An Interview


Questioner | Taylor Ikaria

1.Tell us about yourself. Describe your business and why you chose to do what you do.   

Hello!  My name is Anya (aka Goldfish Gir), I love coffee, dogs, and tree hugging. I graduated from York College of Pennsylvania in May of 2015 with degrees in Fine Art and Graphic Design and was then given the great honor of becoming the 2015-2016 Appell Fellow. I am a maker who merges design with fine art techniques and is obsessed with blending the traditional with the nontraditional.

I do what I do because it’s in my blood—it is my inheritance. My grandmother was a traditional female maker: she sewed, baked and cooked from scratch, knitted, and watercolor painted. Although she passed away before I got to know her, my dad shared her stories and remnants of her life with me so that I would grow up to be a woman much like her. I practice all of these same traditional crafts now, but I blend them with methods of my generation including those of graphic design.

2.What is your personal motto or code that you live by?       

I guess my personal code would be keep moving forward. I believe that all things happen for a reason and at the end of the day as long as you keep going and keep trying to make yourself and life better, it will be ok. Becoming stagnant is something I fear in both my work and my life and so when I feel myself getting stuck, that is the time it is most important to find motivation and move in a forward direction–even if I’m not sure which way I’m going.

3.What is the hardest thing you’ve had to deal with by being a girl boss? 

Identity. I think creatives are always trying to find a balance between finding satisfaction in what they make, but also satisfying an audience, and that can be a fine line to walk. My identity as a person and as an artist is very important to me and I am always trying to understand it better so that I can make my work better. This is something that can be easily forgotten about when working for others, but it an essential part of one’s humanity—of my humanity.

4.How do you deal with competition? 

I try to be inspired by it. I know that there will always be other people who can do this or that better than I can, so why not learn something from them. I think it’s all about finding confidence and purpose in what you do. It’s important to be aware of competition, but to then take something positive away from it if you can.

5.Where do you see you and your brand in 5 years?     

Oh my goodness, what a question! This is something that I think about all the time, but I have absolutely no idea!! And that is a big deal for me because I can be quite a control freak and I am very goal oriented. There are a lot of things that I enjoy doing and that I want to do with my life: I want to go to grad school for design and teach; I want to be a hand-letter and sign painter; I want to create design that promotes a healthier environment and convinces people to live greener; the list goes on for days! I feel like most other 23-years olds (that I know of) where I am excited and optimistic about the future, but I don’t know where it is taking me yet. Let’s just say I am open minded.

6.Do you have any advice for future or current girl bosses

Find balance. Kick ass and work really, really hard, but also find time for yourself to do the things that make you happy—this goes such a long way. It may seem like an obvious thing and you may be having a duh! moment, but it is worth remembering. Balance is the key!