57 Even: Defining the New Guard

As a fine-artist, designer, and consultant from the Midwest, residing in Southern California, and with a multidisciplinary background spanning from (but not remotely limited to) painting and drawing to interactive, brand development, youth marketing, graffiti, linear programming and sociology, 24-year old 57 Even has managed to build a rather impressive portfolio, featuring clients such as HP, MTV, Standard Byke Company and mimoco. He took some time out to talk to Behance about lists, collaboration and giving clients what they need before they know it’s needed.

57Even relies on the tried-and-true method of list-making when it comes to his organization technique. “Running a one-man studio presents some tough organizational obstacles, I take a fine-art approach and focus on pushing my own output and abilities. I make prioritized lists of tasks every morning and cross them off as I go, anything leftover gets added to the new list.” Knowing when to cut off outside distractions also enables him to focus on certain projects and assignments. “Often times you get pulled in so many directions with emails and phone calls that you just need to grab some coffee, turn your communications off and rock out on something for four straight hours so you can really get critical.”

Thinking outside of the box has allowed him to build a client base which is as broad as it is envious. “I am particularly interested in working with very exclusive clients and projects, because I’m focused on influencing culture and attending to our collective visual and consumer experiences. Entering the 9-5 design world with my BFA it was hard to get the attention of companies I wanted to work for. To overcome this, I took a guerilla approach and prepared several samples before I even contacted potential clients. Then I’d send samples over with my initial proposal, a lot of times it clicked and they realized the concept what they should have been doing all along.”

I took a guerilla approach and prepared several samples before I even contacted potential clients.

57Even appreciates the value of collaboration, and like many others, draws his inspiration from everyday life in order to create art that is relative. “Collaboration has always been an amazing experience for me. Artist studios and design teams provide a synergistic springboard for success. It’s like the Globe Trotters or the Dream Team, you can’t put a group of all-stars together and expect them to lose. My inspiration comes from every day life, the raw energy of a word, the sheer ignorance, beauty, or gore of an event I’ve witnessed, the rush of a BMX trick. My works are the result of my experiences on a very basic level, and though I release them into this or that commercial market, they’re still personal portraits.”

Understanding the rate at which a project needs to unfold is key to his creative process. “Some ideas are best slow cooked and others unfold so rapidly your busy jotting notes as your brain races forward. Language, images, and symbols are all communication – a single word can inspire an entire series of books or paintings. But no energy can be created or destroyed, so when ideas are inspired, even if they’re kept on the back burner, they retain a kinetic potential. It’s all about the flick of your wrist and the timing of your release, context is everything in visual communication. Warhol’s work would be redundant today, though in his time he was a conceptual heavyweight. Sometimes, you just need to a pull a couple all-nighters and work it out, to disseminate the project quickly.”

It’s all about the flick of your wrist and the timing of your release, context is everything in visual communication.

With an ambition developed at an extremely young age, his drive is quite apparent and his need to push boundaries is admirable. “I decided that I was going to be an artist at age four and have pursued creative expression ever since. I am hoping to pour enough time and devotion into my commercial work that it’s evident to the consumer, and that my work invokes an experience within them that is unfamiliar. As we move into a decadent, overdrawn, and diluted age of bombardment our only salvation is pure creation. I am working to redefine kitsch as fine art to personally combat the decline and reestablish substance.”

More insights on: Collaboration, Task Management

Heather Ann Snodgrass

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Heather is the founder of Darling, where she makes amazing nail products for beautiful girls.
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