RGR8: When did you know you had a talent for art?
TJ3: About 4 years old. I remember taking a crayon to my freshly painted room my parents weren’t too pleased with that. I was far more interested in art than any other subject and dedicated to learning about art as much as I could from elementary school all the way to college.
RGR8: How did you get started in graphic design?
TJ3: I was heavily into drawing and graffiti and thought my career would be working as an artist or illustrator but it was a course in high school called Advertising Art where the trajectory of my career path changed. I was not only taught about the mechanics of what goes into a great ad, and how to make them but also basic concepts in marketing as well.
I attended Union County College in the early 90’s where I furthered my studies in graphic design. For me it was a magical time because I walked in on the tail end of doing design the old way by mecahnicals and paste-ups, and into the age of “DESKTOP PUBLISHING and COMPUTER GRAPHICS” I credit Union County College because it was here where I was introduced to Photoshop, QuarkXpress and Digital Illustration. It was here I was given a solid view of what graphic design is and what it will be in the future.
RGR8: When did computers start to influence your graphic design work?
TJ3: At Union County College I was fascinated with Adobe Photoshop. I would spend hours in the lab seeing what Photoshop can do and push the software and my limits as an artist. My graphic design teacher saw my talent and dedication and encouraged me to continue studying graphic design and consider it as a career. I continued to study graphic design at Montclair State University and earned my BA degree.
RGR8: What do you like designing most?
TJ3: (LAUGHS) That’s like asking a parent who’s their favorite child. Honestly, I just like creating things. Nothing is more satisfying than taking an idea and making it come to life. However, if I had to choose it would have to be logo design and branding first web design second.
RGR8: What is the best part of being a graphic designer? What is the worst part?
TJ3: My favorite part is using my creativity to help people. When I design something I my goal is to make that graphic tell the person’s or company’s story. What I don’t like when people assume that all I do for a living is draw pictures all day or even worse the assumption of even though I like helping people it shouldn’t translate to me working for free or for very little $$$. Very few people understand that graphic design is an art and a science.
RGR8: Any advice you would like to give aspiring graphic designers?
TJ3: START. START NOW AND START WHERE YOU ARE.START. First, find ways to Educate Yourself about graphic design there are more than enough resources. Read books about graphic design, learn about industry trends by reading trade magazines like HOW. If you are a visual learner or want to get up to speed fast go online you will find plenty of tutorials on the web even on YouTube.
Most important find out what type of designer you want to be. If you are technical, you may want to consider web design or if you are creative and like music, consider creating graphics for local bands, international artists or record labels. If you are an ideas person you consider a path in advertising or marketing. The sooner you know who you are and what type of things you want to create, half the battle is won. And building a portfolio with projects you would want to design for will become much easier. Lastly NETWORK and REACH OUT to people in the field because you never know which person or which opportunity will shape the path of your career.
RGR8: If you had the opportunity to go back in time, what would you tell your younger self?
TJ3: I would let my “younger self” know that you have more talent than you realize. Take risks, travel and follow your instincts for they will serve you well. For who you are as a person and graphic designer will influence many in the future.
RGR8: What’s in the future for TJ3? How can people contact you?
TJ3: Well along with more design work, my next challenge is to learn and master animation and motion graphics. But before that, I will be putting out my own line of T-shirts for sale very soon. People contact me by going to my facebook page at Teejay3design or twitter TheArtofTJ3