Community Spotlight: Adam Garcia

Part of an ongoing series highlighting the amazing people in the Portland creative community.

Adam Garcia is a creative director, designer and illustrator at the helm of The Pressure, a design studio in Portland. He’s been a member of the CreativeMornings/Portland community since the beginning, and illustrated Rebel, the global theme our chapter chose back in February, for which Andi Zeisler spoke.

See Ashley Forrette's photos in all their glory on Flickr and check the interview below.

In your mind, what are the most important qualities in an effective designer?

There are many ways to be “effective.” Maybe that’s a part of it, that “effective” is fluid, evolving, amorphous depending on the projects or clients or context. Perhaps “effectiveness” is the capability to sense those shifts beneath your feet, in the air. To sense when things must change. To be aware of culture, nuance, detail, subtlely, emotion on a tiny level and on a grand, macrocosmic scale. I think an effective designer is a dancer, a seismologist, a scientist and a psychologist all wrapped up in one. Maybe. These are my thoughts right now anyway, until I find a more effective answer.

Does your personal work impact your client work and vice versa? Or are they separate practices?

The personal work not only impacts the client work, but they flow into one another constantly. I think that creative exploration is part of what makes our studio work. Using experiments and surprise as a foundation of our model as a studio means that sometimes clients approach and ask for the thinking instead of the result, as they see the constant creative output. That enables us to use all of that exploration to create work that we’ve never made before, and allows some exciting collaborations that are unexpected. Which usually becomes an impetus for personal work in a different direction, which turns into client work. Et al. Ebb and flow.

How did Gemira come about and what were you trying to explore with your solo show?

We were asked by the good humans at the One Grand Gallery if we wanted to do a gallery show, and the theme was up to us. One thing that we’d been thinking about a lot as a studio is this kind of confluence of science fiction, futurism, the political state, and technology like facial recognition, drone surveillance, dictatorial regimes. The show was called Unbound: Artifacts of the Gemira Commission. We thought that through a design lens using imagery of power, and actually writing a short story with a fictional regime could be an interesting way to approach the show. After I wrote the story, created the characters and dynamics between the groups, the pieces were created supplementarily. The best part, to me, was working with musician Medium Zach (from Minneapolis-based group Big Quarters) to create a 50-minute long, 11 track score to the show that is phenomenal.

Why a spelling bee?

SO MANY REASONS! One: I like interactive game-type situations in public places that enable us to hang out with a big group of people and make good times. Two: Me love words Three: I get to host, and I’m an alright host of things, and Anton gets to DJ, and he’s a very good DJ. We should be doing that kind of stuff. The people need us, Tsilli. Four: It’s just SO FUN. If you haven’t been, I urge you check it out. It’s kind of awesome and hilarious. 

What do you wish people would ask you that you never get asked?

< That. :D