During my freshman year in college I was introduced to Steven Leibensperger, our common interest in music and art lead us to an idea to try and start a clothing company. With my resources of getting cheap blank shirts and his creative ideas it was a no brainer to dive head first into this idea. Fast forward to the present, Steven is now the only owner of Muero Apparo Clothing, and one of the graphic designers for the Crayola factory.
Let’s get the boring stuff outta the way first. (age, location, currently listening to)
Steven Guy Leibensperger, Age: 27
Location: Bethlehem, PA currently….home town of Cressona, PA!
Currently Listening to…: Deftones, Glassjaw, The Republic of Wolves, Minus the Bear
When did you start Designing?
I started designing pretty early as a child. In elementary school my best friends & I would make logos and ads for our own companies like skateboards, baseball cards, comic books, and automobiles. Then we started to make logos and designs for ourselves to promote us as skateboarders or artists…this never really went away. From there on, anything I would do, I would really try to figure out how can I design something to promote what I’m doing…or to design a logo or shirt graphic for any band I was in, especially in High school.
Do you have any formal training in the field?
Well I had a great mentor and teacher in High School, Bill Whalen, who really saw my talent and drive for doing more design style art. I always loved to paint and draw but was confused on how to make that a career with my particular style being more design oriented. So he suggested Kutztown University and to try and get into their Communication Design Program. I applied, took the art test and sent in what I needed. About 3 weeks later I got a rejection letter and was really bummed…however the next day I got an acceptance packet….haha so I called the school and they said there was some mix up…and I was in. Through the next 4 years I really learned the programs and techniques used to be a professional. I graduated in 2005 and then started working in Allentown, Doylestown, Philadelphia and now Easton.
You seem to have a lot on your plate, how do you find time for everything?
Well to be honest I have no idea…haha! I mean I guess it’s just a balancing act, that I’m still learning to manage all the time. I have a full-time job with Crayola, I’m a board member of The Lehigh Valley Arts Council, I play in 3 bands, volunteer with the Southside DBA event committee, run my own clothing company Muero Apparo, have a bunch of freelance clients and squeeze in some time for taking photos, traveling and going out with friends.
Can you tell everyone a little more about Muero Apparo?
Muero Apparo was an idea I had for a clothing company using my illustrations and graphics as well as other artists. The concept was to make art wearable and to promote artists and bands alike. I came across a friend at college who really pushed me to pursue the concept and we formed the company at the end of 2006 with 3 designs. Since then we’ve created roughly 40 designs with different artists, as well as me. We’ve also had people purchase shirts all over America as well as Europe which is just mind blowing to me since it’s still such a small concept that is based out of the Lehigh Valley. We are always looking for new artists, bands, and fans to get involved. Check it out at www.mueroapparo.bigcartel.com
What are your Inspiration/Influences?
I find inspiration from almost everything. I could be walking down the street and see a piece of graffiti or a vintage sign or be listening to a song that makes me feel a certain way…and that all goes into my creative process. I’m constantly taking photos and notes with my phone of different inspirational things that are around me each day. I feel if I don’t take a memo I may never remember them and then it’s like I wasted an idea. I would say my biggest influences would be my home town of Cressona, my friends, my favorite artists like Basquiat and Dalí, music, any professor, teacher or professional that helped guide me along this path.
Do you have a favorite piece you have worked on?
Wow…that’s a really tough one. I mean I have a lot of favorites….but I would say one that will probably forever stick out in my mind is the packaging and poster design behind Nick Meyer & The Meyer Straights debut album. At the time I played drums for the band and was particularly driven by this project because it combined a lot of my passions, such as music, illustration, photography, design, packaging, and the written word. I used the concept of each song having its own branding…take for instance the song “Away from Here” I illustrated a vintage suitcase and used photography of trains for the front of that song’s card which was all color coded. The back of each one contained the lyrics and close up obscure photos of each instrument used in that particular song.
Once the design was finished we had to construct the packaging by ourselves since the design idea I came up with would have been thousands of dollars in printing costs. So a few nights before the show the band was at Nick’s house like a little assembly line putting them all together…I’ll probably never forget that design or the whole process leading up to the show!
Are you available for freelance work? If so what is the best way to contact you?
I am always available for freelance work and depending on my schedule will never really turn down an opportunity. The best way to reach me would be by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or search for me on facebook.com/StevenGuyLeibensperger