Wednesday, February 17, 2010

★ 5Qs with Valp | Maciej Hajnrich

Rob: Recently I came across the work of a man who gives meaning to the design phrase "make it pop." Valp gives life to all the work he's commissioned to do and from the conversation I had with him off-the-record it sounds like his work is only growing stronger. Visit his showcase at to see the amazing work he did for My Chemical Romance, Duke Nukem, Pakarabanu DJ Team, and Copernicus Science Center. Also, be sure to click here to view his blog. I have book marked it to a post where his work was included in a design book entitled "Crossover Design" but, there is so much inspiration and info in other areas of the blog as well : ).

Now let's jump into my conversation with him.

Q1: Hi Valp, Tell me a little about yourself?

Valp: Hi Rob. I'm digital artist, graphic designer, illustrator, player, music fan, and movie watcher. Also, I love coffee with chocolate croissants.

Rob: I never had a chocolate croissant lol. I love the cafè pic btw and obviously from everything I just said in my opening, i'm crazy about the work you do.

When did you first realize that you wanted to do this?

Valp: About 10 years ago, I was (and still am) keen on new technology and used to experiment with software from Adobe. I spent a lot of time doing some simple graphics just for fun, but soon I realized it was my biggest passion. Exactly 7 years ago (Feb 2003) I set up my first online portfolio. Even then, I was pretty sure I want to focus on design and graphics.

Rob: That's the great thing about being an Artist- Artists are born, not trained. We only need training to express our creativity in the right medium.

Q3: What do you feel is your strongest asset?

Valp: Being able to learn new skills and gain experience in a self-taught process.

Rob: That is always the best answer anyone can give. As a creator, you can never become comfortable; you always have to reach a little higher and push limitations back.

Q4: What would you like to be known for?

Valp: An Experimental imagination player and trend setter, or something close to that : ). I want to be known as unique artist with extraordinary skills, for sure.

Rob: You are on your way Valp, you are on your way!

Q5: Why Valp Now?

Valp: Now is instant, present time which is always actual. From a wider perspective it means what I am doing (now) and where I am in my career.

Rob: I always love the answer to this question because it gives me and my readers a deeper understanding of who you are as an artist. Thanks for your time Valp! More 5Qs to come.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

★ 5Qs with Fabien Barral

Rob: From the moment you click you realize that you are not in Kansas anymore, but you have stepped through a portal and into another world. Fabien's style is recognized quickly by his sleek use of texture, ink elements, and clever typography. A few days ago I had the extreme pleasure of talking with this digital mastermind. Here is our conversation.

Q1: Tell me a little about yourself?

Fabien:So, I am Fabien Barral. I live in France, in a 100 year old
country house that I restored with my wife. We have a daughter
and 4 cats, we live near Lacs and Forest, and there are not even
enough houses in our village to have names for the streets. I love
to say that because I am happy to live here and still work on such
amazing projects from so far away.
I have been in the graphic design industry for 12 years, 8 of which I have been an art director in agencies and now I freelance from home. As Rob mentioned, you can see my work on and my blog of inspiration on I recently opened my very own online shop with Frédérique, my wife to sell wall stickers and posters 
Rob: Wow, I can't even imagine a village without streets lol. It really is amazing that you are still able to do the work you do. Maybe that's why you have such a unique style; you have different influences.

When did you first realize that you wanted to do this?

Fabien:School was not my cup of tea. I always felt stupid learning
things and I never cared about chemicals and stuff like that. At the end
of my regular school courses, there was a forum for unprepared young
people in which they presented professions. When I attended this
forum, I saw an amazing school where you can design magazines, CD
sleeves, etc. I thought to myself, that's a job? Good. I got into it and
realized that I loved it and it has never stopped. I know 12 years doesn't
seem like a long time ago, but believe it or not, 12 years ago, there was
basically no internet and photoshop didn't even have layers ;).

Rob: School wasn't really my cup of tea either. Wow, no layers in photoshop hahaha. I CAN'T EVEN IMAGINE!

Q3: What do you feel is your strongest asset?

Fabien: That is really hard to say, but I will say this “Designing is basically the practice of combining stuff; ideally in ways that haven't been seen before. So the more stuff you know (about everything), the greater the chance you'll find a relevant and distinctive, and therefore effective (and original) combination.” I am good at combining stuff, so I guess that is my strongest asset.

Rob: Well said Fabien, It is all about finding the right elements and the right mix that fits your client.

Q4: What would you like to be known for?

Fabien: I would like to be known not by what I've done, but how my work inspires others to be good designers.

Rob: You will never know the extent you can impact others with your creativity, but I hope you get a glimpse of that.

Q5: What type of clientele do you enjoy working with the most?

Fabien: The ones that let you do what you are good at and trust you. (That really depends more on the person, then on the project) Sometimes I work on huge projects and have no communication with the clients at all. I designed a poster that stated “The best designers are the ones found by the good clients” and it is a saying I have come to
live by.

Rob: Thanks Fabien. This conversation has been very insightful! Keep reading My Ink Pad for more 5Qs.