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How did you become a designer/artist?
I don’t know if I am an artist. I like to think of myself as a problem solver. In most circumstances these are design problems; I work in architecture and in graphic design, and I’ve been doing some photography in my free time with friends. Design is about making things work and at the same time allowing them to have a new significance. Great architecture is exciting when you go to it, because it makes sense (or reinvents it) based on its own context. The Cooper Hewitt Design museum in New York is in former industrialist Andrew Carnegie’s incredible mansion; going there to see it filled with exhibits on hi-tech fabrics and 18th Century wallpaper suddenly presents the original living spaces in an entirely new context. It’s the power of design, of architecture, of graphics, to reissue the assumptions we have about our surroundings to make them more interesting, more challenging. It should be about constantly engaging with our environment, physical, visual, and otherwise. And it should be Fun! I think above all design should be fun. There is nothing as boring as something that takes itself too seriously.
Where are you from originally?
Who were your main influences growing up?
Washington politics, campaign posters. And, perhaps, the fact that D.C. is somewhat of a design vacuum. The first time I really came across “design” was in my High School theater program, which was stellar, and really put a lot of emphasis on technical design (sets, lights, sound, etc.) as an integral part of the storytelling as much as the actors on stage. Our director taught us fledgling artsy types the importance of care and thought in design – and perhaps most importantly helped us learn how to become editors of our own work, and to always ask questions. It sounds cliché, but designers that think designing is just a process of realizing their “vision” have missed the point altogether. Designers owe it to each other to ask for opinions, and learn from each other. Otherwise everyone would still be taking pictures of their feet like they did in high school photo class.
Did you go to art school/college for design or are you self-taught?
I studied architecture and art history at Columbia University. So, I suppose self-taught?
Any advice or tips to novice designers?
One thing I’ve found is that when I feel most defeated and unqualified to work on a project, it also ends up being when I do the best work.
What are you doing now?
Freelance graphics and photography work, and working at an architecture firm.
What are your plans for the future?
I think I’ll be going to graduate school to become an architect.
What American artist inspires you most?
I don’t know, too many. I love Andrew Wyeth‘s paintings.
What unlocks your creativity?