Let’s meet the artist It’s time for another one-on-one with an American Greetings artist! Today we get to know Creative Developer, Jaden DeVogel a little bit better. Plus, with Father’s Day right around the corner, and because Jaden is a first-time dad-to-be, we also asked him a few questions about what he’s most excited about with his bundle of joy on the way. Enjoy!
When did you first realize you are an artist? It took me until high school to realize that I had some sort of ability and actually accept it. My parents always told me I was good at drawing, but I never believed them since I assumed they were heavily biased.
What is your position at American Greetings and what is your background as an artist? My position is Creative Developer, which entails coming up with new web page designs and improving existing layouts. My first “real job” was in the legal field recreating accidents, patent infringement and medical malpractice cases. From there, I went on to work for the City of Grand Rapids as a designer working on billboards, pamphlets, logos, newsletters, presentations and even dabbling in photography. Prior to that I attended the Art Institute of Pittsburgh for 3d Computer Animation and had an inspiring and fantastic design teacher in high school named Ken Finney, also an accomplished wildlife artist.
Could you tell us some more about your work? I really enjoy simplicity in things. Over embellishment, lots of frills and little details is not my thing. To me, the more that’s added into a piece, the less time that piece is going to live. IE- fads and trends come and go- fads like certain patterns, flourishes and treatments. True excellence in art and design is timeless to me- look at the masters in any given art or design field- take a piece from 50 years ago, or even 400 years ago and it still is relevant, inspiring and amazing today. The argument that it’s difficult to be timeless while appealing to today’s consumers holds absolutely zero water for me.
What is it that inspires you when creating a particular design or graphic piece? I try to be inspired by good examples of logically organized information – nature being a great place to start. Looking at a tree for instance, you see the pleasing, logical, organic arrangement visible to your eye. At a cellular level, what’s responsible for that grand layout is actually geometrically organized compounds with a very non organic arrangement to their construction. Of course, there is also inspiration in the day-to-day items we pass by and take for granted like architecture and common iconography provide a tremendous amount of food for thought.
What’s your favorite piece/ecard ever created and why? I really enjoy logo development. For me, some of my favorite pieces are logos I have created for others. I love the simplicity of a good logo, and the responsibility a logo carries. At a glance, it has to tell you a wealth of information about the person or entity behind it. It needs to look good at all sorts of sizes and scales, work in conjunction with type, other colors and so on.
What artists or graphic designers have influenced you? My parents. My father’s ink drawings, and my mother’s pastels are to me, incredible. My wife is also an incredibly talented illustrator and designer. Every day she has something to inspire me. Paul Rand, Edward Tufte, Piete Mondrian (and all the De Stijl artists / designers), William Blake, Albrecht Durer, and too many others to mention…
What do you do for fun? Riding motorcycles, volunteering, fishing, hiking, archery, photography, repairing / restoring cars, studying philosophy and religion, cooking.
Ok, we know you are a first-time dad-to-be. What are you most looking forward to about being a dad?
Having the chance to be a part of something greater and more important than anything else in life. The creation of another person, and all the possibilities, hopes and dreams that go along with that. The opportunity to see someone surpass everything I have done or thought, create a new world for themselves with their own values and ideals. The chance to see the smile only a child can give, a smile with nothing hidden around the edges and a face that is 100% innocent. I can’t wait to see that smile and that face, and I’ll make it last as long as I can.
Even though you’re not quite a dad yet, do you have any plans for celebrating Father’s Day this year? I don’t want to jinx anything, so I will most likely just treat it like any other day. Once that kid is here, they can make me all the macaroni / paper craft presents they want though!
What is your best piece of advice for other dads-to-be? When speaking to your wife or significant other during this time- the old adage “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” is wise to adhere to. I’m the last person you want to take advice from beyond that.