"This was supposed to be creative."

I was a mid-career graphic design burnout. I had some training, I knew the software, I could kern, I could photoshop with the best of 'em, but I just wasn't feeling it anymore. I felt like I was just a pair of hands, no style of my own, my concepting skills sucked, and I hated the kind of work I was making. And eventually that resentment grew onto my boss and clients. So I quit.

…that was ten years ago. 

In most schools around the country, they're really good at teaching the software. It's quantifiable. "Does student 'A' know 'ADOBE X, Y, and Z'?" You can have that on a test, everybody's gonna answer the same way. Its easy to award an "A" or "F" based on repeatable results. But creativity? It can't be measured that way. Creativity and concepting are about finding new solutions, drawing new conclusions every time. Measuring growth is hard to do. And that's why schools are so bad at it. In a school everything has to be graded BUT creativity is subjective, ambiguous…a moving target. 

All the "right know-how" doesn't make a designer.

Ideas, perspective, confidence — these things make a designer. Sure we should know to kern, but also when not to. Yes, we should know photoshop, no doubt. But think about this: how many graphic designers do you think are practicing world wide? A bah-jillion, right? But we all use the same three tools: Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign.…boring. Graphic design was started by failed painters and anarchists, it requires a soul, an actual human being. It is merely a tool, and if there is nothing meaningful for this tool to say then… obviously, its not gonna move anybody. 

Embrace Your Inner-smartass.

If a designer, you or I, only know the software and maybe about composition, proportion, color, kerning, that's great! But those are just polish, they aren't the tools or skills we use to come up with new ideas and good concepts. That comes from your voice, your own instincts, your sense of humor, your quirks, your hang-ups, what you're really thinking — you know, the stuff you're scared to tell other people …you. If we don't pull from these places to make work, we look around at other designers — looking through design annuals for ideas, all the while, that little voice inside calls us an impostor. 

If we are not pulling from our voice, we don't know who to work for, we'll take "any" client instead of "our" client. This kind of strategy can lead you ten years down the road, with no rudder, no vision, no style, no voice, no fun…no joke. I know, it happened to me. And if we don't correct it, ten years later we'll still be in the same spot, wondering what went wrong, thinking about doing something else, hating our clients and our work. No fun.

Your Voice = Stronger Concepts, more interesting work…

“I will give up all I have learned here [Columbia University] 
if I can just write my own poems,
and I don’t care if they’re good.
I just want to write my own stuff.”

-Sharon Olds

This is what I teach. 

 


Current Classes Offered…

Conceptology 102:  Fundamentals For Visual Ideation

Conceptology 102 is more of the same kind of work as the 101 class, different assignments and plenty of growth to be had by returning students as well as new. 

This class is push-ups for the mind. In this 5 week section the student will practice developing concepts by pulling from their own personal perspective to make unique work. Each assignment was, or was directly based on assignments designed by Henryk Tomaszewski (Polish Poster School). The student will work towards finding a voice and developing a personal style that is true to themselves through the exploration and the execution of each assignment. The student will learn how to discuss concepts and evaluate the effectiveness of formal executions in class critiques.

Course goals:
The student will work towards finding a voice and developing a personal style that is true to themselves. The student will learn how to discuss concepts and evaluate the effectiveness of formal executions. 

Requirements:
Must professionally practice graphic design, or be pursuing a professional or semi-professional visual art career. The ideal candidates for this class are those who feel frustrated, stifled, and have the desire to make original work.

Limitations:
The use of computers is prohibited. Work in this class can be completed by drawing, painting, collaging, photocopying,…virtually any other means than by using software.

Class Size: Limited to 5-7 Students
Class Dates: May 21, June 4, 11, 18, & 25
Class time: Saturdays, 10am-1pm
Cost: $400
Early Registration: Discount $100 (Register by May 9th)
Deposit: $100 to reserve space

Payment method: Cash or check preferred
To Register: contact chris@chrisolux.com

Previous Classes Offered…

Conceptology101:  Fundamentals for Visual Ideation

This class is push-ups for the mind. In this 5 week section the student will practice developing concepts by pulling from their own personal perspective to make unique work. Each assignment was, or was directly based on assignments designed by Henryk Tomaszewski (Polish Poster School). The student will work towards finding a voice and developing a personal style that is true to themselves through the exploration and the execution of each assignment. The student will learn how to discuss concepts and evaluate the effectiveness of formal executions in class critiques.

Course goals:
The student will work towards finding a voice and developing a personal style that is true to themselves. The student will learn how to discuss concepts and evaluate the effectiveness of formal executions. 

Requirements:
Must professionally practice graphic design, or be pursuing a professional or semi-professional visual art career. The ideal candidates for this class are those who feel frustrated, stifled, and have the desire to make original work.

Limitations:
The use of computers is prohibited. Work in this class can be completed by drawing, painting, collaging, photocopying,…virtually any other means than by using software.

Class Size: Limited to 5-7 Students
Class Dates: Jan. 23 through Feb. 20
Class time: Saturdays, 10am-1pm
Cost: $500
Early Registration: Discount $100 (Register by December 15th)
Deposit: $100 to reserve space

Payment method: Cash or check preferred
To Register: contact chris@chrisolux.com

Schedule
Week One: Current Portfolio Review / In-class Exercise / Start Assignment One
Week Two: Critique Assignment One / In-class Exercise / Start Assignment Two
Week Three: Critique Assignment Two / In-class Exercise / Start Assignment Three
Week Four: Critique Assignment Three / In-class Exercise / Start Assignment Four
Week Five: Critique Assignment Four / Closing Party and Exhibition of Class Work

Class Assignments: Week ONE

LOVE

SELF PORTRAIT