John Duch | Nov. 22 2021
Looking back, it’s been crazy to see the trajectory of my creative career. Growing up, I was pretty certain that I was going to become a chiropractor. Little did I know that eventually, I’d be living the life of a multidisciplinary designer and artist. First and foremost, I’m a graphic designer and I spend my free time as a b-boy, photographer, and videographer. It’s a bit difficult to put into words, but all of these skills are subconsciously intertwined and change how I view the world.
It all started my freshman year when I discovered Photoshop and b-boying, or breaking. I dabbled with Photoshop during my free time, and had no idea what I was doing other than it was fun. I created basic graphics for homework, friends, clubs, and merch throughout high school.
My first exposure to dance was witnessing someone busting windmills during PE. At the time, I thought learning windmills would make me cool, because who doesn’t want to be cool in high school? However, after countless hours of practice and watching YouTube tutorials, it was evident that breaking encapsulated much more than being flashy.
Dancing reinforced the idea that practice makes perfect, and encouraged me to be open and curious by exploring new moves until I found my own style. On a surface level, this idea applies to design as well; design is about experimenting until you find design principles and concepts you’re interested in. Once you find your niche, it’s a matter of practice and iterating until you become proficient.
My introduction to photography began in college when my curriculum required it as an elective. Truthfully, I only did it because it was required, however, I didn’t expect to become extremely passionate about it as I progressed. As my interest in photography grew, so did my curiosity for videography.
I set an ambitious challenge for myself where I aimed to create a yearly video montage that recapped every year of my undergrad. This meant I’d have four montages by the time I graduated. This was how I gauged my skill for videography and editing.
Naturally I looked for inspiration on how to create amazing montages, and I eventually stumbled upon cinematic travel videos by Sam Kolder in 2016. I was completely fascinated and immediately started immersing myself in Premiere Pro and After Effect tutorials on YouTube and ventured around Los Angeles to practice honing in on my craft.
My first photos and videos consisted of basic landscape and urban photography. Nowadays, I’ve found my footing and love where my work is heading stylistically. My current body of work consists of dramatic, vibrant landscape photos and some portraits. I thrive from being outdoors, and I hope to be able to continue traveling to capture more moments that evoke dreamy emotions.
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Both photography and videography have taught me the importance of composition, creating depth, and the value of contrast—through color, lighting, or scale. All of these are core principles that also apply to graphic design, so it felt natural to transition between these skill sets.
Due to the level of detail that breaking, photography and videography require, each has helped me view the world through different lenses. There are instances where I’m out with friends without a camera and I notice small moments and think to myself, “That would be a dope shot right there.”
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The biggest impact all these skills have had on me to date is that if there’s ever an opportunity to go that extra mile, I’ll go for it. When a design solution is strategically thought out, it changes the world’s reaction. This goes to show how much of an impact any creative skill has on our everyday lives. Viewing this from the lens of design, a brand with a cohesive visual identity system will generally have a better time of earning peoples’ trust and keeping retention.
Photography, videography, and breaking—though all different forms of expression—have had a significant impact on how I design. These skills that I call my hobbies have helped me gain new perspectives that ultimately ground my thinking and principles throughout my design process. Being involved in multiple art forms has allowed me to hone in on my attention to detail.
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Over the span of my time at The Many, I’ve been able to continually refine my technical skills. The fast paced nature of advertising has definitely been a huge influence because it keeps me on my toes. This has helped foster my technical proficiency with Photoshop and Illustrator and taught me the importance of good housekeeping habits through file management and workflow.
In closing, growing up in an Asian household taught me that a career in any creative field was absurd. It was believed that financial stability was only possible through pursuing a career in STEM. However, I followed my passion and intuition and went against the current because I knew the outcome of my goals would turn out a million times better so long as I was passionate about it.
I absolutely love design and truly believe it has the power to change the world. When I need a break from pixel pushing, I can go somewhere with my camera or hit the dance studio. If you’re passionate about something, you’ll manage to find some time. But you gotta start somewhere because a passion doesn’t mean anything if it’s only manifesting in your head.
Always remember that practice makes perfect.