I first stumbled upon, no pun intended, Aaron Irizarry a few months ago when I read his article "Blessed are the flexible". As I continued to read his blog I found myself thinking his words where exactly what I had been thinking. Aaron has a very genuine writing style that is easy to read and full of personal experience and compassion. Getting to know and talk with Aaron over these past couple of months have been great. He was even featured in my "Branded Designers" post. We both seem to share a common desire in that we both love design but we want to do more than just use our talents for our own personal gain.
So when I started talking with Chuck Westbrook a few weeks ago, he mentioned that he was also talking with Aaron, and thought it would be a good idea for us, Aaron and I, to do some collaborative work. Well you can look forward to that in the near future, but until then I wanted to do a personal interview with Aaron so you too could get to know him. I have divided the interview into three topic; Life, Design and Faith. I chose to go this route because I wanted to do this interview in a unique way that also tied in to what my site is all about.
1. To start things off, tell us a bit about yourself. Anything at all.
I am a simple man trying to make my way in the universe (quote from Jango Fett in Star Wars - Attack of the clones)
2. Where do you see yourself in the next 5, 10, 15 years?
With grey hair ( I have two daughters)...
Really though I hope to still be an active part of the design community, more on my terms... I have a personal goal to teach or speak at conferences or something along those lines eventually. I really admire Jeffery Zeldman and others who have a wealth of knowledge and experience and gives back to the design community through speaking. Or just running a design firm or art gallery somewhere along the coast, or back east( New England area).
You never know though... it will be interesting to see how it all plays out.
3. At the end of your life what do you hope to be remembered for?
Someone who was passionate about what he believed in, and what he loved. Someone who invested in those around him and left things better than he found them.
1. When did you first become cognizant of the fact that design is something you wanted to pursue as a career?
Well I always loved being creative... and it took on different forms of expression. While I was in a band (Point of Recognition) I started trying to make shirts and stickers, and the next thing you know I was hooked and i guess the rest is history.
2. In your own words what would you say are the fundamental elements of design and how do you apply them to your own work?
Not really sure... I know there are answers in a book somewhere, or that you learn in a classroom. I would say that for me personally the most fundamental element of design or creativity is vision. The ability to look at something or hear about it and envision in in a creative form. To hear someone's vision for a product, or something they are passionate about and see the creative expression... to conceptualize it and help them achieve it.
Be flexible, think openly, take risks, and be open to criticism (constructive or otherwise).
I totally just rambled on... but keeping those concepts in mind when designing for work, or just because i have an idea, serve as a good foundation for design, and then add technique, skill, and the desire to make cool stuff, and i am usually heading in the right direction.
wow hope that answers the question... i really rambled there for a minute.... I guess that is the whole reaching my mid 30's thing.
3. Paper or digital? In your opinion which will outlast the other?
Digital will continue to become more practical, and efficient as technology advances, and paper will become a novelty / collectors item. With that said paper doesn't need to be charged, and can't crash or have compatibility issues.
And even though i am not very good at drawing there is a lot to be said for unplugging, sitting down with a pad of paper and either writing out your thoughts or sketching a creative vision. It can be refreshing and i definitely recommend it.
1. Did you grow up in a church?
Yup and hated it. I got to see all the behind the scenes stuff that made me want nothing to do with God or the people who followed him. I was to young to realize that is usually what happens when people lose focus of what a relationship with God was really supposed to be, if you read the bible so much of who Jesus is described as is pretty opposite of what the church is doing today.
I am not the poster boy for modern "Right Wing Christian Fundamentalists" I am not a republican ( I don't think Jesus was either), i dont pretend to be something I am not, I am not perfect, I listen to good music, and I don't judge people, I do have firm beliefs... but it is not my job to change people... that is what God does, but it is my job to represent God, and His love for others by how I live (not just what i say) and interact with others. I believe that Mark Driscol said it best when he said to "Contest and Contextualize" Which means I contest for my beliefs, and don't compromise them, but i do contextualize them and make them real and relevant to others, not by pounding them with rules and a fake do gooder attitudes, but by being an open and honest person and hopefully dispeling the lame stereotypes that we have earned for ourselves as "christians" that often get in the way of people truly experiencing who God is.
I know this... I believe in God, and do my best to live for him openly and honestly, but definitely not perfectly, and hopefully I can contribute something positive to others. Wether they share my beliefs or not. It is the whole "Loving people without an agenda" concept where I have love and respect for all people because they are worth it, not just to get them to believe what I do.
2. When did you realize a relationship with Jesus was more important than any religion?
When I had tried everything on my own ( a whole separate story on it's own), and was still empty inside I knew there was something more... I knew God was real.... but i had so many questions that weren't answered. So i started search for the answers, and the more i tried to disprove, the more it became real to me.
3. As a family man, how would you describe the difference between your relationship with God now as opposed to when you were single?
I have been married for 12 years. It has not always been easy but it has really taught me about living selflessly, and putting other people before me. I have two daughters and an amazing wife who definitely keep me in line ( I really need it sometimes). I consider myself blessed. Other than that i was only a Christian for about a year or two before i got married so i cat compare to much.
Thanks again Aaron for taking the time to share with me and all my readers. And if you would like more info on Aarron, here are some links: