Rising Stars of Design

Check out the August 2009 issue of HOW for the full interviews as well as great eye candy for the 17 rising stars of design. See below for snippets of the Q&A not found in the magazine.

Kelly English
LOCATION Minneapolis
WEBSITE www.kenglishstuff.com
BORN 1970
EDUCATION University of Georgia, Athens, GA, graduated in 1996
EMPLOYMENT Member of visiting artist faculty of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, freelance designer

What or who would be your dream client, and why?
I truly love working with other artists/creatives; they’ve always been my favorite clients. I hope to continue working with more artists, printmakers, filmmakers, writers and musicians. Also, I’m currently excited about the urban agriculture movement and would love to get more involved with the communication and awareness of that as well as other simple, accessible solutions toward self-sufficient living. 

Who or what influences your work?

This seems impossible to answer specifically—the list could be endless. But quite honestly, I’m rarely influenced by other graphic design work. (No offense, peers!) I’ve always looked to other creative disciplines, such as music, literature, printmaking, film, animation, textiles and needle arts for structural, theoretical and narrative inspiration.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Design should be equal parts “think” and “feel.”

Where do you expect to be professionally in 10 years?
Staying open to unexpected opportunities and listening to my gut in this field for the past 10 years has proved unimaginably fulfilling for me. I plan on sticking to that approach. That said, I do think design has been changing in the past few years, and accelerated lately by the multifaceted crisis we’re now in the midst of—there’s more re-evaluation of how design can and should participate in society and culture. I see the emerging generation of designers embracing those ideals fervently. I’m excited to be a part of that conversation and to explore new methods, platforms and tools in which design can be applied.

Aya Kakeda

LOCATION Brooklyn, NY
WEBSITE www.ayakakeda.com
BORN 1978
EDUCATION Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, GA (bachelor’s of fine arts), graduated in 1999; School of Visual Arts, New York City (master’s of fine arts), graduated in 2002
EMPLOYMENT Freelance

Who or what influences your work?
Marshall Arisman, David Sandlin, Japanese Ukiyoe masters, Shigeru Mizuki, Jan Svankmajer, books by Yoko Ogawa, films by Emir Kusturica, Pedro Almodóvar and Jean-Pierre Jeunet, folk/outsider art, circus posters, and more. Also, just a regular life hanging out with friends, traveling, walking and learning about other cultures really influences my work.

Where do you expect to be in 10 years?
I would like to be doing more collaborations with different artists, designers and other creative people. Doing more shows, teaching classes and also doing some animation.

Meg Hunt

LOCATION Chandler, AZ
WEBSITE www.meghunt.com
BORN 1983
EDUCATION University of  Connecticut, Storrs, CT, graduated in 2005
EMPLOYMENT Freelance

Who or what influences your work?

Too many to count. Obviously, Charley Harper, Jim Flora, Mary Blair, Eric Carle, Richard Scarry, Maurice Sendak. I’m really inspired by a lot of vintage advertising and folk art from around the world, too: Mexican printmakers, Russian folk painters, Japanese pop art. My professors—Laurie Sloan, Gus Mazzocca and Cora Lynn Deibler—taught me how to attack every project with zeal and encouraged my interest in illustration and screen printing, so I wouldn’t be who I am now without their help. My peers influence and inspire me all the time, from gig-poster artists to graphic designers to children’s book illustrators. I absorb everything like a sponge!

What or who would be your dream client, and why?
I’d love to design things for Target, because who wouldn’t? I’d love to get into housewares and design patterns for fabrics and dishware. I’d love to consult on an animated film or do a music video for some of my favorite bands, like of Montreal or They Might be Giants, because I’ve always felt tied to music and art together, and the idea of seeing my drawings move makes me giddy. I basically just want to see my fun drawings everywhere, inhabiting the world I’m surrounded by.

Where do you expect to be professionally in 10 years?
I hope in 10 years I’ll be still making art with the same kind of zeal I do right now (if not more so); I expect that I’ll be working very hard on a lot of different things. I’ll be excited to see where illustration is headed with new technology and a changing world. I also plan to open a screen printing studio wherever I settle down, hopefully with a few other creative friends. I can never stray far from old squeegees and aprons stained with ink.

Heidi Berg
LOCATION Topanga Canyon, CA
WEBSITE www.hbergdesign.com
BORN 1981
EDUCATION California College of the Arts (formerly California College of Arts and Crafts), San Francisco, graduated in May 2008
EMPLOYMENT At Motion Theory in Venice, CA

Who or what influences your work?

Choose Your Own Adventure books, Garbage Pail Kids, Mark Rothko, Swiss type, Paula Scher’s bravery, Flickr’s never ending supply of inspiration and reference, the instructor at CCA who told me that I had no passion for design, Garth Ennis’ “The Punisher,” wood type, kinetic sculpture, Ashley Wood, textures of any sort, sticks, glitches, dystopian language and string.

