Tell me about your early years and where you come from.
I was born and raised in St.Louis, and the oldest of four, that being said I lived about everywhere in the city; From the south side of St.Louis to north county. Being raised on comic books and graphic novels, this often influences my work when it comes to color choices and illustration style.
How did you first get interested in design?
I was introduced to design via my high school art teacher. He informed me that it was a path that I might want to take. From there he helped me become a part of a St.Louis organization called STL Artworks. Here I had the chance to become apart of their graphic design session.
Tell me about the work you've done?
I’ve jumped around when it comes to the work genre. From branding to PR work. Currently I am apart of a marketing content agency known as Scorch. My proudest moment(s) are when I’m alerted that my template for a design has been chosen.
What are your proudest accomplishments of your career?
There’s always a conflict between what you’re taught in school and the working field with clients. I feel this is the greatest struggle between keeping the client happy, and applying what you learned fully.
What are you doing that's special that sets you apart from your peers?
What sets me apart from my peers? I would say it’s my attitude towards a project. I look at any project as a new journey, and I feel that most people lose that over the years.
What have your experience been as a person of color in the design industry?
Being a person of color in the design field, to me, has two different sets of emotions. On one had it’s like being a diamond in the mist of sand, that being that you’re rare and can be seen as valuable if you’re good. On the other hand it can be very isolating. There are certain social dynamics that are just too different, and you find yourself monitoring your actions. But in all I love being in the design field. It’s innovating, refreshing, but most of all the people that you are able to meet can be the best part.
What are your biggest motivators?
My most significant motivator is coffee. My second biggest motivator is the concept of the invention. This meaning that no matter what kind of client or project I might have, creating the most powerful of content is the most critical part. What can I invent that will evoke emotion out of my client’s viewers.
How do your friends and family feel about the work you've done?
My friend and family have always been my biggest supporters, and that’s because they’re often my most prominent critics. They’re not afraid to tell me my strengths along with my weaknesses.
What do you love most about working in design?
What I love most about working in design is again the notion of invention. The prospect of creating content to strike emotion, or drive a person to specific content is what I love. Knowing that color, or a creative headline can grasp someone is what I love about design. It’s the notion that someone looks at your work and it grasps them. That’s what I live for.
What would you like to see changed about the design field?
I would like to see more diversity in the design field, to see more people of color in the field.
How can design be more accommodating to underrepresented populations of people?
In my opinion, it would be nice to see more programs for underrepresented populations. Many people of color, I find, have a set idea of what graphic design is, but when I explain to them what I do it seems to shock them. There’s needs to be more information presented to different populations.
What are you working on right now, either for work or for yourself?
As of right now, I’m working on marketing content for clients at my current agency, and personally, I work on large display illustrations. I’m also currently working on a branding project for an upstart business.
Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years? Do you think you'll stay in design?
In 5 or 10 years I plan to have moved out of St.Louis, but still be apart of design fully. This is a great passion of mine and I wish to continue with it.
What advice would you give to folks from similar backgrounds who are in design or hoping to get into it?
My advice for other people in the field, or getting into it is always to be open to learning. Never believe that you are a better designer than the one to your left or right. It is my firm belief that as a designer it’s our job to continue learning and broaden our knowledge of the world and its language. Once you have conditioned yourself to believe that you can no longer learn, in return, you are giving up as a designer. Believe in the work that you want to do or are doing.