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Guest Artist Interview – Chris Svoboda

March 31, 2016
Photo credit @Chris Svoboda

Time flies when your having…fun? I don’t know about you, but I’ve been trying to escape the blizzards of Denver. I’m so ready for warmer weather, breezy open windows, birds, open toe shoes, not having to scrap ice and snow off my car. You get the idea.

Tonight I’m so excited to present a very talented local artist who specializes in clean, creative design and raw ingenuity. Meet Chris Svoboda from Denver, CO and be sure to click the links below to see more of his work.

Behance  |  Instagram



1 Tell us a little about yourself and how did you get into design?

Becoming a collegiate athlete was once my biggest goal, followed closely by a desire to become a top chef. As I began my athletic career at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln while studying to become a nutritionist, I quickly found that I didn’t feel fulfilled in either path. I started a mission to dig into my interests and find out just what exactly made me tick. While filling general requirement courses for my major, I stumbled upon a course that focused solely on advertising. Throughout the course, I developed a passion for the creative side of advertising and the idea that I could have the power to create something from nothing. I changed my major to Advertising and began narrowing down where my passions fell in the creative zone. As the youngest in my family I spent a lot of time reworking hand-me-down toys to fit my interests and filling every inch of my room with drawings. It didn’t take long to find my niche in design and I haven’t looked back since. Through countless hours of tutorials, perhaps too many coffee breaks, and an endless fascination with the Adobe creative suite, I’ve landed in my place as a graphic designer.


Photo credit @Chris Svoboda

Photo credit @Chris Svoboda


2 Walk us through a typical day?

As I’m currently looking for my next opportunity as a graphic designer I’ve been keeping busy by expanding my skill set, freelancing, and sending out more emails than I’d like to count. When I’m not working on my trusty laptop, I’m doodling or working on DIY projects around the house.

Describe your style/aesthetic and where do you draw your inspiration from?

I do my best not to get comfortable and stick with one particular design style as there are so many to choose from and grow with. My work typically has a clean aesthetic but it truly comes down to what or whom I’m designing for.

My guilty pleasure is illustration. It makes me feel like I’m a kid again, watching old school Disney cartoons and creating my own characters. 


Photo credit @Chris Svoboda

Photo Credit: Chris Svoboda

Photo credit @Chris Svoboda


On your site, you reference sasquatch a few times, any backstory on your rare creature interactions?

The sasquatch is my way of saying that my style and background is different and that I don’t want to be put in a category as a designer with a single track of work. I chose the sasquatch because it follows its own path and still makes history.


Photo credit: Chris Svoboda

Photo credit: Chris Svoboda


What are some of your favorite pastimes?

I’ve always found the best way for me to unwind was through exploration. I’m always up for a hike, trying a food truck, or even a drive through the mountains. I like to live life a little off the map and off the wall.

Thanks again!

Photo credits: Chris Svoboda


Guest Interview – Macey Mackubin

January 11, 2016
photo credit @Macey Mackubin

Hello all. How has the new year been treating you so far? I have an exciting new guest interview to share with you all! I’m happy to introduce local designer Macey Mackubin from Manitou Springs, CO.

Check out our interview together and visit more of her work from the links below.

Website | Behance | Etsy


1. Tell us a little about yourself and how did you get into graphic design?

I was born in Orlando, Florida. My first encounter with design began when I was pursuing a degree in photography. This was just as the digital world was beginning. Photoshop 1 had just come out. I was working as an intern at a food photography studio called Visual Cuisines and we were still using film. During that time we bought a high-end digital camera. As part of my photography degree I had to take a basic course in design. I fell in love with it while I continued to  work in photography. Photography ended up not being my true calling although it has made an impact on my design choices. Upon leaving Visual Cuisines I returned to school for a long journey towards earning my B.F.A. in graphic design. In the course of this pursuit I moved to Manitou Springs, Colorado and finished my B.F.A. in graphic design at the Rocky Mountain School of Design.

Photo credit @Macey Mackubin


2. It looks like you recently completed your BFA degree, congratulations! How has working in the industry/freelancing compared to your work in college?

I did recently finish thank you! School was more fun. Freelancing is also fun, but just not the same as making all the concept and design choices as you would on a school project. I design patterns, a line of products for sale on, I draw constantly, I find old pieces of furniture to refurbish, so I can still feel like I have that freedom outside of work. One of the realities of my career path has been the need to fill in the gaps of freelance work with other types of work.

