SHAOLIN JAZZ – T-shirts / Graphic Designer Interviews: Shamona Stokes
Who or what got you interested in design?
As an illustration major at Pratt, I didn’t have a real interest in graphic design or making art on the computer. I was more drawn to working with my hands: drawing, painting, and collage. But after graduation, I took a few design classes and developed a real love of typography. After paying my dues and a lot of late nights, I landed a great job as an art director at a small design studio where I had the creative freedom to learn as much as possible. Click here to order Shamona’s SHAOLIN JAZZ graphic tee. To read more click>>>
How has your upbringing and or environment inspired you or shaped your design process?
Growing up, my dad was a bit of a mad scientist–there were always random mechanical parts, rusty pieces of machinery, and old engineering manuals from the 50’s scattered throughout our house. I grew up with that imagery surrounding me and, as a result, rust, decay/texture, and grit have become an ongoing thread in my work.
What kinds of projects do you most enjoy?
I love projects where the client trusts you and lets you do your thing. They’re hiring you for your specific point of view and give you creative freedom to explore. Those projects always turn out the best. In particular, I really enjoy working with streetwear, skate, and music clients because their creative process seems to be more organic and less corporate than most.
Who or what are some of your design inspirations?
Outsider art, Dutch art/design, vintage typography, Harmen Liemburg, Romare Bearden, Paul Klee, Dada, old manuals, fashion trends, the streets of NYC…
Talk about your creative process.
I do a lot of research before a project, but then in the execution stage I like to do a bit of improvisation. It helps me to breaks old habits and create unexpected results when designing.
Does music play a role in your design process?
Huge. I think I’d be creatively paralyzed without music playing in the background.
How did you go about designing your submission for the SHAOLIN JAZZ – Album Cover Design Contest?
I listened to that Wu-Tang album so much when I was a teenager, so I knew what style I was going for. Basically, I mixed Blue Note/Reid Miles + my love of illustration into a blender to create a funky little mash-up.
Did the music from the project influence your design? If so, how?
It definitely helped me get in the right frame of mind.
Was your creative approach with this project different than others?
Yes because I was my own client and that is always awesome!
What are some of your upcoming projects and where can people see your work?
I finished a project with Zoo York a few months back, a capsule t-shirt collection, so that should be out in stores late fall. Other than that, I’m freelancing and working on a little bit of this and that. To view my latest work, please check out: www.addsubtract.net.
Click here to purchase Shamona’s SHAOLIN JAZZ inspired graphic T-shirt.
*SHAOLIN JAZZ – PHILA Listening Party – Fri. Sept. 30th. Click here for details.