LA-based Skillshare student Siyan Ren aka Ramble Ren has worked in UX/UI Design, Illustration, Industrial Design, and Photography, but now considers himself a Product Designer first and foremost. He says his wide variety of interests helps him stave off “creative burnout” and that his newest interest, shoemaking helps him keep him balanced. We chatted with Siyan about his passions, his current job, and how he fell into his career accidentally.
Hi Siyan, thanks for chatting with us. Your website showcases so many accomplishments, you’re well-versed in illustration, photography, and industrial design, and I can see you’ve taken a wide variety of classes on Skillshare, too. Lots of music production!
Can you talk about your diverse interests? What draws you to certain subjects or classes?
I guess you could say it is the result of imposter syndrome. My major was tourism, so I never learned any design academically. I never had the chance to be taught what it was to be a designer before I jumped right into my career. So I began learning everything I could - from illustration to shoemaking - to help me feel grounded in my practice. As long as I was learning something new, I felt less fake. And now the habit has stuck. Learning is like a drug to me now.
As for music production specifically, I thought that subject would be a good thing to learn about. You know, just in case I decide to become a rapper one day.
Do you feel like your work benefits from your interests?
Yes, it helps a ton! My personal work is a source of inspiration for my professional one, and vice versa. It also helps me stave off creative burnout. When solve other people’s problems at work all day, it can be nice to solve your own at night. When I’m tired of work, I do other things - like making shoes - to keep my life balanced.
What was your first creative passion? And how did you develop your career from there?
Illustration was my first foray into the arts, I would say. I was a random kid that got brainwashed by Manga, and just couldn’t stop doodling after that. I began working in the industry by accident. After I graduated with a degree in tourism, I was about to accept an offer from Apple to be a Store Genius, when someone from Autodesk found some of my iconography and web design work. He was kind enough to offer me a job as a visual designer from there. I decided to reject Apple’s Genius offer and plunged into this career. That’s how everything started.
What’s your typical day like?
I get up, and if it’s early enough, I go practice basketball. I’ll go to work until 7:00 pm or so from there. I work at a startup called Honey right now, which is a browser extension that helps people find deals when they are online shopping. When I’m done, I head back to my lab and make some shoes. Then I sleep, and do it all over again.
Let’s talk about your shoes. Your Instagram features such beautiful photos of basketball shoes. What do you love about sneakers? And how did you start making them?
I started to play basketball when I was really young, and I guess, once you start loving the game you can’t resist but fall in love with the sneakers too. The interests go hand-in-hand!
I designed and made all of the sneakers on my Instagram page. Shoe-making is my passion right now. I feel like I heard a whisper saying “you should make shoes,” and I followed that directive and went really deep and heavy into the craft. It’s probably an interest I’ve always had inside of me, from back when there were no Yeezy’s, when we all used to wait in long lines for the new Jordan’s.
Is there any class on Skillshare that you’ve enjoyed the most? And what’s the advice you might give to someone who wants to develop themselves creatively like you have?
I really enjoyed Design a Logo in Modern Style by George Bokhua. All of his works are true beauties.
My advice? Keep your desk clean, stay organized, plan your work out before you begin and keep learning above all else!