I’ve always been envious of people that I thought were just naturally creative. I could never draw a perfect circle, or see anything abstract. Everything was like numbers to me, finite. Even colors and ideas had to be black and white. (I guess that’s why I ended up studying something in science and math). When it came to creativity, I learned I only have my words to back me up.
I met this guy, Tashawn, in college through this thing called a club. I didn’t say at the club. I mean we met at this social organization where people would actually show up in person before gotomeeting.com, facetime, or instagram really took off. We shared an interest for this thing called hip-hop. Looking back, we were just lost young twenty-somethings trying to figure it out. We are still young twenty-somethings trying to figure it out, but I think we’re happy with the direction and the pace everything is moving at. Both having picked up some new tricks through the years this dude still manages to keep me in the loop about what he’s up to and who I need to have on my iPod
Your about me on your WordPress says, “I also like fly ass girls.” Can you please define fly ass girl?
I think I’ve changed that bio since you’ve seen it haha. But basically what I meant by fly ass girl is a girl who has something definitively cool about her, something she’s really passionate about and she exudes whatever that might be. Whether it be she’s really into fashion, music, art or whatever. She’s really about it and not putting up fronts for social media or whatever. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be about looks, looks help for sure, but a girl can be fly just being really into or really good at whatever it is she does or is into.
How did the relationship begin between you and TiRon & Ayomari? Was it a fan mail thing? Was it social media… like a Facebook friend request? was it Myspace? was it Instagram?
I got cool with TiRon & Ayomari because of SHHO. We did a lot of shows with them and they just really liked all of us and always stayed and touched and reached out. I’m more close with their manager Mario now though than the two of them [TiRon & Ayomari], we contact each other about once every month or so.
Top 5 music artists that you think are slept on. Go.
I still think Tyler, the Creator [OddFuture] is the most slept on artist out there. Simply because people focus on his antics and controversy and don’t understand just how great his music is. Wolf was great, I still listen to it to this day.
- Overdoz from Cali
- Spooky Black and his group thestand4rd
- Hawk House from London
- King. King is amazing, they’re a trio of girls who make R&B and neo-soul and it’s the best soul music I’ve heard since the Soulquarian era. They toured with Prince last year.
- Honorable mention: BTYM. Still feel like people front on us sometimes
Staying/Being inspired seems like a necessity for an artist. How do you stay inspired?
Reading and research. A lot of reading up on whatever it is you’re passionate about doing. Every 2 hours or so I check for any articles on graphic and web stuff. Also, surround yourself with people who inspire you. I’m blessed to be around all these great artists and musicians almost daily. All the Noah Larmz guys, Darrel, Eric, Will (brgade) and all the rappers/singers/producers and whoever, they all keep me on my toes creatively.
The 5 websites you check daily
- The Verge
- iDownloadblog/Cult of Mac
- Smashing Magazine
The 5 Apps (mobile/web) you can’t live without
- Soundcloud/Podcast app
The 5 Blogs you follow
- Passion of the Weiss
- Designers of Tumblr
What is the best advice you would give to someone who wants to become a graphic/web designer?
Don’t do it unless you love it and you’re passionate about it. If it’s something that you don’t find fun after doing it for a while and you’re just doing it for money or to be cool, quit. It will show in your work. The money and accolades will come if you’ve put in the work and you’v really grinded hard to be the best you can be at it. Also, if you’re going to college or any other school SELF TEACH YOURSELF AND DO WORK OUTSIDE OF CLASS. I went to ODU for almost 5 years before I dropped out, and almost none of the kids in my classes did freelance work or work outside of the classroom. A lot of them didn’t study up on or do research on the field outside of class and it boggled my mind. I always was either doing work outside of class, reading or watching tutorials trying to better my skillset. If you don’t do that, you’re gonna be hurting once you graduate and start looking for jobs.
What do you think will be the next big change in your industry?
WYSIWYGs, [What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get] sites like Wix, Weebly and Squarespace. It’s already affecting the industry. It’s undercutting designer’s and developers, because they market themselves as “sites for people who don’t know how to make websites”. But, if you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t have a good eye for design and don’t understand things like layout, you’re site is still going to be bad. That being said, I still think WSYWIGs can be great tools. I use Adobe Muse from time to time and if they keep developing the program and making it better with each major update like they have been, people might never have to code again unless they really want to.
Can you share your favorite projects you’ve worked on. These can be print, DJ mixes, design, maybe even things that never went public?
I still love the very first mix I did for SHHO, the mini mix. Also, the Jersey Club mix I did, I love it because all my homies love it so much. I’m going to be making a new one soon. Anything I do for BTYM is an automatic favorite. The site I made for us is probably one of the best one’s I’ve done. Too many flyers and album art to choose from, but maybe the #1EPICSUMMER artwork for D.R.A.M., just because of how crazy that project has taken off and the tons of important people in the industry that have seen the cover. It’s been pretty cool.
It’s obvious music is a big influence and fuels a lot of Tashawn’s creativity. As an artist, it’s one way to cope and communicate with the world. Like Eddie Huang says “We listened to hip-hop because there wasn’t anything else that welcomed us in, made us feel at home” because “If you were an outsider, hip-hop was your anthem.”