15 posts tagged Interview
Hey Colin! Tell us a little bit about yourself. Whats your major and where do you go to school?
I’m an undergraduate at MICA studying graphic design. I’m scheduled to graduate this May and will be relocating to New York. However, my heart is and always will be on the West Coast.
What’s the most exciting class project that you got to work on while being an undergrad? What about it made you so interested in it?
MICA offers a number of really fantastic courses that fall under the nebulas term “social design.” The classes have different names and approaches, but each aims to use creative thinking to address a social issue in Baltimore. These classes are usually a good mix of students: graduates and undergraduates, designers and non-designers. We work with a partner organization to design, develop, and implement an intervention over the course of a semester.
To name a few examples, I worked on an anti-litter campaign that was developed in partnership with the Baltimore Department of Recreation and Parks. I also worked with a transitional housing program in East Baltimore to develop branding and environmental graphics. Currently I’m part of a small group of students who have partnered with Blue Water Baltimore to address stormwater pollution in the city. The work is challenging, stressful, and always worth it.
Where do you get your inspiration from? (i.e.: websites, people, personal adventures, music, etc)
I think that inspiration and taste are very closely linked. And If I’m being honest, I never thought that I had really great taste. While I don’t think that taste can be taught, I do think it can be cultivated. One thing I’ve noticed is that people who have really great taste look at a lot of things. If art school has taught me anything, it has taught me how to really look at things.
Beyond the usual design blogs (September Industry is one of my favorites) I get a lot of inspiration from reading. I really respond to Hemingway’s Iceberg Theory as it relates to design. Malcom Gladwell is my guilty pleasure. I read almost everything John Gruber writes over at Daring Fireball. Most recently, I have been enjoying Wendell Berry and his take on systems thinking, and I’m almost done reading Nudge by Richard H. Thaler and Cass Sunstein.
What kind of projects are you working on right now?
I am doing some freelance web design and am also developing my senior thesis. Without giving too much away, my thesis is a web-based mind mapping tool that can be used for collaboration, ideation, and brainstorming. I have a process blog setup here for anyone who is interested in following along. The beta will hopefully be launching this May.
Tell us a little about your process from start to finish.
I think that good design is the result of clear thinking. At the heart of every great design solution is a clear understanding of the problem. My work is the result of my own struggle to understand and state an idea as clearly as possible. As a result I tend to work conceptually with word lists and mind maps rather than visually by drawing or sketching. I will usually spend more time researching than my instructors (or clients) would like me to. Getting a bird’s-eye view of the problem helps me to direct my thinking. I’m always looking for the bigger idea that will drive my decisions. Having one clear, concise thought that I can turn back to at any point and say, “is what I’m doing right now addressing this larger objective?” helps me keep my thinking focused and directed. Only after I have a working understanding of the problem will I will turn to the computer.
I hear that you work for Pentagram. How did that come about and what was is like doing work for them?
I worked at Pentagram for a little over a year. Ellen Lupton was one of my instructors at MICA and is married to Abbott Miller, a partner at Pentagram. Through her connection I was able to get an internship.
Pentagram was the best/worst experience of my design career so far. I was able to contribute to big projects with big budgets and learn from amazing designers, but it was a grind. Abbott’s team is small, the projects were big, and the hours were long. Pentagram is a design machine and I was a cog.
Do you have any side projects or an internship going on? How do you handle your time?
I have been trying to limit my freelance work in an effort to focus on my thesis. At the moment I am working on a couple web-related projects that should be out soon. I also work one day a week at Post Typography where I do web and print design for the amazing Bruce Willen and Nolen Strals. I tend to work more than I should and would probably benefit from getting off the comptuer and going outside more often.
What are your next steps?
As I mentioned before, I’m moving to New York and will soon be working full time with Oliver Munday. I am incredibly excited about being in New York and learning from Oliver, but am equally nervous about leaving the comfort and safety of school. I suppose that’s a normal feeling.
Are you looking to freelance or maybe live more of the agency lifestyle?
I don’t see myself being a studio designer long term, nor do I really want to freelance for a living. I think that design is most interesting when it’s serving a higher purpose. Apple, for example, isn’t in the design business, they are in the computer business. But design is a core principle of what they do. Airbnb and Warby Parker are two more recent examples. I think design driven businesses are starting to really blossom and I would love to be contribute to that space in a meaningful way.
I kust want to say thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me. You have an amazing work ethic and your process is on point. I seriously can’t wait to see what you put out next! I’m sure I’ll see ya in NYC sometime soon! If you’d like to see more of Colin’s work check out his portfolio, blog and/or pop over to his twitter to say wassup.
