Ara Laylo received her BFA from UH Manoa with a concentration in Graphic Design. She is currently the art director of Flux Magazine Hawai'i and has also returned to UHM as a Lecturer for an Introduction to Design course. We were able to conduct an interview with Ara to hear about her latest accomplishments and how the foundation she built here at UHM helped prepare her for these roles in the professional art world.
How was Flux Magazine formed?
Flux was founded by Lisa Yamada with the creative help of Cody Matsukawa. Their vision was to rethink the way people conceived Hawai'i through editorial content.
The word flux is a perfect word to describe the city of Honolulu and other major cities. Our city is in constant flux- the flux between the mainland and Asia, the flux within our communities through art and culture, the flux within unofficial realms and official discourse... It's certainly a dialogue with no end.
We're currently working on the third issue. Flux is still a new magazine but I definitely feel like we've opened a connection between a wide demographic. The magazine attracts a young demo but fortunately also appeals to an adult market. In past issues we've talked about the River Street Housing Project, Hawai'i 2059, the activist legacy of John Kelly, Malama Makua, Maui's fight for water and Honolulu's thriving arts and music culture. We try to find the balance between serious and fun.
What does being the art director of Flux entail? How has receiving an education in the arts helped this?
It's basically a one woman design operation. The moment I started with Flux I redesigned all of their collateral- the logo, business cards and their advertising booklet. I am responsible for the magazine's layout and manage all pre and post production.
I cant stress enough how much the BFA Design Program at UHM has impacted my life. The curriculum definitely prepared me conceptually and technically. The professors became my mentors and inspired me to achieve.
Do you have any words of wisdom you would like to impart on current art students and emerging artists?
Reach out to one another! We all suffer from different types of localism, rather see yourself as one art community. One day you might need the help of your fellow design classmate to design your portfolio website. One day you might need the help of your fellow sculpture classmate to build a frame to mount one of your design exhibits. Also... it's just the nice thing you can do.