Interviewed in April of 2013
Hometown: Marblehead, MA
Current town: Somerville, MA
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1.) Tell us a little about where you’re from or where you grew up… and how that influences the type of art you’ve found yourself making?
I grew up north shore of Boston in Marblehead, MA. There is not much in the way of art there but it is a small historical town with interesting colonial architecture. I always loved folk art and when I was little was really into checking out the traditional art at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem.
2.) Are there any specific locations here in New England that have had a profound meaning to you and your art? ie; Your schooling? A place of major inspiration or childhood memory?
3.) You have a clear passion for typography and fonts. You could say your arrangement and choice of typography sometimes takes center stage in your work. How important is it to you to narrow down that perfect font?
Most of the big type that I use for book covers and posters are either hand-lettered or scanned from source books and modified so I try to customize the type to fit the project. For the smaller type that is more for information design I try to keep it as neutral as possible.
4.) Color, Composition or Font? Which one do you normally start with? Or does one aspect feed into the other once you start designing?
Color and Composition are usually first. Then it is chipping away till everything falls into place. I notice that I use a lot of Blue & Red which can create a visual vibration. With silkscreen I like to keep the palette limited even when doing an 8 layered print.
5.) You’ve worked creating everything from logo design, book jackets, postcards, concert posters, and even wedding invitations. How do you respond to allegations that you’re good at absolutely everything?
Oh pshaw! What you are describing is the job description of a graphic designer. As designer it is more about communication and problem solving than the specific application.
6.) Workplace or studio; a disaster or super organized?
Disaster! That is an ongoing struggle. Every month or so I try to organize and it slowly devolves into chaos.
7.) Music while working? - Anything your listening to now that is pushing you or inspiring you.
I mostly listen to podcasts, NPR, my music knowledge has not really left the 80s and 90s. When I work on a poster I try to listen to that band to get a feeling for their sound.
8.) What medium or product is your sweet spot?? Even down to the brand name, color, materials, found or purchased?
Well everything I do is silkscreen and switching to the ink brand TW Inks which can only be ordered over the phone are the best. The reds are so vibrant and the process colors are great. For paper I use Mr. French which is the most user friendly for having a great variety of paper stocks and color. When I make my illustrations I use crappy materials like ballpoint pens, pencils and whatever is laying around. Then I scan them in.
9.) What’s been the most challenging part of building a career as an professional artist?? i.e.: family, $$$, time, inspiration, networking, etc….
Fortunately for me being a designer and illustrator it is a service that you can get paid for. With that said it is still hard find the kind of work that I want to do and there are some lean times. A teacher gave me some good advice when I showed her my work. I was trying to make my portfolio look really diverse. She told me to only show the kind of work that I want to do. I try to work with clients looking for what I can bring to the project rather than filling a slot for a designer. Of course we gotta keep the lights on so sometimes I gotta take what I can get too.
10.) Who was the most important person in your life guiding your direction as an artist?
11.) Who is the most underrated artist out there right now ready to take over the world?
12.) What’s next for you? Any future project or client where people can see your work?
Right now I am working on some book covers, posters and a proposal for a mural project. I would be thrilled to see the mural go up its going to be like 200 feet wide.
13.) What’s it going to take for a guy to get a copy of that Magnolia Electric Co. poster around here?? Geez.
All you gotta do is ask. I got one for you!**