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The Creative Suite Ambassador Group* continues to provide us with a great opportunity to engage with a number of our Creative Suite enthusiasts. As we did with ambassador, Verneda Lights, we’re pleased to introduce our next Ambassador of the Month – Rob Brown. Below is our exchange with Rob, a professional graphic designer and photographer.
Creative Layer: Graphic design and photography seem like your two primary focus areas. What drew you into the creative field?
Rob Brown: From a young age, I loved art. In high school, I had to fill an elective and could only fit in one drawing class, so I took a graphic arts course and fell in love. I was drawn to the blending of math and art, and the creative process using ink and machinery. I was lucky to have access to a Heidelberg press and lead type bays. When I was fourteen, the digital realm of graphic design was just starting.
Photography came later for me. In college, it was a new way to use light to create images for my work and art. I did not really appreciate photography as a craft until I really started taking pictures on my own. I still seem to be surprised by what some people can do with a camera. It takes a lot of skill and a strong artistic eye to capture the image you really want. Moving from location to location, and different types of light, always brings new challenges to the world of photography. I love the joy that comes from facing those challenges and coming home with a great image.
What’s your day-to-day like?
I work at Santa Barbara City College in faculty training, so each day is a new day for me. Our campus sits on a bluff overlooking the Santa Barbara channel, so every morning I am greeted by beauty and inspiration. I try and get out and take photos at least once a week, I mainly focus on landscapes, flowers, and taking a looking for a new perspective in my surrounding environment. I also do freelance design work for a local surf lifestyle company. Some days I am doing print ads. Some days its web work, and occasionally I get sent out on location for a photo shoot. I never really know what I’ll be working on each week, and that can be very exciting.
Some of your photography is fantastic. What inspires you to create and/or where do you seek inspiration?
Thank you. I live in a very beautiful area, full of unique architecture, lush gardens, and amazing skies. I don’t need to look hard for inspiration around Santa Barbara, but being a tourist town, we have a lot of commercial artists, so my challenge is to be different. I look to the web a lot for inspiration and new ideas. I visit 500px weekly, looking for anything that draws my eye. I am also involved a lot with Google+ and the photography circles there. I find it’s a great way to personally connect with photographers all over the world and share ideas. I look to people like Matt Kloskowski, Moose Peterson, Frank Doorhof, Lotus Carrol and many others for ideas.
As a designer, you’re always challenged with staying innovative. How do you continue to push the boundaries?
To push my own boundaries, I have to be aware of what others are doing. I first look at what people are doing on a global scale by reading magazines like Print, HOW and Communication Arts. Then, I take some of those ideas, mash them together, toss out what isn’t blending, add my own flavor and see what happens.
The hardest thing for me as a designer is getting stuck in the same color pallet. I tend to find a set of colors I like and then run with it. So to push myself out of it, I find a color that I like, but would not use personally, and force myself to incorporate it in some work. Many times, the results are what I consider to be “ugly.” But when it does work, I have created something wonderful that I never would have if I stayed within my safe colors.
Any words of advice you would offer those getting started?
I taught college design classes for seven years. The main advice I give my students, and anybody trying to get started in design or any art profession, is to learn the language. Learn how to critique, and learn how to take criticism. If you can’t communicate with other artists, you will have a hard time in the art world. Also, take time to look at other artists and learn from them, even if they are not creating the same type of media that you are.
*Note: Our Creative Suite Ambassador Group is currently a closed community. We will evaluate future opportunities to open the group. For those interested in joining, please stay tuned for more updates on group openings.