An introduction to Honor Roll, as told by creator Mike Smith:
This Honor Roll section was made to shine the light on the younger talent out there in the design community. When I was in school, I was reading blogs every day and stalking the shit out of all the heavy hitter designers never thinking that anyone would ever want to write about me because I was just some kid in school. But now that I am out, I look around at some of the portfolio sites that kids are putting up and I am just blown away by the work coming out of these undergrads. So I wanted to start this for those kids that are working their asses off and give them some recognition for the time that they are putting in.
Mike: Hey Ray. Tell us a little bit about yourself. What’s your major and where do you go to school?
Ray: I am an illustration major at Rowan University, currently in my junior year. Whenever I’m not designing, I’m likely to be rock climbing, reading or with family and friends. I also enjoy sleeping whenever there’s time ‘laughs’.
Mike: What’s your favorite project of yours and give a little description as to why you dig it.
Ray: I can’t say I have a favorite project. Most of the work on my site was done last semester (fall 11). I really took the semester as an opportunity to explore new techniques, composition and color pallets. The professor gave us total freedom to do what we wanted, so I did just that. I’m excited with the end results. I think I have something to continue with going into the spring semester.
Mike: Where do you get your inspiration from?
Ray: Well, for me inspiration is something you tune into. Almost like switching to your favorite radio station. It’s not separate from you, although it may seem that way. You become aware of the subtlest thing, like the patterns on a leaf or the way hand muscles work together to type on a keyboard. Things that you once weren’t aware of now are present. It’s a very mindful and peaceful practice. The next time you walk your dog, or eat dinner, be present. Become receptive and observe your surroundings. You’ll have this intense curiosity and you’ll notice things you once didn’t see. I get a lot of ‘ah-ha’ moments when doing this. So yea, most of my ideas just come to me very naturally.
Mike: What are you working on right now?
Ray: For now I have a lot of little things going on. I have school taking some of my time. I also have a few freelance and personal projects going on as well. Nothing earth changing. But for now, I’m fine with that.
Mike: Tell us a little about your process.
Ray: Well like most artists, my mind is constantly filtering ideas. So usually writing or drawing them out is my first approach. I then take the ones I resonate most with and develop them even more. I sometimes, jokingly, believe I was a philosopher in my previous life. I love to think. After refining the sketch, I than transfer the work into the computer.
Mike: What’s your ideal kind of project?
Ray: It’s a bit hard to think of an ideal project at this point in my life. I find myself thinking in new ways everyday. Maybe finding the ideal people to collaborate with seems more appropriate for now. Passionate and imaginary minds that seek to become world class at what they do. That’s what I’m pursuing!
Mike: Do you have any side projects or an internship, how do you handle your time?
Ray: Yes, since the start of April 2011, I’ve been actively designing for Atversal Ambition. A clothing brand with a strong message “Success is not an option, it’s a lifestyle” and a very young and talented team. I’m also active with the nightlife scene. Working closely with various Promoters’, DJ’s and Producers on ongoing branding projects. For the spring semester I’ll be an intern at 160over90, a design agency in Philadelphia. There’s so much talent there, very fortunate!
As far as handling time, I’ve notice that working in blocks of time works well for me. Bringing attention to one thing and moving on to the next. Everyone has 24 hours in a day. So managing time is an art, it’s a craft! I sold my television two years ago and sort of live a minimalistic lifestyle. So there isn’t much to astray me. I think that’s what has really allowed for my productivity.
Mike: What are your next steps?
Ray: I’d like to be more active. I feel 2011 was a year to reveal myself as an artist. This year I look forward to going out and building relationships. Embrace the design community a bit more.
Mike: If you could end up anywhere where would it be?
Ray: I’d like to check out the scenery in Brooklyn and San Francisco. I thought of Colorado because of the landscape, which complements my background in climbing. But more than the location, I’ll be looking for the quality of people I’d be working with. So to find a design studio that reflects my work ethic would be great. Just really want to do extraordinary things! I am sure that’s on the mind of many ambitious designers.
I just want to say thanks man for taking the time to chat with me. I’ve never met such a level headed dude that was so inspired and ready to take the world by storm. Can’t wait to see what you put out in the near future. Check out more Ray’s work on Dribbble or his Portfolio.
Tuesday interviewed California based Juan Chavarria, Jr. about illustration, mythologies, and “Juan’s Heiroglyphics.” Read on for more!
Tuesday: Let’s start by having you describe your work without using the words “draw” “illustrate” or “create.”
Juan: My work could be described as a collection of stories, visually told in its simplest way.
Tuesday: Are you influenced by Greek and Roman mythology? A lot of elements in your work hold symbolic power, like arrows, snakes, and wings at the heel. What do you primarily look toward for inspiration?
