Tina Essmaker

TINA-ANDREWCENCI

COACH, WRITER, SPEAKER, BROOKLYN NY

Tina is a coach, writer, speaker, and advocate for the creative community. In 2011, she cofounded The Great Discontent, a publication of indepth interviews with artists, makers, and risk-takers. She has spoken with more than 250 notable subjects for web, print, and audio, including Cheryl Strayed, Debbie Millman, Reggie Watts, Tavi Gevinson, Leon Bridges, and Krista Tippett. In 2017, Tina experienced a personal transformation after her marriage to her husband and business partner ended. The opportunity to redefine her career drew her back to her roots as a social worker. Combining her love for the creative community with a desire to help people live more meaningful, connected, and fulfilled lives, she started her own coaching practice. In addition to coaching, Tina speaks about vulnerability, empathy, and connection. She was recently named one of the 100 most influential people in Brooklyn culture by Brooklyn Magazine. She also served as Chair of the 2017 AIGA Design Conference, helping to curate a memorable lineup of main stage speakers and symposia hosts.

WHERE WERE YOU BORN AND WHERE DO YOU LIVE NOW?
I was born in Port Huron MI and I currently live in Ridgewood on the border of Bushwick, Brooklyn NY

DID YOU GO TO DESIGN SCHOOL?
Nope. I earned my Bachelor of Social Work from Wayne State University

LEFTY OR RIGHTY?
Righty

MORNING PERSON OR NIGHT OWL?
Night owl

FICTIONAL OR HISTORICAL CHARACTER YOU IDENTIFY WITH?
As a young girl, I loved the Nancy Drew series and wanted to be her – I’m endlessly curious and always on the lookout for a good mystery to solve.

ARE YOU MUSICAL AND/OR DO YOU PLAY AN INSTRUMENT?
I play piano but I don’t read music

FAVORITE BOOK?
A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit

FAVORITE MOVIE?
When I need a laugh, I watch White Chicks, because who doesn’t love the Wayans brothers. Others: Only Lovers Left Alive, The Shawshank Redemption, Harold and Maude, Terms of Endearment, The Fifth Element

FAVORITE TV BINGE WATCH?
Friends (again), Weeds, Insecure, Stranger Things

FAVORITE SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM?
Instagram

FAVORITE FINE ARTIST?
I have a few: painter Cecily Brown; artist Zaria Forman who creates large-scale landscapes out of pastels; minimalist sculptor Richard Serra; photographer Mary Ellen Mark; modernist painter Stuart Davis; Jackson Pollock

FAVORITE CHARITY?
charity: water

FAVORITE FREE TIME ACTIVITY?
Spend time with friends, explore NYC, play piano, eat delicious food, visit museums and galleries, and buy books at Greenlight in Fort Greene or McNally Jackson in SoHo

COLLECT ANYTHING?
See above, I collect books

COLOR USED MOST OFTEN IN YOUR DESIGN?
As a New Yorker, I feel obliged to say RGB Black

TYPEFACE USED MOST OFTEN IN YOUR DESIGN?
Druk

DOES PRINT HAVE A ROLE IN YOUR DESIGNS?
Print played a huge role in my work as Editor in Chief of The Great Discontent. We published multiple issues after launching in print via a Kickstarter campaign in 2014. I have a soft spot for printed artifacts, whether it’s my work or someone else’s.

DESIGN MENTOR/INSPIRATION/HERO?
Debbie Millman, who is extremely talented, astonishingly prolific, generously shares what she’s learned, and uses her platform to champion others’ work

GREATEST STRENGTH/WEAKNESS AS A DESIGNER?
My greatest strength and weakness is obsessiveness over my craft. I want everything to be perfect, but I’m learning to let go and accept that nothing is perfect in execution — only in idea.

ADVICE TO A YOUNG DESIGNER JUST STARTING OUT?
Follow your curiosity. It will change as you do. That’s okay.

A MANTRA OR SAYING YOU LIVE BY?
When you create space in your life, the universe will fill it

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