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How did you become an artist/designer?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been holding a pencil, marker, or paintbrush creating worlds out of thin air. Growing up, I always embraced the idea of imagination and being so lost in your own fantasty worlds that they almost seemed as real as everyday life. When computers were introduced to my household, I became so addicted to learning how to create and mastering all the opportunities that I really made no time for anything else. When I started coming to the realization that there was a way to create art and share that art with a world that could appreciate it, through grahic design, I decided to go to school for it. Majoring in both Graphic Design and Fine Arts also gave me an understanding of how to mix commercial art and views/messages to powerfully execute a form of art that would empower the viewer and make them relate to what I was creating. Ultimately, my passion for sharing and relating with others has been a huge driving force in why I became a designer. I want to take a craft I love and give back in any way I can.
Where are you from originally?
I was born and raised in New Jersey. My family is of Cuban Descent.
Who were your main influences growing up?
A lot of influence also came from the amazing world of comic books. Reading such complex stories and watching them unfold in such detailed illustrations was always something I looked forward to (and still do on a weekly basis). Horror and Science Fiction films also influenced and inspired a lot of my work growing up, as for some reason, I was fascinated by the dark visuals that these directors would come up with and how they applied directly to people’s fears and psychology.
Did you go to art school/college for design or are you self-taught?
For a good portion of my life, I was self taught in graphic design and fine art. I always found it important to really tackle issues myself as they were part of my individual journey. But i think that formal training is very important, and gaining perspectives and insight is a very valuable asset for a visual artist. I went to the School Of Visual Arts for a few years and gained a wealth of knowledge that I carry with me to this day.
Any advice or tips to novice artists/designers?
My biggest advice would be not to settle for anything. So many designers remain stuck and have little growth once they get comfortable in a job or with their work. I think that one should always be striving to go further and try new things with their craft. You can never stop learning, and you shouldn’t for as long as you live. Love what you do and grow with it, nourture it.
What has been the most rewarding and challenging project you have worked on?
Although every piece I complete has a sense of accomplishment, The most recent gratification through a project that i’ve experienced was a recent poster series I designed for a revival of the musical ‘HAIR’. I think what initially drew me to the piece was it’s long lasting messages of war, sexuality, and politics in America. The show, initially famous in the 70’s, was a show that could be molded to adapt to any time in our history and the director sought out to do just that. It was a challenge in the sense of creating a series of posters that gave a very iconic, timeless, and political feel without stepping on anyone’s toes. Through a lot of research and careful planning, I came up with the poster series and was extremely happy with the outcome. Above all else, the greatest feeling was knowing that through the iconic imagery I had created, someone was being given a message about the times we live in. From there, it was ultimately up to the viewer to decide what their stance was. It was just great to stir up those thoughts and opinions and get the show’s message across to the masses.
What is your favorite portfolio piece? Why?
In this field, I find that creating so much work on a continual basis proves to eliminate favorites from my portfolio. The work evolves and progresses on such a rapid basis that i’ve learned to love everything for it’s individual strengths and unique ideas. Everything is so different and has such a different creative process that it’s very hard to single out a piece.
What art or artist inspires you most?
I would have to say that my favorite contemporary American designer would have to be Chip Kidd. On many levels, I’ve very much connected to his aesthetic and inspirations. I have always respected his versatility as a designer and his ability to constantly contribute and progress with his work. Aside from Kidd, some other artistic inspiration include: Frida Kahlo, Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt, and Ana Mendieta.