Juan: Yes, I read a lot of mythology online. I find it most fascinating—especially tragic stories. I think the emotions and mystery from them translate into my illustration work. Sometimes I try to make up my own. I absolutely love typography as well, and I try to bring out those story elements into it. I think my favorite piece so far, is the Omega letter illustration, (where it features the Balius and Xanthus horses) just because you’d have to know that’s it’s a letter for you to find the shape of it.
Tuesday: If your belongings were found 300 years after you had died and were put into an exhibition, what would it be called?
Juan: Wow, what an interesting thought. I never would’ve thought of this. Maybe they’d be called “Juan’s Hieroglyphics”—that’d be awesome!
Tuesday: What do you think of the illustration and design scene in California? If you had a choice, would you live somewhere else?
Juan: I’m not as active in the art community in California as I would like to be. Though, the time when I was in New York City for art school, I was surrounded by the most talented people I’ve ever been around. So, if I’d ever have an opportunity to come back to live and work there—I’d be great! By the way Dumbo is my absolute favorite place in the city. (Note from Tuesday: That’s where my studio is! +1 for Dumbo!)
Tuesday: You share very little information about yourself on your website—is this a conscious choice?
Juan: Well sort of, I’m putting together a longer about us section—along with other work I’ve been working on.
Tuesday: For your Designers.MX, you made an 80’s playlist—is that your primary soundtrack when working?
Juan: No, I actually made that solely for Designers.MX last summer. When I’m working I really enjoy listening to 90s hits, Bjork, Gesaffelstein, Hurts…among others. Sometimes chillout electronic. I’m trying to contact them to make another mix—this time, what I actually listen to when I’m working.
Tuesday: What is a project that you’d love to work on? Anyone you’d like to collaborate with?
Juan: I would love to collaborate with a fashion designer to make patterns. I think that’d be amazing!
Tuesday: Anything else we should know about you?
Juan: I love everything design related, interior as well as architecture. I love listening to music while designing. Fine art is also something I am passionate about. I think I am inspired by the thought of traveling anywhere, everywhere.
We interviewed Present and Correct, a beautifully curated London-based site with lots of design goodies–some of which they find, some of which they design themselves!
Tuesday: Can you briefly describe Present and Correct, what it is, and what you do?
P&C: P&C is our little store, a place for our own designs, things we love by other designers from around the world & vintage items which we discover and cannot bear to part with! It’s a showcase for what we enjoy, stationery and office based ephemera which is inspired by school days, homework and graphic ephemera with roots in the post office and classroom.
Tuesday: How many of your products do you design and produce?
P&C: Currently we have around 22 products designed here. Some are produced in larger runs but others are small items made up of vintage things. Like our office in a jar or airmail packets. We aim to do around 6-8 products a year, including festive things. It varies with time and money.
Tuesday: It seems like you use a lot of vintage or repurposed paper–how and where do you source them from? Flea markets? Boot sales?
P&C: Mainly flea markets, especially ones in europe which are much better for paper based items. In Germany/France these types of things seem to be treasured more, so you can find them on stalls. I think in the UK they tend to be thrown away as people don’t see the value in them. I also often pick up old ledger books, packets of paper etc from run down newsagents. Old dusty stock which is unloved. Back street newsagents in cities all over the place can be a treasure chest waiting to be opened!
Tuesday: You also seem to have a lot of International goodies (Hungarian Magnets, Italian Staplers, American Clocks)–do you travel often? When do you travel, what do you find most inspiring?
P&C: We have been travelling more as the shop has grown but in Europe we are so spoilt for a vast array of different cultures on our doorstep, all with different markets and stationery to offer! With a flight being around £50 you can go for a weekend with an empty suitcase and find things. Research first is key! So in the past year we have been to Berlin, Paris, Lille, Budapest, Florence and soon we are going to Estonia & Brussels. Of course there are also markets in and around London which can come up with the goods too. Travelling to these places is so exciting, you never know what you will come across. It is hard work, with lots of racing around, but that’s the hunt and I love it! And you see so many things which might not be right for P&C but we are building up a great collection of photos of graphics and objects. It’s something else to share when you get home.
Tuesday: What’s your favorite item you’ve made?
P&C: That’s a tough one! I think it would have to be our leather pencil cases, for a few reasons. I was proud of the design, in a material we had never worked with. Also we make these ourselves in a workshop in north London. So they’re properly local. Also it was exciting to move into items other than those that are paper based, but still within the realm of stationery.
Tuesday: What’s the first thing that you do when you enter your studio?
P&C: I enter with a coffee then check emails and make sure the website is ok.
Tuesday: You’re really playful in your design–what do you like to do in your spare time? What’s your favorite film?
P&C: I think it’s important to have a sense of humour in design, it’s great that something attractive can make you smile or feel a bit warmer. Spare time is a rare commodity these days, but that’s not a complaint because I do love my work. I really like cooking and baking, if I didn’t do what I do now I think food would be what I would try to move into. We have nice days out, garden, watch films. The usual things I guess.
