I meet Michael at INsight two years ago and was impressed with is work and desire to meet other creatives in NWI. We chatted for a bit and he gave me his card – ever since then – I’ve kept his contact info and this past year I connected him with his first teaching gig at St. Joe’s college. I’m happy to feature Michael and his work in this weeks 5 question interview. Enjoy.
My name is Michael A.C. Rebey. I’m a lifelong artist, professional graphic designer and all around villain. I own INK Design in Crown Point and I’m also the adjunct professor of Graphic Design at Saint Joseph’s College in Rensselaer. While working on personal art projects I often work under the pseudonym MDCN–but if you see that tagged somewhere, I swear it wasn’t me!
Apart from my work as a graphic designer, I’m currently working on a couple of ideas for children’s stories. One is an epic tale–at least in my mind–on the scale of Tolkien, Rowling, or Lucas and the other is a series of short stories involving a red rabbit. I also have a couple of dope ideas for graphic novels that I am slowly developing.
Also, anybody who knows me, knows I have an addiction for urban underground toys. I used to collect a lot of vinyl from Kidrobot but now I’m more into resin – specifically bootlegs by the artist named Sucklord. His work is like a huge middle finger right in your face but I love everything about it. To me he’s on par with Bansky. I guess collecting toys is more of a hobby though, than an activity but it’s a big part of who I am.
What makes me different? First and foremost, I’m an artist with good hand skills. 30 years ago you really couldn’t be a graphic designer without having hand skills but the advent of the computer changed everything. It has allowed a lot of people with no artistic ability, no foundation, to start or at least try their hand at design. However, in my experience the work of those with hand skills usually rises to the top.
I’m also a highly conceptual designer and I believe every element of design should lend itself to the underlying concept. Colors, visualization choices, typefaces, all of them should speak to each other to properly communicate the solution. I say all of this because honestly, we live in an area where there is a lot of mindless design being produced even by some of the larger studios. Like art, I believe good design has the inherit ability to invoke the soul–the mind and emotions, creating dreams and desires or triggering ideas and imaginations that can inspire the onlooker to a higher level of reasoning and importance within themselves and to the world around them. Too many desk jockeys think good design is a drop shadow behind some text with a two color gradient.
If you hope to become a freelance designer take a few business courses while you can. This is an area where even I am still learning and I have been designing professionally for 11 years. To me the business side of things has been difficult because I just want to design and create but you have to know both. If you hope to join a studio somewhere, practice, practice, practice. Master programs, know the ins and outs of every tool and technique. If you’re leaning towards the web stay on top of everything going on within HTML, CSS, and all the other stuff like Ajax and the WordPress platform. Finally, join groups like behance.net, aiga, or if you can get invited to dribble.com.
When it comes to music I’m pretty eclectic but for some time now, I’ve mostly been listening to indie rock. Usually the project I’m working on will dictate who I listen to. Right now, on my infinite playlist I’ve got Broken Bells, The Black Keys, MGMT, Kid Cudi, Radiohead, Maps & Atlases, Grizzly Bear, Kasabian, Fleet Foxes, Matt & Kim, The Black Angels, The Walkmen, The Horrors, The Dead Weather, and The Decemberists playing. Some days though, Miles Davis’ “Bitches Brew” trumps them all.