Hey everyone, my name is Jesse Taylor. I’m a graphic designer and art director from Tallahassee Florida. My wife and I recently moved to Colorado Springs and it’s been great, we love it out here. I was on the founding board of AIGA Tallahassee, so I’m excited to meet other creatives out here and get involved with the chapter in Colorado.
The first question that I answered for this was, who is an artist or designer that I admire and I have to go with my all-time favorite Dave Quiggle. He is a tattooer and designer out of Temecula, CA. I think what’s great and why he connects with me so much is, when I was in middle school, I would see this insane artwork on CD covers and T-shirts and posters and I didn’t have any idea who it was. But as I grew up and discovered design, I rediscovered his work and gained a new appreciation for it. What I like most is that he has a very specific style. It’s very distinct. It’s very consistent, but it never gets old in my opinion, everything always feels really fresh but you can still point it out in a crowd and tell it’s him. So I really love that.
And the other thing is I was able to go get tattooed by him a few years ago. He did this big forearm piece. And, even better than the tattoo, I think, was getting to spend time with him and just talk shop and talk design. He really had an impact on me during those, you know, 3 hours. So that’s why he’s always been one of my favorites. A few others that inspire me are Kendrick Kidd, Travis Pietsch, all the dudes on Lincoln Design Company, Blaze Brooks, Alana Louise, and Lauren Dickens. This list could go on forever, so I’ll stop there.
The next question that I answered was, “what work have I done that I’m most proud of?” And luckily, I’m really fortunate to work at an agency that does a lot of really good work for a lot of good people. I’m proud of all the work that comes out of the agency. So for this I’ll talk about a few passion projects that I’ve done over the past couple of years.
The first one would be the hand-painted flags project that I did where I would just go to local businesses and ask if they wanted a logo or a slogan or whatever painted on a flag that they could hang up in their building. What’s great about that is I was able to make connections and that word of mouth got kind of big. So as that developed I was able to create a brand around that. It had no budget, really no timeline, it was just a personal project. And that brand ended up making it to the national Addy’s where it won. So that was pretty incredible and it’s been a project I’ve been really proud of.
The other one I’m really proud of from earlier this year was my checkerboard Vans keyboard. I just took a small idea that I had from a prompt and took it as far as I could. I was able to work with a lot of really rad people, a lot of close friends, to build this checkerboard keyboard that looked like a Vans shoe, all the way down to the waffle bottom. And what’s incredible about that is I was able to make a connection with someone who worked at Vans and send it to them and it’s sitting on the CEO’s desk right now. Or so I’m told, so, we’ll just say that. That was a really fun one and I’m really proud of that. It’s one of my all time favorites for sure.
The last question that I answered was, “what career advice would I give to my younger self?” And something that I’ve kind of adopted as a life motto and something I tell young creatives whether in a mentor role or as a portfolio review tip is just to ask for it. That seems simple and kind of silly, but I think a lot of opportunities could be missed simply because we don’t shoot our shot. It’s worked for me and I’ve seen it work for other people and the worst that anyone can say is “no.” And if that’s the answer then you can accept that and move on, or you can keep working at it and try a new approach and try it again down the road. It’s how you get raises, you know, if you ask for that raise, you know, kind of out of the blue and kind of have a reason for that. If you ask about that idea you have that could turn into something awesome. And one fun one that I always talk about is, there was a client who really didn’t have a ton of money, but they had really good food, so I just asked if they could trade food for design and that fed me for a little while. So, that would be my advice to anyone, including my younger self. Just to ask for it.