The internship I did at the end of school was with a company called Mama’s Sauce. It’s a screen print and letterpress shop. Print making has been another love of mine so when Mama’s Sauce asked me to work there in the screen print department I jumped on the opportunity. As this relates to the difference between work and school I envisioned myself working as a full time designer for one company during school. That’s just not how things panned out. However, it doesn’t mean that vision won’t come to pass at some point.


Photo credit @Macey Mackubin


3. Describe your style/aesthetic and where do you draw your inspiration from?

The first thing I do with all jobs is write. I make lists and then I begin sketching. After the lists are made there are so many ideas flowing through my head I have to sketch those. After that I peruse Pinterest, create a mood board and then begin the second round of sketches. Then I finish up; usually in Illustrator. To be able to go through that process on all jobs is a unicorn rainbow dream. I worked as a designer for a t shirt company. Jobs would need to be completed so fast there wasn’t really time for sketching ( this part could fit into question 2 as well ). I also get inspiration from researching the subject.


4. What are some of your favorite pastimes?

Making patterns has become a past time of mine recently. Doodling, print making, dogs, collecting salt and pepper shakers.

Photo credit @Macey Mackubin


5. Any words of advice for aspiring artist or designers?

Hmmm. I would say don’t give up.


All photo credits @Macey Mackubin

Thanks again!






Guest Artist Interview – Kristen Williams

November 8, 2015

I have an exciting new guest interview to share with you all! It’s my privilege to introduce local designer Kristen Williams from Pueblo, CO.

Check out our interview together and visit more of her work from the links below.

Website | Blog


1. Tell us a little about yourself and how did you get into graphic design?

I was always artistically inclined. As a tiny child, I loved to draw and paint and when I turned five I finally got my hands on my mom’s Pentax SLR. I was drawn to typography and fell in love with the Egyptian typeface on my mom’s antique typewriter. I always noticed the logos on my toys. I think I was doomed from a very early age to be an artist and graphic designer.

It almost didn’t happen though. My family didn’t understand the difference between commercial and fine artists and I think they feared the “starving artist” stereotype. Wanting the best for me, they encouraged me to pursue other fields ranging from math, to aeronautical engineering and finally journalism, which is what they sent me to college to obtain. If it weren’t for a passing comment from my advisor that I could double major in graphic design, I’d probably be working at a newspaper right now. Ironically, journalism is far lower paying than graphic design, so I focused on my BFA and switched my journalism to the more complimentary integrated communications. I’ve never looked back since.

Photo credit @Kristen Williams


2. Describe your style/aesthetic and where do you draw inspiration from?

My style fluctuates a bit depending on my client’s needs, but it’s usually somewhere between eclectic retro, hipster and grunge on a Swiss modern structure. I’m a 90’s child and so grunge is a dominating influence, but I’m also inspired by 1960s advertising, halftones, drawing, printmaking and the colors of local Hispanic and Latin-American paintings. I’m in love with the contemporary Argentinian graphic design circuit as I see them working with the same influences—60s halftones, 90s grunge and contemporary Latin-American colors. There’s also a kinship in our environments and graphic design goals as I too am trying to use these in-your-face graphics to take a stand and promote change for Pueblo, Colorado.

Pueblo is my second home. I go to school here, met my best friends here, and I spend most of my free time here. Local leaders are trying to raise Pueblo to a cultural hot-spot and shake away the steel-mill roots and the 80s depression that crippled Pueblo. What was once a Victorian hot-spot for health and mineral water, the location of a Frank Lloyd Wright opera house and the home of gilded, marbled hotels became associated only with the dirt of working-class industry. This town has come so far, made so much progress, but people in other parts of Colorado (or other parts of the US) still over-look it.

We local graphic designers are trying to provide the visual component to revitalization campaigns, and so rebel graphics resonate with many of us. I’m one of them. Currently I am a designer at the Historic Arkansas Riverwalk of Pueblo, a down-town venue that is one of the fore-runners of Pueblo’s revitalization projects. The Riverwalk has already made major improvements in beatifying Pueblo (it ranks comparable to my favorite spots in San Francisco). My job is to help lead the charge of a fresh visual identity system that will make people remember the Riverwalk fondly and thereby remember Pueblo fondly. The goal is to help people see Pueblo as a thriving cultural and arts center, and forget the long-gone steel-mill past. My love for bright, in-your-face colors and rebel graphics that scream for attention are now a necessary inspiration for my job.


