We catch-up with Patrick Adams, a recent PSU grad. Patrick tells us all about his killer Portland based band, Blouse, and how it keeps him creative. Why when you choose to study doesn’t matter, as long as you are passionate and what his graphic design future holds.
What are some of your earliest creative memories and what lead you into design?
Growing up I always saw things organized in a very specific way. When I was young it was as simple as my toys being lined up in a certain order, or re-arranging my room to get the right feel. I feel like this desire to have things look a certain way that was pleasing to the eye was my earliest attempts at design. That, and a little obsessive compulsion sprinkled on top.
A desire to just make things look better – has always been a big motivating factor of my design career. There is a lot of really terrible design out in the world. Some terrible design is so bad it’s good, but I’m referring to the kind of design that makes you cringe. When design seems lazy, hurried, or miss-guided it makes me sad.
What was your plan for graduating and what actually happened?
I recently graduated from Portland State University with a BA in Graphic Design. My big joke I kept telling everyone was that it only took me 17 years. There sadly is some truth to that. I started college in 1998 at the University of Oregon. I had no idea what I wanted to study in college so I plucked the Business major out of thin air for no good reason. Intro To Business would be my first D in school and that was the end of that. I meandered through more classes at U of O, wasting my time enrolling in Ultimate Frisbee courses until I finally decided to stop going until I knew what I wanted to do.
At 29 years old I had finally decided to go back to school for a Graphic Design degree. It was a revelation. School was fun and rewarding. I wasn’t great but I was learning more every day and I was at least good at it. It made all the difference in the world to be doing something I truly enjoyed.
Don’t go to school until you’re ready. When you get there, make sure you’re doing something you actually enjoy. Also, try to make your student loans last throughout the term. The less you have to work and focus on things other than school, the better you will be in the end. These are all no brainers, but it took me 17 years to figure them all out.
Any passion projects you would like to share?
I met Charlie Hilton in Elements of 2D Design and quickly began playing music in her living room. After making some demos we teamed up with my producer friend Jacob Portrait and formed the band Blouse.
I had always wanted to travel to Europe, I lived in France for a brief period of time when I was 13 and wanted to go back. I could never seem to save enough money to take that trip. With Blouse I was able to tour Europe three times, and put out two records on one of my favorite record labels, Captured Tracks. I conceptualized and art directed the album art with my friend Anna Alek for our second record, Imperium.
It’s unclear what exactly the future holds for Blouse, but it was definitely a passion project that I had to pursue while I was trying to get my degree. It forced me to take a few terms off along the way, but it was worth the experience.
What advice would you give students starting out?
1. Expect failure. Learn from it.
2. Collaborate with others often.
3. Know your priorities.
4. Keep fresh with Adobe skills.
5. Go to class. Talk a lot.
Whats the big goal in the next five years?
Since I’ve just graduated my big goal is to find work. I’ve been applying at various design houses from Assistant Graphic Designer to Junior Designer to Paid Design Intern. I’m going to also apply with some placement agencies. I would love to join a creative team and begin making. I have no dissolution about starting at the bottom and working my way up. I would love to eventually be an Art Director.