WHAT DO YOU DO?
I currently work at the entertainment advertising agency The Refinery. For close to five years now I have conceived and created key art campaigns, social media activations, and advertising takeovers for television, streaming, and feature films. I’ve had my work featured in Times Square and on the Sunset Strip. My eye for beauty goes past my day-job however; I enjoy dabbling in photography, cinematography, and screenwriting.
WHAT STEPS DID YOU TAKE TO GET TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW?
I began working with computers at a young age. My mom often recalls a six-year-old me sitting on my father’s lap, watching him work. Through adolescence, I became interested in web design and created a small fan page for an unnamed Disney Channel celebrity. The website slowly grew, and became one of my first jobs as a young teenager. It was then that I realized I needed to learn proper graphic design technique, and I began teaching myself Photoshop and Illustrator. As a film student in college, I continued to hone my compositional skills by creating film posters for mine and my classmates’ projects. My film experience helped refine my visual eye, where I shot several short films that were selected for various festivals. Leaving college, I was able to land an internship at my current employer, where I learned even more tools and tricks of the trade, turning what was once a hobby into a full time job.
HOW DO YOU STAND OUT IN YOUR FIELD?
I find that my cross-disciplinary experience gives me a unique point of view. I can think in print and in video aesthetically. I’m also a storyteller. I like to create a visual with a narrative aspect; something that tells a story or can affect people intellectually or emotionally. I feel that I’m able to effectively use the rules of composition and storytelling to create unconventional and contemporary designs in my work. I enjoy vivid color and bold typography that makes a statement, and I find that high-fashion photography and modern/contemporary art are big inspirations in my work.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?
I can’t disclose what I’m working on at The Refinery (dang you NDAs!!), but outside of that I’m currently collaborating with other creatives like photographers and other art directors to create freelance work. I’m also an aspiring screenwriter, so I’ve been participating in various spec screenwriting festivals, hoping to gain more exposure for my writing.
WHAT'S YOUR STYLE/PERSPECTIVE/TASTE? DO YOU HAVE A PROJECT THAT REPRESENTS THIS?
I certainly have a flair for the bold and colorful. I love neon, and I love art that takes a chance on being a little unconventional. A particular project that I’m proud of is the key art campaign for the Hulu series Shut-Eye. After months of back and forth with clients, we found a design that worked best for the campaign, which featured a story that surrounded a family a fake psychics. In my usual fashion, I created a poster based off of a classic tarot card. The best part about this campaign was that the show’s locale happened to be in my own backyard. I was able to use my own knowledge of the surrounding area of the San Fernando valley, where I used to live, to show the unique aspects of the architecture and colors, and then put that into the art. The finished piece turned out beautiful. It’s one of my favorites.
WE ALL HAVE MULTIPLE SKILLS OR WORK IN VARIOUS INDUSTRIES, WHICH ONE DO YOU WISH YOU COULD FOCUS ON MORE?
My full-time job at an agency takes up a lot of my free time. I do wish I had more time to create more art for fun. I would love to finish my feature-length screenplay, but I am proud to have written a handful of original pilots. I would love to explore my storytelling through writing more often. I miss being on set.
WHAT IS FRUSTRATING YOU RIGHT NOW?
Continuing off of the previous answer, I often become frustrated that there aren’t enough hours in the day to complete all the multiple projects I have in mind. When I get home from work, I’m often creatively drained, which can make becoming inspired difficult. Lately I’ve been trying to focus on finding ways to make time for each of my creative endeavors.
IF YOU COULD HIRE SOMEONE FOR $20/HR, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE THEM DO TO MAKE YOUR DAY EASIER?
Send query letters, make cold-calls, find connections, just get my name out there. I find that while we live in an age of self-branding and social media, market saturation and general Hollywood etiquette makes it difficult to create solid connections that are authentic and easy to cultivate.
LET'S BRING OUT THE TIME MACHINE. WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU COULD HAVE TOLD YOURSELF, WHEN, AND WHY?
I would probably tell my teenage self: “You’ll be surprised at the person who you will become as an adult. That quiet and shy nerdy gay teen with your fan site and weird hobbies will get to use those talents to see the world and have so many opportunities to be the artist you truly are. The shit that feels intense and life-altering probably isn’t that intense and life-altering, though its always important to learn from the things that life is showing you. Hang in there kid. While life may never get easier, it does begin to make sense!”
IF YOU COULD TALK TO AN EXPERT TO GAIN MORE INSIGHT ON SOMETHING, WHAT WOULD IT BE ABOUT?
I would want to have a conversation with a successful multi-hyphenate businessperson in the arts or the entertainment industry. The ability that successful artists or creators have to keep their hands in multiple pots is such an admirable trait and something I aspire to learn how to perfect. I’d also love to gain insight from a professional showrunner, which is my ultimate life-goal, hoping to gain knowledge on their journey of discovery, and how they continue to stay inspired after multiple seasons of a particular project.
WHAT KIND OF OPPORTUNITIES/PROJECTS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?
To expand my horizons past advertising work. Art direction/cinematography and screenwriting are my two fortes. I love being able to tell stories through words or visuals. Maybe we can tell stories together.
DESCRIBE YOUR IDEAL JOB/CLIENT/COLLABORATION.
Ideally I enjoy working with other people who are ego-free and open to collaborate on ideas. I find that two heads are always better than one when it comes to conceiving and refining a piece of art to its finished state.
WHAT IS YOUR HOURLY RATE, RETAINER, OR SALARY RANGE?
Based on my experience, I would charge around $60/hr, but depending on my involvement in the project I’m always willing to negotiate rates! I’m very open about working with other creatives who are also trying to break into their fields and am willing to create something beautiful if it is a project I believe in.
WHO IS A CREATIVE THAT HAS HELPED YOU ELEVATE YOUR WORK?
Shawn Binder (ig: @thatbinderdude) Shawn is a close friend of mine who continues to inspire me and help me flourish creatively. It’s always fun working with him!
HOW SHOULD SOMEONE APPROACH YOU ABOUT WORKING TOGETHER?
Feel free to shoot me an email at email@example.com, or find me on instagram!
HOW DO YOU STAY CREATIVE?
There can be 100 people in a room...
This member profile was originally published in June 2019.