Dan Beckemeyer – Typographer – Interview
Q1. What inspired your passion for Typography and who has been supporting you from the beginning?
Without a doubt it started in college – my graphic design professor always placed a big emphasis on typography, and I have since been striving to push it to the limit.
Q2. From your experience, what is the best support put there for artists like yourself?
Networking, more specifically social media networking. It can seem juvenile at first, but being able to keep in touch with fellow artists and updating each other on new works immediately is a priceless asset. This to me, all stems from art school where critique discussions were an everyday affair.
Q3. Have you always aspired to be artist, or did you ever dream of following a different path?
I’ve always known that some form of art would be a major part of my life, but before where I am now I was willing to entertain various specialties like computer animation, cartooning and web design.
Q4. How do you feel about the your industry today?
There’s a lot of competition. ‘Nuff said.
Q5. Is there anything you are currently working on that you would like to tell us about?
Well, I just finished a graphic illustration/logo for a music production group. I don’t want to divulge too much before things are finalized, but I opted to try a new media that I came upon – tablet drawing on the iPad with Adobe Ideas. It has worked out great thus far. Other than that, I’m trying my best to catch up on some miscellaneous ideas that have been buried in my notebook for some time now.
Q6. From what I have seen of your work, you have tried a various media to create your unique pieces. Are there any type of media you are yet to try that could take typography to a new level?
Again, I must give credit to my college alma mater for the multimedia approach. Despite my specialty in graphic design, I enrolled in numerous art courses such as painting, sculpture, textiles, drawing and metal-smithing. It was always recommended there that we explore all types of media, no matter the class; and as a result, each class fed on the others. I would say that I’m pretty grounded in my style now with drawing and digital illustration – the more tangible medias like sculpting and such I just don’t have the time or the space to work with anymore.
Q7. Who have you always dreamt of working with/for and why? How would you go about accomplishing this?
I remember when I was itching to be a computer animator I wanted to work at Disney/Pixar. I imagine it would be very fun and fulfilling, but looking back on it, I can see that it was probably pretty far fetched. In any case, I’m glad I am where I am – I work in Marketing at a local college and my time is flexible enough that I can squeeze in some freelance illustration and still be able to spend time with my family.
Q8. What are the hardships that come with being a artist?
I think it’s finding the balance between what fulfills your self and what is required to get by. You have to be willing to “sell out” to a certain extent, so to speak, but still retain your own style and ethics. It’s a hard bargain.
Q9. What is the greatest thing about working in the your industry?
Speaking about freelance illustration, every project is a new experience. I get to work with someone new on something new – it really keeps things fresh and exciting.
Q10. If you could ask anyone for advice:
Who would you like to ask?
What would you like to ask?
What would be your answer if asked the same question?
I don’t have anyone specific in mind, but rather just the general full-time freelance artist. I would ask how much spec work or free work he or she does and whether he/she thinks that it’s beneficial in some situations. If I was asked the same question, I would have to say that as much as it is looked down upon in the art community, it certainly has its place as a “fire-starter” for future jobs – just don’t make a habit of it.
Q11. From your experience in the arts, what advice could you offer people looking to get to succeed in a similar field?
As I mentioned previously, networking is an invaluable tool. Most of my viewable work is hosted by Behance a social portfolio site, and I regularly land many freelance jobs by clients finding me. Take the time to put yourself out there.
Q12. What courses/classes would you recommend someone take if they want to be a professional in a similar field as yours?
I’ve stated above that my college required enrollment in many different art classes despite your major. Virtually any class will benefit as long as you are able to apply it to you needs. Additionally, I wouldn’t turn down business and communications courses – you’d be surprised what you can learn.
Q13. How many years have you been fighting to get to where you are today? And what has that time in your life been like?
I’ve never really had enough opportunities to have freelance art as a means to satisfy my entire income, so I’ve held jobs to take the bulk of that load. I have struggled in the past with mediocre ones but currently I’m at a pretty steady career that allows ample time free-time for side work. I would love to be in a position someday to freelance full-time and work from home.
Q14. From your experience, what have you found to be most challenging? And how are you dealing with it?
Time management. It seems that when you love what you do, it’s hard not to spend more time doing it than you intended. I don’t think I’ve quite dealt with it yet, but I really should.
Q15. What are you doing to get yourself noticed and make yourself stand out from the many other artists in UK and the world?
Even though I’m from the US, it really makes no difference when information travels so quickly and almost everything is done via the web. Standing out among so many other artists is difficult to say the least, but having your own style, your own ideas and your own personality really makes the difference.
Q16. Share with us your proudest moment in your career so far?
My proudest moment is when I published my Ampersand Food Groups collection. It was a completely personal project from an off-the-wall idea that I had. I worked on it only in my free time and set it loose on the internet. It quickly got noticed and appreciated by thousands of people, which really made me think twice about my abilities, and my style has been pretty concrete since then.
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