We had the good fortune of connecting with Paul Garber and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Paul, what habits do you feel helped you succeed?
Always try to have a good attitude. There are so many factors you can’t control, you might make mistakes, you might not have exactly the right portfolio or the right experience, but you can always go into a situation with good energy. If a project is a train wreck or the plug gets pulled on something you worked hard on, you can still take away everything you learned, you might still get to use everything you did some time in the future. At the end of the day you get to make a living creating art, and that’s pretty wonderful.
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 feel like it took me forever to get a foothold and find a direction with my career. Before I found my path in marketing I had worked as a theatrical set designer, a wedding photographer, IT / Server admin and a million other odd jobs. Eventually it was a benefit that I had these experiences to pull from but at the time it was just incredibly frustrating feeling like I didn’t have any real direction. When I was applying for my first art director position I spent so much time polishing my portfolio, working on my cover letter and resume, practicing for my interview and after all that all they cared about was one small project I had almost cut out. The project was an HTML 5 animation of an interactive spinning wheel promoting an event. This was when Flash was finally on it’s way out the door and the some client of the agency I was interviewing at really wanted web animations. I don’t even think they looked at the piece, the guy interviewing me just said “Oh you can do HTML 5? When can you start, is tomorrow good?”. Over the years I’ve found I really enjoy doing a little bit of everything. When a new project comes up or a new opportunity arises I usually have something up my sleeve that fits the bill.
Working in a variety of different fields is also important since lines between disciplines are getting more and more blurred. A piece of print marketing may tie into a particular user experience design on an app. When you create a video you may also have to re-imagine it as an interactive piece and have it work for those two different audiences. I love that every day has new interesting challenges to figure out. Even if you do want to stick to one particular discipline it may change so drastically you may not recognize it in a few years. If you’re in a creative field, you can’t just learn to accept change, you have to really enjoy it.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Well at the time of writing I’ve been in quarantine for over a year, so I’m going to have to really think back to pre-pandemic life. I really love all the weird little gems in the bay area; bronze plaques installed by guerilla artists commemorating events that never happened, the best hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurants, secret spots with views overlooking the water that you can only get to by ignoring “no trespassing” signs. I can’t even remember quite where most of these places are, but getting lost and maybe never finding them is really half the fun. Failing all that, Samurai Sushi in Oakland is just amazing, and I literally cannot wait to go back. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
So much of where I am today I owe to my amazing wife. Before I met Nicole I feel like I just sort of wandered from one experience to another. I would try a lot of different things but I never felt like it mattered if they failed, I was never fully invested. Finding the person you want to spend the rest of your life with means you have to really think about the rest of your life and make sure that it’s a journey that they will be glad they took with you. I am so lucky to find someone so talented and kind, who inspires me and lifts me up every day.