Tuesday: Tea or Coffee? Black or White?
P&C: Coffee. White. It’s got to be a good one though, London is having a brilliant cafe boom at the moment. Mark’s a kiwi, he taught me about good proper coffee.
Tuesday: What’s your process like?
P&C: It’s quite simple and involves many scribbles on bits of paper, things taped to the wall, old things pinned up to remind me of an idea and oodles of lists. I sketch first, try to get an estimate of costs next and then if it is looking feasible I elaborate an idea which is normally on the computer. I probably procrastinate too much as well! I’m a bit of a perfectionist and check things over and over. And I tweet a lot too. I consider that to be part of the process. Well, thats my excuse.
Tuesday: Who is the “we” in Present and Correct? Have you been collaborating long?
P&C: P&C is 1.5 to 2 people! Mainly me (Neal) but Mark, the other half, helps a lot with ideas, wrapping, costing things up. At christmas we have someone help too which is fun. It would be amazing to have more people and one day hopefully we will, because then we can go to the pub on a friday night after work and talk about paperclips.
Tuesday: On the collaboration note, if you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be?
P&C: Muji! Highly unlikely but they are so consistently clever. And a bunch of school kids would be fun though I’m not sure what we would make.
Tuesday: Anything else we should know?
P&C: I have a massive jar of old erasers and love to smell inside. It’s like the 80s brought to life. I also dream of having a bricks and mortar store and know exactly what it would be like, I’m so excited by the prospect of this and can’t wait for it to be real. Please come and visit!
Thanks Present and Correct! Go and check out their store now!
We interviewed the ridiculously talented Stacey Rozich about doing her own thing and not working for Microsoft, staying in Seattle, and how much she loves reading Studio Sweet Studio (we didn’t pay her to say that, we swear!)–read on for more from one of our favorite contemporary illustrators!
Tuesday: What do you do in five words without using the words draw or illustrate?
Stacey: Construct folkloric pattern-crazy narratives.
Tuesday: What is your main influence for your work? What do you do if you feel “blocked”?
Stacey: I’m an avid collector of books and doodads from or about different cultures and their traditions of folklore but I will admit my most of my immediate source of inspiration are a few sites around the Internets. Bibliodyssey is absolutely fantastic, I have no idea where the Webmaster finds all of this stuff. A few Tumblrs here and there that feature imagery from different folktales, religious iconography, cult imagery, tribal art, etc. If I ever feel blocked — which can definitely happen if I take too much time off from my work — I try not to get too mopey about it. It’s easy to get down on yourself and think you’re looking for a needle in a haystack. I go through my archives of saved images, take a mask off my wall, put it on and do some thinking. Probably while petting a cat, any cat. Once I get back to producing work the blockage usually disappears and it’s a Niagara Falls of ideas.
Tuesday: Do you have any songs that you listen to on repeat in your studio? Give us a quick lil’ Stacey Rozich mix.
Stacey: I go through so many phases with my work music. One time it was all chill-wave jams like Neon Indian or Toro Y Moi, then when I’ve got too much slow swerve I get some Paul McCartney and Wings, Talking Heads or Black Sabbath going. Pump up the volume on those hits. As of right now I’m rediscovering the deep well of talent Seattle has. I know, I know Seattle has a funny reputation for music since the 90′s grunge explosion but something about this climate and low cloud cover produces a lot of songwriting talent. I’m currently in lurve with Bryan John Appleby (no relation to the restaurant chain — though I like to think he is), Kaylee Cole, Pickwick and Shana Cleveland and the Sand Castles is just heartbreakingly beautiful. And of course I’ve got love for some Fleet Foxes.
Tuesday: If objects in your studio were to be put on display in a museum, what would the exhibition be called?
Stacey: AMALGAMATION OF HODGE PODGE: A journey through inspirational junk as collected by artist Stacey Rozich
Tuesday: You live in Seattle now, but are graduating soon. Do you have plans to move or are you staying put?
Stacey: As of this past June I just graduated. I think I am just not starting to come out of the fog from that intense design program. Most of my schoolmates have jobs working for big design firms or corporations (*cough*Microsoft*cough*) already and I’m kind of stalling. I’ve got a bunch of freelance and licensing deals but I can’t shake the feeling that I should be working in an office with a steady paycheck. Freelance can be such a cruel mistress, but that’s for another discussion. I’ve decided to stay put after I took a few trips to major cities around the US that showed me I wasn’t ready to leave my home yet. It’s easy to live here and work and plot my escape for now.
