Interview 20 is with creative pal Von Glitschka. I met Von a couple years ago at the Boston HOW Conference while having lunch with mutual buddy Scott Hull. We soon found lots of things in common and I have enjoyed getting to know Von, watching his work, and cracking up at his blog posts and tweets. I respect him as a person, treasure our friendship, and love that his work and illustration is inspiring. In fact, we are going on an adventure soon by working together on a documentary for Life In Abundance in the slums of Kenya, but that is a post for another day. Until then, enjoy getting to know The Vonster™.
1: Where are you Vonster?
Most often you can find me hovering some where in between slightly abnormal and creative lunacy. Most commonly referred to as Oregon geographically.
2: When did you know what an illustrator was?
I suppose I should clarify that I think of myself as a designer first and an illustrator second. The vast majority of what I do illustratively is in the greater context of a design oriented project. This is why I refer to myself as an “Illustrative Designer.” I leverage both skill sets in nearly every project I work on.
But my first inclination of what an illustrator was could loosely be pinpointed around the age of 9 when I first discovered MAD magazine. Understood it clearly when I went to art school in 1986. Never really officially considered myself fitting that category until around 1996.
3: Where did you go to school?
Burnley School of Professional Art which transitioned to Art Institute of Seattle while I was there.
4: What are some past illustrators you admire?
Jim Flora. Such a prolific creative, way ahead of his time. He has influenced so many of todays digital illustrators too. He worked as an art director for RCA records in the 50′s and I have a collection of his LP covers hanging on walls in our house.
I always enjoyed the humorous narrative in Normal Rockwell‘s work. I never came close to illustrating in his classic realism style, but the idea of telling a story through impeccable composition, witty visuals, and setting a mood are the attributes of his work I’ve found most compelling. I’d describe his aesthetic as “Honest.”
5: What are some current?
I really love the work of Meg Hunt. Very organic, fun, and so well composed. She also just seems like a very nice person too.
6: What is your biggest struggle as an illustrator?
Drawing horses. Seriously, I loathe having to work on equestrian oriented illustration–it’s the bane of my creative existence. I’m not sure why, but every time I draw a horse it just looks hinky.
So if there is an artistic equivalent to kryptonite for me it would be thoroughbreds.
That said I’ve been working on a re-branding for a well known international brand that has a horse in it. (Let the guessing begin) I’ll admit I was very intimidated by this iconic steed, but it seems to be coming out pretty good.
7: How do you battle copyright?
Copyright infringers are like moths attracted to light and I like to play the role of a bug zapper. It’s hard to prevent copyright infringement but I’ve managed to fight it OK. Having a good intellectual property lawyer to consult has helped greatly.
The large majority I’ve managed to deal with using a DCMA formatted copyright letter I send out to an infringing party and that usually takes care of the situation without further follow up. But I had two last year I had to get a lawyer involved in and both paid for the infringement. It also covered the cost for a new fence in our backyard so I now call that my “Infringement Fence.”
You can get more about this subject on my blog here.
8: What is one of your favorite projects?
Current projects tend to be my favorites. I get tired of my work pretty fast.
I’ve been working on a rebranding project for “Australia Trampolines” for the last few months. We’ve changed the brand to “VULY” and are now working out all the various updates to products, packaging, developing games and mat graphics, designing spokesperson uniforms, and even art directing the re-painting of their corporate headquarters which includes painting the new brand logo on their roof so it shows up on Google Earth.
Working with the company has been great, and were excited to see its effectual carry through as they move into the North American market place as well.
9: What is a dream project look like?
A dream project for me would be to art direct on a movie production. Actually I’d like to direct and art direct a film. Storyboard the whole thing much like Alfred Hitchcock use to do on his films.
A few modern directors still do that, but it’s becoming more and more rare. It’s kind of like thumbnail concepts in our industry, as time goes on less and less creatives are working that way. But I digress.
10: If you could work for any brand what would it be and why?
Pixar. It’s a lot of work but it’s also a lot of play mixed in. The fact the end result is also a movie is the proverbial icing on the cake too.
11: What advice would you give to a young artist?
Draw. Whether you ever want to be a full-blown illustrator or not you should improve your core drawing skills because it’ll help you be a better designer.
Don’t be a “Tooler.” Anyone can learn a tool. And there will always be someone who knows the tools better than you.
12: How has technology affected your business?
Yeah, I’m a geek. I’m also a digital designer but my creative process depends on analog as much as it does digital. I’m a diehard Mac addict, but if you follow me on Twitter you’ll no doubt realize I get very frustrated with buggy software. Mainly when it impedes on my creative progress.
I love technology though, and that is why I read the RSS feeds for Engadget.com daily. You’d be surprised what you can learn from doing that. Keeping your finger on the pulse of high-technology is fun. For example you’ve probably heard of the “Browser Wars” well, right now we are in what I’d call the “Smart Phone Wars.” iPhone is winning but the new nemesis Droid is gathering a large army of followers too.
OK, see you got me off on a rabbit trail now….back to our regularly scheduled 29 questions.
13: How has social media changed your business as well?
