After a short break, the Summer Interview Series is back for Round 2! This week, we’re featuring Eric Nyffeler of Doe-Eyed. After discovering Eric’s work through a friend earlier this summer,Â I noticed that he just so happens to be based out of Lincoln, Nebraska…which the honorary-Nebraskan in me loves. Doe-Eyed’s gig posters have been featured in numerous magazines and blogs including Print, HOW, and For Print Only, and also honored by both the AIGA and Addy Awards. Eric was kind enough to participate in this year’s interview series, so without further ado…
Many claim that cutting edge design only happens in the big cities such as San Francisco, Chicago, Minneapolis, New York, etc. Yet there seems to be a growing design scene in the Heartland (Design Ranch, Tad Carpenter and Hammerpress of my hometown, Kansas City, spring to mind). What are your thoughts on this? Have you felt being located in Nebraska has affected your career for better or worse?
I think the design scene in the Midwest is very focused on craft and tangible creations. There are more screen-printing and letterpress shops and handmade paper mills than I can count. While some people might argue that letterpress and screen-printing are hardly CUTTING EDGE, I’d argue the cyclical nature of art has pushed handmade objects back to the foreground. We’re all so fucking tired of Flash animations and animated websites and Youtube videos. However, the other side of the coin is that all that technology that we’re already grown so sick of has also helped level the design playing field across America. No one really cares that I’m in Nebraska or thinks I’m any less “hip” than any Los Angelan. I’m also not going to scoff at how much cheaper the cost of living is in the good ol Heartland.
You just had a show open in Chattanooga, TN on the 6th. Do you have any advice for others hoping to exhibit their work?
Kiss people’s asses and then talk shit behind their backs. Every artist does it…seriously! Or if that approach doesn’t work for you, try the opposite approach and try to make a lot of friends with people. I’ve had people tell me that I’m really good at “networking” but I can’t help but feel repulsed by the negative connotation of that word. I’d prefer to think I’m making genuine connections with people I actually like…rather than just numbers I can link to on the internetz.
You describe yourself as “strictly a print designer and staunchly against advertising”. How do your gig posters fit into that? Would you consider them advertising, or more as art prints?
Well, that phrase is kind of just a bit of fun, smart-assery…kind of… While a lot of my gig posters are actually used to promote shows and technically count as advertising, about half of them are used strictly as merchandise/memorabilia items. I guess my quote is just a bit more of a barb aimed at giant ad firms that work with giant clients…companies with names like John, Paul, George and Associates. Some people really seem to get off on making work for giant companies like Pepsi or Old Spice or Kanye West…and more power to them if that’s what they enjoy. I guess I just personally prefer working with smaller, more personal clients and actually creating objects and products that people truly desire. Diff’rent strokes for diff’rent folks.
Since you live in Lincoln, NE, it’s hard to avoid any talk of the Cornhuskers. Are you a college football fan? And what is it like to work in a college town?
Ugh. I hate football…especially Nebraska football. It really brings the whole town to a complete deadlock every game day. I honestly try to not even leave my house on game days! I guess it’s an excuse to stay home and work?