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Patrick Lee

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Patrick LeeIn our latest Spotlight, we bring you Patrick Lee of Berkeley, California.

Patrick is a Serial Entrepreneur focused on consumer tech and entertainment, and was most notably known as the CEO and Co-Founder of the very well known movie and reviews website, Rotten Tomatoes.

Since then, Patrick has stayed very busy in the online world, going on to create other websites like XMFish.com, Xiaban.com, alivenotdead.com and most recently co-founded Hobo Labs. Patrick also serves as Executive Producer for the movie, The Heavenly Kings, directed by Daniel Wu. When Patrick is not working behind a keyboard, he serves as an advisor to many startups as well as mentors to students and faculty at Founder Institute, Berkeley LAUNCH Startup Accelerator and more!

 

Without further delay, we have asked for a small fraction of time in this busy entrepreneur’s life in regards to what goes on behind the scenes with his work and efforts.

Q. What is your type of work and its purpose?

I’m working on a new startup called Hobo Labs making mobile games. Prior to that did a number of other startups, the most well known of which is the movie review site Rotten Tomatoes. For all of these companies, my personal goal was to make a company with my friends doing something I was interested in.

Q. What brought you where you are today?

Family, friends, school, skill, hard work, and a lot of luck.

Q. What is your biggest project(s) to date?

Rotten Tomatoes. We believed in it enough that we gave our design firm to another company in order to focus solely on the site. We had a feeling there was something special there when Roger Ebert wrote an article highlighting his favorite movie websites and he included Rotten Tomatoes. Also when we got a spike in traffic when Pixar’s “A Bug’s Life” opened in theaters and we realized that a lot of the traffic was coming from Pixar itself.

Q. What steps did you take to build your audiences?

Search engine optimization and word of mouth.

Q. What gives you the most inspiration?

Great friends, traveling, video games and anime.

Q. What are your toughest challenges?

After we sold Rotten Tomatoes, I moved to Asia (China and then Hong Kong) to try doing some startups out there.

I learned a few things:

1) Do business where your network is strongest. In my case that would have been the Bay Area.

2) If something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to pivot and/or try something new. Perseverance is a great trait, but sometimes you have to know when to fold.

Q. Where do you see the web 5 years from now?

The web will be everywhere there is a screen. And there will be screens everywhere.

Q. What one piece of advice would you give other creatives?

Do what you are interested in and have fun. Do your best to stay positive even when things aren’t going your way. Don’t get overly focused on money; your health, family, and friends are way more important.

We want to thank Patrick for taking time to talk with us. To visit more of Patrick Lee’s work, simply visit the following:

http://www.hobolabs.com

http://www.rottentomatoes.com

http://www.alivenotdead.com

Jason Safir Power Books

Jason Safir

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“I believe there is a subconscious energy hidden in imagery.”
-Jason Safir

Jason Safir Power Books

Welcome PageCrush fans! In our latest Spotlight, we bring you Jason Safir. A fellow creative with an impressive background in multimedia and production.

Jason Safir combines pop culture with technology and art. He holds several degrees in interaction design and has experience working with organizations small and large. Previously, he worked on large-scale interactive campaigns at MTV and TRIBE Media. His interactive design has helped achieve critical exposure on television, online and print news publications, and acclaim in national and international festivals.

Please read on as PageCrush would like to learn more about Jason Safir and what motivates him.

Q. What is your type of work and its purpose?

My body of work explores the intersection of technology and people, revealing and elevating the emotional connections that we forge with digital media.

Q. What brought you where you are today?

My fascination with people and technology began at the age of 10 when I was designing digital interfaces for dial-up BBSes (bulletin board systems) as a hobby. My passion for interaction design eventually transitioned into web design with the advent of the World Wide Web and the widespread popularity of the Internet in 1994. During my master’s degree studies at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP), I developed an interest in the physical aspect of human-computer interaction while designing physical interactive experiences and prototypes using sensors, microcontrollers, and communication networks.

I am constantly learning to work with new technologies to keep up with the rapidly changing landscape of interaction. To gain inspiration, I meet with designers and developers to see what they are working on. I frequently attend industry events to keep in touch with the design community and get opinions on the latest technology.

Q. What is your biggest project(s) to date?

My biggest project to date would have to be the one that I am most passionate about. For my thesis project at NYU, I developed an exposé on the Self Help Movement called “Get It On With Vaughn!”. In this meaningful parody of the mainstreaming of self-help dogma, I designed unproven motivational tools that ultimately don’t do what they promise to. While producing this interactive work, I discovered more than ever how design and mediated imagery can create a distorted perception on reality. The idea of constructing artificial needs through design has since become a consistent theme in my artistic practice.

Q. What gives you the most inspiration?

I believe there is a subconscious energy hidden in imagery. I adopt an optimistic approach into every project I collaborate on, as well as with the people I work with. If the energy is there from the start, it will exist in the final execution.

For something more hands-on, I find inspiration in new technology, campaigns on Kickstarter and sites like this one.

Q. What are your toughest challenges?

Building your own brand and working from home can be a lonely process. Going from a community where you’re constantly communicating with people throughout the day to suddenly being pretty isolated is a bit of an adjustment. There is also a lot of stress to it. It can be intense for a business model that basically has no rules. Anything is possible online, which is exciting, but anything being possible can also be a scary thing.

We want to thank Jason for talking with us. To visit Jason’s website, simply visit http://www.jasonsafir.com/

Skye Selbiger

Skye Selbiger

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Skye SelbigerWelcome PageCrush fans! After a long pause and a rebooted website, it is with excitement we bring you yet another passionate and fellow creative, Skye Selbiger.

We talk to Skye about his background, sacrifices and knowledge in what it takes to be a graphic designer and how to stay competitive in today’s creative space.

Skye quotes,
“I’m determined to make myself successful. I’m committed to the process to make sure success happens and I’m hungry for more.”

 

Please read on as PageCrush would like to learn more about Skye Selbiger and what motivates him.

Q. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?

