We had the good fortune of connecting with Ezra Schaefer and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ezra, what’s the most important lesson your business/career has taught you?
The most important lesson my career has taught me is that technical skills can take your far, but emotional skills will ultimately take you farther. Kindness and humility will always be appreciated. Honesty and transparency builds trust. Saying “no” and “I don’t know” when appropriate keeps you from frustrations and burn out. Self awareness of your strengths and areas of improvement allows you not take criticism so personally, and helps you give more constructive feedback to others as well. It’s important to actively listen and have a level of sensitivity to others. These are things I’m constantly checking for within myself so that I am always working towards improvement.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I think what personally gets me excited about my work is the thinking and problem solving aspect. I love taking big, complex design challenges, breaking them down, exploring every corner, and coming up with the most polished and organized creative solution I can. There’s a saying I heard a while ago – “Brevity is the soul of wit.” And I love applying that to my creative work. I guess in essence, I’m very much a traditional designer at heart. The work I’m most proud of is almost always my brand identity work, and I take so much pride in it because it requires such a vast skillset – print skills, photo skills, directing skills, layout, composition, illustration, motion, web, – I could go on! And to make all of that come together cohesively is a very rewarding output. Currently, outside of my day job work, I have a couple of projects in the wings that I am creative directing and I’m very excited for when it comes time for them to shine.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
This is challenging question as we’re just barely seeing the light of day from Covid but….
to answer this more generally, I love any and all rooftops, and I love small wine bars, particularly in the Echo Park/Silverlake/Downtown area of LA. I take almost all of my friends who visit LA to Vista Hermosa, which is a very small conservation park right on the outskirts of downtown that has really nice views of the city, and you might see some interesting birds. I also may or may not have forced some friends to try the charred octopus taco at Petty Cash (but seriously….it’s my favorite taco in all of LA). If I’m taking them out to some nature, I love the desert, so a daycation in Palm Springs or Joshua Tree is always a possibility!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Oh gosh! So many people come to mind!
First and foremost, my friends. My entire world is shaped by the friendships (personal and professional) I have with some truly talented and kind people. I am still friends with people from high school, and I have close friends I’ve made recently. Some I talk to everyday, others maybe once every couple of months. Some are in different states, and some live literally down the block. Regardless, ALL of them matter to me, and all of them inspire me and encourage me. Many of my friends are also creative professionals like myself, and it’s truly great to see everyone grow into our talents and our careers. Growth feels so much more rewarding when it’s shared.
I also owe a ton of my creative success to my long time mentor and friend, Gina, who saw potential in me when I was very young and opened my world up to different industries and cultures. She connected me to many of my first “real” jobs when I was starting out in my early twenties. She has also been a rock for me through tough times. I have nothing but gratefulness and admiration for her.
I’ve also had two wonderful therapists – one in my early twenties, and one in my late twenties – that have supported me not only in my career growth, but in my personal growth, and I think they need a shoutout too. I can think of many times I would have been very lost in my life if it weren’t for their guidance and support.
Adam Bawany Fritzwa Baffour