Düsseldorf without arts is hard to imagine!
We talk to Lisa about creativity, corona crisis, and of course the stories of her wardrobe.
Tell us about yourself and your profession.
I was born and raised in Düsseldorf and since high school graduation, I have been working for the creative and advertising agencies here in the city. I then studied Communication and Multimedia Management and started to work with my husband Rainer Kunst. After the birth of our second daughter, both of us decided to take some time off and travelled to New York with our children. We spent three months there enjoying quality family time and collecting creative inspirations. It was there that we came across CREATIVE MORNINGS, which was an event format founded in New York by a Swiss Designer, who wanted to bring the city’s creatives together and build a community. Back then, the concept was already very successful and had spread throughout the world.
Düsseldorf is a very creative city with its long tradition in the advertising business, music, photography and of course the arts. Thus, we decided to bring this format to Düsseldorf to unite all these creative industries. And so, in February 2015, we held our first CREATIVE MORNINGS DÜSSELDORF, which we now host on a regular basis, once a month and always in a different location.
In addition to CreativeMornings, I am also the co-founder of FLORA & FAUNA, a project close to my heart , which I have been working on for the last four years. It is also a location which brings creative people together. In a total of 1280 square metres of space in Düsseldorf Unterbilk, various creative service providers come together to push forward joint projects and topics. But the rooms are open to the public for events too. I am convinced that networking and exchange between people from interdisciplinary fields has the potential to create something new and something of value.
What drives you in your job?
Through my work at Flora & Fauna and CreativeMornings, I get to know an incredible number of people and their work in a wide variety of fields. The insights gained through this enrich me immensely. I am obsessed with creativity and creative output. Today, the word creativity has become a buzzword and has a different meaning from back in the old days. But what still drives me is observing how people can straddle boundaries and create new things.
Fortunately, in my work, I am very free to define creative work for myself. For example, I include social projects or invite people who dare to experiment in philosophical thought. I do this because the all-encompassing change that surrounds us challenges us to think in a completely new way on so many different levels, to create innovations, and to define human values. The classical creative fields such as art, music, film, etc. are an essential part of this process as they reflect contemporary issues and create new perspectives.
Today, the word creativity has become a buzzword. But, what still drives me is observing how people can straddle boundaries and create new things in art, music and other creative fields. This really keeps me going.Lisa Kunst
How do you think the creative industries will be impacted by the corona crisis and what do you think the key developments in the future will be?
The creative industries have been hit hard. The bad thing is that it is not easy to make up for it and the effects will be felt for a long time to come. A lot depends on events – concerts, exhibitions, fairs. And events will probably be last to take place after the lockdown at a level similar to before. In contrast to other industries, the number of orders here will not improve in the short term after the lockdown is lifted, as events require long periods of planning. In addition, companies will cut marketing budgets in support of their own consolidation. This will have far-reaching consequences for many cultural and creative industries.
One effect of this could be that companies will try to compensate for the losses with artists that are already successful. Special attention should, therefore, be paid to the promotion of young talent.
By definition, a crisis is also the end of a dangerous development. Think of climate change or the negative effects of globalisation. It accelerates processes, progress, and requires radically fast rethinking. Which is why a crisis is also a booster for creativity.
By definition, a crisis is also the end of a dangerous development. Think of climate change or the negative effects of globalisation. It accelerates processes, progress and requires radically fast rethinking. Which is why a crisis is also a booster for creativity.”Lisa Kunst
What would you recommend to creatives or students who are about to graduate? How should they orientate themselves? What topics should they work on?
It is difficult to give general advice to new entrants to the professions in all cultural and creative industries. So here are some very general points: always look beyond your own sub-sectors. Leave university teaching behind every now and then and see what is happening outside – in economic developments, social issues and ethical aspects. And what always helps: read, read, read. And most important of all have fun.
Are you a feminist and what do you think are the biggest misconceptions about feminism?
I consider myself a feminist. I think even today, we need greater gender balance. Balance is an important aspect of life. It is important that gender justice is anchored in politics and the world of work. That we all give this issue weight and visibility. But it also starts in a very small way with our own family. Is the job of the person who carries home more money more important? With regard to the gender pay gap and the part-time work trap we are sometimes in a vicious circle.
Are there any national or cultural values that you would not like your children to inherit?
Striving for endless growth is one of the values of our generation which I would not like my children to inherit. This strongly relates to sustainability – as growth is closely related to over consumption, which is the other side of the coin.
