You have definitely seen Demen1’s designs scattered across design blogs, t-shirts and posters. There is no missing his unique design style and highly detailed typography. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with my long time friend Steve Goodin to interview him on life, design, and what sets him apart.
|Location:||Sacramento, California, USA|
|Occupation:||Motion Graphics Artist|
|Favorite Movie:||The Big Lebowski|
|Favorite Band:||Not sure if I have a favorite, but right now I’m listening to a lot of “His Infernal Majesty” and “Empire Of The Sun”|
|Favorite Music Genre:||The musical one|
|Favorite Color:||Black or Pantone 5753 C|
|Diet Pepsi or Diet Coke?||Diet Pepsi all the way!!!|
|Mac or PC?||Mac|
First off, thank you Steve for taking the the time to participate in this interview. Can you please tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Steve Goodin aka DEMEN1. I am 29 years old and currently live in Sacramento, California USA. I am currently working in the Creative department as a Motion Graphics Designer for a new media agency here in Sacramento known as Wirestone. I have been working in the Motion Graphics field for about four years now and I am constantly learning something new and I feel very blessed to be able to do the work I do.
What does design mean to you?
To me Design is a way for me to truly express myself, it is a real escape, I feel the process of design just swallow me up into a world where nothing matters but the work. Everything around me becomes a blur and I feel my own creativity taking hold, controlling my every move. Everything is fluid, movements feel more deliberate than they have ever felt. It is such a liberating feeling, I guess you could say design is my schizophrenic alter ego.
What design applications do you use?
The applications I mostly use at the moment are Cinema 4D, Sometimes Adobe After Effects and of course Adobe Photoshop. I started using Cinema 4D because it is the primary 3D software the creative team uses for our motion projects at work. Not only is it very easy to use, it also integrates seamlessly with After Effects. So after working with Cinema 4D for motion design, I started using it to render 3D elements for my print work. As for Photoshop, its the only raster editor i’ve ever worked with.
What tricks or secrets do you have that you don’t want people to know?
If I told you then they wouldn’t be my secrets anymore.
You put a lot of time into your designs. How do you know when too much is too much?
I know when I’m trying to add too much when whatever I’m trying to add or do just isn’t feeling right, when the mood of the piece has changed, or if maybe the balance is being thrown off. I have noticed that its never easy for me to call it quits on any piece… I could tweak a piece forever and still fell it needs something else. I guess deadline would sway my opinion on the matter as well. If I am up against a shorter deadline then my time for fine tuning a document that has 1,000 + layers rapidly decreases.
What was the most embarrassing moment you had with a client or design?
I think the most embarrassing moment was when you and I designed (Well you designed it) one of our flyers for an Annihilation Productions party, we got the prints from PsPrint.com and and found there was a misspelling, the prints all had “Febuary” on them…
How did you get into graphic design?
Well for as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be “An Artist” or at least do something creative. I’ve grown up around really talented musicians, illustrators and graffiti writers, and I always felt this yearning to stand out, to express my individuality like they could. and for me design is that medium. it gives me what I need to express my creativity and carve something out of this life that is truly my own. My first exposure to digital art came when you (Jeya One) and I took a 3D Studio Max class at a community college in Reno, NV. That was when I really started to understand the possibilities of design and digital art.
Lately you have been doing a lot of motion graphics. How did you get into that?
I got into doing motion graphics work while working at a cable access television station. I was an editor and most of the shows i would work on needed animated opening titles created. So naturally i had to jump into Adobe After Effects with both feet and learn everything I could. Now I currently work for a new media agency in Sacramento, California in the Creative Department as a Motion Graphics Artist.
What version of Photoshop did you start at? Do you remember what was hard about learning it?
I believe I started using Adobe Photoshop at release 7 I think, at the time I had no idea what an alpha channel was or what the difference between a jpg and a gif, let alone what a psd or a pdf were… so, to me, it was all foreign and i was lost in the sea of technical jargon and the vast desert of file types. I was and will always be a little lost.
Who are some of your favorite artists?
