Kate is an award winning designer, creative director and founder of Kate Dawkins Studio. A studio specializing in creating and delivering bespoke content for live performances, shows and brand events, working across both projection and LED, indoor and outdoor.
After three incredible talks at FITC Amsterdam (2018, and 2019) we're bringing Kate across the pond for her first time in Toronto! Grab your tickets now, and learn more about Kate below.
Are there certain aspects of working on live experiences that you’re drawn to more than others?
To be honest I just love designing, crafting and creating the content. But one thing is very special, is the audience. I feel like they’re the final link in the ‘live experience’ chain.
I love the buzz when you see all the hard work through the eyes of the audience it’s very special.
Running your own studio for this long must have its rewards and its drawbacks. Is there a brand or company you would consider working for full time at this stage?
Nope : ). It is hard work indeed. We’ve just entered our 4th year and I learn something new every day about running a studio. There are definitely pros and cons and one of the drawbacks is not having enough time to do what I love. But I think exciting things are afoot in 2019, you heard it here.
Tell us about your team, and how you manage scaling up and down depending on the project.
We currently have a very lean studio set-up. I head up the studio and I’m the only full-time member. We have a freelance senior producer who’s been with us on and of now for quite a while now. But our other team members, whether designers, animators, production managers, or technology directors, are built fit-for-purpose for each project. This allows us to have the best team possible, delivering the best work from start to finish, in the most cost-effective way.
A lot of your projects are tied closely to history and community events, which come with a certain seriousness and professionalism but can also lead to very rewarding outcomes like your recent BAFTA win. Do you try and balance out these with work, or life moments that can just be silly, and lighthearted? How do you keep the work culture fun?
Because of our lean business model we can pick and choose what we feel is suitable for us to work on. Or at least that’s what I keep telling myself!
The reality is I say ‘yes’ quite a lot as the projects that come our way tend to instantly excite me.
I think it’s just chance that we get a great mix.
Pushing the boundaries with new technologies goes hand in hand with what you do. Are there any technologies you’re completely over but companies still want you to use? How about tech still in development you can’t wait to play with?
Not necessarily that companies want us to use, but I am tired of people flapping their arms around in front of interactive installation and not a lot happening.
Do you have projects or passions that are completely analog / offline?
I find digital work wonderfully clean, sharp and precise. Everything is counted and measured in pixels. There’s a sense of hand-crafted about analogue. It’s unpredictable. Human-touched. I create (and wish I had more time for this) experimental hand drawn ink studies based on the chance theory using mainly a six-sided dice (I do have others).
It starts with the simplicity and logic of the grid, a framework where initially each section is of equal importance. Then a geometric pattern which sits within this framework is created by chance/dice roll, randomly forming structures in this instance basic shape of the square – full, half and negative.
The element of craft is also vital in the digital work the Kate Dawkins Studio produces.
The theme for FITC Amsterdam 2019 is “Supernova... an explosion of matter which forms new structures, planets, ideas and meanings” - can you think of any personal moments of supernova like bursts of inspiration that helped propel you in your career or life?
I have a supernova moment every time I solve a creative problem and now I’ve cracked it.
I get super excited, adrenaline pumps through my body and I want to run around laughing.
Seeing that moment then played out on a huge canvas is an added supernova moment.
What’s your favourite memory or experience from an FITC event?
Last time at FITC I met some amazing people, both other speakers I’d always wanted to meet, some I didn’t know I wanted to meet, but so glad I do. But also the audience were so receptive and so kind afterward. Never forget it might look easy to stand on that stage but it isn’t.
I had such a great time. Please come and say hello if you fancy a chat.