portrait

Scott Wolfe

creative director/designer
Location: Pasadena, California
visibletheory.com

All images are copyrighted and strictly for educational and viewing purposes.

Interview

2006

How did you become a designer/artist?

Art always interested me as a child and I spent a lot of time drawing. I became extremely intrigued by computers at a young age and recall spending countless hours in the school computer lab working tirelessly in BASIC on TRS-80s. It was in my early teens that I witnessed the merging of machine and art the first time I sat down with a Macintosh. This changed everything for me and I became hooked. The more I pursued graphic design the more I realized it was something I loved to do and a great way to make a living.

Where are you from originally?

Southern California. I spent most of my youth in a suburb of Los Angeles.

Who were your main influences growing up?

A lot of my influences were filmmakers like Roman PolanskiJim JarmuschKrzysztof KieślowskiAlfred Hitchcock. Musicians such as Tom Waits, Miles Davis, The Pixies, Bill Laswell, and countless others fed my interests. Along with German Bauhaus style architecture, and the Stenberg Brothers Constructivist Russian art.

Did you go to art school/college for design or are you self-taught?

I am self-taught. My first industry job was working at a pre-press firm when I was 17. I admit having to exaggerate my skill level at the time, but the company was happy to pay me slave wages and I was more than happy to accept. It was a great learning experience but offered no creative outlet. Once I felt I’d had my fill, I moved on. I spent the next couple of years in newspaper advertising, working nights and learning a lot about deadlines and teamwork. It was during this time that I spent many off hours researching and experimenting with “new media” and interactive design. I took these skills and went on to work for entertainment design firms in Los Angeles doing projects mainly for movies and television.

Any advice or tips to novice designers?

Keep your ego in check. Realize that design is a “business” of which you can carve your own style but don’t lose sight of the client. I find that many young designers (and I was this way) become so involved with their project that opinions and criticisms from others can be taken very personally. This is a facet of what we do – we want our personality (or our vision) to come through in our work. There is a balance to strive for, one where you maintain your creative integrity and at the same time achieve your clients’ goals.

Be prepared to work hard and put in a lot of hours when starting out. It is a competitive field and you must be a go-getter if you want to get noticed. Don’t ever feel like you’re a complete expert in anything because as an artist and designer you are constantly learning and honing your skills both technically and creatively.

What has been the most rewarding and challenging project you have worked on?

Forming my own design studio has been the most rewarding project. There are many mornings I arrive at the office and think, “Hey, I did this…I made this happen”. Being able to target certain industries is a big plus – it is incredibly rewarding to work for clients that produce products and services that I admire. To be a part of their success is truly gratifying.

What is your favorite design piece? Why?

There are definitely certain projects that I am more proud of than others but to narrow it down to one piece would be a great simplification – each project brings its own challenges and rewards.

What artist inspires you most?

Too many to name, but a few are Saul BassDavid HockneyMilton GlaserEdward RuschaPaul Rand.

What unlocks your creativity?

So many things – most importantly, stepping outside of the normal routine. For me this is best accomplished traveling. I believe in the “work hard, play hard” concept and the greatest play for me is seeing the world. I make sure to take more than a couple trips a year to places in the world that I feel will open doors, not just as an artist, but as an individual.