Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Artist of the Week

Linda Zacks

Behind every advertisement for every store, be it on billboards, commercials, or in magazines, there is an illustrator/designer. The illustrator is charged with the responsibility of taking an average campaign or sale or product and making it seem original and exciting. They have to have a sense of what is currently relevant and desired, and still maintain a bit of artist control and freedom. They must balance the needs of the client, the demands of the consumers, and their own voice. Their work must be consistent and recognizable, while remaining both subtle and bold.

New York artist Linda Zacks graduated from Brown University in 1995, where she studied semiotics and creative writing. Prior to launching a freelance career, Linda was Design Director at Now she has worked with many major companies like Sony, Target, Adobe, Columbia Records, Spike TV, Nickelodeon, Verizon, and more. Her work is wild and colorful, mixing images with bright colors and hand-written words. It's edgy, but specific and creative enough to reach its intended audience. Linda was chosen as a "fresh" artist in 2007 Communication Arts Advertising Design Annual. She has also won awards from professional organizations and publications including some Broadcast Design Awards.

Recently, Linda was kind enough to answer a few of my questions.

Orange Alert (OA): Working as an illustrator and designer seems like it would be complicated. How do you balance your personal vision and the brand and vision of the company?
Linda Zacks (LZ): Clients usually come to me for just that – my personal vision. But of course there’s always back and forths in any job, and usually a bit of convincing. And a bit of frustration. But the push/pull is what makes an idea evolve into something stronger. After the initial conversations, I can get a sense of the needs and wants of the client and meld it with my voice and ideas. Then you just have to go for what you believe in.

OA: You work with a lot of big companies, how does a young artist get the attention of the bigger clients?
LZ: Having a website is key as well as always working on personal projects to build up your voice and personal style. Years ago, my site ONLY consisited of personal projects, and one by one, you slowly get to work with clients on a more consistent basis. It’s a long hard road, and it never stops being long OR hard. You have to keep reinventing your personal brand and work to fine-tune your message, so people can slowly start to get an idea of your thought processes and how you can aid in the success of their brand. I try to redesign my site every year or two- weed out the rotten oranges and keep pushing to connect with new people and interesting projects. Being resourceful- researching the kinds of companies and places that produce work that turns you on, finding key people to contact, posting updates on web design portals, or other interesting ways to get yourself seen in this day and age of visual overload. Marketing yourself is by far the most challenging. But never forget that there is always time to create for yourself- that sacred zone that no one can touch.

OA: You are a member of Little Chimp Society, what are your thoughts on the work that they do, and internet communities and promotion in general?
LZ: I think design and art communities on the internet are wonderful and inspirational. They are a great place to show your work and also see the vast array of yummy visual tidbits circling the globe.

OA: I love the little books you have created. Where did that idea come from? Are these books for sale?
LZ: Thanks! I lovelove making books, holding books, smelling books – got a few new ones I am working on, but they usually take a while. I just get a strong idea that won’t leave my head and it leads to some kind of visual narrative. Where do ideas come from?? Hmmmmm The books are personal projects so they are close to my heart and each one tells a very different story. It’s my place for the pure pleasure of creation and experimentation! I recently found a place on the web where you can reproduce your books and sell them online. Considering all of the originals are one-of-a-kind, I was excited to try it out with one of my books I made about Havana, Cuba. It was challenging to retool the original book into a different format, but utterly fun & exciting to have it arrive in the mail as a little replica of the original. You can purchase it here. I will definitely be doing this for some of my other books, so people can have a chance to buy them if they are interested. The next one that will be available is my book called nycSOULcity. Still working on getting that one finished inbetween other projects.

OA: The portfolio on your site is filled with design items, but it leads me to wonder about what your personal collection might look like?
LZ: My apartment is jammed full of all kind of art and sketches and doodles all over the place. Lots of stuff, little things, big things. You never know when you might need the littlest scrap of paper, so I tend to keep stuff that most people would chuck in the trash. So I’d say it looks like a whole bunch of colorful clutter that’s taking over evey square inch of my home.

OA: What's next for Linda Zacks?
LZ: More experimenting, more challenging projects, more mess and spilled ink!
I’d love to have an exhibition of large prints from my Cuba book- so I am working on trying to make that happen. I’m open for anything that comes my way !

Bonus Question:
OA: Coffee? If yes, what is your favorite kind and where is your favorite cup.
LZ: Hate coffee but LOVE coffee ice-cream yummmm cold with chocolate bits or rainbow sprinkles yesssss

OA: Where is the coolest indie bookstore in your area?
LZ: There’s a yummy bookstore in the city called St. Marks Bookshop and one in Williamsburg by my house called Spoonbill & Sugartown. Great art books and mags and thingies to get lost in for hours! yessssssssssssssss

For more information on Linda Zacks please visit her website.

1 comment:

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