What or who would be your dream client, and why?
Trent Reznor. I think the man is insanely talented and has some amazing foresight into where the music industry is giong. He tells an intense narrative and the ideas I’ve seen come from him and Rob Sheridan are really exciting. I would love to work on concept and designing some of that work. Also, art directing or being the lead creative on a film or experimental short is something I would fight for.

Will Bryant
LOCATION Austin, TX
WEBSITE www.will-bryant.com
BORN 1985
EDUCATION Mississippi State University, Starkville, MS, graduated in 2008
EMPLOYMENT Freelance

Who or what influences your work?
Oh, man, so many! Artists/designers include Saul Steinberg, Kandinsky, Henry Darger, M. Sasek, Geoff McFetridge, Mike Perry, Ray Fenwick, Frank Chimero and Amos Kennedy. Publications would be “Beautiful Losers,” “Hand Job,” “Tactile,” “Vitamin D,” “Bohemian Modern.” Websites that have influenced my work include Ffffound, It’s Nice That, Gorilla vs. Bear, Myloveforyou and Design For Mankind.

Kate Bingaman-Burt was my former instructor, and she really set me on track. Her enthusiasm about type, DIY and working until your fingers go numb really had an impact on me. Her husband, Clifton Burt, taught me the importance of elevating the mundane. During my junior and senior years at the university, I was a graphic design intern for Kate and Clifton at the Public Design Center (a nonprofit design resource center). Having that amazing opportunity to consistently be around enthusiastic, intelligent, down-to-earth creatives shaped and encouraged my work ethic and interests into a hungry visual communicator.

What or who would be your dream client, and why?
My dream client would be built on a long-term relationship in which both the client and designer augment one another’s aesthetics. I really enjoy how Stanley Donwood’s artwork influences Thom Yorke/Radiohead and vice versa.

Masayoshi Nakamura

LOCATION New York City
WEBSITE www.goodgeneral.com
BORN 1978
EDUCATION School of Visual Arts, New York City, graduated in 2002
EMPLOYMENT As an art director at a small graphic design studio, Newspeak, specializing in motion graphics

Who or what influences your work?
Many musicians influence my work, maybe because I listen to music most of the time while working: Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Neil Young and Mogwai. And as visual artists: Michel Gondry, Geoff McFetridge, Saul Bass, Milton Glaser. I constantly watch “Yellow Submarine.” And three of my teachers at SVA: Jeffrey Metzner, Genevieve Williams and Christina Black.

Every morning at work, I check a few websites to get my day started: Motionographer.com, Videos.antville.org, Cpluv.com and Ffffound.com.

Where do you expect to be professionally in 10 years?
I am ambitious to be an established artist who can choose where to live and what to do, maybe having my own thing going.

Matt Sartain
LOCATION San Francisco
WEBSITE  www.mattsartain.com
BORN 1983
EDUCATION The Academy of Art University, San Francisco, graduated in 2009
EMPLOYMENT Freelance

Who or what influences your work?
Photographers like Robert Parke Harrison and Chris Strong; photo annuals like Communication Arts and Graphis; my wife, music, friends and parents.

Where do you expect to be professionally in 10 years?

I’d like to be retired and working for pleasure out of my island castle off the beaches of Mexico.

Sam Weber
LOCATION Brooklyn, NY
WEBSITE www.sampaints.com
BORN 1981
EDUCATION Alberta College of Art and Design, Calgary, Alberta, graduated in 2003; School of Visual Arts, New York City, graduated in 2005
EMPLOYMENT Freelance

Who or what influences your work?
Teachers like Ron Ponech, Mirko Ilic, Marshall Arisman and David Sandlin. Artists like Yoshitaka Amano, Max Ernst and Brad Holland. Being in New York City. Having German parents.

What or who would be your dream client, and why?

I’d like to design some sets and costumes for a series of operas based on Brothers Grimm fairy tales. I think it would be amazing to have my work extrapolated into something bigger and more involved.

Ara Devejian
LOCATION Los Angeles
WEBSITE www.aradevejian.com
BORN 1981
EDUCATION Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA, graduated in 2006
EMPLOYMENT Freelance

Who or what influences your work?
Butoh, Sergei Parajanov, Lee Bontecou, Hussein Chalayan, Nick Knight, Ana Bagayan. Also, the teachings of Roland Young, who made the entire class, including myself, eat grass on our first day of art school. He was communicating to us how we are subservient to authority and took us outside of the classroom to this bed of grass. As we were talking, he told us “rip some grass off the ground.” We did. He then told us to “eat it.” No one budged. He then screamed “EAT IT” and all of us shoved the grass blades into our mouths. Roland taught us the necessity of concept and its marriage to well-crafted execution. Prior to Roland, most of us were blindly emulating pre-existing styles and trends without regard to meaning or relevant communication.