Striving for endless growth is one of the values of our generation, which I would not like my children to inherit. And closely related to growth is over consumption, which is the other side of the coin.Lisa Kunst
What does fashion mean in your life?
I see fashion as a beautiful way to express my personality. It shapes the first impression you have of a person. And fashion is fun.
Are there any clichés in the marketing agency business?
In the past in the marketing agency business, everyone dressed in black. Black turtleneck pullover, black sunglasses, all-over black. However, it has changed a lot these days. The clichés are becoming rarer. Basically, the advertising industry is a very free one when it comes to dress codes. Everything is allowed.
Where do you buy fashion?
I like to shop vintage or to shop in small boutiques which are not necessarily in the city center of Düsseldorf. One boutique which I like is STYLE ALBUM. It is a boutique with designers and brands beyond the fashion mainstream.
An institution for avant-garde fashion in Düsseldorf is ELA SELECTED. Located in the old Liesegang factory, she has a selection of designers such as HENRIK VIBSKOV, ESTHER PERBANDT, and many others in addition to her own line. Ela has been running her shop for over 40 years, always in touch with the art and music scene. She was also involved in creating the key-look for KRAFTWERK – the red shirts.
For vintage, Bilker Allee is great. I like to visit the shops VILLA OLIVA and JACKE WIE HOSE. I love the idea of “treasure hunting” vintage shopping offers and of course the chance to discover something hidden and unique.
Do you follow trends and how do you find out about them?
I think I often follow trends unconsciously. I am still a big fan of print magazines for fashion and other topics. One of these is the magazine DIE DAME, edited by the businessman and art collector Christian Boros in Berlin. It originated in the ’20s and now has a revival. In 2017 DIE DAME was published as a new edition by Axel Springer media house Berlin and now has been appearing twice a year featuring collaborations with artists such as Thomas Ruff, Tracey Emin, or Patti Smith. But also, classic magazines like Vogue or social media channels with street photography inspire me.
What is your favourite piece of clothing and its story?
There is one dress, which I bought at the VILLA OLIVA shop about five years ago, which I guess by now is 40 – 50 years old. The special thing about the dress is the shopping experience. It was a day before Christmas Eve, and I was out in the neighborhood for food shopping with my oldest daughter. As always before Christmas, I was expecting major chaos in the city, but it was quite the opposite. The city was very quiet and peaceful and we two had a really nice time.
My daughter loves the VILLA OLIVA shop with its magical and nostalgic experience of different eras, from the ’20s to the ’80s. She saw this dress there and said “Mom, you have to try it”, which of course I did. It fitted me perfectly and I bought it. Now, whenever I wear this dress, I always think of this peaceful Christmas afternoon, my family, and feel very at home.
Which language would you like to be able to speak?
French. I love French style, the savoir vivre, the culture, and the soft sound of the language.
What is your favourite colour? What colour clothing do you wear most, why?
I like different shades of green. But I also and above all like to wear black. Black always works.
If you could time travel, where would you go?
The art and music scene in the seventies in New York. Manhattan was the hottest place on earth. Chelsea Hotel, Studio 54, The Factory. How I would love to have been there.
Book, film or trip that changed your life?
There are many books, films and also music that have influenced me in my life. But there is one journey that has had a lasting influence on me. When I was ten years old, I went backpacking to Egypt with my parents. We were in SIWA, the smallest oasis in Egypt near the Libyan border. Because this place is surrounded by desert, it was and still is very original. Alexander the Great was there and visited an oracle. Cleopatra also visited this place. Cleopatra’s bath is still preserved there. There is a salt lake, lots of date palms, clay buildings and very warm hearted people. A few years ago, there was also a series on Arte. The 10 most beautiful places in the world – Siwa was one of them.
What is the best thing for you on planet earth?
Nature. It can not only be breathtakingly beautiful, fascinating, and diverse but also provides balance and grounding against the speed, technology, and stress of everyday life. It is simply the basis of human life. Nature offers us living space, food, and the air we breathe. If that’s not worth protecting, I don’t know what is.
If you were an animal, which one would you be?
If I could choose, I would be able to fly. I’d like to live by the sea, too. The other day I was with my kids watching a movie about animals in the Galapagos Islands. The blue-footed booby (Blaufuß-Tölpel) performs a bizarre courtship dance with its bright blue feet. That looked like fun. Flying, swimming in the sea, dancing, being clumsy but wearing great shoes – I would be a blue-footed booby.
What is the one thing you missed the most during the quarantine?
My friends and hugs.