Anna Sian Posted on 3 Jul 12:23 | Creative Pioneers
Meet Anna Sian - Photographer, brand consultant, a marketing professional currently on the team for the tech industry’s latest podcast app, Anchor, and all around ambitious creative of female creative collective, Eddie. She has worked with Staple Design, VSCO, Imprint Projects, as a marketing director, brand manager, and freelance content manager. Sian is a tried and true New Yorker who supports her passions; strengthening the voice for all women and Asian-Americans alike through her work. We took some time to sit down with Anna to talk about what it means to be a Creative Pioneer. Most importantly, how to be a Creative Pioneer while remaining true to yourself in the context of community.
Photography by: Justin Ryan Kim
Interview and Words by: Justin Ryan Kim
Sian comes from a family that cultivated her individuality. She grew up in the East Village where her parents, who are now retired Architects, encouraged her to explore her her creativity, by helping her turn their small NYC bathroom into a darkroom. Sian took to photography early on and continued to explore as in her freelance work, and at VSCO. They also encouraged her to go to teen poetry workshops.
“Everyone was sitting in a circle introducing themselves, and that was my first introduction to a formal poetry workshop or poetry class. I was probably like 13, and at that moment, I realized that there are people in the room that are like me and have the same interest that I did, and I wasn't weird or strange. This was the reason that I continue to become more creative and also learn from other people.”
As she began to cultivate her interests, through organizations like the Asian American Writers Workshop in St. Marks, she was able to find a community that greatly influenced her life, passions like poetry, and the foundation of work she is building now through her creative collective, Eddie.
Eddie is an all-female creative collective that collaborates with brands and organizations while also addressing gender balance in the creative industry.
What makes Eddie unique, aside from their projects and creative endeavors, is the genuine camaraderie of the team, a group of creative women who all previously worked together at VSCO. Although Eddie first began as a side-hustle, Sian realized that what she loved most about Eddie was being able to create amazing content with the people she loved, which has evolved into the brand that it is today. To put it more simply, ‘make dope shit with dope people’.
“Eddie was kind of, a side hustle in some ways, but we realized what we loved about Eddie was not only the client work, it was really just being together and making things together. And so over the last couple months, we've decided to evolve it into its own brand.”
Before her creative pursuits, Sian was freelancing as a brand marketing consultant with startups at all stages, helping them tell their stories through creative marketing projects. The necessity of community was revealed to Anna during her stint as a consultant – while working remotely, Sian came to the consensus that she thrived amongst a strong working community. As most freelancers work alone, Sian knew that she wanted to be in an environment where she could grow through a collaborative process.
“I was doing a lot of marketing consulting work on my own, and I loved it. But a lot of it was remote, and I realized that I'm a very social person. This is a completely personal answer. Moving on from consulting didn't have as much to do with money or stability or benefits as it did for just my personal work style. And what makes me happy and I what I realized was that me being a computer at home is nice, but it's just really lonely.”
Finding your people
“I think I've always been trying to find my people, in whatever way I can. I have many varied interests. Like I used to be in a band because I love music. And I used to write spoken word poetry, and so I went to workshops for that. I consider myself active in the Asian-American political kind-of community, in my own way. I’m also very passionate about serving the Filipino American community. There was a time when I was especially active in that, so I was seeking out people like myself. It was a way to like, amplify my own message or my own passions, I guess. So for me, communities are like, in this very selfish way they’re a way to grow. But it's also a way to amplify and power your passions in, for example, helping a certain demographic or Community.”
When the balance of finding your people and developing your passions are aligned, great things happen. The unique sea of passions Sian cultivates today, were discovered by doing things that she loved, like her photography, being in a band, writing poetry and being active in the Filipino American Community. A Creative Pioneer tries everything at the risk of failing. Not just thinking about trying things, but actually doing them at the risk of falling flat on your face. Because the experience of doing is worth the risk of not uncovering your passions.
Being a Creative Pioneer
Being a Creative Pioneer means cultivating a cause. It means asking yourself if you are doing something because you want to matter or because you think it matters. With Eddie, Sian and her team do to not conform to the norms of the creative industry and refuse to be typecasts. It’s a constant challenge and test in the creative sector to not fall into the redundancy and focus on the cause you are trying to cultivate.
At the end of the day, being a Creative Pioneer means stepping out of your well-structured box and using tools to make something you can be obsessed about, and something you can sit back and say “oh shit, that’s mine” too.