Where do you expect to be professionally in 10 years?
I’ve always been fond of illustration and sculpture, so I hope to drift toward that world and combine it with my other love, animation. My girlfriend Ana (www.anabagayan.com) is a painter who frequently lends me a sharp eye as I need it.

What or who would be your dream client, and why?

Recently, I had the privilege of working on set concepts for an upcoming Broadway musical, which was incredible. The play will utilize the latest in holographic and projection technology interacting with the actors on stage. I favor applications of design that are generally out of my comfort zone because they force me to look at things with a fresh pair of eyes.

Carey Denniston
LOCATION Seattle
WEBSITE www.careydenniston.com
BORN 1981
EDUCATION University of Washington, Seattle, graduated in 2003; International Center of Photography, New York City, graduated in 2006
EMPLOYMENT Freelance

Who or what influences your work?

The big-name influences are Todd Hido, Jeff Wall, Uta Barth, Francesca Woodman, Jesper Just, Mark Rothko, Thomas Struth, Richard Misrach and Erwin Wurm. Two of my professors from ICP—Robert Blake and Jerry Vezzuso—taught me how to think about photography. However, the visual and psychological cues of my surrounding landscape are what I consider the constant, intangible and likely largest influences.

What or who would be your dream client, and why?

To shoot for myself and for that work to ultimately translate to someone purchasing it. That is the dream.

Where do you expect to be professionally in 10 years?

Working in photography—with health insurance.

Micah Lidberg
LOCATION Kansas City, MO
WEBSITE www.micahlidberg.com; represented by Hugo & Marie; www.hugoandmarie.com
BORN 1985
EDUCATION  Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Minneapolis; University of Brighton, England
EMPLOYMENT Freelance

Who or what influences your work?

As a kid, children’s books were my first real source of inspiration. They were the gasoline to my drawing fire. As a young adult, Kara Walker was the first artist for me that made a lasting impression. I think there is something very beautiful about the simplicity of her materials and the complexity of messages she conveys. Her work is also very visually romantic, while the pieces discuss some of the most ugly attributes of humanity. That’s genius to me. I also really like looking at fashion. It’s a culture that’s based on the fantastic and outrageous—both of which have always been appealing to me. Missoni is a label I enjoy. Their men’s line is very bright, geometric and energetic. That’s a combination I can’t resist.

What or who would be your dream client, and why?

Pointer Shoes, Dwell magazine, Animal Collective … this list doesn’t really end with me. There are so many companies, groups and people out there that are producing very beautiful things. That is my main criteria for anything dream-related: I want it to be beautiful, which for me certainly goes way beyond the visual.

Sarah Small
LOCATION Brooklyn, NY
WEBSITE www.sarahsmall.com; represented by Friend and Johnson; www.friendandjohnson.com, and Caprice Horn Gallery; www.capricehorn.com
BORN 1979
EDUCATION Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI, graduated in 2001
EMPLOYMENT Freelance

Who or what influences your work?
Like many young photography-aspiring girls, my first influence was Sally Mann (specifically, her book “Immediate Family”). When I was in the ninth grade, one teacher, Karen Keating, gave us the assignment to mimic the style of another photographer by replicating a few specific photographs. I chose Mann’s “Virginia at 4,” “Jessie Bites” and “The New Mothers.”

No matter how determined I was to imitate, my own tendencies inevitably deformed the replica. Afterward, I realized the assignment was intended to show me exactly that. So I knew early on that I liked to get in close—even closer then close. As my interests developed back then, Mary Ellen Mark, Emmit Gowen, Jerry Uelsmann, Connie Imboden and Arno Minkkinen were also important. In recent years, I’ve been influenced by people-watching in the NYC subway system. That’s where I gather so many of my ideas for subject-interaction and where I talk to strangers and often cast them as models.

What’s your best way to break out of a creative rut?
I sit in the rut without trying to push my way out, and I focus my attention on other areas of my life. I simply remind myself that life has endings and new beginnings and to embrace them. I sing and write music as well as arrange vocal harmonies for my Bulgarian a cappella quartet (Black Sea Hotel). When I’m not inspired photographically, I tend to be inspired musically. And when I’m not inspired musically, I tend to be engaged photographically. But when I’m in a rut in both creative genres, I talk to lots of people, ask questions and get inside new scenarios. Lately, I’ve taken tango lessons, crashed weddings and resolved to walk through any door when I see something interesting on the other side.

What or who would be your dream client, and why?
My dream commercial client is creatively adventurous, edgy and fearless. They understand that human-ness—in the raw forms of ecstatic joy, sexuality, anger, exuberant hilarity or even deep sadness—makes usable tropes. My dream client is interested in collaborating and is both confident to take the lead on an idea and able to trust me to take the lead at times, too. They enjoy the creative process and understand that experimentation and play are key to making striking images that defy convention.