Tuesday: We’re planning to interview you for the Seattle edition of City Scout, but can you recommend three totally awesome, awe-inspiring things to do in Seattle
Stacey: There are so many fun things to do in this city that do not involve a space-age building with a needle on top or a duck tour boat. Taking a ferry to one of the islands right outside the waterfront is always a windy winner and pretty inexpensive. The conservatory at Volunteer Park is absolutely gorgeous: Hundreds of exotic plants are housed in this grand white palace-like building that looks like something out of colonial India (to me, at least). This is a great destination after a walk through the beautiful park and a trip to the Asian Art Museum also on the grounds. There are an explosion of amazing restaurants in this city, but for the time being I’ll mention a few non Starbucks coffee houses that always hit the spot: Analog coffee is a teeny-tiny new space opened by two veteran baristas that has amazing cold brew and bright sunny windows. Bauhaus Coffee, Fiore, Oddfellows and of course Stumptown are just a few other gems.
Tuesday: Which of your illustrations give you the most satisfaction as a professional artist?
Stacey: I just did a ruby red alligator for a book cover for Random House UK, the paperback edition of Karen Russel’s Swamplandia! Doing a creature like an alligator was not something I had ever done in my style, but the challenge from the Art Director was so rewarding in the end. It also helped he was so supportive and excited to work with me which had me doing a double take when I got the e-mail. The illustration was just approved by the author and soon you can see my artwork on a book cover at any airport bookstore in the UK!
Tuesday: What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not making totally kick-ass illustrations?
Stacey: Collecting house plants, cooking food (and eating it!), watching 30 Rock, petting cats, thinking about cats. Oh, and reading Studio Sweet Studio, of course.
Tuesday: Gemma Correll gave us this question to ask you: “What would your fancy dress costume of choice be?”
Stacey: I’m trying to figure out what that means, so here are two very viable options for me: A well-tailored gray suit or a red fleece lobster costume I wore for Halloween last year. Either or.
Tuesday: Is there anything else we should know about you?
Stacey: I’m wearing a child’s Halloween costume under my clothes right now.
The internet loves Sarah Kissell right now. Her name is getting passed around like some really awesome metaphor. Notably she just took a move from Philly where she was a designer at Urban Outfitters. She now lives in Los Angeles and is working for Nasty Gal! Successful? Yes!
Meg: Describe your style in 6 words
Sarah: feminine, bold, minimal, aggressive
Meg: What are some things you like to surround yourself with while working?
Sarah: I don’t really need much, honestly but I do like having ‘things’ around me. Books, magazines, tid bits of nostalgia, paper samples—but most importantly, I like having other creatives around to join conversation with. Having informal critiques with friends over ichat, or sharing images with strangers on tumblr (or any other various network) really helps my creative mindset.
Meg: Do you think the lovely weather in Los Angeles will help or hurt your work ethic?
Sarah: It will help, even if I moved to a more weather distracting environment. Change is perhaps the best thing a creative can do to challenge themselves.
Meg: Why Magenta? Is it your favorite color or is there a deeper meaning behind Pure Magenta?
Sarah: Aside from magenta being my favorite color, I’ve always loved the idea of having an alter ego. When I chose my site name in college there was a huge trend to name your site firstnamelastname.com, which just never seemed to suit me. There were too many what ifs with that—what if my name changes someday? What if there is another graphic designer named Sarah Kissell? I would rather they ask “Who is Pure Magenta?” instead.
Sarah’s work is original but consistent from project to project. Her work with Urban Outfitters fills her online portfolio, sprinkled with other projects. I can’t wait to see her new work with Nasty Gal and bits from her new life on the other coast. Make sure to check out her site, Pure Magenta, it won’t disappoint!
Images: Sarah Kissell
We interviewed the irreverent New York based illustrator Jungyeon Roh about her work, veganism, and her favorite things to do while in NYC.
Tuesday: Firstly, introduce yourself and describe what you do:
Jungyeon: I’m a NY based illustrator from Seoul Korea.
Tuesday: When did you move to the United States? What made you decide to move?
Jungyeon: I moved in 2006. In Summer 2004, I went to Chicago and felt that I found the right place where I always want to live and study. Then preparing for two years in Korea to move to New York.
Tuesday: Through reading previous interviews with you and looking at your work, it’s obvious that both veganism and body size are important issues to you. It also seems like you are brutally honest about your feelings about your own body and talk about your “12 year old ugliness” (I hear that, I want to BURN all of those pictures of me) in your comic “My Second Ex-Boyfriend.” Was there a turning point that made you want to be so honest in your work or have you always been that way? Can you also talk about your commitment to veganism?
Jungyeon: Maybe it because I watched too much ANTM! I’ve been always honest not only in my work but also in my life. I believe that as a visual storyteller, I shouldn’t hide anything for my work, so then people could share the feelings from my true-based stories. But sometimes the truth was more exaggerate in my work because I want to make them funny. The good example is “My Second ex-boyfriend.” Change your eating habit can change your life.