I’m from Portland Oregon and my dad is a shoe designer. Growing up with him I didn’t realize that would affect my future and shape me to who I am today. He would tell me to look at one of his designs and ask what I liked vs. did not like about a certain shoe design. Over the years, that intrigued my passion for graphic design. Later I had a project in high school that was to depict a creative interpretation of “Who Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and it was the first graphic design project I fully completed, which sparked me to get into this full time. When I was in college, this is where I found that you can integrate psychological events with design and culture. So I began studying advertising while pursing graphic design on the side.

Q. What lead to you coming to Los Angeles?

Last year, I graduated from college. Because I didn’t have a graphic design portfolio, I started working at REI in Portland. Because a lot of my creative friends had gotten jobs in Chicago, San Francisco, New York and so on, it pushed me to get my plan going. So I pulled in a friend of mine and asked him to help me finish a project that I could apply to my portfolio, which lead me to my start.

That said, I planned to come down to Los Angeles for my birthday and I happened to find an add on Craigslist for an internship. So I inquired about wanting an interview with this company that was hiring, the Noun Project. Instead of saying “I’m interested in this position and I want to learn more.” I said, “I want to interview for this position. This is something I want and I know I can do it.” So they said, since you’re going to be in L.A. at this time, we’ll bring you in for an interview. A month later, I flew back down to L.A. for a second interview and two weeks after that, I got the job and this is where I now work.

Q. During this process, how was the support from your family and friends?

My mom is a huge person in my life. When I graduated from college, she knew I was frustrated with not working in the job that I always wanted. She told me, be patient, things will come in time. That’s the problem with my generation, we’re used to instant gratification and being able to get things right away but in reality, it takes time. You don’t really realize this until you have to keep trying and trying and trying. I got so many no’s! But through all those rejections, my mom was there to tell me that when someone says no, that puts another door in front of you that may turn into a yes but you have to keep trying. So my mom and my friends helped me to keep a positive mindset. People were sad I was leaving but happy that I was creating the next chapter in my life and remained supportive during the transition and change.

Q. So you had an internship at the Noun Project. Can you tell us what that was like? The attitude, the opportunity, the sacrifices you had to make?

So when I got the internship, I had a little under one month to get ready for the big move. I drove down to L.A. two days before my internship was going to start and didn’t have a place to live, so I was basically couch surfing until I could find the place I’m living in now. My job started out at a small office on Melrose which was a shared creative space and they were sharing it with another company. It literally sat about ten people in the entire room. It was very tight. So coincidentally two days after I started, they were looking for a new office and the first two weeks I was actually not working in an office. I was working in coffee shops, all while interning! This was not even with my creative director or the CEO. So Matt, another colleague and I were pretty much working from coffee shops the first two weeks of my internship. It was definitely not what I expected.

Eventually we got our office in Culver City and the work that followed was helping set up the office. Not the work I was brought on to do, nor expected. It was a strange start to the internship but once things got rolling, after the desks were built, internet was installed, and so on, we were finally up and running.

In regards to sacrifices, I think one of the biggest sacrifices I made for this job was I closed off other opportunities that were made available to me right before I accepted this internship. Those opportunities were looming on the back of my mind and I was wondering if I made the right decision because it wasn’t what I thought it was at first but I stuck it out and everything started to work out. I kept telling myself to be patient, these are really talented people I’m working with and this is going to be a really cool place to work. Things did eventually get better. Three months into my internship I got pulled aside and they asked me to join on full time. I believe this also was the case because I kept asking them that I wanted to do more work for the company. Design work. I proved to them that I could do the work and I was dedicated to proving I could do this. They gave me a shot and brought me on board!

Q. You talked a little bit about what motivated you, but what was unique about this experience for you?

When you’re in college and you think about the ideal place you want to work. Do you want to work for a small company with a tight knit team where everyone has their place and role, or do you want to work for a large enterprise company where you’re just another cog in the wheel? That can be great for some people but for me, you want to be utilized for certain skills where you’re the part of a smaller focused team. I feel there’s more opportunity in a small team role plus you get to really know your colleagues and bosses very well.

Q. Can you describe yourself in three words?

Determined, hungry and committed.

I’m determined to make myself successful. I’m committed to the process to make sure success happens and I’m hungry for more.

Q. What’s been your experience with collaboration in your field?

Collaboration in the creative field is super challenging. So challenging. In college you were forced to work with people in groups on one project and I hated it. I used to say I hated collaboration because I didn’t want to give other people creative control because you have a vision and you have a way you see it in your head. You don’t want that to get messed up and allowing others to be a part of that can suck at times, but when you get into the real world and find other creatives you can work with that see your vision or vice versa, it’s amazing. It’s amazing because that person is there to push you and push the idea and push the envelope because it’s about trusting them. When you find someone to work with that you trust, you can let go of those fears you have and it can only get better. It evolves into something better because you have put your trust into others.

Collaboration is amazing when all minds are in the mix and it’s necessary at times.

Q. One last question, what advice would you give other creatives who are in your field or looking to get into this field of graphic design?

Points I would share with a young creative or someone who’s trying to get into this creative space, have a really good work ethic. You’re not going to get the things you want to unless you make sacrifices. That could be going to work 30 minutes before everyone else, or leaving work 30 minutes after everyone else. Working on weekends because it shows dedication and so on.

Another point is being confident in yourself and staying determined and know it’s about being patient and asking for things. You have to put yourself out of your comfort zone and ask for it. If you ask for something and they say no, you’re still in the same spot you were before you asked. But if you don’t ask you won’t get the opportunity to get something that could of been a yes. It never hurts to ask.

Always be looking. Don’t expect work to always come to you. Don’t expect it to be easy and don’t expect things to magically appear out of thin air. I’m sure it can happen but usually not.

Use your network and the people you know in your life. Just get conversations going. Don’t let people tell you, you can’t do it. If you see yourself doing something, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. I think that’s the most important thing.

We want to thank Skye for talking with us. To visit Skye’s portfolio website, simply visit www.skyeselbiger.com

Also check out the www.nounproject.com, a great designer resource.

