Interview with Vancouver graphic designer Lindsey Hampton.

l8Some people are like conductors of creative vision; they take in their surroundings, convert it to their own aesthetic, and broadcast it into several different mediums. And the lucky ones, such as Vancouver graphic designer Lindsey Hampton, accomplish a style which strikes a chord and is appreciated by an ever-more-receptive audience.

Gravitating towards the music scene, Hampton was the art director of Dischorder Magazine for two years, and her distinctive gig posters have graced the power poles of the city for almost a decade. Also, she has released an ethereal solo album under the moniker Waters, and is part of the “garage” band Failing.

While being paid to creatively design the music industry would be enough for most, Hampton has continued to explore disciplines and has branched into the realm of ceramics, a new venture for her which is already garnering online and local attention.

“It came at a time when I was quite busy with design, I just had this urge to make things,” she says. “I really, really wanted to make three dimensional objects. With design, everything’s flat, even if you design it and later it’s three dimensional, you’re still visualizing it on a flat field or surface. I always really liked ceramics and I like working with my hands so I just decided it was something I wanted to try out, and I loved it.”

Hampton’s ceramics have a distinctive style; clean and modern, striking subtle balance between muted off-whites and soft colours. It is notably reflective of her other design work, indicating an adherence to style which she says is subconscious.

“I think I am drawn to certain colour palettes and certain shapes, and I didn’t purposely go into ceramics with the idea that it would look like my design work, but I think anybody who does any form of art, if they do a different form it’ll probably look like they did it, which I think is really important for any artist to be able to be cohesive with any kind of work that they do. So the fact that people have recognized that [her ceramics] looks like [her design work], I’m super happy that that happened. I think it’s just that I like things to look the way I like. It’s pretty easy, when you’re used to designing, you think in shapes and colour and form, and positive and negative space, and all the design principles and elements. Learning those, you can basically put those into anything you do in life, even if it’s decorating a house, or landscaping a garden. It’s all the same, it’s the same principles throughout everything.”

Hampton made her first cd cover in 2004, then went to the Art Institute for graphic design at age 23. “I think I sort of understood a little bit more that, especially with graphic design and art based stuff, that it’s not about a degree.”

Her first job was for Vancouver production company Sealed With a Kiss, for whom she did overflow poster design work, and now her posters are seen constantly and all over the city. “I just sort of fell in love with it,” she says. “It’s one of those things where everyone sees everything you do because they’re plastered around the city. People start recognizing your work because they see it, and things snowball from there.”

While an admitted web-o-phobe, Hampton admits that her already established reputation and online following has been a catalyst for the attention her ceramics have received. Business has been coming unsolicited through her website and Instagram, including an order for the Craft and Design Museum in San Francisco and One of a Few, a shop in Gastown which was her first wholesale order.

“That’s an interesting world, the internet world, for an artist. Sometimes I feel weird about it, and other times I realize I wouldn’t have a job if it wasn’t for this. I had to get good at talking about myself, it’s not in my nature. The day I signed up for Twitter, I was like, (sighs), I have to be this person now, who’s like ‘I’m doing this today, check out this thing I just did’. You have to do that. Unless you have someone to do it for you.”

Her client base so far is in the U.S. and potentially Australia. “I guess it depends on what you want to do with your career, but if you’re trying to make a living in a small, expensive, not super art-based city, then you have to reach elsewhere, and the internet is how you do that.”

-Art by Lindsey Hampton

Also seen at Trim Projects.

Interview with Jeff Hamada of Booooooom.

Ask Jeff Hamada what the secret to having a successful website is, and he’ll tell you––face to face, over a cup of coffee, because that’s the kind of guy he is. And, as it turns out, that’s the secret, too.

“The more that I find ways to connect with people in a real way is the best possible thing I could do for my website,” he says.

He is soft spoken but well spoken; he loves to talk about Booooooom, and gets excited about concepts like innate taste, and whether or not it exists (he thinks it doesn’t). He is partial to analogies, and uses them often to illustrate what he’s trying to say. For instance, he uses the analogy of a garden to explain to me what fostering an online community is to him. You grow the community like you grow a garden––with attention and care.

Jeff started his blog Booooooom four years ago, when he was living in his parents house in Richmond, B.C. He says the freedom of time he had to devote to the website was critical to his success. “It requires so much time, it’s not a viable business for so long, that most people don’t ever get there,” he explains. From there, what started as a simple personal blog gradually evolved into what it is today; a widely popular resource for all that is cool in the art world, with tens of thousands of people checking Booooooom out every day.

“There’s actually no secret to it,” Jeff says, “it’s literally whether or not you want to spend the same amount of time you’d spend making a relationship in real life, with people online.”

For the first three years, Jeff spent every night diligently reaching out via email to the people whose art he’d posted on his blog. “If you’re able to send three emails a night for a year … if you’re willing to write 3,000 emails, not looking for anything, that’s how you grow the readership of your site,” he says. “When most people hear that, they’re like yeah, what other option do I have? They’re not happy with that answer. They want to know a quicker way of doing it, and there isn’t one.”

“A friend of mine, he runs a shop called Livestock here, him and his brother. Early on, when I would meet with them, they told me, it always comes back to hard work … because you can easily get to the thing that you want––it’s just a question of how much work it takes to get there. And I totally believe that, and I think a lot of people, when they’re faced with realizing that this is their goal, and it’s going to take thousands and thousands of emails to do it, they won’t do it. Whereas for me, I’m excited about that, ‘cause to me it’s like, oh, it’s easily attainable, it’s actually not even hard work, it’s just a lot of work.”

Jeff sees art as language. “Some people have a mishmash of languages,” he says, “I’m more hesitant to post something where I feel like they haven’t found their voice.” He wants his website to be less a gallery and more a community; again using an analogy to describe Booooooom as a bridge connecting people with a common interest in creativity.

“I want to make the site something people want to be invested in,” he says. “The site is about art, but it’s secondary to being a vehicle for me to connect with people and get to communicate with people, share ideas, and get excited about the same stuff.”

-Stacy Thomas

Also seen at TRIM magazine

Under a bridge.

Outside Whistler I walked around and found this rail bridge over a glacier fed creek.

It was a bright, clear windy day, the kind of fall day you long for during the sludgy depths of November and the inescapable late summer heat.

Lodged beneath the bridge was an entire log, stuck there for who knows how long from some past springtime highwater.

A small bit of graffiti was perfectly offset by the blue sky.