Whew, time sure does fly. Last week we announced our 2018-2019 Individual Arts Partnership and Jade Presents Arts Partnership grantees, and since there are 16 grantees this year, we are hitting the ground running with our new round of grantee highlights!
Our first grantee we are highlighting is someone you probably recognize, as he is super involved in the Fargo-Moorhead community: graphic designer Jeff Knight!
Jeff is the lead designer and co-owner of his creative studio Cereal and has over 15 years of experience as a professional graphic designer. He has worked for a variety of companies and organizations, including Bobcat/Doosan, Microsoft, Scoop-N-Dough, Theatre B, Twenty Below Coffee and The Arts Partnership.
In his spare time, the passionate arts advocate co-hosts the Fargo chapter of CreativeMornings and is the creator of Albino Buffalo, a sticker art vending machine project. He also served as the President of the American Advertising Federation of North Dakota last year.
Jeff received a $1,000 grant from The Arts Partnership to help fund a series of murals featuring American musical icons with ties to the Metro area.
Here are a few questions Jeff answered for us about his creative process:
1. Beyond other designers, what sources inspire your work?
For this project, the music of the artists themselves. I have been listening to a lot of Duke Ellington, Peggy Lee, Bobby Vee, and Bob Dylan. I’m also looking to a couple other mural artists for advice on how to go about the mural painting process.
2. What is your daily creative work schedule?
My work schedule depends on the day. Some days are filled with meetings about work, some days are all day work sessions. It just depends. But usually it starts and ends with coffee. I like the variety of the day broken up here and there, but mostly I appreciate a self-made schedule of working when the inspiration strikes.
3. How do you approach the beginning of a project?
I research. I never want to design something I don’t understand or have limited knowledge of. I usually try to educate myself the best I can before even starting with pencil on paper. A lot of inspiration can be dug up through research, either with interviews or digging around past printed resources. I like to make sure I get a good sense of what it is I’m designing, who it is for and what I’m hoping to communicate with it.
4. What is your greatest fear/challenge when facing a new project?
That it’s negatively criticized. I’m not so humble that my feelings aren’t hurt by negative comments. They still sting and with these being so prominent in the city, I’m preparing myself for negative feedback.
5. What do you do when you get stuck?
I’ll usually sit for about 20-30 min stubbornly trying to solve the problem myself before asking for help or moving on to something new.
6. How does having a community of artists benefit your work?
It positively increases the quality of my work to always be pushing further than the last project so that it doesn’t feel old or stuck.
7. What advice would you give to someone starting out in the field?
Take business classes and learn how to navigate the world of finances. One of the biggest misconceptions about a career in an art field is that it’s not as business focused as other professions and I would argue that it absolutely can be!
8. What is the most discouraging feedback you ever received?
Being rejected for a job. It’s always frustrating because you usually never know what went wrong (price? personal? unimpressed with previous work?).
9. What is the most encouraging feedback you ever got?
Seeing the success of the clients I do work for always helps encourage my creative process.
10. What would you be if you couldn’t be an artist?
My first response is that I’d first be a different kind of artist (writer or comic book artist), but then it’s hard for me to think of what I could do that didn’t involve being an artist.
Thanks, Jeff! We’re excited to see what colorful murals you create for our community!