Ten Qs with Chris is an ongoing series where Chris Ricci asks a local creative ten questions about themselves, their craft, and their influences while also giving them the opportunity to ask another creative a unique question of their own.
Jordan Pomazon is a graphic designer and a published writer from Beverly, Massachusetts. Jordan’s graphic design work ranges from business items to apparel, and his work has been featured in charity auctions which have supported local art programs and scholarships. Jordan is also a published poet who released his first book, “The Greatest Race,” last July and is currently working on his second book.
Here are the ten questions and Jordan’s answers:
1- What was the first piece of music that you heard or saw that made you truly appreciate art?
It was the old flash opening for watermanstudios.com that used a clip from Five Iron Frenzy’s “Sucker Punch.” The animation itself was standard but the track introduced me to Ska music, later complemented by other flash cartoons of the time using music ranging from classical instrumentals to more contemporary music that would ultimately serve as my doorway to appreciating both music and animation and after a while the dam just broke and I got neck deep into a lot more stuff.
2- What were your fears when you started out, and how have you overcome them?
Mostly inadequacy issues, feeling like I wasn’t good enough to be where I was or doing what I was doing. But it was a bit of a double edged sword as well, because whenever I saw something better than what I could do at the time, I would get angry about how good it was (a form of flattery, honest) and work to improve my skills. I don’t think you’re ever done overcoming these things, as there are always bigger fish than you out there but as long as you stay hungry then it doesn’t become a detriment.
The Greatest Race: A Collection of Poetry and Rabid Verbalizations by Jordan Pomazon (Paperback) - Lulu
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3- Are you the same artist that you envisioned yourself being when you started out? If not, how did you change?
Hell no! I thought I would have gone into the world of illustration and comic books, the stuff I loved growing up as a kid. But that type of art has it’s challenges. You have to be willing and ready to do your entire piece all over from the beginning to fix whatever errors plagued your first draft, even the smallest mistakes could warrant a do-over it seems. On top of that it possessed its own kind of competitive mentality that would have drained me emotionally and physically. I wanted to do something that would be more forgiving of my faults and let me “do-over” without having to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
4- What was the best compliment you received for your work, and how did it make you feel?
It was the end of 2012 and I had made a print of Dicky Barrett of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, a typographic piece that utilized a photo of the man himself being made out of words. It’s not entirely groundbreaking by the sound of how I describe it but it’s one of my best pieces to date. There was a meet and greet before one of their year-end concerts and I wanted to give this to Dicky as a gift of appreciation. Somehow, I got over to him and handed him the print. He looked at it and asked “You made this?” and all I could do really was nod my head. He thanked me for the gift but told me I was going to do great things from just looking at the print itself. When someone you admire and respect says that to you, there is much else that could top the feeling of joy, accomplishment or disbelief. I felt like I had reached a high water mark as an artist and as a person.
5- What was the worst thing you’ve heard about your work, and how has that affected you?
It was Worcester in the late spring/early summer of 2016. It was first time performing spoken word (yes, I dabble in a lot of different things) in at least a year, possibly two years. I chose an older piece that I wrote sometime after I graduated college and figured it was one of the safer, surer options to go with and ultimately I was proven absolutely wrong. Went over as well as a lead balloon or a screen door on a submarine. I was told by someone afterword who was able to gauge that it was a piece of satirical writing that although she got the joke that it was a grating experience. She advised I take it behind a shed, bury it and never look back. In the past, I would have taken this like a bullet in the lung and absolutely collapsed but as a more mature adult I just stuck with brooding for the rest of the evening and questioned everything I’d ever done. I took a more proactive route to this and wrote out what I was feeling rather than let it fester inside myself. Believe it or not, it actually works.
6- Do you create from scratch, or do you find inspiration elsewhere? Explain.
A teacher told me a long time ago that there isn’t anything “original” anymore. Everything borrows ideas or thoughts or notions from something else or people generally get the same ideas to do certain things independently of each other and add their own set of spices into the mix to make it their own. I expand as much of myself as I can to find new and interesting things that I might have missed and see whether or not I can gain anything from learning about it. It checks off both boxes because if I find the lyrics to a song I like, a poem, a logo design or what have you, I think to myself “hey, I really like that” and try my hand at working with it and see if I can make it my own. The search for originality has to come from seeing what other people have done before you, getting a feel for the water. If you don’t do that, you’re basically in a glass bubble.
7- What would you say to yourself if you could go back in time and meet yourself as you were starting out?
It’s a hard question to answer because there are so many things I want to say but they are ultimately the same thing. Do more, be more productive, care more about what you are doing, here is a list of things I want you to know by the time you’re my age, don’t waste your time, etc. If I had a head start, then maybe I’d be further along at this point but I think even if I could give my younger self this kind of advice it wouldn’t change the end result. You have to live life to get to points where you can appreciate where you are or what you’re doing.
8- What does this area mean to you, and how has it made you the artist you are today?
The North Shore has always been home, it’s always been a good place to come back to. Just the right distance from everything. I’ve met plenty of artists and writers who have been able to make the most of living in this area but for me it’s offered the peace of mind. Having a clear head can be the biggest asset in getting work done, artistic or otherwise.
9- If you could meet one of your heroes, who would it be and what would you ask them?
I have two folks in mind, one for design and one for writing. (I know you said one, I’m sorry) For design, I’d love to meet Ryan McGuinness and pick his brain about how he approaches his design work from the ground up. For writing, I would ask Craig Finn how he learned to write the kinds of stories he tells in his songs.
10- Since you’re the first person I’ve asked, I don’t have a user question for you! But, what question would you like another person to answer for my next 10 Qs segment?
I had to think about this one because I feel most other questions you could add to a list like would be throw away options like “what’s your favorite color?” or “If you could eat a single food for the rest of your life…” and what have you. I suppose if I had the chance to add one, it would be “What are you working for or towards with your art? Do you have something you’d like to accomplish or perhaps you do what you do for the sake of doing it?” There feels like a somewhat invasive vibe from that though but I suppose it depends on who you ask.