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Morning Person of the Day: Michael Buchino

Meet Michael Buchino, independent art director, illustrator, designer, letterer, Principal at, and 30x attendee!


What is your first and/or most meaningful CreativeMornings experience?

I’ve attended CreativeMornings in several cities. My first was Portland’s inaugural CM with Kate Bingaman-Burt, whose faith in process inspires me to keep making even when I’m at my least motivated. The genesis of the Jolby partnership still informs my collaboration with Julia McNamara and how we run our studio, #ridetheweird! I brought my parents to Katrina Scotto di Carlo’s heartening talk about Supportland, her community-based network of retailers, and you could see the entire room change their minds on consumption behavior. Thoughtful takes on remix culture and creative theft by Andy Baio and Pat Castaldo, respectively, are some of my favorite things to ponder.

Describe the work that you do and the impact you’re trying to make.

I tell stories with pictures. As a commercial artist, I want to provoke people to engage in life-affirming experiences. My favorite work is creating promotional imagery for arts like theater, literature and music.

What are your ideal conditions for your creativity?

When I’m working, I want the subject to be thought-provoking and useful, and the solution needs to have intent. I have a hard time making something pretty for pretty’s sake. Ideally, I get to work with McNamara—we’re a two-artist Voltron. To get my brain going, I need conversation—with the client, with my hive mind of design friends, with my sister. My weapons of choice are a Zebra mechanical pencil and a Moleskine sketchbook. And I like working on a quiet morning with a bottomless mug of English breakfast.

What’s one insight from your expertise that you’d like to share, and empower, others in the community?

Lately, I’ve found myself in conversations with students and young designers concerning imposter syndrome. Anytime I make something a little bit good, I immediately fear that I’ll never be able to surpass or even match that watermark. The truth is most people deal with self-doubt. Nobody knows what they’re doing and everyone is faking it—we’re all making it up as we go along. Without comprehensive programming or a definitive guide, this is a circumstance of being a human, which means it’s not actually a problem to be solved. If you can recognize that, you can accept it and move on. It’s also good to recognize that you’ve made it this far, so who’s to say you can’t keep going? And just because you haven’t yet done a thing, it doesn’t mean you can’t do that thing. How’s that for a pep talk? I feel like there should be a Stuart Smalley Daily Affirmation to cap it off.

Aside from that, I preach a pretty predictable gospel: Ask “why?” a lot. Collaborate. Turn off your screens and use your hands. Know your em dashes, en dashes and hyphens. Mind your primes and quotes. Stick to black, white and red. If you dig it, do it; if you really dig it, do it twice.

Tell me something about yourself that I can’t find on Google.

Something you won’t find out about me anywhere else on the internet: I have trained with a Polish Olympic fencing instructor and Bulgarian Olympic trampolinists, and you can hear me singing on a William Shatner record.

Photo of Michael by Jacob Hinmon. Blog image by: Mitch Wilson.

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