Background – Tomek & Tim: designers/makers/artists/thinkers

BackGround –  Tomek Pyrzakowski and Timothy Tuppence, 10th Jan 2013

Tim, Tomek, Sami, and Mark perform the final touches to their scaled up walkman, nicknamed Walkster, that played music and included a giant cassette tape for authenticity. This was awarded best in show by the spectators on the night.

Street Dreams 2012 – Dumpster Biennale: Tim, Tomek, Sami, Mark and friends administer the final touches to their scaled up Walkman, nicknamed ‘Walkster’, that played music and included a giant cassette tape for authenticity. Walkster was awarded best in show by the spectators on the night. I was lucky enough to see it in action. It was so great.

In this interview we meet Tomek and Tim who are exactly one half of a prolific, back-alley-cricket-loving Adelaide design collective, which is, as yet, without an official moniker (I’m sure they would be willing to pay handsomely – with hugs – anyone who could christen them to their liking).

The other, equally important half of the quartet, Sami and Mark, had gone fishing… or something… so were unavailable for comment. Don’t worry, you won’t miss out on their considerable insight and general fun-ness, I will talk with them at a later date.

I went through the same undergrad design course as Tomek, Tim, Sami, and Mark. They were part of a group of students who would obviously go on to great and wonderful things one day, for they simply loved making stuff. I was always going to head in another direction however, due to the fact I was really quite awful at designing things (not looking for sympathy, just dealing in facts).

So anyway, the two boys from – I’m getting tired of typing all their names out, so let’s call them,  Alpha Llama – were settling in for a night of gardening and answering emails when I turned up to talk.

How to get employed: speed dating, & there is nothing wrong with stalking a prospective employer


Tomek is still employed in the job which he picked up while he was finishing his degree. This is, from what I can tell, the perfect situation; being employed before you’re ‘qualified’ to be. Tomek picked up his job through what appeared to be some sort of design industry speed-dating event.

“I went to that speed meet, and then I hassled Trevor (Trevor will be Tomek’s boss’s stage-name for this article),”  Tomek said.

It turns out that a speed meet is a Design Institute of Australia (DIA) event, like speed-dating but without the awkwardness and sexual tension.

Tim reminded Tomek that the speed meet was the one and only DIA event Tomek had attended at that point. You have to admit that is quite a good strike rate – one event, one job.

“Yeah! The one event I went to, and I didn’t even know what KL (the company he works for – also a stage name) was,” Tomek admitted with some pride.

I’m like, this sounds cool, then I looked them up (KL), then I hassled him (Trevor) for about 2 months, and they said ‘yeah, we need someone to help out in the workshop.’”

Now Tomek is, what Tim refers to as, “The Prodigy.”

As I’ve learned from my old job (running around outside chasing tennis balls and yelling at children), work is best when it’s fun. Luckily for Tomek, his job seems to be just that. “D’you see what we did yesterday!? My boss brought in this water balloon launcher… we sent water balloons down the street, I swear, 120 metres or something,” Tomek said, with much joy, of his day’s work.

Like Tomek, if you can find a job in which you have fun on a consistant basis you will be the happiest camper in all of camper-dom. Also, you will most likely be inspired to work harder, because the more you work, the more fun you have. Brilliant, right?

How to get employed: Be memorable. Also, have a kick-arse portfolio, and win some design competitions


Tim is currently employed in his second design job; his first job was with a well known local design company.

In his first job, Tim engaged mostly in graphic design (which he has an undergrad degree in), sometimes working with the interior designers, as there was occasionally some overlap on the big projects.

Tim has an equally interesting story about how he got his first job. “I got the first job through the DIA awards,” Tim said, “I won an award when I was in uni and I’m pretty sure I just got really drunk and was talking to them…” (His first employers)

“They called me up, or emailed me (Tim couldn’t remember which) a couple of weeks later. They were looking for someone, so I must have just stuck in their head enough.”

(Let’s hire that drunk guy! He was a real go-getter!)

Tim was let go from his first gig when the work dried up. The way he handled that situation is inspiring; instead of wallowing in self-pity for weeks, drinking gin and playing video games during the day (the last two things are fine to do at night, by the way, but I would avoid too much self-pity-wallowing in general), he got up, dusted himself off, and bravely set forth to solve his unemployment dilemma – that same day!

“So, that same day”, Tim said, “I went around to (design) studios in the city where I knew people, and got in touch with a few people, and a couple of days later I had an interview because a friend was doing some work for my current boss and couldn’t really keep doing it cos they had more work on and I kind of just took over.”

The ability to deal positively with disappointment appears to be a powerful ally while searching for work. Tim’s is quite an extreme case though; he gave himself about four minutes to mourn the loss of his job, then he was straight back in the game.


How do you approach the job hunt? Do you just hunt jobs, or, do you keep working, building, creating?

To illustrate the need for continued productivity in landing a job in the creative industries, we talked about my situation (I have a broad narcissistic streak); how I had been approaching my search for work, and how successful it had been to date.

Having recently graduated from Journalism, I have only been actively looking for jobs for the past couple of months. I found my initial method of email-bombing every possible employer in the southern hemisphere to be a fruitless one. Problem was, I didn’t have a large enough body of work to offer potential employers, as I had spent the previous 12 months arguing with my thesis for a million hours a day, while it joyfully sucked my will to live.

So, let’s say I have the skills, but no real concrete evidence of those skills. I can tell you I’m competent, but I may be a pathological liar for all you know and be completely useless. I guess the only way to prove myself worthy is to write. A lot. Or, if you are a designer, make lots of stuff, any chance you get.

“It’s the best way,” Tim Said.

“That’s a sick way to go about it!” Tomek agreed.


So, in conclusion; to successfully find work in the creative industries, you must keep producing work, be persistent (hassle, stalk), be memorable (win competitions and be drunk), and be positive – people can tell when you think you’re rubbish and not worthwhile.

(If you have any questions for Tomek and/or Tim, let me know and I’ll pass them on)

Be Well,



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