RyderKing Creative

RyderKing Creative

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Welcome PageCrush fans! It is a delight to bring you yet another passionate and fellow creative. Deanna from RyderKing Creative is our focus in this recent Spotlight. Deanna has kindly dedicated her time to be a part of this interview and PageCrush is pleased to showcase her work.

Deanna quotes, “I have always been an artist at heart, with a love for painting. Like many artists, my creativity manifested itself in the graphic and web design world where I started doing freelance projects. After many successful years and becoming pregnant with our second son, my husband, who is a photographer, and I decided to join forces in 2004. We took our sons’ middle names, Ryder and King, and RyderKing Creative was born.”

Please read on as PageCrush would like to learn more about RyderKing Creative and the functions of a collaborative duo.

Q. Where are you located?
Austin, Texas

Q. What is your company/business?
RyderKing Creative which came to fruition in 2004 as a husband and wife team who combined our talents in photography and design.

Q. How do you describe yourself and your business?
We are located in one of the most amazingly creative and progressive cities in the U.S., Austin, TX. Texas gets a bad rap, but Austin is a very special place and the growth here is tremendous. Our company provides insightful tailor-made solutions in graphic design, web design and development, and photography across a multiple range of disciplines to both local and national clients….with a very personal, down-home feel. There are no numbers here, only names…very important names. We focus on the idea of forming partnerships. We view each and every client as a partner in the process. We want each and every client to feel vested and empowered in the process of the project. It’s simple, but true . . . if they do not succeed, we do not succeed. Success arrives through our ability to use design, technology, and storytelling as a vehicle through which to convey to the world who our clients are, why they do it, and why they are important to each and everyone. In the end…I love what I do and we love what we do. It’s a great life.

Q. What is your type of work and its purpose?
Creating through art, design, and image. I believe the purpose is to create beautiful design and imagery for others to enjoy. I truly believe beautiful things bring joy and real satisfaction to peoples’ lives. They may not always consciously recognize beauty but humans always feel it.

Q. What brought you where you are today?
I’ve been painting for many years. It’s always been a sort of refuge, a way to turn my inside out. Like many artists I need to make a living so I began working in graphic and web design which has manifested itself into a very successful business and outlet for my creative energy.

Q. What is your biggest project(s) to date?
I’ve been very fortunate to be a part of many great projects over the years…spanning the spectrum of business and many regions of the U.S. and Mexico as well. I’d say that our partnership with Gary Riggs Home has been one of the most fulfilling as we’ve been with them for many years and our businesses have grown together. I’ve seen Gary Riggs become one of the most renown interior designers in the nation and that’s been amazing to be a part of.

Q. What gives you the most inspiration?
I love typography. I should say that again…I really love typography. You can present and convey so much with just the right fonts. I love following the work of successful designers… and they always challenge me to push the limits of my work. Like most artists, my proximity to my work can create frustration and a skewed perspective. It’s always great to hear positive feedback from other designers.

Q. What are your toughest challenges?
It’s being satisfied with the work. Simple as that, I’m rarely satisfied and I always feel I could go further. Even when the clients are celebrating success, I’m reflecting on what could be better. As most humans, I’m my toughest critic. I’m also self-taught and have no traditional design education, nor did I work for years in a big agency. So sometimes I feel that those who worked in the world of the ‘big agency’ have a leg up on networking and business practices. But I work harder than they do 😉

PageCrush would like to say:
Deanna, your work shows true passion in what you do and it is an inspiration to those who admire your creative drive to keep the talent moving forward. As PageCrush always says, keep the creative rolling! It has been a pleasure to have you aboard for this Spotlight review and PageCrush thanks you for your time and dedication.

To view more of RyderKing’s work, please visit: http://ryderking.com or view their featured site right within the PageCrush archives.

For additional projects by RyderKing, please visit:
http://buttonsrestaurants.com

http://markherronphotography.com

doug-burnett

Doug Burnett

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Doug Burnett

PageCrush brings forth another fantastic designer, Doug Burnett and his passion for design and multimedia. Doug is a self proclaimed wild creative design beast put in a designer’s body! Skilled with many possibilities and interactive knowledge, Doug has landed opportunities with big name clients; one of being Sony Playstation. Doug is a rock star at interactive Flash games and motion graphics. PageCrush is starting to wonder if there’s anything Doug can’t do! With this said, we’d like to encourage you to read on as PageCrush would like to learn more about Doug Burnett and his creative enthusiasm.

Q. Where are you located?
Rochester, New York

Q. What brought you where you are today?
I do interactive design that uses human conventions and exploration as its main materials of expression.

Q. In the beginning of your career, how did you build your portfolio and what gave your portfolio strengths for clients to admire your work?
I did plenty of free/cheap work early on to get things going. I have always been more excited to create than to watch TV or play video games so I’ve had so much time to just tinker and play with design. I’ve also done contract freelance work for several design companies and that has opened lot of doors too. Right now I am about to finish my MFA in computer graphics design. l have been able to grow a lot in my conceptual and execution and I feel like my portfolio has reflected that. I would probably also say that my background in advertising has helped my design to be more purposeful and thoughtful.

Q. You mentioned you’ve been using Flash since 1999. What got you interested in Flash and what do you see happening with its technology down the road?
I first got into Flash because drawing on a canvas was so much more exciting then punching in code into notepad. I don’t see Flash ever dying any time soon. The whole Flash/HTML5 thing is a pretty mute argument because they by no means replace each other. Flash is not only video or kitchy games. And besides, it will take HTML5 10 years to really be functional for everyone. But even beyond the future of either of these, what I really care about is being able to express creativity. If that means using a different technology that makes that more possible, awesome.

Q. You mentioned that doing motion graphics for Playstation Singstar was a lot of fun. Is the majority of your work catered to local clients or are you recognized on a national or international level?
I just got hired full-time at Leo Burnett as an art director so I’ll be doing just big stuff full-time, but I would like to can keep up with local client work on the side because they often just let me go at it with a lot of creativity and there aren’t a lot of signatures and limits. And often, they haven’t put in a lot of time into design before so it’s really fun to create the wow factor.

