Photography by Bryan Dale
1. What makes your work unique? I’m always trying to figure out how I can get myself (my sensibilities, my humor, my opinions) in my work. My philosophy is that I want to get away with shit—and in many ways, I’ve always been doing that. Growing up in Cleveland, Ohio from a family a modest means, I learned how to be scrappy as a youngster. As a kid, my heroes were characters like Ferris Bueller and Zack Morris, and I reveled in the idea of pulling a fast one on somebody in authority. I want to bend and twist and shake and squeeze the most out of life and my work without getting too caught up in the end game or the failures along the way.
2. What advice do you have for people on making that switch from struggling creative to successful business owner? Approach your creativity as a practice, not as a profession. There are no rules. If you want to write, then write. If you want to draw, then draw. If you want to make something weird, then make it. Figure out a way—whether you lose your nights, weekends,
3. Everyone hears about success stories but it's important to hear about failure too. Can you share one of your failures? My graphic design career started in high school, where I stole hall passes, replicated them in Microsoft Word, and printed out whole packs of them; later, I forged teacher’s signatures. At one point, I had skipped Spanish class 28 days in a row and had a 0.7 GPA. I was all about partying and girls, and I had no focus. I acted out a lot, I was a complete loser. It took me a couple years and some bad mistakes after high school to get my act together and go back to school.
4. Let's spread the love...Who is doing great work in your circle that you would love to give shout-outs to? My good friend and creative partner, Jessica Walsh, because of her sheer audaciousness; no one inspires me more in the design industry. Look for our new experiment coming out soon. And my pal Erik Marinovich because he’s the Leonardo DiCaprio of lettering; he can literally do anything
5. What app or program can you not live without? Instagram! My Memories of a Girl I Never Knew writing series, and the other art I make for Instagram, has allowed me to continue having a dialogue and connect to an audience, and I think connecting to someone through my work is one of the true joys. That’s what I’m in it for.
6. What are a few of your favorite albums? Miles Davis’ "Kind of Blue", Kanye West’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”, Michael Jackson’s “Thrilller”, Bob Dylan’s “Blonde on Blonde”, The Beatles’ “Rubber Soul“
7. Everyone has an a-ha moment. When was yours? It wasn’t until I stopped all the partying in my early 20s and went to community college in Cleveland that I started thinking about design as a career. I had no real ambition growing up, so my biggest “aha” moments were more about life not design.