How to express your creativity in the digital age

Creatives Donna Adi and Leti Sala discuss everything from finding their ‘style’ to gaining virtual popularity…

How has the digital medium helped your evolution as an artist?

“What I like about words is that they connect with emotions,” says Barcelona-based poet Leti Sala. “Out of boredom I started screenshotting the poems I was writing in my phone and posting them on my private Instagram account."

“I received good feedback from my followers, and a few months later a publisher gave me the opportunity to publish a book with my poems and short stories and drawings and pictures of my dog and whatever I wanted.”

What is it about illustrations that connect with people, more so than photos, especially on social media?

“We grew up on illustrations,” says Donna. “When we're reading books, we learn through illustrations, symbols and art. As humans, our eyes connect a lot with illustration. Another reason is that I think through illustration we are able to work some magic. I call my artwork ‘magical realism’ because I can give you another element. Most artists are able to make you believe in something that’s a lot stronger than just a plain photo.”

l feel that the poetry that comes from social media is content that hasn't been edited, hasn't been proofread, it's pure, it's raw.

Leti Sala


How do you balance commercial and personal work?

“The balance is not really as consistent as I would like it to be,” explains Donna. “I do my best to take time out of the day to just draw so that I don't lose my personal individuality and my art amongst all the creative commercial campaigns that I'm doing. It's all about finding balance and making time when we don't have time to do both.”

What do you think about the boom in Insta-poetry?

“l feel that the poetry that comes from social media is content that hasn't been edited, hasn't been proofread, it's pure, it's raw,” says Leti. “It's something that you just thought – you have a feeling, you have an emotion and you put it out there and you share it with the world.”

Donna Adi

How do you find your voice and speak?

“We are in a moment of constant information,” adds Leti. “Spending too much time on our phones can be really bad for our mental health because we start comparing with other people. This is something that happens to me with other poets. I think that a good way to cure that is to put the phone away for an hour or two a day. Meditation has also helped me a lot with that really because it brings you back to yourself and that helps with finding your authentic voice.”

“I know it's very intimidating to get started, you're looking at other people, and my biggest message to you is: ‘Just do’,” adds Donna. “You’re probably going to suck but keep doing it until you don't suck anymore.”

What are the main differences in creativity in digital media?

“Growing up in the '90s, I could draw one piece a week. Now, in the world of Instagram, I have to produce a new piece every single day,” says Donna. “It's a double-edged sword: on one hand, you don't have time to be in love with it, but what's amazing about that is I'm making ten pieces a day and as an artist I'm growing every day.”

“Writing in the real world can be a lonely process,” says Leti. “It's hard to get feedback on your work and the publishing process takes a long time. That's why I like the digital world so much because it's amazing to actually be able to talk with your reader – to know what they have understood, if they like it or not. Having this feedback is really encouraging for me to keep writing.”

As friends of The Bicester Village Shopping Collection, Donna Adi and Leti Sala had this discussion during a round table in association with Vogue Spain.