KELLY KELLECTIVE | Front End Developer & UI Designer | Wellington
Q. How did you get into coding? What is your advice for girls and omg children who want to be coders?
First of all, if you want to get into coding try to understand why. Is it because everyone is saying you should? I wanted to code because I saw it as a way to help me design the things I had in my head. From a young age I wanted to be a video artist and there weren't tools that did what I wanted. So I thought, well if these tools don't exist I need to hack around and make something work. For me, coding was a creative thing. When I was young and making websites time would fly by and I loved the feeling that I was able to think up something, make it happen, and put it online.
I never saw the separation between code and creativity. At high school I was into design and art, and at home I would play computer games and play around with designing my own worlds. I always felt limited by what was offered by existing software and had to get creative with how I made the things I had in my head. At university this led me to want to learn to code so that I could have more control and ability to design. I wanted to build tools for designers.
I learned about creative coding and this was my path in to get really interested in generative design and audio reactive visuals. On the side, from a young age, thirteen perhaps, I was making websites and I felt like my brain worked in just the right way to take an idea and code up the structure of a page. I considered myself to be self taught in terms of code; I played around until things broke then I worked backward to figure out why. For me, learning was about making and experimenting. My advice would be to find something you are passionate about and use that as a project for your leaning. Build something real!
Q. Tell us about a rad piece of code that you’ve written? What are you most proud of?
I collaborate a lot with other people. I've done projects with people who are fantastic programmers and I work with them to do the more visual side of things. One thing that has stuck with me is this feeling that I’ll never know enough and never be an expert. Technology is always changing and it is very hard to decide what area to focus on. I'm learning that some people will want to focus on a particular language and become an expert in that area, and it took me a long time to realise it’s okay for me to sit in a multidisciplinary space where my area of expertise is not in a language but in pulling together the vision of the project across a team of engineers and designers. I make all the parts fit together.
"I never saw the separation
between code and creativity"
One of my most fun projects was almost 8 years ago. It was pre-iPad, and a friend had this fancy new touch screen interface. We worked together to design and build an interface that I could take into a club and use it as a controller to make live audio responsive videos. This was a fun project because we got to play with videos, code, controllers, and had to learn to pitch our idea to a club owner, design posters, arrange DJs to play, and learn how to promote events. I discovered a passion for live performance and event creation, and have been doing similar experimental video work for festivals and clubs in Wellington ever since. Note, I do this all as a side venture while working for a software development company!
Q. What big dreams do you have as a coder?
Professionally I’m building user interfaces for a company and we are working on something right now that the User Experience industry will end up using. I'm inspired by knowing that we are working on something that will impact a lot of people. In my artist life I’m hoping to carve some time soon to work on some more interactive ideas working with projections and dancers perhaps.