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Janaina Joanna Baxevani Lead Senior Designer / Art Director shortlisted nominee for GIWA Awards

Janaina Joanna Baxevani Lead Senior Designer / Art Director shortlisted nominee for GIWA Awards

The GIWA -Greek International Women Awards vision is to showcase and celebrate super talented and influential Greek women internationally that strive to make a difference and a contribution to the world. 

Janaina Baxevani is a multidisciplinary communication designer. She holds an FdA in Fine Art from Central Saint Martins, a BA(Hons) in Fashion Promotion: Public Relations from London College of Fashion, an MA in Graphic Branding from the University of the Arts London, and an MRes in Communication Design from the Royal College of Art. She has worked for clients including Christie’s, Sotheby’s, Maddox Gallery, InStyle, Vogue, and Harper’s Bazaar, and her greatest expertise revolves around the worlds of art and heritage. Janaina designs for purpose and her design work attempts to tell stories and create meaningful experiences. She has worked for Halcyon Gallery, producing identities for exhibitions, bespoke client fine art volumes and promoting contemporary artists such as Andy Warhol, Dale Chihuly, Lorenzo Quinn and Bob Dylan. Her works are research driven, through intelligent enquiry and evaluation, they create a framework for a deeper insight into graphic design and its future development. Alongside her current professional work (for Sebastian Gallery), she is conducting research and writing a book on ‘Smellscapes in Museums of 18th century Old Masters’. This project explores means of communicating historical significance through smells. With her research and sensory creations, she aims to show the potential of communication design practice to contribute towards history of art education, preservation of heritage and curatorial practice.

Janaina has the keys to success in the field of design meaning super talent, passion and dedication.

On the values scale, which is the first value to guide your work?

The first and foremost value that takes my professional work to the highest level and beyond is ‘Creativity’ followed by Courage, Vulnerability, Challenge, Connection and Encouragement.

I believe creativity is the most important competency to begin one’s journey in the art and heritage world. I’m always interested in the ‘why’ behind creative work. I’m a big believer in purpose driven work and having core values that guide my every step of the way, from the content I create to the experiences I bring to life. I strive to create master designs infused with my creative values and intentions throughout. 

I’ve come to realise that once we know the ‘why’ behind our work, it’s easier to create with purpose, to know when to say yes and when to say no, and really find fulfilment in the work we create and share with the world. 

I believe in courage. It takes a lot of courage to really put yourself, your work, and your ideas out there. What I’ve learned though is that courage is something we learn over time and adapt to in this super demanding, competitive world. Even though I can sometimes feel overwhelmed by fear, I know that I have to choose courage if I want to get anything done, move forward, and feel truly fulfilled with my work. 

Vulnerability. I’m a big believer in creating work that is authentic, honest, and human. I only create work that truly feels authentic whenever it comes from a place of vulnerability. I’m vulnerable when I take a risk, try something new, and open myself up to judgement and criticism. So many of us can align vulnerability with weakness but I find that if I put up too many walls between myself and my creative process, my work can feel cold and a little detached. Allowing myself to create from a place that pushes me out of my comfort zone and opens me up to criticism, judgement, and failure ultimately allows me to push myself towards bigger and better work. 

Connection, also. I thrive when connecting with others. Most of my work is guided by the desire to help and support other creatives and I really enjoy spending so much of my work engaging with other professionals who also inspire me along the way. Whether it’s connecting with my colleagues, working one-on-one with clients, or supporting fellow designers. I believe in prioritising this area of my work. I create in the hopes that it will connect with others, and even though many areas of my work are for-profit, at the heart of them will always be the pursuit of authentic connections.

Finally, encouragement. If I had to summarise the main intention behind the work I do, it would be to encourage and support other creatives. I intent to encourage them to create without boundaries, step out of their comfort zone, overcome fear, and make positive steps towards their long term goals and aims. Whenever I liaise with a client or create designs for a museum, my number one rule is to share from a place of encouragement. I’ve come to realise that true encouragement comes from a place of honesty, and therefore I try and hold back on sugarcoating reality, but still encourage myself to be vulnerable and brave along the way. 

What is the one and most important thing you are proud of?

Firstly, I’m proud of the person I’ve evolved to be and very grateful for all the great opportunities that came my way thus far.

Secondly, I’m proud for receiving the opportunity to design the identity and the catalogue for the iconic ‘Armada Portrait’ – the most influential painting of the British history, ever known.

Working alongside the Director and International head of Private Sales and Old Masters department at Christie’s, I was exposed to the most colourful environment, filled with history and heritage. I was also offered further opportunities to work with Old Master paintings and design exhibition experiences for them.

“The Armada Portrait book has been referred to as a work of art in itself. It now holds pride of place on library shelves and, despite the limited edition, it can be considered one of the most influential art books printed in the UK during the last few years.” – Alexis Ashot, the Director and International Head of Private Sales and Old Masters department at Christie’s.

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Thanks to this magnificent masterpiece, great doors opened and led me to amazing opportunities within the art and heritage world. It also made me discover and realise a passion that I didn’t know I had for the Old Masters (paintings) and the Fine Art world. It offered me a motive to further explore research in this sector at the Royal College of Art.

If you changed something in the area where you are active, what would it be and why?

People’s mentality and approach to creativity within the museum world!

Stakeholders and people working for this world lack of creative thinking. These individuals are known to be of an older generation and with a low tech savvy competency, who can’t cope with new changes and industry advancements. They rely on their empirical knowledge and usually avoid collaborating with young blood talented creatives. This in my opinion, needs to stop! 

It is evident that there has been a recent tendency for museums to decolonise and shift away from the old traditional ways of exhibiting. They are taking on this important work to try to make their museums reflect the diversity and the voices of the people within their collections and around them. Many museums have legacies rooted in colonialism, history and science and they want to communicate these amazing legacies to the wider audiences, locally and internationally. 

In my opinion, the older generation currently working for these museums would be better off doing something else. I would personally replace these individuals with younger and highly creative professionals, who carry a more diverse mentality. Ones who can adapt to change and innovation!

Vote here: till 1st of March 2021.

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