"THE SABA-ISTS: INTRODUCING ART DIRECTOR AND DESIGNER, KEENAN MOTTO"

Saturday 25th August, 2018

From an early age, Keenan Motto was instinctually and visually drawn to fashion magazines and image making. So, it only seemed natural that he found himself in the passionately meticulous world of art direction and design; an industry he worked hard to be a part of. Heavily involved with several iconic Australian brands, including SABA, he has accumulated over 10 years of expertise – specialising in the fashion and lifestyle category. Photographed alongside his budding bundle of joy – six month old Inès – we step into the considered, collected and ever-so creative world of SABA-IST, Keenan Motto.

Tell us a bit about your background, and how it led to you becoming an art director and designer?
I studied a BA of Design at UTS here in Sydney. While I studied, I pushed myself to intern to further my skills and learn while on the job. I was employed as a junior designer/art director early in my 3rd year, and worked part-time while I studied. It was extremely demanding, but allowed me to see the bigger picture outside of how the theory of design/art direction converted into practical skills. I then worked in a few different studios, building my skills across both disciplines. I am now at September Design Studio, where I have worked for three years since its beginning.

Can you elaborate on your inspirations, process and how you bring your visions to life?
I draw inspiration from many places. The visual arts, architecture, travel – there’s no limit to where a creative spark can start. In terms of process, I usually start by gathering everything that inspires me and I prepare files – I‘m a little OCD like that. Organisation and process is as important to me as the end result. I then work through creative territories, which are fleshed out and explored in the form of mood boards, design applications and anything else that propels the initial idea. From there, it’s a matter of editing, or in some cases, combining territories until you feel like you have the best of the best. If it isn’t something that you would be proud for the world to see, then it shouldn’t be put forward.

Can you elaborate on your inspirations, process and how you bring your visions to life?
I draw inspiration from many places. The visual arts, architecture, travel – there’s no limit to where a creative spark can start. In terms of process, I usually start by gathering everything that inspires me and I prepare files – I‘m a little OCD like that. Organisation and process is as important to me as the end result. I then work through creative territories, which are fleshed out and explored in the form of mood boards, design applications and anything else that propels the initial idea. From there, it’s a matter of editing, or in some cases, combining territories until you feel like you have the best of the best. If it isn’t something that you would be proud for the world to see, then it shouldn’t be put forward.

Style is also a form of creative expression, would you say your work influences your daily wardrobe?
Most definitely. However, I dress similarly for work as I do for life outside the studio. I believe in investing in high-quality pieces in classic cuts, styles and colours that are timeless. Quality over quantity any day of the week.

The culture of my workspace is…
Collaborative, intimate, fast-paced and spirited.

What are the most rewarding and challenging aspects of your job?
The most rewarding part of my job is seeing an idea through from its first inception in the concept phase, through to execution. Being involved at every touch-point from conceptual territories, to presenting to a client, to briefing and collaborating with teams of experts, to executing the creative and releasing it into the world. The most challenging part is trying to get clients on board with your vision, and daring them to be brave enough to take their brand or brief somewhere new – a place transcending the current market to lead the pack rather than blend in.

You have a beautiful, now six month old daughter, Inès. What have you learnt since becoming a dad?
That family is the most important thing in life. The love of your family and the love you have for them surpasses all else.

What are the most rewarding and challenging aspects of your job?
The most rewarding part of my job is seeing an idea through from its first inception in the concept phase, through to execution. Being involved at every touch-point from conceptual territories, to presenting to a client, to briefing and collaborating with teams of experts, to executing the creative and releasing it into the world. The most challenging part is trying to get clients on board with your vision, and daring them to be brave enough to take their brand or brief somewhere new – a place transcending the current market to lead the pack rather than blend in.

You have a beautiful, now six month old daughter, Inès. What have you learnt since becoming a dad?
That family is the most important thing in life. The love of your family and the love you have for them surpasses all else.

What aspects of fatherhood are you most excited about?
I think watching my daughter grow; watching her personality develop, wondering what kind of person she will become – hoping that we are doing all we can to give her, her best life. Also, just the little things. I get excited to bathe her, hold her until she falls asleep; listening to her laugh and babble. I am trying to live a little more in the moment and enjoy her as she is because she is growing so quickly!

Life lessons, advice, morals – what do you hope to instil in your daughter as she grows older?
Respect for others, to be kind natured and above all else, to be humble.