Q. How did you go about getting clients worthy of such big names?
The easiest way to start to get that kind of access is to freelance through or work for big ad/design agencies. Over time, you can start doing work for some really awesome agencies that have really awesome clients and work.

Q. Have you ever traveled for your work?
I’ve flown to a few places for awards and flown to a few places for meetings with clients or interviews here and there. Doesn’t seem as necessary anymore with stuff like ConnectNow.

Q. How do you think digital multimedia in general aside from Flash will be in the future?
I’ve really been into the theories behind Post-Digital. Digital as we know it is becoming too cold and clean. The real world is human. I feel like we will see more of the human in digital—more of the ability to do something on the digital and make something happen in the real world, or visa versa. Real materials or real ways of doing things will taking a stronger and stronger presence in the digital.

Technically, I feel like it’s safe to say that video is dominating multimedia’s future, even as a tool for interactivity.

Besides that, I think the artificial borders between all the industries and fields will crumble a little bit more. Design is design. The only thing that changes between the different fields is the buttons that are pushed.

Q. What do you dream of accomplishing in your career of interactive design?
I’m a designer because I want to use something I have talent in to try to make actual good happen in the world. In some humble small or big way, I hope that in the end I can look back at my work and know that I have helped change people to live more charitable and happy lives.

Q. Any advice you’d like to leave inspired artists and designers with?
If you’re not waking up with a throbbing passion about whatever design or art you are doing, then you are doing something wrong.

Q. What gives you the most inspiration?
Just walking around nature is a fantastic source of inspiration for me. Besides pagecrush.com, I also am a frequenter of thefwa.com, abduzeedo.com and dopeawards.com.

Q. What are your toughest challenges?
Saying it without saying it.

PageCrush would like to say:
Doug, your work is completely based on talent and inspiration. Keep the creative rolling! It has been a pleasure to have you aboard for this review. PageCrush thanks you for your time and dedication.

To view more of Doug Burnett’s work, please visit: http://dougburnett.com or view his featured site right within the PageCrush archives.

Additional links to Doug’s work can be found at:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZp49A5YEa4
http://dougburnett.com/cgd/

Artisticodopeo-Designz

Artisticodopeo Designz

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ArtisticodopeoWelcome Crush Fans. In this review, Pagecrush has given the opportunity to Rajesh T Rajan, Founder of Artisticodopeo Designz to be featured in the Spotlight. Rajesh quotes ‘The Voice of One’s Work is Greater than the Sound of One’s Voice.’ – Its a quote he coined to live by it. Believe it. And is passionate about it. Design is a drug for Rajesh. Enough to get him juiced up about his work and his life. It is his heart, soul and mind. This dedicated designer at heart can’t imagine a life where he wake’s up and stops seeing the colors, shapes and sounds of the world through the eyes of design.

PageCrush is pleased to give you Rajesh ‘Artisticodopeo’ Rajan…

Q. Where are you located?
Pune, India

Q. What is your type of work and its purpose?
I’m an Artist. I love to create works of art be it on paper or in the virtual world. A Graphic Artist, you could say. If my designs can help another being, by taking their passion, brand or business to another level of recognition and success while satisfying my creative needs for perfection to the best of my abilities, I have fulfilled my purpose.

Q. What brought you where you are today?
Passion. Fear. Love. Appreciation and the want to Learn, Create, Experience and Grow. Yes, these in varied combinations over the past 9 years gave birth to Artisticodopeo.

Q. What is your biggest project(s) to date?
Every project has been my biggest project. I know it sounds clichéd. But, the truth is always clichéd. From the smallest startup to a well known brand coming in for a new outlook, I’ve treated them with the same enthusiasm. Coz when you love what you do, it never is work is it? Though yes, it’s exciting to work with start ups, since I can creatively visualize and set the tone for the brand to be known. We can create the story for the brand.

Q. What gives you the most inspiration?
Life. Nature. Friends. Family. Movies. Great designers. Clients who are passionate about their brands. I don’t know what really triggers my creative moods. It can be when I wake up early in the morning to my lab licking my face, or have a Eureka moment when I’m in the middle of a shower. Happiness and a forever wandering mind, yes, maybe these two is where everything else starts from.

Q. What are your toughest challenges?

The toughest challenge I face is to try and avoid feeling like a graphic design vending machine. Put a coin in, get a work out. I fight it. I don’t take too much work purely for this reason. It’s got its good parts and the not so good parts. But if you can’t sleep at night knowing that you haven’t given that artwork your 100% or you just can’t click on this brand, then what’s the point of being a Graphic Artist. I can’t take up work just for the sake of it. It’s scary and highly stressful. This is a daily challenge.

PageCrush would like to say:
Rajesh, your work has talent and dedication behind it. Keep the creative rolling! It has been a pleasure to have you aboard for this review. PageCrush thanks you for your time and dedication.

To view more of Rajesh T Rajan’s work, please visit: www.artisticodopeo.com / www.vemb.biz / www.dwpinterics.com

taxi

Taxi

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Alexander James - Distil Ennui PhotographerWelcome Crush Fans. In this review, PageCrush has given Alexander James the opportunity to be featured in the PageCrush Spotlight. Founded in 2000, the Distil Ennui Studio is the brainchild of London based photographer Alexander James, with over 20 years experience as an advertising photographer with past clients including the Microsoft Corporation, Peugeot, Hewlett Packard, Samsung, Versace, Shangri-La Hotels, Burj Dubai, Balenciaga, Chanel and Ermenegildo Zegna to name but a few. The Distil Ennui Studio encompasses a number of practices and offers a broad service ranging from commercial advertising, fashion & spatial photography, stock photography image licensing and fine art prints for private collectors and commercial installations alike.

