Chantal Herrera, earning her masters in Design for Social Impact ’22, told us for the feature in the LOOP, our monthly newsletter, that failing was the most valuable element of her program. We had to know more and she had a lot to tell us. Here’s her full interview!
Where do you call home?
Originally, from the San Fernando Valley in California, but if we’re getting poetic, Los Angeles, Berkeley, and now Paris will always have a very special place in my heart.
What inspired you to study at PCA?
I’ve always known that I was passionate about many things and choosing one was just not possible. Having experience in various creative and corporate worlds I knew that regardless of what I did, it needed to be considerate of the space it was using and the people it belonged to. This program felt like my dream world, one that I could partake in building, designed well and with love. I’m also a strong believer in living in other places, even if the time is short. I have learned so much in my life from leaving my hometown through locals and the city itself.
What has been the most valuable thing you’ve learned in your degree program so far?
Failure. Our first class we shared our own personal goals for our time in the program and I expressed wanting to fail more. Not to say that I never have, but I think prior to this program I avoided any “big” goals because I was so afraid of not achieving them or not accomplishing them the way I thought they should be. So I was on a comfortable plateau, but constantly wondering what would’ve happened if I had just tried. Problem solving is at the forefront of this program so trial and error is crucial to reach the best solution. I’m really grateful that I’ve been able to redefine what it means to fail.
What excites you most about your degree program at PCA?
When I was younger I always thought designer and illustrator were synonymous, I didn’t really know what a designer did. I just assumed you had to know how to draw, which in its traditional sense, I definitely can’t. I always placed limitations on myself as a designer because I had no formal background but this program has allowed me to explore my practice beyond my wildest dreams.
What do you think is next for you after PCA? Do you already have something lined up?
Learn Learn Learn
I have aspirations of opening a food business/community based cultural center back home in the near future but before that I’d love to explore working with people who are reimagining the world of food through design. I want my food endeavor to really be a culmination of the people, places, and experiences I’ve been privileged enough to experience.
What have you loved most about living/studying in Paris or Europe in general?
The constant inspiration, there is always something going on. Art and creativity seem to have a respected place here and I admire how energetic the art scene is.