Lisa Fedsyzyn on life as an ‘Oz-Zealander’ in New York.

Lisa Fedsyzyn on life as an ‘Oz-Zealander’ in New York.

Lisa Fedsyzyn is a highly awarded creative in advertising who has worked across three continents. A native of Melbourne, Australia, Lisa first worked abroad in New Zealand, followed by a move to take on life in New York, where she worked at renowned creative company Droga5. We spoke to Lisa while working in New York on her experience of creativity as an 'Oz-Zealander' in the USA. After several years in America, Lisa relocated to Auckland as Group Creative Director at Ogilvy NZ.

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ON YOUR FIRST MOVE ABROAD

I’m from Melbourne originally and decided I wanted to escape civilization. So I moved to Auckland. This is where I last resided before I decided I need to get back to civilization.

ON LANDING IN THE USA

It’s great, although we did laugh when we first got here – our favorite saying was “Merica, creating problems where there are none.” Just because there is so much red tape.

ON WHERE PEOPLE THINK YOU’RE FROM

I’ve been asked if my accent is from Australian or New Zealand – I weigh up the situation before I decide on my nationality.

ON SOMETHING PEOPLE SHOULD DO WHEN THEY ARRIVE

Discover the area you’d like to live. Then find a place to stay in that area. Then a good place to get coffee.

 

Lisa and her creative partner, Jonno, in Seinfeld’s apartment. Image courtesy Lisa Fedsyzyn.

ON WORKING IN AMERICA 

The chance to work on well known brands with big budgets. And most people here seem to get in later – and work later. The clock just moves around. Being exposed to more art, more galleries, more bands, more restaurants, more sport and political extremes… and also more office time. The awareness of diversity and the need for it from economic to racial to gender is much more pronounced here. It’s so important that we bring all experiences and points of view to life. Not just one background. The awareness of diversity and the need for it from economic to racial to gender is much more pronounced here.

ON FINDING A PLACE TO LIVE

When I first arrived I inspected 17 apartments in three days. But I had an amazing broker so it actually was easy. (Margo Rogers at Town). The process of renting as a non US citizen is incredible. More paper work than buying a house. And much more intrusive. My favorite areas are West Village or Greenpoint. Both low rise points of the city. Good food, parks, close to the water.

The surprise smells of New York will really hit you during your first summer. One corner it’s dog piss, the next it’s the smell of donuts. You never know what you’re going to get.

ON HIDDEN COSTS

Everything has hidden costs. There are also two types of tax on your income which can be a bit of a surprise on your first paycheck. Also the real investment you’ll need to make is in winter clothes. I have never been so cold in my life.

ON ONE THING YOU WISH YOU’D BEEN TOLD

The intense humidity. Although I don’t know what I could have done about it.

 

The first US campaign Lisa made at Droga5 involving a Vampire with a man Bun for Scion. Image courtesy Lisa Fedsyzyn.

ON GOOD BARS

Hudson Clearwater. And The Elk and Merriweather for coffee (this is important to note because I drink more coffee than alcohol).

ON CREATIVE INSPIRATION

The shower. That’s not New York exclusive though. And watch all the TV. And go for walks around NY.

ON ART GALLERIES

The Whitney – it’s a 10 minute walk from my house and is open on a Saturday night. When everyone else has something more exciting to do.

The awareness of diversity and the need for it from economic to racial to gender is much more pronounced here. It’s so important that we bring all experiences and points of view to life.

ON VISAS

Being Australian helps, then you can get the E3. Employers love the E3. It seems to be the easiest visa to deal with. So my advice here is be Australian. But whatever you do don’t act like an Australian in Bali. It might get you deported. Be organized and know what is needed for a visa in your field. In advertising it’s your folio, industry press, awards and references.

ON GETTING OUT OF THE CITY

Hire a car and explore. In 2 hours you can be in the Hamptons or the Hudson Valley. Or get on a plane and in 2-3 hours you are in anywhere from Miami to Mexico. This is still very exciting to me, having only lived in places that were previously a 24 hour flight away from this side of the world.

 

A stunt to promote the issue of pay equality, which charged male politicians 10% more for coffee outside Parliament House in NZ. Image courtesy Lisa Fedsyzyn.

ON THE FIRST $500 US YOU SPENT

A small portion of my rental brokers fee.

ON ANY WATCHOUTS

Red tape and surprise fees. Have patience and money to spare. And make time to deal with all of it. Also the surprise smells of New York will really hit you during your first summer. One corner it’s dog piss, the next it’s the smell of donuts. You never know what you’re going to get.

ON SOMETHING FROM AUSTRALIA/NZ YOU NEED A FIX OF IN NEW YORK

I’m an Australian via New Zealand, (I guess a New ‘Stralyan’ or an ‘Oz Zealander’) So I can barrack for both teams in the rugby. Lucky me. Because of this mixed breed I still love Vegemite – it’s as easy to find in New York as an Australian – Bed, Bath & Beyond or Dean & Deluca. I also love Pic’s Peanut Butter (NZ peanut butter made with Australian peanuts, it’s not important that you know this). Pic’s can be found priced like gold at the Chelsea Markets – or can be used to barter when friends from NZ need a couch to stay on.

 

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Nuggets in this interview

travel

E3 Visa

"Being Australian helps, then you can get the E3. Employers love the E3. It seems to be the easiest Visa to deal with"

–Lisa Fedyszyn

neighborhoods

Greenpoint, Brooklyn

"My favorite areas are West Village or Greenpoint. Both low rise points of the city. Good food, parks, close to the water."

–Lisa Fedyszyn

food and drink

Hudson Clearwater

"Good bars...Hudson Clearwater".

–Lisa Fedyszyn

accommodation

Town Residential

"When I first arrived I inspected 17 apartments in three days. But I had an amazing broker so it actually was easy. (Margo Rogers at Town)."

–Lisa Fedyszyn

food and drink

The Elk

"The Elk for coffee (this is important to note because I drink more coffee than alcohol)."

–Lisa Fedyszyn

inspiration

The Whitney Museum

"The Whitney – it’s a 10 minute walk from my house and is open on a Saturday night. When everyone else has something more exciting to do."

–Lisa Fedyszyn

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