Photo Credit @Kristen Williams


3. Walk us through a typical day.

A truly typical day almost doesn’t exist for me, especially while I’m juggling my last full-time semester of college and two internships. But there are some things I can expect (mostly!). When I walk into the office, I either immediately deal with an unexpected challenge that arose while I was away at class (such as a rush job), or I can go straight to my desk and work on my projects. I like to start the day researching the project, brainstorming the design direction and researching related design trends (as both an example of what to follow or to avoid).

The rest of the day is spent collaborating with copywriters, communications directors, the printers, my boss and anyone else assigned to the project. Graphic design is a lot to juggle, but that’s also what makes it exciting. It’s not like the fine arts where I lock myself into the studio for hours on end, drawing compositions to meet a gallery deadline. Instead, it is a collaborative, back-and-forth effort. Sometimes things change, sometimes I might lose favorite elements in pursuit of the greater goal (or the client’s specific desires), but almost always the project is richer for it. You can’t expect to have a lot of control in graphic design—instead you have to be ready to adapt to change, and quickly.




4. What are some of your favorite pastimes?

I love pastimes that inspire my design, or let me take a break from it. I’ll stroll antique stores in search of vintage graphics or walk the down-town streets of small towns for mural and sign inspiration. My photography is also a great way to decompress and reflect. When I lift up my camera, nothing else exists in the world but me and my subject. It’s complete Zen.

Sometimes I need to take a break from anything visual arts to avoid overstimulation and during this time I’ll focus on spending time with my friends, taking a stroll in nature or watching equestrian sports. There’s something awe-inspiring about watching a man and a horse soar over a five-foot jump in perfect partnership. Thinking about what they had to go through over several years to obtain that level of strength and finesse puts all of my graphic design challenges into perspective. And, in a way, equestrian show jumping represents graphic design—you need strength, confidence and delicacy to clear major obstacles. The jumps look formable, but they are actually delicate–make a mistake and suddenly that jump crumbles and you are out of the competition. I can’t think of a better analogy for graphic design.


Photo credit @Kristen Williams


5. Any advice for future/aspiring new designers?

Never lose sight of the bigger picture, the end goal of the project, and your client’s needs. These are the most important things and if you meet them, you’ll never go hungry. There are going to be times when you will have to stand your ground and defend your design aesthetics, but that is only when you KNOW that the design aesthetics are the best to meet the client’s goals. If they don’t meet the goals, then the aesthetics are just your babies and you’ll have to let them go.

Be ready to juggle multiple projects and a lot of little details, many of which will change as the project progresses. This is what makes commercial art different from the fine arts—it’s not about you spending hours on your favorite image until you’re done. In order to please multiple people and communicate a message, you’ll have to juggle a team of people and roll with the changes. Learn to multi-task and always welcome change. Be like that show jumping horse and rider where your talents are your trusty steed. Always have confidence, always look to the next obstacle (not down), know when to use strength and when to be delicate. Nothing can stop you if you learn that.

Thanks again! Photo credits @Kristen Williams



Guest Artist Interview – Dave Hamann

October 7, 2015
Photo Credit@ Dave Hamann

Hello good people! I have some very exciting new interviews to share this month in continuation of local artist/designer spotlights. Tonight, it’s my privilege to introduce local photographer Dave Hamann from Colorado Springs, CO.

Take a look at our interview together and feel free check at more of his work from the links below.

Website | Behance


1. Tell us a little about yourself and how did you get into photography?

Like many photographers, my interest in photography started when I was young.  My grandfather was an amateur photographer who seemed always attached to a camera.  He bought me my first camera, a Pentax ME SE Super.  From there, my desire to capture great photos and master this new craft blossomed and I quickly found myself devouring the photographic series by Ansel Adams, The Camera, The Negative, and The Print. Invaluable reading for the novice photographer.


2. When did you start freelancing and how do you like it compared to industry work?

I started freelancing soon after graduating college.  Initially I began as a food photographer for local chefs.  I loved it!  I love a good still life and food photography is about as complex and challenging as they come.  I turned nearly full time art photography when we moved to Colorado. The landscape draws you in!




