Patoo Gamechangers | Alia Michele Orane (Art Director)
The dynamic Caribbean is animated by the ideas, emotions and actions of a core community of influential insiders. The Patoo Gamechangers, like Alia Michele Orane, are people who are shaping the Caribbean region from either within the region or in the Diaspora across all corners of the globe. They are passionate, diverse and interesting whether they are corporate, creative or entrepreneurial ventures.
Name: Alia Michèle Orane
Instagram Handle: @aliamichele
Profession: Art Director
Hometown: Kingston, Jamaica
Now Lives: Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Three words to describe your style?
Eclectic, Fun, Girly & at times Tomboy-ish.
Your personality type is?
Analytical, Extremely Silly, Sensitive and Observant.
Your greatest skill is?
Being able to create oh so much!
How’d you get into your career?
I think it boils down to studying and working in different industries. Some I fell into and some I did to increase my range of abilities. There were definitely some hit and misses, but I’ve always liked learning new things and challenging myself to become well-rounded and better at what I do.
In college I studied graphic design and fibers. I loved fibers because it took me away from the computer and towards graduation I decided to explore this as a career. This lead me to start my own handbag company, aliamichèle. I moved to New York once I graduated, and sold my bags online while working in marketing and print-production/pre-press. I did this for about 10 years when my passion for developing products started to dwindle.That’s when I started to explore and worked in editorial (as a writer and designer), styling, PR and Art Direction. Today, I focus solely on Art Direction which is a collective of everything that I can do. I’m hired by companies, mainly in fashion, to build their campaigns and to gain a presence. They come to me because of my innate ability to translate their visions into beautiful imagery and words. It’s really rewarding for me to help companies grow, especially in the Caribbean.
Do you have any tips for beginners?
I’ll say what my Mother told me years ago. She said ‘No experience is ever wasted’. There will be jobs you hate, but always give 100% and work hard in that role because there will be a lesson and growth. Just make sure to never let go of the vision you have for yourself and practice a lot of patience. Last but not least, follow your gut. It’s always right…ALWAYS.
Jamaica feels like?
Home…always and forever home.
If you could speak any foreign language fluently enough to write poetry in, which language would it be?
What’s integral to the work of a creative? Freedom.
What role does the creative have in society?
Everything. We help shape the world and bring forth change. That can be good or bad unfortunately, but once we invest in the folks who want to see positive change, the only way to go is up. Just think, everything that’s around you, a creative mind came up with it. We are powerful beings.
What's your hidden talent?
I guess it would be knitting. When I tell people I’m knitting they’re oddly surprised.
Who is the last person you texted?
My good friend Donz.
The person you admire most?
Can I have two? I feel like the admiration I have for my mother and father are on the same level in different ways.
If you could give advice to a younger version of yourself, what would it be?
Stop being so hard on yourself and quit the darn worrying. Everything strangely works out and everything you’re going through will make you stronger and will help you discover new things about yourself.
P.S. You’re stronger than you think you are.
I have a beautiful ink painting by Basil Watson that was a gift from my Mum. It’s still waiting to be hung on a wall due to moving around quite a bit in the past 2 years but I’ve been in love with it since the night of his exhibition. Each time I go home I sit and admire it for a few minutes.
What’s your favorite app – facebook, instagram, pinterest, twitter, snapchat or periscope?
What do you dislike about your work?
Sitting in front of the computer for hours.
Should the arts be funded?
What role does arts funding have?
I remember being in high school, swearing blind I could be an accountant. For me personally, I was always pushed to do the subjects that would lead me to a desk job, despite always doodling and dreaming in the back of my classes. My mother always encouraged me to be creative and nurtured my gift for as long as I can remember but I didn’t have anyone at school who urged me to follow that path. Maybe that was just me and the space I was in at that age, who knows, but it wasn’t until I repeated 5th form at Hillel Academy where my art teacher really motivated me and helped me come into my own. I think funding is important because I see the lack of encouragement for persons like myself. I also believe that art is for everyone and not just creative minds. It pushes you to think outside the box, to have a hobby if needs be…it really and truly helps you grow no matter the industry you want to be in. Sometimes society can be stifling and based on all the amazing talent Jamaica has to offer, we should be encouraging it through every stage of life.
Favorite hotel in the world?
Goblin Hill. I’ve created beautiful memories there and it’s a place I cherish a lot.
If you could choose your last meal, what would it be?
Easy. A slice of New York pizza and an ice cold Coca Cola.
Favorite Jamaican landmark?
This is not really a landmark but I love love love Palisadoes Road. It brings me such peace when I drive along the winding road. From sunrise to sunset, the large rocks, the water…it’s one of the things I miss about being at home.
What’s your favorite curse word?
Does beer count? I’d take that over any cocktail.
The thing you most value?
The most valuable lesson you’ve learned?
To follow my gut. It has taken me a while to seriously achieve that skill. I’ve been in too many work situations where I didn’t feel right and I ignored all the warning signs. I think this year was the year I started to take control, understood what I was feeling and basically just said no if that was my first inkling. The best part was learning that it’s okay to say no! Your gut will never lead you astray.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
If you had to live in any other Caribbean island other than Jamaica, which would it be?
I’ve never been to St. Lucia but I feel like I could live there amongst the Pitons.