1. What gets your motor running, artistically?
Seeing artwork created by others always jolts me into a creative state of mind. Often, all it takes is seeing a cool t-shirt design or an artistic post on social media. Once I see something that inspires me, I start to crave the satisfaction of potentially creating something just as cool. However, on the very rare occasion that my motor isn’t already in motion, the right playlist combined with a strong shot of caffeine never fails as a reset.
2. Tell us about a work of art (not your own) you feel is woefully misunderstood or under-appreciated.
I’m fascinated by art that is temporary. Street art, ice sculptures, chalk art and sand art draw my attention because of the time and effort that must go into these projects that usually don’t last very long. I think these things are very seldom appreciated for the level of talent and passion it must take to make something incredible and then watch it disappear. One example that comes to mind is the mural of Sam Elliot in downtown Austin.
3. You’re a UT grad, making a living creating art. What would you say to people who are worried that they’ll never be able to do what they love professionally?
Create and share! If you really love something, you’re probably pursuing it as a hobby anyway, so learn as much as you can about it, share your creations and see what happens! Pursuing your passions can bring so much satisfaction and enjoyment in life. If it’s what makes you happy, then it’s likely you’ll fall into a business where you can pursue that enjoyment and get paid for it. You never know what opportunity might be around the corner!
4. You did a phenomenal job on Still Austin’s August Distillery Reserve Series release. What’s the key to good packaging and product design?
I’m still learning and evolving everyday, but three things I always try to be mindful of are purpose, balance and attention to detail. Design is essentially about solving some sort of problem, so if you find the solution, you’ve created a purpose! Ask yourself “Why did I put that there?” And if you can answer with something better than, “Because it looks good,” then you’re on the right track! Once you have the fundamentals taken care of, don’t be afraid to break the rules and make everything as unique and authentic as possible. Who’s going to remember your work if you just get “your work” done? Create with the intent to blow your audience away by making something memorable.
5. Your Still Austin DRS label has a very distinctive Austin vibe. Are you from Austin? And how does Austin influence your personal artistic style?
I’m originally from a very small town called Hunt, TX, which is in the hill country along the Guadalupe river. I’m from a family of artists who radiate positivity when they’re creating. For instance, my 83-year-old grandmother is a commissioned sculptor and painter in her spare time. My dad has multiple hobbies like handcrafted jewelry, fuzed glass fabrication, antler chandeliers, photography and rock work. I grew up coming to Austin, where my grandmother and mother were die-hard Longhorn fans. We attended lots of football and basketball games together, so Austin quickly became a second home for us. Having lived here for almost seven years now, and watched the city evolve over time, this project was a dream come true. It allowed me to express what home looks like to me. Austin has become a large part of who I am, but I tend to find artistic inspiration from all experiences in life, even outside of the capital city and 40 acres.
6. What did you learn in art school that you don’t think you would have been able to learn studying on your own?
I believe art school served as a crucial stepping stone between sketching and a full-time job as a graphic designer. Art school provided me with the tools and skills that I’m now using in my career. I was challenged to be pushed beyond my comfort zone in areas I didn’t know existed, and it taught me time management. These new skills excited me and opened doors to new opportunities. While some classes taught me what I did NOT want to do, others allowed me to develop a better understanding for what mediums I really enjoyed – not to mention learning how much caffeine it takes to stay up all night working on animations and digital paintings to meet a deadline.
7. How do you take your whiskey?
Old fashioned: orange peel, maraschino cherries and all.