Tuesday: You represent yourself as Miss Eggplant, but she’s meant to be relatable to any woman, right? Can you talk a little about her?
Jungyeon: The reason I chose Miss Eggplant as my character is because all girls can fit in her costume. That means whoever can be ‘Miss Eggplant’. And I know girls like boys.
Tuesday: You seem to have a lot of New York pride, as illustrated by “American Boys” and “Upper East Side.” What’s your favorite thing about the city? If you could recommend five things to do in one afternoon in NYC, what would they be?
Jungyeon: Five reasons why I love New York:
1. New York has lots of hot people.
2. All inspiration sources are everywhere. – people, foods, environments, parties, events, and fashion.
3. New York is very busy and fast, I can never be lazy and slow.
4. No one cares whatever others do. – creative freedom?…
5. The best city for illustrators!
Tuesday: Five things for an afternoon?
Jungyeon: Walking, seeing, eating, laughing, and drinking.
Tuesday: If your studio was a three-course meal, what would it be?
Jungyeon: Avocado salad – Asparagus and grilled tofu – Apple Sorvet
Tuesday: What is your process like? Do you have one specific way of working? I had a teacher in school that ate pie while he was working–do you have anything like that?
Jungyeon: I used blue pencils, not pencils. I ate lots of raw Cashews.
Tuesday: You talk about feeling like a “Goody Two-Shoes” after studying so hard while being in America, I was often accused of the same while in college–now that you’re graduating with your MFA from the School of Visual Arts, what’s the first bad girl or fun thing that you plan on doing?
Jungyeon: Going to White Castle.
Tuesday: Anything else we should know about you, Miss Eggplant, or your work?
Jungyeon: I want to be an influential person like Oprah Winfrey in art field someday, and want to help sick and handicapped people.
Jungyeon just won another well deserved gold cube from the Art Directors Club (90)! I’m in love with how detailed, grotesque, and humorous her work is! Be sure to check out Jungyeon’s website and process blog!
Image Credit: Jungyeon Roh
We catch up with London based illustrator and animator Matt Layzell about working with Treat, his brother Paul, and his “beans n’ meat feast pizza” of a studio!
Tuesday: Firstly, will you please describe what you do?
Matt: I’m an animator and illustrator living in London. I mainly animate using 2-D methods but combined with a sprinkle of computer wizardry.
Tuesday: You belong to a London-based animation collective called “Treat Studios”–how did that get started?
Matt:We all met at Kingston University and decided to form a little group. It was mostly to stay working together and to help each other out with doing and getting jobs. It’s worked, to an extent, in that collectively we’ve been able to promote ourselves better and to take on bigger jobs that maybe on our own would have been too daunting.
Tuesday: What sort of projects have you guys worked on? What was your favorite that you’ve done and why?
Matt: We’ve worked on a lot of stuff, some good projects some bad, but never the less, a wide range. Our work has included music videos, adverts, live visuals and exhibitions. My personal favorites were the E4 X-mas idents I directed a while back. We’ve done quite alot of stuff for E4 and they’re always pretty cool in letting us do what we want but we had a lot of freedom with those. They came out totally how I wanted them, which can be rare thing when working to tight deadlines and low budgets.
Tuesday: You recently collaborated with your brother Paul on a video for London based “Mazes”–What is it like working with your brother on projects? Any plans to collaborate further?
Matt: It was really fun. I pretty much spent my entire childhood drawing pictures with Paul so it feels pretty natural working on stuff with him. It took us a while to do (about a year) but only because we were very busy with other work so it had to be an on and off thing. At the moment we’re still both busy with our own work but I’m sure we’ll do another collaboration in the near future. No plans yet as to what it might be but there are brews, brews and stews… of ideas.
Tuesday: Some of your videos incorporate some pretty disgusting (read: awesome) elements. If you weren’t doing client based work or had a client that let you have total freedom, what project would you do?
Matt: I’ve recently become really interested in quantum mechanics and astro physics. I don’t understand half of it but it’d be great to make a short film with a physicist and try and convey some of these weird ideas about what everything is made of in an abstract way. A real eye and brain churner, something lumpy with bits of carrot in it.
Tuesday: Are you doing any personal work right now? What is it?
Matt: I’ve been pitching some ideas to Nickelodeon for cartoon shows which will be good if they like any of them. I feel like I’m at that stage where I’d like to work on something more long term. I’ve worked at Cartoon Network in the past so I’ve seen what its like and doing your own show seems really fun. Also I’m directing a section of a new film based on Graham Chapman’s life story, told in his own words. There’s a few other people I know also working on it, its going to be in stereoscopic 3-D and should be showing in actual real-life cinemas so I’m excited about that.
Tuesday: Because I’ve visited Treat, I know that you guys live and work in the same space. What’s it like to eat, sleep, and breathe with your collaborators all of the time?
