Art Director / Graphic Designer
Los Angeles, California
WHAT DO YOU DO?
As Art Director I create visual representation for the brand including graphics, social media images, marketing collateral, textiles and eCommerce imagery. By creating original imagery that has the essence of The Elder Statesman, I help define the brand’s identity to customers and larger audiences.
WHAT STEPS DID YOU TAKE TO GET TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW?
As a Chicago native who grew up surrounded by creatives, I imagined pursuing a creative path and as a part of any artistic journey the path is never clearly defined. In the progression to Art Director:
- Found my creative design path when I was assisting at Evoke Productions, a multi-service production studio. The creative environment of talents ranging from stylists, photographers, art directors, graphic designers helped define my focus toward becoming a creative director.
- This realization deepened as Graphic Designer for National Geographic Learning where I helped to carry on their global legacy onto new media platforms, like mobile apps, websites and video marketing.
- Moved to Los Angeles and recruited for The Elder Statesman. Within a year I was promoted from Graphic Designer to Art Director.
FOR OTHER PEOPLE IN YOUR FIELD, WHAT DO THEY USUALLY LACK?
I’m surprised by how many established and emerging designers lack authenticity. They become followers of trends and popular ideas instead of paving the way for new ways of thinking.
Designers should break rules by trusting their own ideas and intuition. While criticism or rejection can be scary, designers should stand behind their work and let steep into audiences’ visual vocabulary.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?
Since last year, I’ve been a part of an exciting collaboration with The Elder Statesman and the NBA, a unique and first-of-its-kind collaboration between luxury and basketball fans. The collection is made up of luxury sweaters, beanies and scarves with logos, word-marks, team and association colors. This collection will serve to expand our partnerships and introduce our brand to new markets. In its current phase the collaboration is exploring hand dyed, printed, embroidery, and placement techniques.
WHAT'S YOUR STYLE/PERSPECTIVE/TASTE? DO YOU HAVE A PROJECT THAT REPRESENTS THIS?
My work aims to excite, inspire, challenge visual norms and offer enjoyment and entertainment to audiences. That’s why I utilize bold colors, patterns, mark making, shapes, boldness and movement. My taste explores why people seek certain visual pleasures and use my platform as a form of communication and create my own visual vocabulary.
WE ARE ALL SLASHIES WITH MULTIPLE SKILLS, WHICH ONE DO YOU WISH YOU COULD DO MORE OFTEN?
I would like to continue managing teams. I love to work on big ideas and I love working with teams. The energy of a collective mind is inspiring and addicting. My broad experiences has allowed me to have an insight into people’s strengths and know how to put it to use.
WHAT IS FRUSTRATING YOU RIGHT NOW?
Creative production requires wearing many hats. But without the appropriate support the lead role can be stretched too thin and the projects will suffer.
In short, since there is so much of art production tasks such as retouching, photo documentation, resizing and archiving, it takes energy away from projects that would enhance the brand, but also need more attention to develop and time to bring the concept to fruition.
IF YOU COULD HIRE SOMEONE FOR $20/HR, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE THEM DO TO MAKE YOUR DAY EASIER?
I’ll hire her or him to fill the role of a Production Artist, at a $20/hour rate plus benefits, to contribute to the daily functions of the art department. The ideal candidate is a recent graduate looking to grow and define their skills, has insight on design, thinks outside of the box, shows originality in their portfolio demonstrating individuality and pushes the normal construct of design.
I would work closely with her or him on their assigned tasks which would include image retouching, resizing artwork, creating style guides and archive management. These tasks, while not as stimulating, are essential for the success of the art department, the development of a newcomer and for the art director to deliver.
LET'S BRING OUT THE TIME MACHINE. WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU COULD HAVE TOLD YOURSELF, WHEN, AND WHY?
I would tell a 16-year-old shy and introverted William:
Don’t be shy and don’t let modesty consume you. Confidence in your self-worth speaks louder than you’d think.
I would tell my High School, College and Post-Grad self in need of confidence:
I hate to be a kicker, I always long for peace, But the wheel that does the squeaking, Is the one that gets the grease.
It’s okay to look a Gift-horse in the mouth.
IF YOU COULD TALK TO AN EXPERT TO GAIN MORE INSIGHT ON SOMETHING, WHAT WOULD IT BE ABOUT?
In a face to face meeting with a creative director of a multi faceted design studio, I would inquire about her or his professional trajectory - from art school to head of design. I would share how my creative process aligns with varied and holistic experience and collaborative minds and find out from her or him a way to apply this to my practice. I would not waste this opportunity to present myself as a potential candidate to work with a leading industry expert.
WHAT KIND OF OPPORTUNITIES/PROJECTS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?
I gravitate toward projects that have a mission, that lend themselves to challenging design, have an impact on art, society, anthropology and history. An ideal creative contribution would be one that aims to stir public opinion, offer social commentary, tackle the taboo to benefit human progress.
My work would try to unmute or stir our attention to world issues.
As an observer I see the power of informing through good imagery. My next project would incite dialogue across multiple mediums to challenge conventions in publications, billboards, signage, apparel, websites and videos.
DESCRIBE YOUR IDEAL JOB/CLIENT/COLLABORATION.
My ideal job would be closely working with a team of designers with focused backgrounds, such as video, web, photo and print, to bring an idea to fruition. I really want to work with people who are conscious and aware of the world outside of their own, people who want to make something great!
WHAT IS YOUR HOURLY RATE, RETAINER, OR SALARY RANGE?
It all depends on the opportunity and what is evaluated after discussing the scope of the project with the client.
HOW SHOULD SOMEONE APPROACH YOU ABOUT WORKING TOGETHER?
I prefer she or he contact me with an email that describes her or his goal. They can demonstrate this with their mission statement, background story, portfolio, or client list along with the project proposal, budget, and some recent influences.
You can reach me here: firstname.lastname@example.org
HOW DO YOU STAY CREATIVE?
Draw every day. Read every day.
This member profile was originally published in December 2016.