- Amerikan Made Prints
- Art Buyer Magazine
- Art Order
- Association of Illustrators
- Cartoon Art Museum
- Cartoon Brew
- Design is Kinky
- Drawn and Quarterly
- Fantagraphics Books
- HOW Design
- Hi-Fructose Magazine
- ICON The Illustration Conference
- Illustration Class
- Illustration Friday
- Illustrators Illustrated
- Juxtapoz Magazine
- Lines and Colors
- National Cartoonists Society
- Plan 59
- Project: Rooftop
- Society of Illustrators
- Sugar Frosted Goodness
- Taught by a Pro
- Today's Inspiration
- UPPERCASE Magazine
My name is Steve, but my alias is RDQLUS. "Ridiculous" when used as a slang-term, means that something is wild and outrageous while all the while being unique and outstanding in its own right. I am a simple complexity. A vast equation that yields a very simple result. I am the sum of all things and occurrences in my life up to the point in time that you are reading this. No one thing rules my actions, but it is in this lack of concrete definition that I find my most concrete of placements. Among many other areas in life that can claim my skills and interests, I am a Creative. I am an artist at heart and by trade, having been a graffiti artist, an architecture student and a fine art graduate. With 7 years of experience in the
creative/design industry I will continue to draw on my life as the fuel that pushes me to new things.
That's all...now move on to the next section when you hear the tone...*ding*
When did you first decide to become a graphic designer/ illustrator? Was there a pivotal moment?
I was designing far before anyone ever told me what it was. My father was a draftsman and sparked my interest in drawing. While growing up I became aware that I could indeed draw and where I'm from, if you draw you are a prime candidate for being a graffiti artist. Now I know what many think, we're just punks who run around defacing property, but some of the most planned and intricate thought to design, medium and composition comes from the minds of so-called delinquents. Many a notebook was filled with sketches and renderings of what were to be larger pieces. As taggers became public enemy no. 1, we moved to clothing and airbrushing as a means to getting our art "jonez" out. So then came fashion designs and being asked (and even paid at times) to paint on anything that could hold a stain or mark. It was through
graffiti that I learned lessons that would later be given course names like "color theory" and "drawing 3 & 4". I was ahead of what would soon be my curve.
I later began school as an Architecture major channeling my dad's gift and I loved every second of it, but a transfer to a new school yielded no academic tract for this area of study. At that point I was faced with a decision to leave the creative side of scholastics or find a way to make this work for me. That is when a lady by the name of Jan Hilderbrand saved me. A design instructor at my new university, she sold me on similarities in approach between graphic design and architectural design and she asked me to give graphic design a shot. Sold! And it's all downhill from there.
Who or what inspires you?
I am inspired by the details of anything Life has to offer. I will ramble off a few things; Nature has yielded some amazing machines in humans and animals and the things we build and the way that living things go about life is dumbfounding! The lights of my dash and stereo as I take a late night cruise on the interstate are amazing in color and contrast. The clean lines of my favorite brand of automobile give me the chills. My nieces drawings are so honest and frank in their simplicity that they are amazing solutions to even my most complex design troubles. The form and function of my favorite shoes can inspire loyalty to a specific brand. How cool is that that design can make me swear by not just a product, but an entire entity?! This is the list of things that I see in my mind's eye minute to minute. I would have these thoughts even if I weren't a designer. I am not a Creative by choice, I am a Creative by nature.
Where does your training come from? Self-taught? College/Art School?
You can refer to question one for the long answer, but I will elaborate on a few details here.
I am self-taught by way of drawing, inspired by my father's ability and talents. I learned more about composition and color from graffiti than school. I have 6 years of Architecture study (four in high school and two in college). And finally, I have my Bachelors in Fine Art with an emphasis in Graphic Design & Visual Communication, and an Art minor.
How do you keep "fresh" within your industry?
Keeping fresh for me is being honest and avoiding the pitfall of trying to BE FRESH and new. Human history is too long a time-line to think that we are coming up with the end-all-be-all of design innovation when there is evidence of the most modern of thoughts and designs shown in ancient times.
So for me the task is to remain thought-provoking and honest in my designs. It is in a humble, candid and almost child-like approach that the most innovative of things will occur.
What are some of your current projects?
Recently, I finished a full 60 page magazine for a prominent and prestigious university in my area. And yes I did it all from start to finish. I have also finished a few identity and logo projects as of recent, one of which is an identity for an outdoor apparel line.
Which of your projects are you the most proud of? And why?
I am perpetually proud of VNDK8 Freestyle Equipment Co., the accessories line that I started with another great designer, Travis Bellinghausen. This is my outlet for the kid designer in me, still living at my core.
Are there any areas, techniques, mediums, projects in your field that you have yet to try?
Far too many to list. My friend Eric built his own press! My little sis Melissa makes handmade stationary and books! There are so many things and it is a long life. I plan on adding the the repertoire on a regular basis.
Any advice to the novice designer/ illustrator?
Be honest on your approach. Know your strengths and use your skills.Being pretentious or playing the "role" of a designer is trite and will become transparent in no time. Travis Bellinghausen and I joke about that all the time. It is great to admire and attempt the techniques that others have done, but no matter how hard you try your work will still come out as your own. The quicker you realize that, the sooner your art will resonate with yourself and others.
What makes a designed piece or illustration successful?
Does it answer the question at hand or solve the equation put forth? I am a designer. More so than other artisans, we answer the call of a direct need. We are the problem solvers and solution experts. Our task is how to meet a specific need with a functional piece of art. When this is accomplished at the highest state of both form and function...success has been achieved. Now note; that moment is fleeting and may only exist for that split second that all is well. Because, if indeed you posses the mind of a designer, you will start to rework immediately and notice where the work could have been even more successful. Welcome the the perpetual dilemma. ;-)
What do you do to keep yourself motivated and avoid burn-out?
Live Life, and do it real big and real small. I find my system shocked in the sweeping turns Life takes and I reside in the smallest details. Art is only one of the many facets of the "simple complexity" I think myself to be. It doesn't consume me whole because of the shear scope of Life. Do I view much of Life with a designer's eyes? Yes, because as I stated before, I've been designing my whole life. It is a part of my fabric, but indeed only a mere part.
And finally, what is the best thing on prime-time TV right now?
If I can count cable...Entourage on HBO! It's so lively It reminds me of myself and the moments when I am most happy...when Life revs the engine and takes you for a ride and you had just better hold on and enjoy it because you never know when the ride is gonna' end. It personifies so much of my personality. A bit brash, a little cocky, a lot of crazy, fun and still grounded and good at the core. The group of guys on the show display the "stuff" that makes for a good Life; a sense of self, loyal friends and the action word of Life...to "live". What's the point in amassing memories and working hard to live well if in fact you forget to LIVE!
Thanks for having me on here. I'm out until next time...
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