Matt: We’ve actually spread out a bit since you last saw us, although the studio’s still going less of us reside in the country. We’ve got peoples in Zurich, Berlin and New york now. I think in general all of us in the collective feel like doing their own thing more, which is cool. Treat will still be around but I think we’re all going to use it more like a platform to showcase our own work. As for living, eating and sleeping together, its disgusting, like living in a pig pen… no, its cool. I lived with most of the guys through University so its a brotherly and sisterly love all round.
Tuesday: If you could describe your work only using junk food, how would you describe it?
Matt: A beanz’n’meat feast pizza with ‘Italian style’ cheese sprinkles, half defrosted in the microwave, sitting on a bed of dolly mixtures.
Tuesday: Anything else we should know about you, your work, or your studio?
Matt: Some of my drawings have been printed as t-shirts by the kind guys at Super Superficial. I’m wearing one now and I must say, it just feels great, real smooth, great shape, real good.
Be sure to check out Matt’s blog and the Treat Studios website!
Images: Matt Layzell
Knitwear designer Annie Lee Larson (ALL) and graphic designer Eric Timothy Carlson (ETC) follow up on their joint studio tour with a collaborative interview!
Tuesday: Eric, would you please describe what kind of work Annie does? Annie, could you do the same for Eric?
ALL: Eric makes drawings, paintings, collages, digital collages, musical noises, scribbles, smears, and shapes on a variety of surfaces, including (but not limited to): paper, walls, furniture, the Internet, plastic, cassette tapes, monitors, wood, fabric, and so on.
ETC: Annie Larson designs and hand crafts unique knitwear items, making each piece to order, and conducts the majority of her business online. She has an unique eye for color and pattern, and a dedication to craft allowing high quality items, both personal and original in design, available worldwide through her direct and immediate model of business. Using basic shapes (sweaters, cardigans, pants, skirts) and the inherent constraints of knit, she explores color and pattern, resulting in the bold, playful, pleasantly weird, and inspiring creations presented thus far at allforeveryone.com.
Tuesday: How long have you guys shared a home and studio space?
ALL: We have shared a home since 2008. At that time we had a shared a separate studio space with a number of other friends and fellow makers. In the spring of 2009, we moved into the space we have now where we both live and work every day.
ETC: 3 — 3.5 years !
Tuesday:Your recent collaboration, ALL + ETC, is so much fun! What was the process like for making those pieces? Was it hard to give up control on either side?
ALL: I don’t see it as either of us giving up control. Working together was more of a process of honing in on each of our specialties and figuring out together the best way to use our individual contributions. We trust each other in so many ways, it was a good exercise to fine-tune that creative openness we have shared for a number of years. And you are right, it was so much fun.
ETC: I’ve had the chance to learn a lot about the process Annie Larson goes through while creating her knitwear. I was there when she first got her machine, diving into the world of machine knitting, and have had the opportunity to watch her develop her craft into what it is today. From the very start, I couldn’t help but imagine the possibilities regarding the imagery and patterns involved in the knitting process, and awaited the chance to contribute. The machine used has a catalog of built in patterns, but allows for custom patterns to be input as well, as I have had a fair amount of experience drawing on grid paper and designing repeating patterns, I was looking forward to translate some of those ideas into designs for Annie to use in the creation of her knitwear.
There happen to be many of restrictions in developing these patterns for knit, each color used is a physical and structural element to the garment being created. The frequency of a color, and its presence in each row and column plays an important role in the resulting structure of the knit. The ALL + ETC knitwear patterns are the result of my first experiments designing patterns for knitwear in mind of shape, static, a perception of space, the inherent restrictions of the medium, and the voice of ALL knitwear. I am very comfortable with collaboration; Voltron, WuTang, etc.
Tuesday: You guys also did some pieces for Supermarket Sarah including a few pairs of painted shoes–was it fun to switch it up and collaborate on some non-knit pieces? How long did you leave up your “store front” for S.S.?
ALL: The wall is still up (on the Internet), and will be up for as long as we want it to be, or until all of the pieces sell. It was great to work on a non-knitwear project in the middle of a very busy knitting season. I enjoyed using our space in a new way and working on selecting, curating, customizing, and creating items to be included in our wall. Painting the shoes was a lot of fun, but it took forever. After I finished one, I wanted to be done!
ETC: You should see our TV show! I have no idea how long that wall will be on the internet… but the real wall came down the next day I think, as we sent it to the UK and promptly got back to work.
Tuesday: Eric, you used to be (still are?) a part of a collective called Hardland/Heartland. Do you still make work with Crystal and Aaron? You recently had a solo show at SooVac, are you now focusing on working by yourself?