PageCrush is pleased to give you Alexander James – Distil Ennui Photographer…

Q. Where are you located?
London, England

Q. What is your type of work and its purpose?
Advertising & Fine Arts Photography.

Q. What brought you where you are today?
20 years hard work, a refusal to be beaten down and a belief in what we do.

Q. What is your biggest project(s) to date?
Global campaign for the Microsoft Corporation and most recently a Samsung Parkour ‘freedom from wires’ campaign.

Q. What gives you the most inspiration?
All of my personal works without exception are always presented ‘as shot’ without cropping or post production of any kind. I see the process as cathartic rather than a critical one, and this dedication to ‘in-camera’ purity establishes a predominant focal point for my practice. Even on the most planned shots there are always little accidents. These accidents are what suggest the possibilities of developing the image in a way that I had not thought of.

Q. What are your toughest challenges?
Making people aware of what it is we do in a relevant way is a constant challenge.

PageCrush would like to say:
Alexander, your work has talent and dedication behind it. Keep the creative rolling! It has been a pleasure to have you aboard for this review. PageCrush thanks you for your time and dedication.

To view more of Alexander James – Distil Ennui Photographer’s work, please visit:

www.distilennui.com/parkour-traceur-photographer.html

www.distilennui.com/advertising-photographer-london.html

www.distilennui.com/Cuba-havana-travel-tourism-stock-photography.html

Mike-Plymale

Mike Plymale

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Mike PlymaleWelcome Crush Fans. In this review, PageCrush has been given the opportunity to mingle with Art Director/Photographer, Mike Plymale. Mike is currently the Art Director at LBi – Atlanta and comes with a BFA background in Graphic & Interactive Communications, and Photography. Upon graduation, Mike accepted a position with American Greetings Interactive in Cleveland Ohio as Creative Developer. He had taken that position to better his development skills and focus more on interactive design. After AGI, Mike moved to Atlanta to try and progress his career and get into a larger interactive agency. Along the way he worked for several inhouse design groups.

Mike started out with a traditional curriculum at Ringling, but started to lean towards interactive design his sophomore year. If that’s not enough, he’s also a photographer, and recently started a wedding photojournalism company “Mike Plymale Weddings” with his wife Erin. They shoot a lot of portraits and prefer to snap people but have interest in many kinds of photography, from fine art to action. Mike also creates illustrations for projects that call for it. Additionally when time allows for it, he finds his hobby in painting, which has been lost recently due to his excessive workloads, but hope to get back into that some day.

PageCrush is pleased to give you Mike Plymale…

Q. Where are you located?
Atlanta, GA

Q. Can you briefly tell us how you got your start in design and the passion that brought you to what you do best?
I have been captivated by art and drawing since childhood. That fascination naturally provided direction through my education. Drafting was my main focus during the four years of high school, but it lacked the color and creativity that design offered. I enrolled in Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, FL to break free from AutoCAD. Ringling offered a very traditional artistic curriculum I decided to apply those fundamentals to interactive design. There is a certain sense of fulfillment my artistic inner child gets from building something people can interact and play with. I still do freelance print work today, but my passion lies in the interactive industry.

Q. Where do you most likely seek inspiration for design?
My best inspiration comes from experiences outside of the office. Sure, we all do our own due diligence keeping up on the latest techniques and technology, but true inspiration comes from life: off the screen.

Q. Did your college education teach you much of what you have learned from real world experience?
I can’t give Ringling enough credit for the techniques and theory I learned there. While there are no real substitutes for the real world lessons of collaborative team environments and client interaction, the critiques I received did help me prepare for the real world. I had some instructors who were awesome at simulating frustrated clients who’d trash your designs before you even had a chance to explain them.

Q. What is your current title and position?
Art Director/Photographer

Q. What does a typical day as a Senior Designer/Art Director involve? Do you work directly with clients in this position as well?
There is no typical day, really; every day is different. Yes, I do work with clients. I basically juggle meetings and design time every day.

Q. How do you deal with “hard to deal with clients” that just won’t listen to your best advice? Many creatives hit this wall constantly.
As directors/designers, we really need to understand the goal of the project and what we want to accomplish. It’s not just about making things look pretty. I try to guide the client in the direction I feel would best convey the brand and objective. Of course, many clients think they are Art Directors as well, but you cannot forget that they came to you for a reason: your expertise and talent.

Q. What is your biggest project(s) to date you are most proud to mention?
I put my best effort in every project I take on. I don’t have a favorite or one specific project that stands out, but keep an eye out for Home Depot Racing come next season!

Q. You also make mention you are in business for yourself. Can you elaborate?
Besides working at the agency, like most designers, I freelance a lot. In addition, I’ve recently begun to take on more photography assignments. While majoring in Graphic and Interactive Communication at Ringling, I minored in Photography. Together, my wife and I have started a wedding photography business in Atlanta specializing in a photojournalistic style of shooting. It gives me a different creative outlet for my weekends!

Q. Do you find yourself quite busy juggling a full time job and part time business? How do you balance your creativity?
Yes, I am extremely busy. I’ve always been that way though. I feed on deadlines and Starbucks coffee. I have to be very conscious of how I manage my time; if I have freelance to do, my personal time is sacrificed . I also try and balance a personal life and have to travel a lot. Starting a business is no joke; it can be very draining. I have been training myself to work in my sleep to make up for lost time. Three things I always have with me: my Blackberry, laptop and camera.

Q. Is your day employer flexible to this? Some folks may have a hard time making extra income due to conflict of interests.
Most of the designers I know freelance. I think it’s a given that its part of our creative life to work a lot. I’m not sure how my employer feels about it, but as long as it doesn’t interfere with work projects then it shouldn’t be an issue.

Q. How do you feel small shop design firms or freelancers come out in the long run when competing against larger agencies?
I’d love to art direct for a boutique firm as long as they were going after quality clients. That is the best thing small firms have going for them: the quality of the work they focus on. I tend to see larger firms selling themselves short just to get paid and move on to the next project.

Q. What’s the best advice in accomplishing the growing competition out there and to stay on top of it?
Never settle.

Q. Your portfolio reflects some fantastic branding designs. How do you get your inspiration for creating a company’s identity?
This is the part where getting out of the office is nice. I try to wrap myself around the culture that the company is looking to pursue. There is so much inspiration to grasp and most of it is not sitting on your desk.

