Something Good Studio Young Designer Throws 2021

INTERVIEWED BY Cheri Morris IMAGES Lené Walters LOCATION Home of Angie Durrant

Johannesburg-based collaborative textile design studio Something Good Studio runs an annual pattern design competition for all young aspiring designers under 25. We caught up with this year’s winners, Meg Philip, Eon Rheeder, and Leo Rheeder – the latter being a pair of twins by total chance! – to find out what makes them get up in the morning, the twists and turns in their budding design careers thus far and the physical spaces in which they are most creative.

What are you most passionate about and what drives you? Work-related and beyond. 

Meg: I love curating things. In my day to day, I’m always zooming into details and constantly looking out for beautifully-curated spaces and things around me to capture. I don’t know what it is that gets me going but I do have a streak of resilience. If I really want to do something, I will do whatever it takes to reach my goal. I think maybe my desire to create something beautiful and my perfectionism is what keeps me at it.

Leo: Using my voice through design and illustration to generate an influence on society is what I am most passionate about. My motivation stems from a number of early experiences. My first memory is of my brother and me creating stories and illustrating them at my grandparents’ house. I was also subjected to masculine norms at an early age, I was told that boys who like to draw and appreciate art are aberrant. As a result, I was labeled as a bit strange at a young age. I’ve found my voice as an artist through the years and the things which used to tear me down are now fueling my passion. I call these two recollections my Yin and Yang mentality. It’s a mix of the good and the bad that has shaped who I am today.

Eon: My drive is powered by a memory of when I was very young, age 7 or 8. The memory is of my twin and I at our grandparents’ house in Richards Bay. We were creating stories about fictional characters, drawing them. I remember this moment of pure bliss and this is when my twin and I decided this is what we want to do one day. We want to use design, film and illustration to create moments people can relate to and have open emotions to.

Tell us about a time that changed your life as an artist/creator.

Meg: I would say that getting my first proper job as a template designer at a photo editing mobile app. Having had no training and hardly any experience, it was a turning point for me. It gave me the opportunity to learn so much about design and gain skills. It boosted my confidence but at the same time has been a huge learning curve.

Leo: Being bullied and feeling like I didn’t fit in school played quite an important role in my life and, strangely enough, I am grateful for those years today. All of those years have taught me that my voice as an artist is meaningful and that following your instincts and trusting yourself will lead to you becoming the person
you were meant to be.

Eon: After high school, I was too afraid to follow my twin on the dreams we had as children, so I went on to study a trade and work in a factory where I was unhappy every day. One of the only things that kept me going was drawing patterns and shapes with my finger in the dust on the floor. My twin returned home from university one weekend and showed me his designs and what he was working on. This inspired me to overcome my fear and to embark on the journey we had wanted as children and become a designer.

Tell us about your Something Good Studio blanket design.

Meg: The “Planted” blanket design was born out of a sketch with pen and paper. Leaves are my go-to things to draw. There’s something quite soothing and methodic about drawing them. The name “Planted” refers literally to the leaves, however it also bares the figurative meaning of staying grounded and finding my feet during this time of uncertainty. The design turned out to reflect themes of growth and new beginnings which are very relevant themes for me this year. The colour green, associated with life, renewal and growth, emphasises these themes.

Leo: The artwork is conceptualised with a metaphoric representation of how our lives are. We go through life and the road has all these twist and turns but you’ve got to hold on and just move and groove right through it. For the pattern I wanted to design something interesting as well as serene. The colours I chose for this pattern were influenced by the thought of sea water running through beach sand, tying into the metaphoric representation of the different paths life takes you on and the serene feeling I wanted to create.

Eon: From a young age I have been mesmerised and fascinated with the ocean. It brings me clarity on stormy days and when floating in the ocean, starring up at the clouds, it calms my mind and I catch a moment to find rest in myself. I wanted to express those most valuable and vulnerable feelings in a design that would appeal to people from all walks of life. Just like a fish in the ocean, you must keep swimming forward in life. The design itself, with its various types of fish, shapes, and minimalist lines flowing throughout, reflects my feelings toward the soothing ocean. I also hope to showcase the precious diversity of sea life we need conserve.

What advice would you give a budding creative who is afraid of putting their work out into the world.

Meg: Just do it! I always wanted my work to be perfect before putting it out into the world, particularly when it came to my singing, and that’s held me back so many times. I now realise that things don’t always need to be perfect, you can learn and grow as you go. Another big one is not to compare your work to others’. Stay on your own path.

Leo: You are worthy. Artists put a lot of pressure on themselves by comparing their work to that of others. The truth is that there are many excellent artists out there and, while it is admirable to enjoy their work, you must first be your own number one fan. Believe in yourself and know that you as an artist are worthy.

Eon: We are all unique in everything we do – even my twin and I have two very different and unique design styles. Show off your individuality to the world. I promise you no one can be better at being you, than you.

Follow the designers on Instagram – Meg @andabananas, Eon @eonrheeder, Leo @eonrheeder – and find out more about Something Good Studio here.