What is your title, and can you explain what your daily responsibilities are?
I have so many it seems. Photoshop Guy, Content Developer, instructor, etc. Officially I am an Education & Curriculum Developer for Kelbyone.com
What inspired you most to become a Photoshop trainer? Why did you pursue this as a career?
I went to art school and spent about 10 years in the industry woking as a designer doing web, print, and video wanting to learn as much as I could about Photoshop. I always loved going to Photoshop World as an attendee and so wanted to be a part of it. I had taught some sessions at a few events but Photoshop World was the big show and in 2006 that dream came true as I became part of the famed Photoshop Guys and was now a Photoshop World Instructor.
What do you think is the biggest obstacle to pursuing a career in the creative fields?
The competition has become so fierce and oversaturated. We have come to a place in time where anyone with a computer and Photoshop is a designer. People who want design work are much more interested in getting it on the cheap than paying for quality. Designers can no longer be a master of just one thing. It’s great to specialize but you need to have a vast skill set to be able to sell yourself.
Another aspect of being a creative individual is the ability to take and use criticism. Too many artists don’t learn to take criticism about their work. I am passionate about what I do and proud of what I have accomplished but I am not married to my work. If someone doesn’t like something I have done I am always curious why. I want to learn why, not so I can change the piece but it is interesting to know how your work effects people both in a positive and negative sense but you can never take it personally. If you do not have a thick skin when it comes to criticism then perhaps this is not the field for you.
With all the new versions of Photoshop and Lightroom what changes do you personally feel are the most exciting or brilliant?
Well it is no secret I am a huge fan of 3D in Photoshop and I really like where it is headed both with design and with 3D printing. Its a new frontier and it is an exciting one. Also the advancements and availability of video have changed the landscape as well. In todays mobile world it would benefit any designer to at least have some experience with that.
Also with training, the resources for learning all this new technology is so widespread more than they were 10 or even 15 years ago. I always tell young designers today that this is a great time to learn from so many people all over the world. The web has enabled learning on a global scale and anyone can learn almost anything. You just have to be motivated to do so.
What Photographers & Photoshop artists do you follow, and why do they stand out from others in your opinion?
Well I am a huge fan of Bert Monroy! He was the one that showed me what is possible beyond the obvious. Before seeing his work I thought Photoshop as a photo manipulator and compositing tool. His work taught me how to see things differently and approach Photoshop in a very different way. Coming from a traditional art background I was able to apply what I knew about illustration into my Photoshop work and it was Bert that helped me see that. We have since become very close friends and share thoughts and ideas all the time.
I am also a huge fan of our very Creative Director Felix Nelson. He is a phenomenal digital artist and am thrilled I get to work with him. He is a great collaborator an all around great guy!
As far as photographer I am big fan of Joel Grimes. His approach to his work is probably the way mine would be if I were a commercial photography. He has a very unique look in his work and, like me, is always eager to learn more and do what he can to improve. I was fortunate enough to be a guest at his workshop when he had his studio in Pasadena a couple years ago and I was amazed at what I leaned. Joel is amazing photographer and is never greedy about sharing his knowledge.
What social networks do you like most? Which present good examples of Photography the best?
I am personally not a fan of social networks at all but they also have become a critical marketing tool in today’s world and any smart photographer or designer must have a social presence of some kind. For me, I mainly used Facebook and Twitter. They are where I have the most engagement and they are obviously to two largest. I thought Google+ showed promise but it seems not even Google is interested in that anymore. I still have a G+ but I never use it. As for photogs I hear that 500px is a great platform for showcasing work. As a designer I feel I need to build a stringer presence on Behance. That really seems to be on fire right now and I do have an account set up I have little posted there yet but that is going to change soon. I just don’t want to find myself juggling a half dozen social networks. Two or three at the most. If I spend all my time with social networks I will never get any work done to post on the social networks. LOL
What is your prediction of the evolution of social networks? How do you think these networks will showcase artists and Photographers better in the future?
Social networks have given everyone center stage. Many will use it for the dumbest reason and there are those that see the real value and will embrace it going forward. One of my biggest pet peeves of social media is pictures of food! I don’t know why, it just annoys me. Nobody cares what anyone is about to eat! Can I taste it? NO Can I smell it? NO
I feel that social media has a place in the world when used properly but I also think it has programmed us to think we are obligated to share every detail of our lives and we seem to believe that everybody cares about what we are doing everyday.
That said, I feel it also has the benefit of giving artists and photographers unprecedented exposure of there work. You are not limited to just your local art shows or a basic web site that may only get a little traffic. With social media your work can be seen around the world in a matter of minutes. I get messages all the time not just from here in the states but I have gotten messages from South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Australia, England, China, and Dubai to name a few. I would have never thought I could have that kind of reach without being a movie star or some other major celebrity, but that technology is here now. It is a very exciting time.
For the future I see the mobile world really embracing the the artists of many forms. Tablets and smart phones art not only mobile outlets to a global audience, they are also becoming indispensable tools for creation. The whole point of being a visual artist of any kind is so that your work is seen and if possible affect people in an emotional way. Technology allows you to do just that with the entire world.
What predictions do you have for the future of Photoshop and Lightroom?
Lightroom will be the standard tool for serious digital photographers if it hasn’t become that already. I see Photoshop as strictly a design tool now that also does some good photo editing. Seems ironic I know but Photoshop is essentially a swiss army knife of a design tool. You can paint in it, draw, edit video, motion graphics, create and edit 3D. So many things! The future seems to be mobile tablets and smart phones are changing the landscape of digital media and is only expanding the reach of the digital artist. While new mobile apps are coming I think Photoshop will have its place as the premiere digital design tool fro quite some time.