Q. What have been your toughest challenges in the experiences you’ve had? Have these challenges ever made you second guess your career?
It has never been easy, but that’s what designers do: solve problems. I have had more life challenges than career challenges, but overcoming them has helped me stay focused on what I love in design. You don’t call it work if you love what you do.

Q. Do you consider your current role a dream job? Whether you say yes or no, where would your dream job exist and what would you be doing?
The last question kind of answered this but yes, I love what I do. I guess if I had to choose an even better career it might be getting paid the same salary to skydive every day.

Q. Do you believe the general public isn’t aware of the time, detail and dedication it takes to accomplish projects in this industry? If so, how do we as designers with respect, convey this message?
No. Many people have no idea the dedication that is put into complex sites these days. We see it all the time when outrageous deadlines are sold and under budget projects are managed. We do what we can within limits of course. The true payout is when, after months of the same screens, the final site is live and complete for the world to take in.

Q. How do you think digital multimedia will be in the future?
Who knows? I see mobile computing getting more and more intelligent. User experience is key; micro blogging and social networking have been turning heads for some time now. I’m just going to enjoy it and keep producing.

Q. Any advice you’d like to leave inspired artists and designers with?
Never stop learning and never run with scissors.

Q. Is there anything else you’d like to share that was not covered above?
Thanks for the time and effort to keep sites like PageCrush going! They are valuable for many designers and artists out there.

PageCrush would like to say:
Mike Plymale, your work has talent and dedication behind it. Keep the creative rolling! It has been a pleasure to have you aboard for this review. PageCrush thanks you for your time and dedication.

To view more of Mike Plymale’s work, please visit: www.mikeplymale.com / www.cartelstudios.com / www.mikeplymaleweddings.com

Julien-Tauban

Julien Tauban

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Julien TaubanPageCrush would like to take moment and introduce another fantastic designer to the Crush Reviews. As Creative Director of Media 8, Julien Tauban has brought a wealth of knowledge and rich experiences to interactive design. Julien was born in France during the 70’s and has worked his way up, obtaining the necessary skills in life to make the magic in his career come alive. Starting young, Julien remembers having a real obsession for painting and drawing. Although painting was his first love, he soon realized that making ends meet as a fulltime artist would prove to be a challenge, but he still wanted to weave creativity into his life. For personal reasons, he made the move to Miami Florida where he ventured to start his own shop as a web designer. In 2003 he joined Latin3 and put his design education into practice in a studio setting for the first time. After being promoted Art Director and winning clients such as Sony, Pepsi, Visa, Dell, Aiwa, Starwood, Audi and more, he took his earned knowledge and enjoyed brief stints at Media8 and Avenue A | Razorfish, to return to Media 8 where he can be found creating awe-inspiring creative work today. When Julien isn’t burning brain power at work, he loves spending most of his free time with his two daughters and wife enjoying life.

From small shop design to full blown agencies and freelance in between, Julien has taken his talents to the next level and let creative control his mind. Julien’s work has been featured right here on PageCrush and remained a solid people’s choice “Hot Crush” for two weeks in a row! We’d like to you encourage your passions and hope you enjoy the next 20 minutes by reading about a very unique and inspiring individual, Julien Tauban…

Q. Where are you located?
Miami, FL USA.

Q. Are you considered a firm or freelance designer?
I am a full-time Creative Director at Media 8, an interactive agency focused on engaging Latin Americans and American Latinos online and also a part-time freelance designer for the General market and the European market.

Q. Do you or your firm collaborate with other designers around the world to work on the same projects?
My company has production offices in Argentina. I have also collaborated with designers and developers from Brazil, France and Portugal.

Q. Can you briefly tell us how you got your start in design and the passion that brought you to what you do best?
Ever since I could remember I have had a passion for drawing and the arts. I started painting at the age of 14 and then went to art schools to develop my talents. Early on I realized that it would be difficult to earn a living from painting, so I decided to study Industrial Design and Interaction Design in an effort to apply my love for design to more commercially viable media. As more and more opportunities in Web & Graphic Design were given to me, it became an obvious choice to focus on these two specialties within the broad spectrum of design.

Q. Where do you most likely seek inspiration for design?
Anywhere from sites like this, other agencies and designers, modern art, fashion design, popular media (magazines, books, movies, etc.), and the natural world around us – from just about anything and everything around us. You really never know when or where inspiration will strike so you need to keep your mind open at all times.

Q. Did your college schooling teach you much of what you have learned from real world experience?
College armed me with a universal methodology for designing – regardless of media – that I have since then applied to every domain of design. However, my real world experiences – working at Media 8 and Latin3 before that, along with my freelance work – have given me the opportunity to put those methods into practice and truly sharpen my skills.

Q. What are some of the biggest challenges you have to overcome when working on projects for other clients?
I would say that my biggest challenge is time and planning accordingly without sacrificing quality. Clients can be extremely demanding and often don’t understand that good design takes time to realize. After all, “Rome was not built in one day.”

Q. Here’s the famous question everyone wants to know. How do you deal with clients who just won’t listen to your best advice?
I always try to listen to my clients, so I am sure to deliver initial concepts that meet or exceed their expectations. But I must admit that on occasion my first pass can be a bit off the mark. So I revise my solution until it better matches their vision. What they learn to realize is that my advice isn’t just my opinion; it’s highly informed by what I’ve learned and the fact that I live and breathe design.

Q. Do you experience a lot of competition in your market for web, graphic and identity design?
There are certainly a lot of players in the game these days. I feel that if I focus on doing great work and provide superior service, competition becomes less of an issue. But winning a pitch or RFP is always a great pleasure especially when you beat out some of the bigger agencies.

