What makes a good graphic designer, in your eyes?
I think a good Graphic Designer is someone who is flexible and is willing to think outside of the margin lines of Graphic Design. I think to become a good designer one must always question Graphic Design? or what their role is within Graphic Design. I think with every single project I like to think of these two questions to help me get positioned and started.
Name someone who has inspired you do more with your passion?
I think my teachers have been the most influential. It started in elementary school after my big move to the United States. I couldn’t speak English, so I drew out of boredom most of the time, somehow my 5th grade teacher took note and ended up nominating me for a prize, then in middle school my art teacher took note of my interest and gave me extra books, told me about artists and techniques and she told me to apply to an art high school. After that it was quite easy. My teachers in high school especially Andrew Bencsko, and Brian Lee, really helped me find my place, and helped me start professionally. Now the teachers I have both in school and outside of school inspire me.
What do you do outside of GD?
I like to teach. Outside of Graphic Design, most things I’m interested in somehow relate to art, like photography, and so does this. I have been teaching workshops and working with teaching artists since I was 15. I have taught at the Queens Museum, the RISD Museum, and I’m currently planning a workshop for RISD quickies.
Does Fashion, architecture or anything that is present in our society influence you to create?
I find that I can relate most things to my profession, which makes me interested in the most random topics. I find architecture to be quite interesting actually. I think the type of design I might be leaning toward is spatial Graphic Design, which is sort of like user experience design, so space becomes a very interesting. I’ve been reading books like “Architecture of Happiness” and “The Walkable City” to try and understand people’s relationship to space.
Three things you carry with you besides your phone, wallet, and sketchbook?
I think it really depends on what city I’m in. Mostly I’d carry my hand lotion & chap stick, because I get dry a lot, the keys to my studio and my analogue camera, which is a recent addition.
What makes you and your style exciting.
My sense of fashion is always changing and evolving and the fact that I’m willing to adapt to that without a problem is exciting to me. But I think currently what I find most interesting about my style is also what most people find least exciting. For example, I love a great pair of dark blue pants (slacks), and I love a nice plain t-shirt or shirt. I’m excited by the basic items of clothing mostly, if I have that down, I know the rest of the outfit will be “fly”!
My favorite typeface has been clarendon since the fall of 2015. I barely ever use it because it's fat and sits on the baseline too dominantly. It is also a very old typeface, meaning it was once used to carve into stone or other physical surfaces, so it works better on a larger scale, for a more classical voice, which is very different than the work I produce, but every time I sit down and look at it, I fall in love all over again.
What makes an easy client to work with?
The easiest clients are the ones who are excited. I love a client that can tell me about their project with so much passion, that I immediately want to start. I need a client who is willing to have conversation about the piece, or else I feel that the concept will only scratch the surface, and will fail to reach out to the right audience.
How do friends make you who you are?
Most of my friends are involved in the art world somehow. I don’t have rules that say “only be friends with artists” but I’m always gravitating toward creatives. So I think just being around them influences my work. I learn from them every second I’m with them, even the places we visit and hang out in, constantly shape me as a person.
Have you learned anything from your friends?
I’ve learned a lot of from my friends. I’m at that point in my life where my friends know me better than my family, so I turn to them for advice. One lesson I learned recently on a drunken 2am walk was that “The more you deny what you feel, the harder it is for you to heal”. She slapped herself immediately after knowing how corny this advice was, but I think I really needed to hear it at the time.
What do you think family has done to your career to make you who you are as a creator?
My family has been very supportive of my work since I became interested in the art world. I don’t think my parents completely understand my profession but they respect it, and that is all that matters in my book. But my parents are very community and culture oriented people. We were going to art shows, and performances since I was a baby, so I guess they’ve literally started my interest the art world, but I don’t think any of them expected me to become a designer.