Drop Ins: Puno's Downtown LA Paradise

Has this ever happened to you? You’re mindlessly scrolling on Instagram, minding everyone’s business but your own, when you see her: The world’s chillest, funnest, most unaffected chick ever born. She’s cracking jokes, she’s dressed real cute—and nine times out of ten, she’s Puno. 

Puno Puno is the founder of I Love Creatives, a hub for people who want to learn new skills and make connections. She’s also a pro UX and web designer (collaborating with brands like KKW Beauty on the regular) and a social media queen. Not only because her feed is a Mecca of cool-girl inspiration, but because she’s single handedly made an art of sharing her edu-taining projects online.

And after hours? This professional slashie just gets chiller. That’s why we insisted on visiting her light-filled DTLA loft to suss out just how this legend spends her down (and up) time.

Puno! You’re lauded as being the ultimate slashie. But how did your multi-passionate career become what it is today? 

When I quit my job it freed up a lot of brain space. That (paired with being unhappy) really pushed me into a slashie phase. Although really, I’ve always been a slashie. Symptoms include: impulsive curiosity, autodidactism, and a lot of “write that down” ideas. 

At first, my goal was to figure out my passion; my new big milestone. But then it turned into a necessity for me to build worlds and ideas. I’ve found so much fulfillment in doing all the things because it usually leads to new things—whether it be new skills, new versions of myself, or new relationships. I call it my slashie phase versus an identifier. That’s a more recent take! I’ve found that deep focus is critical for me to ride momentum and finish something before I get bored.

Image - Puno - Portrait
I’ve found so much fulfillment in doing all the things because it usually leads to new things—whether it be new skills, new versions of myself, or new relationships.
And how do you make it all work together? What does the day-to-day look like in your slashie phase life?

It’s bonkers! I think some people would go absolutely mad. I feel like I have a bit more capacity than others to context-switch which is why I do it a lot. Something that really helps move things along is that I don’t really dwell, worry, or take things personally. Oh! And I love to fix problems in decisive, clear ways. You know that game, Overcooked? LOVE IT.

In my typical day-to-day, I’m probably working on three to five new projects in small doses (answering questions, mocking up things, feedback), rejiggering/rethinking current processes and projects, and then pushing one big project to the finish line. I usually start working at 10am, I love long lunches, and work till about 7pm. Then other days, I go out of my way to be bored and chill in bed.  

But for sure, a big reason why I get through so much is because I work with a lot of awesome people. In a way, I feel like I’m collaborating with like 20 people at one time. It’s the more expensive route, but it’s fun and you get to execute a lot of ideas.

What are your thoughts on having a ‘personal brand’? When people hear “Puno” they probably have a sense of what that means, creatively. Is that a good or bad thing?

With the internet and social media, we’re all creating a personal brand. It’s almost like every interaction, every piece of content, every moment you make, builds your brand. Maybe it feels more like a “brand” than a person because it’s asynchronous. I feel like we’re all getting slightly more comfortable being ourselves on the internet. Sometimes that’s good, sometimes…it’s different. Ha! 

I’ve pro-actively gone out of my way to get more comfortable on the internet. Whether it’s DMing a complete stranger or taking photos of myself or making online courses. I dunno if it’s a good or bad thing, but it was all me at some point in my life. OMG, except Xanga Puno. She needed to go; mostly just blurry drunk photos.

Image - Puno - Landscape
You live in a beautiful warehouse in DTLA. How has your relationship with working from home and the work/home divide changed over the last 18 months, with COVID?

Thank you! Well, this has been my life since 2013, so it wasn’t too hard. It got weird when everyone was on the internet. I was like, waiiiiit, there’s usually not that many people on here.

How have you been looking after your mental health and wellbeing in these wild times? Picked up any new self-care habits you enjoy?

Wow, oh yeah. I’ve been reevaluating what I was trying to make work. I feel like my optimism takes me a lil’ too far sometimes. It’s especially hard when things aren’t really that bad. There are certain projects and people in my life that are easssssssy peezy. No struggle, same page, fun. The hard part is figuring out what’s un-fixable and what’s a learning hump. I found that daily self check-ins (vs. monthly or yearly) are really important for me. I usually ask myself, “Am I happy?” “What’s bothering me?” “Do I want to fix it?” and “Can I actually fix it?” 

Image - Puno + Feals
Other than the glorious Muad’Dib the cat, what makes your home a ~home~?

The Queen! Dude, everyone is going to understand her name now, because of Timothée Chalamet in Dune! If it’s not Muad’Dib, then it’s definitely Daniel. And I really really really love our windows. Being able to see DTLA—all the beauty and all the weirdness—is really what makes me love it here. 

If you could only take a grabby-able amount of things from your house in a movie disaster situation, what would you grab and why?

I’ve definitely thought about this. I love disaster movies haha. Probably just the cat backpack and Muad’Dib!

Image - Maud'Dib the Cat
What’s your best advice for creatives who want a life that’s kinda like yours, but feel like it may be out of reach right now?

You probably have to change up your lifestyle a bit. I think the reason why I can do what I do is because I sat down and finished things…more than a few times. Learning skills is easy compared to figuring out persistence. You don’t need to be hard on yourself though, just be honest! Honesty makes it so much easier to brainstorm new solutions or directions.

Any particular projects or passions that are keeping you sane right now?

Oh yeah! I’m trying to get back into voice acting. And I’m also about to launch a new course with a very good pal, Rachel Nguyen, called the Video Creator Course. We spent over a year dissecting her creative process and made a course from it. I’m super stoked because we’re doing a five-week digital retreat where Rachel and I are going to make a video with our students. I feel like I really need this :P  

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