We were super stoked when we stumbled across the work of typographer Corey James in Perth when we were scouting talent for our THREESOME Perth. Lucky Perth students studying at Curtin will get him as a tutor next semester, before a hopeful move to NYC. Read on for his dream mentors, Perth creatives and some insanely nice type work!
Where did you study and what were some of your first jobs?
I studied at Curtin University, finishing up in 2011. It was actually about a week or two after our grad show that I was hired by Equilibrium, a creative agency based in East Perth. I worked there just shy of 2 years as a Designer and Art Director. The highlight was designing the identity for The Cottesloe Beach Hotel.
Since then I’ve been freelancing. One of the first independent projects I worked on was establishing Three Word Advice and creating work for the 2012 Beaufort St Festival, which was a crazy, maturing experience. In the end most of our door pieces were vandalized by the very chalk we provided to the public for writing their own ‘three word advice’. By that stage it became mostly about penis drawings over our work!
What do you love creatively about where you live and work?
To be honest there’s not a great deal I love about working in Perth. I adore our small yet expanding design community but I generally look overseas for inspiration; many people do – this expands progressive design in Perth. However, it’s always amazing to see people in our city carve a niche for themselves or just break out in some fantastic way. That’s a great influence for me. A few studios I admire most in Perth include Living Brand (formerly Organ), Nude, Block, Chil3 and Hartblack (Euan Black), whom I’ve never met but he’s also producing some fantastic work. Some of my favourite people include Maegan Brown, Ed Stroud, Yolanda Stapleton, Dan Mckeating and Karel Wöhlnick – with these guys, I’m never short of advice or guidance.
Which three people in the design industry would you pick as mentors and why?
That’s extremely tough. And would probably change on a weekly basis. James Victore, because his entire ethos is based on getting you to recognise that your work is a gift and that you need to have confidence and self-respect. Mathias Augustyniak / Michael Amzalag, from M/M Paris because of their genre-crossing exploration and collaborative efforts. Eike König, because of the design playground he’s cultivated with HORT.
What advice would you give students starting out?
Don’t get locked into doing bullshit work for the rest of your life because you don’t have to. Start with a side project and work from there. Know that you can have a successful and meaningful career. There’s nothing like doing something you love for a living. People will try to limit you in every aspect of your life, often unconsciously, because they’re only relating to their experiences or beliefs. It’s best not to listen – nod, but don’t listen. Discover what you want to achieve long term, and don’t lose sight of it. Keep experimenting, playing and constantly evolving. Working hard is a given. One of my favourite quotes is “You become who you pretend to be” and it’s absolutely true.
Whats on the cards professionally and personally in the next 12 months?
I’m aiming to do some sessional tutoring at Curtin next semester, which I’m really looking forward to. I also have plans to move to New York City by the end of the year with my partner, but Immigration is a slow, cruel process. Most of my efforts will be going to that in the next 6 months. However in the distant future I’d like to start my own studio but currently there’s still too much I need to learn. Getting a handful of great mentors is also a high priority. I don’t have any specific travel plans at the moment because I just returned from a four-month road trip around America, but I’d love to visit Switzerland, Germany, Denmark and France one day.
What qualities will you look for in your students?
I think aside from commitment and a great attitude, a strong graduate should be able to think laterally and conceptually. They should be fearless and experiment / question everything. They should develop a point of view and create work with meaning as well as knowing what the trends are (in order to avoid them). No one wants to see the same stuff over and over and over again. But to reiterate, passion and attitude are the number ones for me.