Q. How do you feel small shop design firms or freelancers come out in the long run when competing against larger agencies?
From a creative standpoint, I think that the greatest and most creative work often come from smaller shops and freelancers – big ideas can come from anywhere. But when it comes to implementing global campaigns, the little guys don’t have the capacity to compete. Larger accounts require lots of dedicated resources that small shops don’t have. I know that some larger agencies have realized this and often look to smaller boutique firms to fill in some of the gaps in their internal skills, which seems like a good compromise and often yields good results.

Q. What do you do to accomplish the growing competition and stay on top?
I think it’s important to never feel too comfortable, so I constantly push myself to improve my work and keep learning new things. This industry changes more often than fashion, and I am always looking for the next best thing.

Q. Do you have any big projects to date that you are most proud of to mention?
I am especially proud of two projects that I worked on during my time at Avenue A | Razorfish. The first was a flash game for AMG Mercedes featuring a snow drift competition and the second was a full video/flash site for Carnival Cruise Lines which enabled you to virtually experience all the cruise activities on-board and on-shore. Another exciting project was a interactive application for The Boeing Company in partnership with Wayfinder. There are also a couple of sites that I did for MTV, VH1 soul and BET at Media 8.

Q. What other clients who exist out there would you most likely love to get ahold of and take on as a project?
I would love to work on something for any sport brand like Nike, Adidas or Quiksilver – that would surely be an exciting experience. I would also like to work on something for a luxury brand like LVMH.

Q. Do you believe the general public isn’t aware of the time, detail and dedication it takes to accomplish projects in this industry? If so, how do we as designers with respect, convey this message?
I don’t think general public realize the complexity of our work at all. Projects aside, this is a constantly evolving industry which requires that we keep up with shifts in technology and consumer expectations among other things. Take PaperVision 3D for example (it allows developers to build flash-based 3D environments): very few people that I have met, except creatives and developers, realize the breakthrough this technology provides and the public will probably never know or know to ask, “was that site built using PaperVision 3D?” The general public doesn’t discern between a multi-million dollar Hollywood blockbuster movie with cutting edge special effects and a 30 KB animated banner. They just know what they like and that’s that. Maybe someday our industry will be more like the film industry, with known and respected directors, producers, etc. – but we rarely get publically credited for our work, so maybe not.

Q. Where do you see the web and design industry in the future and what do you think may change about it?
I think we’re heading to a 100% digital world, as far as certain interactions go. Good or bad, we’re becoming more and more dependent on the web as a means of managing our lives.

Q. Is this something you see yourself doing for a long term career?
Yes, I do. I would also love to teach when the time is right.

Q. Is there any advice you’d like to leave inspired artists and designers with?
Set standards for yourself and stick to them, but be flexible enough to adapt. Perseverance, methodology and personality are key. But more important, you need to have fun and sometimes dare to do things that you never would have imagined that you could have done.

Q. Is there anything else you’d like to share that was not covered above?
In regards to the projects I’m most proud of, I must add my two beloved daughters and my wife Alexandra – she’s is by far the greatest project manager ever!

I also would like to give a big shout out to the people that I have had the good fortune of meeting so far in my career: Mike, Gus, Chinmoy, Kaiser, Sergio, John, Paul, Victor, Kuni, Pabz, Juancito and the one and only Audel a.k.a Pixel Killa.

PageCrush would like to say:
Julien, you have a natural gift for this industry. Continue going strong and we all hope to see many of your projects go big. Designers and artists from all over should take note on great direction and passion and be inspired. It was a great pleasure to talk with you. PageCrush thanks you for your time and dedication.

For more of Julien’s work and designs, please visit: www.tauban.com

genn-org

Genn.org

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genn.orgPageCrush has yet another opportunity to involve ourselves with a passionate designer, committed to creating work that truly stands out. We’d like to introduce Genn.org. Gennady V. Osypenko is a passionate graphic and interactive designer with goals that may change our unforseen future of art and design. He is a natural for original work and drives dedication for any given project.

After undergoing heart surgery in the U.S., nothing can keep Genn away from his passion of traveling and computers. From html-coder to creative director and slow computers to fast, no coffee to caffeine hype and Flash magician to the guy that doesn’t need a minute of sleep, Genn has “made do” with what he has and continues to bring fresh content to every medium he owns.

PageCrush is pleased to give you Genn.org

Q. Where are you located?
Kiev, Ukraine.

Q. Are you considered a firm or freelance designer?
Oh, this is complicated one. I work as the creative director in a Ukrainian ad agency called “Laboratory8” (http://laboratory8.com/) and still do some projects as a freelance designer, but for fun. The best way to make me do any project myself in dozen of sleepless nights, is to promote an interesting idea demanding perfect realization. It doesn’t matter if it’s website, interior decoration and navigation, print or identity. I am interested in everything interesting 😉

Q. Does Genn.org collaborate with other designers around the world for certain projects?
I collaborate with my friends who are designers as well as non-designers. I was involved in different C-Arts projects (http://c-arts.ru/) like the book of 33 Tales and later, the calendar. I also help with some dedications or just routine if it’s needed. I can’t remember any right now, except participating on different design portals. I was asked to write design reviews for one of the Japanese design portals, but haven’t got an answer after I agreed. Anyway, look at me and listen to me, I am open to interesting projects! I want to get involved 😉

Q. Can you tell us how you got your start in design and the passion that brought you to what you do best?
In 1998 I realized that everything changed around me. I was writing articles and listening to hip-hop, not rock, and the world was still imperfect.

I was interested in creating applications for Windows and some of the first design projects was “naming”, “logos”, “GUI” and a website for some application developed together with guy from Finland who’s name was “Gandalf” or something like that. Then I made more and more… I started to create more attractive things, bomb graffiti and tagging everything around me. That was a weird time making identity and sites for corporate clients and playing with sprays and markers on the weekends.