ETC: Names are vapor, phantom logos, night whispers even. The box is fancied, sometimes just fancy. We works in real life ; friendship and love and family yeah? or
I am still working on projects with Aaron and Crystal, and would like to imagine that our conversation will continue on indefinitely. Collaboration and identity in itself has often been addressed in our work, both acknowledged and obscured, and the nature of our collaboration continues to be redefined as necessary. The exhibit at Soo Vac was decidedly a drawing show, a product of winter, intimate time, and a moment to indulge in the craft and meditation of work. Resist Pop Fantasy shares a title with a book I released last winter, thus unofficially volume 2, a response to the prior’s format and democratic modes of production and distribution through the presentation of unique, labor intensive, and physically worked moments of intention; honest mark making, proof, and confronting the vulnerability exposed in claiming authorship. The future is wide open. Planet Oyster.
Tuesday: Who else do you guys collaborate with? Wasn’t it a collaboration for the Soap Factory that started it ALL? I joke, I kid! But seriously–will you talk about New Land of Milk and Honey?
ALL: I have collaborated with many friends and colleagues in a variety of ways. It’s not always glossy and packaged, or finished, or anything to present to the world. My first collaboration was with my friend Lindsay Noble. We made a project in 2007 called “American Face.” We screen-printed over 200 face-shaped pillows of a variety of people that we know and don’t know from around Minneapolis, (including such local celebrities as Robyne Robinson and the now defunct Denny Hecker) and anonymously distributed all of them throughout the city in the middle of the winter. More recently, I have collaborated with practically everyone I know for the New Land of Milk and Honey production at the Soap Factory in 2010 (yes, the event that started it ALL). Even more recently I have worked with Crystal Quinn to design and produce pom-poms to be used with a range of knit stocking hats.
ETC: There is a real motivated community of people and talent here. B&E Smith, The Basketball Team, Baby Skateboards, Steve, Trout, Joe Midthun, ROLU, Isaac Gale, Jake Keeler, Casey Demming, Jon Marks, Soaking Rasps, Mike Cina, Aby Wolf…. so many more… and a growing list of future collaborators.
Tuesday: Since we are on a collaboration kick and this whole interview is a collaboration: If you could collaborate with anyone in the entire world, who would it be, what would you make, and what would it be called?
ALL: I would collaborate with my mother. We would write a book together, a manual if you will, of how to do everything the way we like it. It would include information about how to fold towels, how to stack them in the linen closet, the best method for sweeping and vacuuming, how to organize a million vintage buttons, different craft projects you could do with vintage buttons, how to make wooden spools look cool in your home, how to make your bathroom look clean even it isn’t, and so on. It would be called “Larson for Your Life.”
ETC: Special Agent Cooper ??? ???
Tuesday: How do your different artistic approaches compliment one another in your shared environment?
ALL: We both love colors, pretty ones, ugly ones, bold ones and soft ones. We use them in different applications but I tend to see a lot of similarities floating back and forth between our respective sides. I love this relationship, it reaffirms and challenges what each of us is doing individually without confrontation. We also have an open dialogue about specific projects or work that is happening that takes on more of a critique feeling, where we offer and accept feedback.
ETC: We both work all the time… and take turns making coffee.
Tuesday:How do your approaches differ? What are some huge differences between how each of you work (like schedule, inspiration, execution, etc)?
ALL: I am hyper-organized and can be high strung when I’m feeling really busy. Eric is typically mellow and has a more liquid approach to the work that he does, it’s constantly moving between writing, drawing, reading, thinking, and so on. His way of working balances out my slave-driving schedule and weekly quota for sweaters so that we can live in harmony together.
ETC: Annie has a plan. I’m spilling my guts.
Tuesday: Annie, if you moved somewhere like, say Arizona, would you still be making knitwear? Eric, how would a move to the desert effect your work? More cactus patterns for ALL + ETC?
ALL: Yes, I would definitely still make knitwear in Arizona. I would probably ship most of it outside of the state to cooler climates but would advocate for sweaters in the desert too.
Tuesday: You really WILL be moving soon, to NYC, how do you think that will effect each of your works?
ALL: Nobody could ever know! I hope to meet a lot of other designers and to find my own place within a community of creative peers. I want to meet more fashion designers and more specifically, knitters. There aren’t too many here!
ETC: As a visitor I have been helplessly inspired. I’m sure it will effect things. Will we have these walls?
Tuesday: If your studio were an animal, what would it be?
ALL: A cat, meow.
Tuesday: Is there anything else that we should know about you, your work, or your studio?
ETC: “Lets have a vacation.”
Tuesday: Let’s end this collaborative heavy thing with more collaboration: Give us a question that we HAVE to ask the next artist/artists that we interview!
ALL: “What are the tools you can’t live without? We all have them, mechanical pencils, special scissors, archival quality pens…How do you protect them?”
ETC: “What do you need?”