It’s broadened my reach in terms of sharing my work in regards to promotional efforts. Twitter enables me to document my random thoughts that I’ve always had but never was able to broadcast them or really archive them. It’s fun, informative, and it’s also been a practical way to meet fellow designers and I’ve landed work via Twitter too so it validates my obsession.
14: What do you do for fun?
Hanging with friends, just talking and laughing. Nothing better than that.
Also enjoy gardening. We have a Koi pond in our back yard so during the summer months I’m doing a lot of yard work and care. It’s relaxing.
Other than that I like to write and take photography.
15: Do you get artist block?
Oh yeah, seems to always happen during a tight deadline too, so that just compounds the problem. I usually try to get away from my work and watch a movie. Getting out of my studio work environment always helps me to reset and get motivated to create again.
16: Do you have a favorite snack food?
Does coffee count? Love my java. But I’d have to put Good & Plenty near the top the list too. And lets not forget “Heave on a Stick” AKA Dreyers Fruit Bars. They are awesome, either Lime, Grape, or Lemon.
17: What type of music do you listen to when you work?
My music tastes are very eclectic to say the least. You’ll find Johnny Cash, Frank Sinatra, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Acappella, Christian Contemporary, Blue Oyster Cult, ZZ Top, Jazz, Blues, Classical, A variety of 80′s rock etc. on my playlist. All though lately I’ve been listening to all my music through Pandora. What a great service BTW! I just wish TiVo would get Pandora plugged in, that would rule! See, more technology love.
18: What are some of your favorite news sources for Twitter, etc.?
Don’t really have any news sources for Twitter? I do however subscribe to numerous RSS feeds. Here a few of my favorites:
- Engadget.com (Because I love high tech)
- The Donut Project (Fun informative design intel)
- Contemporist (Inspiring and beautiful architecture)
- UFO News (I like tracking this phenomenon)
- Brand New (Observing the best rebrands in the world)
19: Do you have a secret dream profession?
Fiction novel writer. It’s a lot of work but I do have a lot of ideas that maybe I’ll get to “Someday.”
20: Favorite superhero?
Green Lantern and Flash. I’m a DC guy.
21: Did your parents support your desire to be an illustrator?
Yes. They’ve always supported my artistic pursuits. They haven’t always understood them, or liked them, but they supported them none the less. My mom is pretty creative in her own right so that influenced me to be creative too.
22: Would you encourage your kids to get into the biz?
Yes. My oldest daughter Savannah has already shown an interest in going into this field of work. We compared her drawings when she was 11 with my own work at 11 and she’s better than I was at that age. She’s 16 now, and it’s scary how well she understands things related to design and illustration that I didn’t learn until I was working in the industry.
This is why her new nickname is “401K.”
My youngest daughter Alyssa is also a really good drawer too, but she has her sights on becoming a whale trainer. Which is pretty cool in and of itself.
23: Your blog is great, I really like your stories where you share painful client experiences. Any fall out from the bird story (Bravo Verde) or any others?
Thanks. I do my very best to resolve issues that arise with problem clients. Reasoning with them and compromising when possible, without affecting the quality of the design. But that isn’t always possible, and they still decide to make poor decisions so that’s when I have to let them go.
Posting about these situations is my way of dealing with the emotions involved. It’s therapeutic, cathartic, and I try to make it a learning experience for myself and others who may read it.
No fall outs so far. (Knock on virtual wood)
24: You have a lot of online destinations. Can you give us a roadmap to all things Von?
If you simply go to www.glitschka.com to access everything I’m doing online.
25: If you could illustrate and design any existing pro sports team who would it be?
NBA: The Portland TrailBlazers. Boring!
NFL: Raiders. Needs a serious re-fresh.
MLB: San Diego Padres. They’ve never had a good logo.
NHL: Tampa Bay. Looks like something you’d get from www.logoworks.com.
26: You are going with LIA to Africa; why are you going?
I don’t hide the fact that I’m a Christian. I believe my talent is a gift from God, and I’d like to use it to serve others and to benefit a good outreach such as LIA.
Life is too short to only pursue that which gains us a mere paycheck. I’d like to use my talent for a greater purpose as well and being part of what LIA is doing in Africa is an awesome opportunity to do just that.
27: What are you most looking forward on your trip?
Interacting with the children in the slums. When it’s all said and done if I can impact and help improve one person’s life in such a way that they understand the love of Christ, then that would be awesome.
I’m also going to do some drawing with these kids too, I’m excited to see what they create when given the opportunity.
28: What are you working on now that has you most excited?
I’m currently in the development stage of a new business venture. I’ve designed a line of concrete tiles along with matching textile patterns that I’ll be marketing nationwide through a tile vendors distribution network I’m partnering with.
Right now we are still having the molds and prototypes created. It’s a long process but hopefully mid-summer we’ll have it done?
29: What does design mean to you?
Good thinking. Sure, I enjoy a design that is beautifully crafted and possesses other aesthetic qualities, but what impresses me the most is the thought behind it. The idea. So design to me means a well formulated concept which serves as the foundation for great design.