Q. It sounds like you are inspired by traveling while you work. What are some of the places that give you the best inspiration for design?
Actually I get inspiration from every atom around me. I can look at leaf, the haircut of my senior designer or the scheme of traffic in my city and get a fresh idea about something. One time I looked at an Excel spreadsheet and made a new quite understandable design of this document for the customer. They were quite impressed. The other time, while developing the flash game for FHM magazine, I was inspecting cars while they turn. The plot of the game was to park your car in the smallest possible amount of time. Though I am a driver myself, I was examining the angle of the wheels rotations and cars moving everywhere I saw them. I made this game while being with my girlfriend in Minsk (she lives there) and she was impressed and little bit annoyed how I was attracted with the idea to make the most realistic model of a moving car.

While being in Prague this winter at the Envision conference Microsoft held, I liked walking around almost the whole night. Accompanied by Daft Punk tracks and some Czech beer inside me, I was wondering around the nightlife city. After that, coming to the room I rented, I made two or three marks about the ideas that came to my head. All of them where quite abstract and surrealistic, but now, refreshing them from my Moleskin, I get lots of inspirational stuff. That sounds great, doesn’t it?

Q. What is your biggest project(s) to date?
I hope that my biggest projects aren’t made yet. There are some that I am glad to remember, but they are not biggest. Two I am most proud of are my website (http://genn.org/) and my blog (http://mega.genn.org/) which will have an English version soon… I hope. As I create lots of stuff, starting from websites, identity, through t-shirts and finishing alternative reality games, I can’t highlight one of them and hide others. And I am afraid that writing about all of them would use all of our time. I’ll just say that everything I made (ok, almost everything) is my biggest and favorite. Oh, I almost forgot, I’ll be opening an online t-shirt shop shortly, so I could share my t-shirt and clothes designs 😉

Q. What are the biggest challenges you have to overcome when working on projects for other clients?
The biggest challenge of all times is that every client thinks he/she is a good designer. At least, they’re better then you are. It’s hard for people to realize that paying so much money means someone would work for you to earn this money. It’s always the same — explaining to the client why you did this or that and why it’s better then the one thing he made using his Microsoft Word with Word art plug-in. As a creative director, I often go to clients to present ideas or mock-ups. And it’s not so bad as I expect. If you’re not just a freelance designer, but creative director, who came with the account manager and maybe the creative group head to show the results of work of several designers and copywriters, client listens to you and agree more. So, here’s my advise — you do not just know the truth but to look like you are the truth.

Q. How do you battle the thought that everyone seems to think they’re a web designer now a days?
It’s perfect they think, but it’s awful they aren’t. Training people and giving master classes about design and web design, I always repeat that the design is not just about colorful illustrated covers, but it’s the channel of communication with people. Web sites are the most powerful communication tube we have nowadays: quite attractive, quite interactive and damn adaptive. I can browse the web on my iPhone, iBook, PSP or Mac Pro and all of them show almost the same. PSP may ruin the design a little bit but as long as design is perfect it doesn’t matter. Web designers have to understand the whole process of site creation and work after it is published. He has to know the answer for every tricky “what if user clicks here” question. It’s a pity but most of the web designers are not suitable.

Q. Is this skill and talent something that school aided in your life, or is it straight experience and committed time that drove you to this level?
I started as a software engineer, as I said earlier. But I never separated the soul of the project and its implementation, so maybe my programming skills helped me to become who I am as a designer. Anyway, I didn’t get any academic education as a designer, just the books I read and catalogues I looked through (oh! I adore those Scandinavians 😉 I think that I’ll get some later somewhere in Europe, Japan or the US.

Q. Which of your designs are your favorite and most successful?
First of all it’s http://genn.org/ I opened it yesterday and was impressed like it was something cool made by someone else.

Actually, all works listed on genn.org are my favorites, but here are some picks:
http://genn.org/stuff/2004/ — Recieved dozens of awards
http://genn.org/stuff/walk/ — Was my first site that was awarded 😉
http://antonten.com/ — I still haven’t found time to add it to my portfolio
http://genn.org/ohyeah/tatu/site.jpg — Website for known Russian girl-band t.A.T.u. David Carson influenced me a lot while making this site
http://genn.org/ohyeah/pc2p/gui.png — One of the GUI’s I’ve created

Q. Where do you see the web industry in the future and what do you think may change about it?
Let’s start with statement that “the future” is today. With all that iPhones and new cell phones have to always keep you in touch using web sites and web applications. Now if there was a way to integrate an audio chip into newspaper, so it would yell something every time you turn the page; that would sound fantastic and looks like it won’t take long time to integrate video and wi-fi in the same media. So we’ll get a lot of new fresh media channels to communicate with people while websites as we know them would transform into usable interfaces. Using new media and gadgets to control them people would get organized in more complex and lifelike communities then now. All I want to say is that something unbelievable would happen and I hope we’ll feel how it is to live in cyberpunk movies 😉

Q. Is this something you see yourself doing for a long term career?
I hope that this perfect business of fuzzy logic, plans, colorful prints and civil meaning of virus and guerilla would never die and my brain would still be able to generate perfect ad ideas. It looks like a career, doesn’t it? I’d like to work as an art or creative director in different agencies across the Europe just to share the experience and absorb new thoughts and trends.

Q. Is there any advice you’d like to leave inspired artists and designers with?
Sure there is! Don’t get upset when you have no ideas. Just don’t stop creating. Make the creation of the masterpiece (even if it’s leaflet for a new pizzeria) the process you adore. Oh, I wasn’t paid for this but just do it 😉

Q. Is there anything else you’d like to share that was not covered above?
Yeah! I’ve just come from the cinema and had a great time watching WALL-E. Everyone, you have to go and see how romantic love can be with a piece of metal and piece of plastic, who save humanity! Pixar just made a great movie 😉

Guys! I am totally exhausted (that influenced the interview a bit) but still happy and smiling. Have a good time everyone and create perfect stuff like you already do. I’d like to look like a sociopath freak who works for big money and hates his work because he knows everything about it (they think that ad-workers look and act like this) but I am not. I like my work and hate people. Oh! Wait! That last sentence was quite sociopath, wasn’t it?

PageCrush would like to say:
Genn, you are an inspiration with lots of future still ahead of you! It has been a pleasure to have you aboard for this review. PageCrush thanks you for your time and dedication.

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