10 Questions with an Architectural Designer: Tilly Jega

Updated: Jul 30, 2020

Mythilli Jeganathan, better known as Tilly, is an architectural designer and artist who has worked at different architectural practices over the last 4 years. However, her creativity is not just limited to her job. She spends her time experimenting with sketching, painting, collaging, photographing, just to name a few and finds inspiration wherever she goes.

To view more of her work, visit tillyjega.com or @bytillyjega on Instagram. She has currently organised an Instagram art exhibition showcasing the most beautiful lockdown self-portraits, experimenting with various mediums. The exhibition is currently open to the public and is definitely a unique experience so go ahead and click Tilly Jega Exhibition. We had the opportunity to ask Tilly about her experience in the art industry, as well as advice for any of you who are considering a career in architecture or art.

1. Use three words to describe your job

Collaborative, inspiring, rewarding.

2. What is a book or movie that inspires you?

Grayson Perry: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl

3. What was your first job?

McDonald's to support my education.

4. Who inspires you?

In work, young people, but especially my friends and family. They keep me striving to be better.

5. Which has been more valuable in your career, your education or your experience?

Experience. I studied Architecture (BA). The undergraduate course of Architecture does not set you up for the working world. At university, we completed projects mostly on our own but in practice every single project is collaborative. I thrive better when I'm working in a team, it's great to bounce off different people and create new ideas. I've been able to network and meet a variety of people with the ethos' that I believe in, things that as a student, I knew nothing about.

6. What drew you to this field?

I've always been naturally creative, but prior to uni, I was a keen explorer and always photographing and drawing buildings. Two things I loved at school were Art and Maths, and together they are a great tool for architecture. My Art teachers really encouraged me to follow a path in Architecture and it helped that they believed in me. BUT, If I'm honest, I chose to study architecture because I would get a creative vocational job at the end. As I've got older, my interests have led me towards Art and I'm now pursuing more of a hybrid profession between Architecture and Art. Although I still love Architecture, I would like to make an impact in both the Art and Architecture industries. Moral: if you have the option, always choose what you love.

Walmer Yard

7. What skills have you found vital to your job?

Drawing, researching, being personable and proactive, constant learning, working with young people, having a problem-solving brain, listening.

8. Would you do anything differently if you could go back in time?

I would have completed an art foundation to transition into my Architecture course. As well as this, being more aware of the disadvantages and the lack of representation that people of colour are facing within the industry, and try and make a difference (which I am still doing).

9. What does a typical day at work look like?

Each day is never the same, I have always worked on multiple projects at one time. One day I'll be creating presentation images for clients, the next day I will be writing up a cost plan. Other days I'll be building a physical or virtual model and some days I'll be drawing up detailed drawings using various software. The skills you gain from the architecture field are abundant and it's constantly changing. You have to be ready to take on any task.

10. What advice do you have for someone who wants to enter the industry?

It's not enough to love just art or maths, be prepared to work collaboratively and realise that architecture is not just working on someone's house or an office. Architecture is all around us and it's also small scale; exhibitions, temporary pavilions, interiors, festivals, restaurants, technology... the list can go on. I work with young people to inspire them, and communities around us. We let them have a say in what we design. It's not enough to work on your own, we are much better in numbers and that way, we understand what people want to see in their cities. You'll be surprised how innovative young people are, and it puts a smile on your face when they feel proud of what they have created.


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