3. Walk us through a typical day.

A typical day is unfortunately not very exciting!  If the weather is cooperative, by that I mean moody and brooding with great clouds and the hint of a threatening storm, I will grab the camera and head outdoors (kids and wife permitting!).  Otherwise, I’m in the studio arranging some awesome looking vegetables or fruits I found on a run to the grocery store in some vain attempt to emulate the still life style of the old Dutch Masters!




4. Describe your style/aesthetic and where do you draw your inspiration?

Landscapes I’m 98% black and white.  I come from a black and white wet darkroom tradition and still believe that the absence of color in an image makes the viewer “see” the scene.  We see color all the time and removing that reference makes one rely on the line, texture, shape, and tones of an image – makes one “see”.  For my still life work I’m all “Dutch Master”, XVII century still life.  I am also a fan of photographer Paulette Tavormina’s work.



5. What are some of your favorite pastimes?

I love photography.  If I could, I’d love to hike into the backcountry for two or three months somewhere in Montana or Idaho, or even here in Colorado and just photograph!  That being said, I do like cooking and watching cartoons with the kids!


Thanks again!
Photo credits: Dave Hamann.



Guest Artist Matthew Johnson – Interview

September 12, 2015

Hello again! I am very excited to announce a new segment to the blog spotlighting local artist/talent from the Colorado area. It’s my privilege today to introduce local designer and illustrator Matthew Johnson working from Denver, CO. Take a look at our interview together and go check at more of his work from the links below.

Behance | Instagram


1. Tell us a little about yourself and how did you get into Illustration/Graphic Design?

I was born into a creative clan in Pasadena, California, May 4, 1982. Along with being an art director with Ogilvy & Mather Advertising, my Mother is an amazing children’s book illustrator with over 200 books to her credit.

My father is an award-winning copywriter and founder of Big Honkin’ Ideas, a 20-year-old advertising agency in Santa Monica. It’s safe to say I knew I wanted to do something creative when I grew up. But since the Batman gig was already taken I took to art and design.


2. When did you start freelancing and how do you like it compared to industry work?

In December 2010, I graduated at the top of my class from Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida with a degree in graphic design. I’ve worked professionally with Big Honkin’ Ideas since 2010 creating a wide range of projects. These include identities, logos, web design, print ads, PowerPoint, Flash banners and brochures.

When I’m not working I’m usually painting, researching artists and designers for inspiration for my next project, or exhibiting at art walks. In 2009, I started an artist collective called BLK SHEEP MVMNT that showcases my fine art and supplements my commercial work.

I really enjoy working for myself and choosing projects that speak to me rather then corporate work. It is stressful but way more rewarding.

split personaliies

3. Walk us through a typical day

Up at 7. Take the dogs to the park for a couple hours. Then I feed them and myself and check my emails. Working freelance, it’s important that I keep in constant contact with my clients for their needs may have changed. Not really sure how long per day I work. It’s easy to lose track of time when I’m in front of the computer. I always do a bunch of sketches before I go digital and make sure clients like it and sign off before I spend time digitally. Communication is key. And try to sneak some painting in if I have time. Always doing something. I love staying busy.


4. Describe your design aesthetic and where do you draw your inspiration?

Everywhere and Everyone. I think it just depends how you look at things. I see the world through typography, art, and design. I believe it’s important to try and learn and get inspired by everything around me.

Even if I don’t particularly like something I can still learn and inspire from it. Even if its as simple as what I would have done differently. It’s so hard to pin down my favorite designers and artists because the more you dig and research the more you find. Its a big world out there.

skull girl

5. What are some of your favorite pastimes?

I’ve been drawing since I could hold a crayon. I drew all the time. I drew on everything — on tabletops, garage doors, on the soles of my shoes, on the tops of my sister’s shoes — on the trunk of my Dad’s restored ’67 Pontiac. I wore my action hero underwear backwards so I could see Batman, Hulk, and Ninja Turtles on the front when I looked in the mirror. I drew them on rolls of butcher paper my folks provided — for once staying inside the lines.

Besides art riding my bike long distances, writing, reading a good book, and trying new things. I am in the process of starting a screen-printing business and dog walking company. Pushing myself in new directions is a must.


Thanks again!
Photo credits: Matthew Johnson.