity. Therefore, it was clear to me that I wanted to draw a character who is at home in their own body and who shows an attitude of solidarity and kindness.
TH: Why do you think being Open to Better is so important given the year we’ve had?
Vanessa: Given the year we’ve had we all need a reminder to take care of ourselves, our loved ones and at best to care more for all the people around us. In addition, we need to be reminded that there is still good between all the challenges and that a humble act of caring can be exactly what someone who is struggling needs.
I think this global experience can be a bridge to a better understanding for one another, across cultural and ideological differences and be used to realize what each individual can do to create a better world for all by providing small moments of happiness for others.
TH: What is the story behind your piece of artwork?
Vanessa: My illustration is all about keeping in touch and supporting each other throughout difficult times. It shows that even over distance you can lift each other up and be part of each other's lives. In detail, my artwork shows a lovely lady who is comfortable in her own body sitting on the floor of her living room connecting with her fellow femmes via computer pinky promising each other that they will be there and they will keep fighting for the better.