Danling Xiao, Graphic Designer

Danling Xiao's work is not only unique and intricate, but it's beautifully focused. Her approach to her work and the word is balanced and respectful. She'll be presenting Evolving a Tasty Niche: The Love and Struggle in Creative Food Careers at Vivid Ideas . 

What do you do?

I am an artist and freelance graphic designer. I founded Mundane Matters, a multidisciplinary creative practice that aims at creating positive behaviour changes for the future of our planet.

Do you have a maxim that you live and work by?

Not really. But everyday I meditate and remind myself to love more and fear less.

What are the three milestones that have led you to where you stand?

  1. Quitting my full-time job to live a life helped me realise how unhealthy I was living, also a turning point to start my own practice.
  2. Collaboration with artist Liane Rossler inspired me to do more good things using my creativity.
  3. Trump's win made me realise we have fight harder for justice, equality, people and the environment.

What projects do you have in the pipeline?

I have just finished redesigning my website to reflect what Mundane Matters has evolved to over the past year and a half. Also preparing a discussion panel on social entrepreneurship at Vivid Ideas 2017; an art installation to raise awareness about food waste and some workshops in Sydney and overseas. And my freelance design work as well.

What is your dream project?

I think Mundane Matters is my dream project at this stage of life. I am really grateful that I get a voice for all things critical to our future when it is mostly needed.

What’s something surprising about you, that we might not know?

I started as an accounting student at Macquarie University when I first moved to Sydney. I intentionally failed my subjects after a year to prove to my parents that I am dumb so I could do something else.

If you could choose to hear from any female contemporary at a Make Nice event, who would it be and why?

I would like to hear from Kat Dooper, founder of Heaps Gay. I find what she does courageous. To get people together, to create an equal environment for all in such unique, colourful and celebratory way is inspiring.  

What is the best advice you’ve been given, or wish you had been told sooner?

Love heals. I only truly learnt about it from reading Osho a couple of years ago. If I knew about it earlier I'd probably be much more in peace with myself. But one has to go though his/her own journey to be wiser in life. I don't think I would really get what it really meant if I was told sooner.

Do you have a supportive female network in your field? Was it always this way?

I find feminine energy is the most supportive, nurturing and inspiring. I have a bunch of female friends who I am deeply bonded with. I wouldn't call it a network but we know whatever happens we are always there for each other.

It comes with time and experience. When I moved to Australia when I was 18, or even after working in the design industry, I didn't have any deep connection with anyone and felt quite an alien. But I learnt that only when we are open to the world, the world will open its door for us.

Can you share a creative experience that you have found defining?

The most creative moment is when I meditate. Especially when I am not worried, I see colours, desert, waterfalls. I hear sounds. Also in dreams. I often wake up wondering how would I dream about such bizarre things. Our subconcious mind is the most powerful, mysterious and creative.

What are you listening to, reading, watching of late, that is inspiring or entertaining you?

Lately I have been reading Bruce Pascoe's Dark Emu. It is fascinating to learn about the agriculture system that pre-colonial Indigenous Australian built. And how much they respected the land, its resources and its people. But on the other hand it is very sad to think that this most important part of the history has been erased or wrongly labelled. Everyone who lives in Australia should read this book I reckon.

MIT Technology Review is one of my favourite reads. This one I have been reading features 10 Breakthrough Technologies in 2016 which includes immune engineering and robots that can teach each other. All available now or in 3-5 years. The future is here and sounds quite frightening!

What is one facet of your field that you want to see change?

Creating stress-free working environment; raising awareness for sustainable living. I think stress is one of the key causes for the damages we are doing to ourselves, our relationships with people, animals and environment. I believe everyone is willing to make the right decision - for example, reduce wastage, eat ethically and healthily, but we need to be informed, mindful and given time to make that decision.

What do you want to be asked about that no one ever asks you?

What would I do if gravity doesn't exist?

How can we find our more about your work?



Who would you most like to answer these questions next?  

Lisa Clarke. I met Lisa when she interviewed me for ABC International. We clicked straight away. She's a talented photographer, videographer and a wonderful female companion.