In Conversation with Tia Queen

Ahead of the launch of Hot Chicks with Big Brains Issue 6, in which Anna Apuli chats with Tia Queen, we’ve put together this sneak preview of the content you can expect to find within its pages. Read on to find out more about Tia, her diverse career, and how she maintains her love for the work she does.

Image by Alana Potts

Hot Chicks with Big Brains: Can you start by telling us a bit about who you are and what you do?

Tia Queen: I’m just about to wrap up as Creative Director at Map Creative and The Weekend Edition, to go full-time in my own venture, Gangplank. I teach at Shillington College two nights a week, and I also volunteer on the AGDA council.

HCwBB: How did you get into teaching?

TQ: I studied at Shillington once upon a time and fell in love with the college’s whole philosophy and approach. Having a mother as a teacher growing up, I never thought I’d teach. After studying there I thought, “I could actually teach here!” It’s such an amazing team, and a global network as well—you’re collaborating with designers from all over the world including the UK and US.

Image by Thomas Calder

HCwBB: Tell me what you’re doing now with Gangplank and how you got to be doing that?

TQ:  I’ve always been drawn to having my own business—to have control over my own destiny as well as keeping nimble. At the same time, I’m a pretty risk-adverse person, so it was always just this question of “Will it ever really happen?”. Then I met Brenton, who I teach with at Shillo. Teaching together meant we had to get a really good understanding of each other and how we each work really quickly, then we found ourselves getting excited by each other’s freelance projects, then naturally collaborating—and our collaborations grew from there! Having that sort of partnership has really brought Gangplank to life.

Image by Thomas Calder

HCwBB: How do you attract like-minded clients?

TQ: So far, it’s just been putting work out there, which is a big hurdle I’ve had to overcome. I think everyone in design has an element of perfectionism—it comes with the industry. So, it’s really hard to go, “You know what? It’s a work in progress and, in a way, everything is always a work in progress. So, here’s where it’s at; here’s our flag.” This is what it looks like at the moment.” Getting the work out is what’s most important, whether you’re a designer or anyone else. If you don’t take risks, you don’t see results. And you don’t have anything to improve upon or learn from. That’s why we built our studio on that philosophy of action.

HCwBB: How do you juggle everything, Tia?

TQ: I always find if I do too much of something I love, I end up hating it. Teaching gives me variety in my week, and also challenges me to keep learning myself. Being on the AGDA council is completely different—I’m working with some incredible designers to find out what’s missing for Queensland designers, then making that a reality. It’s a lot of event coordination, which is not really my forte whatsoever. I’m keen to bring the AGDA mentorship program to Brisbane. The other Australian states have one going, so hopefully that will help me implement it. It will be more for designers who are at that mid-point in their career, not necessarily those who have just graduated.

Keen to read more of our chat with Tia? Preorder your copy of Issue 6!

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