Art Stars

Art Stars

By Nick Mendez

Q: What drew you to graphic design in the first place?

A: When I was younger, people told me I was artistic. I got a lot of positive feedback. I was subtly guided there whether I knew it or not because I enjoyed it, and people liked what was coming out. I have three siblings, and you want to find your own thing. They all went in their own directions that weren’t art, so it was kind of my thing. Once I got here and studied it I really liked it, so it just worked out. I guess I knew from high school. So I really liked it, I stuck with it and I still love it.

Q: What sort of work do you see yourself doing in the future?

A: I’ve always been interested in advertising, but after being here for a little while I see that it doesn’t have to be advertising. Graphic designers can do almost anything. But I do like the creative aspect of how advertising works. I’ll probably start small when I graduate, just for experience, and then see what happens after that.

Q: What do you like to emulate in your work?

A: Right now I look through magazines, and I like advertising. I don’t like advertising in the sense of when things are in a template and everything looks the same, but if I ever see something I like I rip it out and I save it. I look through a lot of graphic design-specific magazines, and I can’t not look around and criticize things – Look at them and say, ‘How would I have done that? How would I have done it differently? Is that a good solution?’ It’s just constantly running through my head.

Q: You transferred here from Rochester Institute of Technology. What’s different about the two programs?

A: At Rochester, not that its not disciplined here, but it was extremely disciplined. The average course load was seven classes. They were banging out a lot of work over there. Other than that, the reason I like Boston a lot better is that obviously it’s a lot more modern, better work is coming out of Boston than is coming out of upstate New York, and so just being exposed and being around some of the best, it’s going to influence you, and make you aware of what’s out there.

Q: What opportunities do Boston and Northeastern give you that you wouldn’t have somewhere else?

A: I feel like a lot of people here will offer internships. I’m trying to find one in Maine but [the industry] isn’t as big, so they’re not going to pay you for it. I might have to be volunteering just to get experience. I think Boston is looking a little bit harder for younger talent, so it’s easier to find work in Boston.

Q: Do you do most of your work on the computer now? Or do you also do work by hand?

A: Aside from foundation classes, it’s bad, but I don’t draw anymore. I had to take a year of drawing as a freshman, and we had to do painting in 2D. I did calligraphy as an elective, but other than that it’s all on the computer.

Q: Do you think that’s a good change?

A: Yes and no. It’s a lot easier on the computer, if you’re drawing letterforms out by hand obviously. It also has its downfalls. Everyone uses the computer, and everyone uses the same programs, so there’s a bigger chance of things looking the same. You can only do so much on the computer, and if you press one tool, it’s only going to do so much. It limits how far your style can go. There’s still a lot of style, but it’s easier to copy something on a computer than it would be by hand.

Q: You also do photography?

A: It’s a good skill to have. A lot of graphic design incorporates photography as well, so it’s good to be able to do it yourself and not have to hire somebody. We did half a semester in color and half in black and white, and I liked the black and white better. I like the crispness of black and white. It hides things.

Q: How do you choose the subjects for your work, either in photography or graphic design, What are the things you want to emphasize?

A: As a graphic designer you’re always going to be working for somebody, so a lot of times it’s going to be chosen for you, which is a good and a bad thing. Sometimes people will give you what they want with absolutely no boundaries, and I kind of wish they would give me a little bit of structure because its so open-ended if they’re like, ‘Oh, just do whatever you want, I know it will look good.’ With photography, I like photographing people, everyday objects but in a new perspective, something you might not naturally see.

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