For this week’s interview we sit and chat with the owner of UneekGrafix, Christopher Magruder and talk to him about the business of art and photography. Chris was also cool enough to offer up a discount code that allows you 20% off any design or photography work! Simply email Chris at [email protected] and mention code IATTUG for 20% off any of his services!
Could you start by telling us a little bit about yourself? (name, age, > education, the basics!)
Christopher Magruder, 30, BFA Graphic Design, Designs under the name of UneekGrafix.
So when did you first realize your passion for the arts and what really drew you to it?
Somewhere between eighth grade and freshman year in school. I was really into graffiti, handstyles, hip hop, djing …..the whole subculture. I had always been big into drawing and graphic design just seemed like the next step.
You are both a photographer and an designer, do you find it tough juggling both aspects and is their a side that your prefer more?
Not at all. Actually I find that they work rather nicely together. Its kind of a left-brain, right-brain type of situation. Working with one has helped me work better in the other. I think that it has helped me become more successful in both.
You have worked with a pretty wide range of clients anywhere from huge companies such as Wrigley and Volvo to upstart companies. Do you prefer working on those big clients or helping the little guys establishing
I like the little guys. I like the whole interaction with a start-up. Working together from the initial idea and helping someone create their “big idea” is something that really inspires me to keep working. It is a very gratifying feeling knowing that I helped someone take an idea or thought and turn it into something tangible.
On the flip side it’s always nice to get a big client like the aforementioned because they always have huge resources, project scopes and of course budgets.
So did you go to school or get any formal training in the arts or are you self taught?
BFA in graphic design and some photo classes through school. That’s about it. No specialty art school or private classes. Just me, my sketch book, headphones and a mac.
What have been some of your favorite projects to work on?
Any branding project. I love logos. I love designing them. I love when you can take someone’s idea and create a visual representation of their thoughts. I guess if I had to pick one project for each of the avenues it would go like this.
Brands – I really enjoyed the PetFoto logo design project. Which as it turns out was an unused concept from a previous project. After some cleaver editing and some reworking of elements it turned into one of my favorite logos I have designed. Its fun, memorable and clever. Exactly what a good logo is supposed to portray.
Bands – I recently worked with group called Me,The Mirror for some promo photos. Now a while back the front man of the band was in another band I worked with so it was one of those return client/new band things. We really enjoyed the first go around and the second was no different. The guys in the band are great and their music is even better. Ohh yea the photos didn’t tunr out that bad too.
What is one thing you hate about being and artist and one thing you love?
The hours…. and the hours.
I work both contracted jobs and personal freelance with UneekGrafix so somedays seem to never end. 40+ hours on contracts plus client work gets to be tough. But I love what I do and it’s what keeps me getting up every morning. Well, that and my lovely wife and dog too.
One thing that I have noticed is most of the successful artist, photographers and designers have in common is they know how to market themselves and their product. What do you do to set yourself apart from the competition?
I have ridiculous low pricing and I try to give my clients the biggest bang for their buck. But beer and pizza is not the best form of payment. I try and keep my overhead low with projects, which helps me keep my costs low on the client side. Plus when I start a project with a new client I’m really not looking to get into a “one and done” type of situation. I want to build long lasting relationships with my clients and I want to see them succeed. Nothing makes me happier than when a satisfied client call back to discus a new project.
Now for some rapid fire questions!!!
One word that describes you:
Uneek! Or Reliable
Biggie or 2pac?
Notorious (sung in a high falsetto)
Road Construction. That’s a season, right?
Humm. (insert shameless self promotion?)
Thanks a ton for your time! Any last minute announcements or shout outs?
Yes if your a band and your looking for high quality, professional design and photography and you mention that your an IATT reader you get special discounted pricing. Get at it!