Where do you expect to be in 10 years?
I’ve recently started collaborative efforts with a filmmaker interested in the collective creative processes behind my images. I’d like to continue to wed collaborative projects to the background mechanics of my photography where new bodies of work naturally give way to one another. Professionally, I want international gallery representation and multiple collectors purchasing and exhibiting my work. I’d also like to have a number of synergistic relationships with commercial clients.

Jin Young Lee

LOCATION Jersey City, NJ
WEBSITE www.jinyounglee.com
EDUCATION School of Visual Arts, New York City, graduated in 2007
EMPLOYMENT Freelance

How did you realize you wanted to be a designer?
I think it was always in me. My father was an engineer and I grew up watching him repairing cars. I don’t know when I exactly decided to become a designer, but I was already in an art school after my teens.

Who or what influences your work?
I was influenced by Japanese graphic designer Kashiwa Sato. I love the simplicity and experimental approach to his design.  I really like Speak Up and Brand New divisions of underconsideration.com. Speak Up is an open forum to discuss matters related to graphic design and it informs me about the current design trends. Brand New has varied opinions on corporate and brand identity work. It is really helpful to understand current branding design trends. I use this website as a reference to my work.

What or who would be your dream client, and why?

I want to design the graphic application and visual information for an airport. I don’t like to go to an airport, because it makes me feel sad when I have to leave and say goodbye to the others I love. I’ve found many people who feel the same way as I do about airports. So to us, it’s not a pleasing place to go. I think that is the place where design is needed. So, I want to create and make differences through design.

Paulina Reyes
LOCATION New York City
WEBSITE www.paulinareyes.com
BORN 1976
EDUCATION Ibero-American University, Mexico City, with one semester at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design as an exchange student, graduated in 1998
EMPLOYMENT Freelance

Who or what influences your work?
One of my early and most significant influences was Laurie DeMartino. She was my design teacher at MCAD, and later hired me when I finished school. Laurie’s combination of materials, sources of inspiration and attention to detail were key to my development as a designer.

Other people that have been very important influences:
Teachers: Tom Garret and Christiane Grauert (illustration, MCAD), Barbara Paciorek (poster design, Ibero-American University).
Mentors and co-workers: Joe Duffy, Dan Olson, Julia Leach, Andy Spade, Alan Dye, Abby Low, Johanna Langford, Mary Matson, Brian Collins, John Fulbrook and Kevin Brainard. Artists and designers: Andy Warhol, David Hockney, Saul Steinberg, Hannah Höch, Alexander Calder, Maira Kalman, Charles and Ray Eames, Bruno Munari, Alexey Brodovitch, Max Bill, Paul Rand and Paul Smith.

What’s your best way to break out of a creative rut?
If I only knew! I feel I have different types of creative blocks. The hardest ones for me are probably when I’m trying to create new personal projects. When I am working for clients it’s a bit easier because I tend to feel I have more objective parameters to guide me. I also have a working process (very loosely based on the scientific method) which helps.

What or who would be your dream client, and why?
Smart people that are doing something relevant that I admire and believe in. I love working with people who I can learn something from, are not afraid to take calculated risks and want to innovate.

Where do you expect to be professionally in 10 years?
I would love to start a homewares design company with my siblings, Rosalía—an expert in human resources and Jesús—an industrial designer and engineer. I see it as a NYC/Mexico City collaboration, which would allow me to alternate between the two cities I love the most. As a shorter term goal, I would love to teach. 

Pamela Reed & Matthew Rader

LOCATION Brooklyn, NY
WEBSITE www.reedandrader.com
BORN 1983
EDUCATION The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, graduated in 2004; School of Visual Arts, New York City, graduated in 2007
EMPLOYMENT Freelance

Who or what influences your work?
We’re inspired by standing on the precipice of the future. Technological innovation such as augmented reality and exploration of outer space are our two biggest themes. We’re also obsessed with anthropomorphism—providing the unreal with human emotions and personalities. We have a “family” of hundreds of stuffed animals that each have their own individual personality. We’ve created a website for one of our family members at www.misterwubba.com, where you can follow his adventures and the friends he meets along the way.

What or who would be your dream client, and why?
Dream clients are ideas and products that share a similar visual or technological aesthetic. Examples would be Nintendo, Y-3, Gareth Pugh, Daft Punk, NASA, Virgin Galactic.

Where do you expect to be professionally in 10 years?

Whatever the future looks like, we’d like to continue to create a dialog where we can push people and ourselves to think beyond today’s reality and imagine what’s possible tomorrow. Technology and innovation are moving so quickly it’s hard to predict where it’ll be in 10 years, but wherever that is we’d like to be with it.

 


 

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