We had the good fortune of connecting with Guy Glikshtein and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Guy, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
8 years ago I left the biggest love of my life, a music label I started and a design business. Friends and family. I guess I felt that even tho I had all these amazing things, I had more to explore within myself, so I decided to move to LA. Ultimately, my “work” dictated my decisions more than my “life”. I personally don’t like the concept of work\life balance. Deep down I feel like a work\life balance directly implies a bad\good balance. Work, as mandatory boredom and monotony. Life, as the light at the end of the tunnel that saves you from the stress of work. It’s a “I Hate Mondays” and TGIF mentality. At the end of the day, I am what I do. I’m lucky enough to know what brings me comfort and a sense of fulfillment, and even more lucky to be able to make a living from it. I’m also blessed with the passion of a 5 year old when it comes to getting excited about the small things. When I was a skater, the whole world became a skating spot. Every random rail, set of stairs or curb on the street triggered my imagination in this new set of rules I was examining the world through. There’s something in being a skater that completely engulfs your thinking, you stop looking at things as what they are on the surface level but how they relate to you thru this set of goggles. And I think that mentality carried into everything else I did in life. Once I started making beats, a random set of sounds became a melody and every sound became a sample. When I started using 3D work in my designs, life became like an acid trip. All of a sudden I get stuck investigating the details that make up the world around me and try to figure out why things look the way they do, so I could then bring it into my own work. In that sense, even when I don’t literally sit and work, what I experience goes into my work in different forms of inspiration. Therefore, my work is drawn from my life, and my life is enriched by my work. So I can’t really separate the two. Maybe it helps me from sinking into depression or anxiety, maybe it stems from a lack of certain social skills. And if this mentality changes, I’ll welcome the change. But as long as I wake up with a smile everyday and am too excited to go to sleep til I’m completely exhausted, I know I’m doing the right thing.
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.
What I do really changed over the last decade. I come from graphic design and I always felt like graphic design is often boxed into a stale, corporate, vain type of work. What really shifted my view on what I do is learning about graphic design history and reading the 1964 First Things First manifesto (and the newer version in 1999), which essentially stated how graphic design has more important cultural impacts than designing dog food and diaper packaging. The way I understood it, what separated graphic designers from other modern artists is that designers were focused on how their work is being perceived by an ever-changing world. The late 19th and early 20th centuries had technological innovations that changed relationships between cultures around the world, and graphic design tried to form a visual language that expressed that change. The interesting thing is that we’re are still deeply witnessing that change. That mentality still applies to this day. That’s when I started embracing a slightly more philosophical view of the world and tried to figure out how my work expresses what’s changing around me, which eventually led me to get into new forms of visual expression – especially coding and 3D. At my deepest moments I created codes that converted social-network activity into music which was played by a personalized speaker, or designed furniture that created visual artifacts for you to use in your design work. Nowadays I’m mainly interested in new aesthetics, and new inspirations. My visual work can be inspired by scientific research, interior design magazines or movies I watch. My tools are mostly digital, and I like to emphasize that digital feel and to embrace their digital flaws. I feel like that’s the language of our times, and I like to explore its essence. It’s a form of working where you, in a way, collaborate with the computer. It’s inherently perfect, yet absurdly non-existent as it exists only as a visual representation of a binary code. It’s almost a theoretical, or a suggestive working space, and I feel like many times I end up in surrealistic, dreamy, epic or absurd scenes.
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.
I’d probably take them around to meet some of my friends. I feel like LA is mostly interesting because of the type of people it attracts which forms incredible underground cultures. I’d take them to Firmé, a fashion house in downtown run by my two brothers from another mother, Paul and Eric. They build custom, handmade garments for fashion designers and do their own designs as well. Inspiring stuff. I’ll also take them to Beat Lab Academy in Eagle Rock, a contemporary music production school with incredible energy. It’s run by my other brother from another mother, Yeuda Ben-Atar, one unique motherf****r who can MacGyver his way into anything with a laptop and Ableton Live. Other than that, go hang out with the homie Sam in Santa Monica, I love that dude. Goes by Samiyam and makes incredible music. Go grab some Taco-Zone with Cha and Liam, grab some Israeli food with Liza. Covid aside, LA has the most third-wave coffeeshops that make the best espressos in the world and really good simple yet high-end food. Definitely we’ll go drink some espressos and have a deconstructed breakfast burrito. LA also has really good Molly, so perhaps do a little Molly and go grab a drink at the GoldLine bar under the Stones Throw headquarters in Highland Park and meet some of LA’s finest people. Also, the mandatory hike in Griffith Park. Cuz why drive hours to the countryside when you can have a whole natural park inside the city.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Definitely my parents first. Without my mom encouraging me to pay attention to the depth of art and music I would’ve never felt the need to start creating anything, which would lead me to revolve my whole life around creation. Without my dad I would’ve never understood the power of extreme consistency, determination and passion for what you do in life. The power of doing what you do to the 1000th percentage, day in and day out. All that while keeping a cool-headed mentality and taking everything with a smile. Beyond that, there’s a few artists who had a huge influence on me and how I do what I do. The biggest one is probably Madlib. The LA based, hardest working producer in Hip-Hop, focused completely on his music, creating literally hundreds of thousands of beats and trying different genres under many different monikers. To me he felt like the type of artist of wanted to put the music in the spotlight while personally avoiding the spotlight, and I related to that immensely. Also, one of the reasons why I chose LA as the destination to explore. And definitely a lot of my friends but mostly Dabo and Yuv, two phenomenal musicians in Israel with whom we formed an environment of endless creation and relentless passion towards being left-field and feeling comfortable in it. That was incredibly important to me in my late teens and early 20’s as it helped form a solid ground for what was developing inside of me. Helped me feel comfortable in letting out what I formed inside and solidify myself as who I am today.
Other: My youtube channel has upcoming tutorials on animation and design. My BigCartel website has some posters you can buy.
Firmé posters designed with Paul Um