Some of my favorite artists are Daim, Giant One, Reyes, Sam Flores, Scott hansen, Joshua M. Smith (Hydro74). and sooo much more… There are so many people out there who are very talented, I hope to one day be half as creative and successful as they are.
Your a big Burning Man fan. How does that affect your design?
To me Burning Man is kind-of a different experience all together, its more of a cleansing of the mind and relaxing go where the wind takes you kind of approach to my life in general. While I’m there I really forget about everything that I have going on back here, work, art, bills, groceries, bank statements. everything gets filed away so its not cluttering up my mind therefore allowing me to take in all that the playa has to offer me.
On average, how long does it take you to complete a design?
I guess on average a piece can normally take me around a week. and that’s pitch, conception, sketching, and then implementation.
Before you start a project, what things do you do to prep for it?
Whenever I start a piece, i usually take a few days gathering inspiration and doing research based on the mood I want to set and the theme I want to convey. After I feel I’ve got a nice foundation or an idea of how I want the piece to look, I start to create any 3D elements I need, then gather any stock imagery. Based on the quality or the balance of those stock images, the overall piece may change given the original preliminary comps I may have mocked up. After that the real fun starts, this is where the piece will evolve and transform into something I could like to look at.
What are your Top 5 forms of inspiration?
I’m not sure how to answer that, I mean, I can find inspiration anywhere. so I guess my top Five would have to be: In music, animation, fashion, architecture, and nature.
Outside of design, what are your other passions and hobbies?
Other than design, I grew up Skateboarding, and Snowboarding. I used to work at a ski resort a while ago so I used to love getting up everyday, riding until like 3 in the afternoon, then bumping chairs till 9. Some of the best times of my life. I like to think I rode a skateboard or a snowboard because at the time, I didn’t draw or paint or play music, so it very much became my way of expressing myself creatively. I was never into playing any team sports so thats another reason I would ride, it was only me and the street, or snow, and I could pick my line as I rode alone. I didn’t have to follow any “play-books” or gather into any “huddles”.
If you could work with one artist, who would it be?
To me a chance to work with any talented artist or designer is an honor for me, I learn so much when I work with another creative. It’s always exciting to be working in a collaborative atmosphere as ideas that I would have never thought of are brought to the table.
What other forms of art/design do you practice?
Well as I said, I grew up around very talented artists most of which were graffiti writers. I have always been intrigued by the rawness of it, and naturally, the rebellion of it all. Sneaking around in a train yard at night, or laying in bushes as cars passed so as to not be caught in their high beams just to hit that spot you’ve been eyeing all week. In some cases it was like planning a prison escape or a diamond heist, you always knew the plan if you needed to bolt. Never go back to the car!!!
How did being exposed to graffiti affect your design work?
Well I guess for me I was really drawn to graffiti because of the letters. I guess in a way it was the first time I was exposed to Typography. And today, Typography is usually one of the main design elements in my work so I suppose you could say that I have always been drawn to type and all the different forms of type.
If you were influenced by one artist who would it be?
For as long as I can remember, I have always really admired “gmunk” (http://www.gmunk.com/),(http://www.gmunk.tv/). I have always loved his approach on his own marketing. In my opinion, he is one of the forefathers of “Viral Marketing”. Brilliant!
Where do you see yourself in 1 year, 5 years, 15 years?
I hope in 1, 5 or 15 years I’m still finding ways to stay creatively productive. I am blessed to have the career I have now. I want to continue to learn as much as I can and continue to work and create.
What tool do you have that every designer should have?
I think there are many different types of “tools” a designer may use, but I think one every designer should have is an open mind and a willingness to learn.
Thank you again for taking the time to be interviewed. Do you have any last words? How can people find you and check out your work?
So the past few years have been really amazing for me. And It’s only going to get better, I have just recently learned I’m going to be a new daddy soon and I can’t wait to meet my baby. I cant stop thinking about it like, WOW! I am going to be a dad! And you know my son or daughter will be surrounded by the arts in some form, and just knowing that makes me feel even more blessed. I hope my words made sense, and this wasn’t too hard to read. It sucks having A.D.D… I would like to thank you for the opportunity. I am very honored and humbled.