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Featured Creative

WeWork + Efdot Studio

September 2018

The legend that is Eric Friedensohn AKA Efdot , Art and Graphics Lead, LATAM at WeWork and his own Efdot Studio—we've been fans for a little while and so excited to see what Eric is doing in South America! We love how Eric takes his style across different mediums and how he challenges himself along the way. Check out what Eric has to share on what he does and how he got there!

Give us the elevator pitch on what you do.

I’m a muralist, graphic designer and skateboarder from New York. I create under the name Efdot, and I also lead the Art and Graphics Team at WeWork for the Latin America region.

Our team creates meaningful and unexpected art & graphic experiences to connect and inspire our members. One year ago I moved from NYC to Buenos Aires on a temporary assignment to build and grow the team down here.

Who’s on the team, what are their roles and why do you love them?

Here on the LATAM Art and Graphics team we have 4 Argentinian designers, plus me. We have Robert Balan (team dad) and Nacho Varone (class clown) who are both Senior Graphics Designers. And just recently we hired two new Graphic Designers, Ailim Melillan (cool aunt) and Marte Galarza (the black sheep). I love all of them because they are always surprising me and because we are a nerdy family.

The Head of our team, Joe Geis, and our Creative Director Jeremiah Britton are back in NYC. They lead the Art & Graphics teams around the world and we are always sharing new ideas.

Our team collaborates daily with different disciplines such as Interior Designers, Architects, Furniture / Materials specialists, the list goes on. We all work together to make the spaces feel locally relevant, uplifting and timeless.

I love all of them because they’re so open minded. They’re constantly encouraging us to take risks and push boundaries in our work.

Are you involved in any mentoring/teaching/workshops and if so how it shapes your practice?

My mom is a special education teacher, and my grandmother was an artist. My passion for teaching and mentoring other creative people is literally in my blood!

As of now, I teach around 4 workshops each year. However I’m looking forward to doing more coaching and mentoring in the near future. Most recently I hosted a workshop in Brooklyn, presented by Goodtype called “The Art of Skate”. I taught people how to apply my process for lettering & illustration to make custom DIY skate decks. It was probably the most niche thing I’ve ever done. It was massively inspiring and I can’t wait until the next one.

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I try my best not to separate my practice into categories or labels. Digital or traditional, it’s all one creative stream — just using different tools.

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What role does digital design play in your studio in 2018, and how do you apply traditional graphic design skills in a digital age?

I try my best not to separate my practice into categories or labels. Digital or traditional, it’s all one creative stream — just using different tools.

Typically my process fluctuates from physical to digital and back again. I get my work started through sketching and writing with pencil on paper. Then I work in Procreate or Illustrator to make iterations and test out color palettes.

At the end of the day, most of my work is finished when it manifests in a physical form (mural, neon sign, painted canvas, print, etc). However, at some point it was probably refined using digital techniques.

Where do you think design is heading in the next five years and how will you adapt?

In the next 5 years I think we will see a lot more interesting combinations of physical and digital experiences. At some point, I don’t think we will be able to tell the difference between the two (freaky). I’d like to try making more interactive murals in the future using embedded technology or AR.

In terms of adapting and keeping up, I always try to stay active in the design community — both online and in the cities I’m in. Submerging myself in that scene, going to conferences and meeting new people helps me to think long term and get new perspectives.

Speaking of conferences, we will be speaking at Trimarchi in Mar Del Plata this November. DM me if you’re going!

What was your plan for graduating and what actually happened?

When I was a senior in college, I already had some internships under my belt, so I was hopeful that I could land a job. My plan was to graduate and work for Smart Design, an industrial design agency in New York City. From there I wanted to transfer to their Spain office and live my Barcelona dream (insert heart eyes emoji). I wanted to design products and experiences that solved real problems in fun and interesting ways. Most importantly, I wanted to skateboard every day to work.

In reality it was wishful thinking. My portfolio wasn’t good enough to work there and I didn’t have the experience they were looking for. However, I did end up moving to NYC and doing a LOT of different things.

Within the first 2 years out of school: I became obsessed with hand lettering, apprenticed with a sign painter, worked for MTV, freelanced for branding/advertising agencies, fashion brands and started my own studio with a range of small-medium size clients.

That all sounds way cooler than it actually was. The truth is I was doing a lot of unglamorous work and finding clients on craigslist to get by, but I stayed busy. A few years later I stumbled into environmental graphic design, which is what I do now for my full time work.

I’m the kind of person at the ice cream shop who needs to taste 5 flavors before making the commitment to a full scoop. Also I tend to get bored and move on quickly if I’m tasting the same flavor over and over. So sampling a lot of different jobs early on was a good move.

I was able to have a lot of diverse experiences in a short period of time. That helped me to test out places and figure out where I fit in, and also find out what type of work drives me crazy. ¯(ツ)

I never ended up working in Barcelona, but South America has been so good to me this last year. If you’ve never been, you should definitely come visit and see what Argentina has to offer.

Website: efdotstudio.com

Instagram: @efdot

Twitter: @efdotstudio

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