Welcome to the anti-interview series. A place where good questions are off limits and dumb questions revered.

New York Times best-selling writer, artist, and speaker Mari Andrew doesn’t need to have it all figured out. In her opinion, that’s what art is for – to decipher the world around us, to lift our spirits, even to wistfully daydream – and the internet agrees. Her 1 million Instagram followers connect deeply in her daily watercolor vignettes showcasing her vulnerability and inner monologue.

Mari was kind enough to carve out some time to talk likes and dislikes, favorites and phobias, and she’s just as kind and bubbly as you’d imagine. When she’s not dominating social media, Mari travels to speak about her own creative process and how to use one’s unique personal journey when approaching artmaking. You can catch her on the road or online on Skillshare. Thank you for sharing, Mari!

And Michael B. Jordan – if you’re out there – she’s into tapas.

Featured Question

What noise does your spirit animal make?

Freelance illustrator and designer Matt Curtis has run the gamut of the art world, from organizing art shop supplies to creating bold original works for Slayer, Wu Tang Clan, Dead & Company, Andre 3000, and other enviable clients. We thoroughly enjoyed discussing kids, weddings, and inspiration, creative or otherwise.

Matt spent his undergrad years at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and graduated in 2001. He worked doing a variety of different jobs while starting his illustration career, including making commissioned portraits and even painting storefront mannequins. His first big illustration job came a couple of years later when he was hired as the staff illustrator for a now-defunct monthly humor magazine, Jest.

Matt has been working full time as an illustrator for about fifteen years, and approaches illustration in the digital age with tenacity and polish. He lives upstate with his family, stacks of drawing notebooks, piles of brushes, and his two dogs Harry and Marsha. Thank you for humoring us, Matt. (more…)

Featured Question

If you were in a heist movie, who would be your assembled team?

As an art director, Robert Fisher has created some of the most iconic album covers in music history, including the seminal and iconic “Nevermind” by Nirvana. While that may be what he is most known for, he has a long career of design work, including campaigns for Narcos on Netflix, the 50th Anniversary of Night of the Living Dead, Disney, and Playstation.

After graduating from Parsons, Robert began his career at his dream job Geffen Records. As an art director at Geffen, he created many iconic and award-winning album campaigns. In 2002, he joined forces with Diana, who had worked many years in advertising, and together they spawned Flying Fish Studio, a creative design agency based in Los Angeles that specializes in visual identities and thought-provoking design.

It was a selfish pleasure to ask Robert some seriously dumb questions and get to know the man behind the design of an album that shaped the soundtrack of our lives. Aside from that, he is extremely humble and affecting. A true artist, no matter how silly these questions may be you get a sense of the human behind the design and the day-to-day hard work.


Featured Question

What can you see from your window right now?

Join us in welcoming Beat (pronounced Bay-Ott) Baudenbacher to the DQSD family. We admit that the publishing of this interview was very delayed, but good things take time, so we are thrilled to share this with all of you.

This Switzerland-born, NYC-living design master is killing it for loyalkaspar, an agency in New York City that has done work for ESPN, Hewlett Packard, CNN, Hulu, and many more. Beat cultivated his love of art and innate sense of design Stateside and, in 2003, he and David Herbruck co-founded loyalkaspar with a vision of a hub to create, reinvent, and amplify brands through strategy, design, production, and experiential.

Beat likens his creative work to the core human impulses to hunt and to gather. Just as humans had to craft the right hunting tools, study the right climate patterns, and exhibit an openness to explore new territories, Beat argues that the creative process is no different: hunting for big ideas, gathering the smaller ones, and coming at it all with a fearless embrace of failure. (more…)

Featured Question

What’s the last thing you apologized for?

Like a sweet dream, Paul Woods came to us via a recommendation of the PR firm, Double E Communications. They were right and Paul was super fun to interview. As the CCO of Edenspiekermann, the European design company with a difficult-to-pronounce name, the sensibility is to lean toward a penchant for out-of-the-box design-thinking methodologies, which fits perfectly into the mold of Dumb Questions.

Paul, who is obsessed with user-centric design and an outspoken promoter of digital innovation, leads the firm’s Los Angeles team. In his spare time, Paul is the co-founder Adloids, a satirical publication he co-created, almost like ‘The Onion’ for design and advertising, and author of “How To Do Great Work Without Being An Asshole”.

At Edenspiekermann, he advocates for asshole-free agencies, working on a number of social-based/community design projects to tell stories to a wider audience. Paul’s playfulness was a perfect fit for our series, and we did not want to hang up the phone.  (more…)

Featured Question

What is the best board game to flip over in anger?

We’ve experienced time and again that it’s all about timing (see what we did there?), especially with Dumb Questions. James Olstein has been on our list for a while, but when we saw that he illustrated the theme graphic for this August’s CreativeMornings, we knew it was kismet.

Aside from being a lauded illustrator, designer and all around good dude, James and his wife are also expecting their first child (probably when this interview comes out). That kid has big shoes to fill, because James has done incredible for work for a wide range of clients, including BBC, Boston Globe, Scientific American, and much more. Speaking of timing, James has a kids book coming out on September 6th from his Odd Science series, called Amazing Inventions.

We wish James and his growing family all the luck and blessings in the world. We hope one day his kid reads this silly article and laughs. (more…)

Featured Question

Would you rather drown in coffee grounds or cat hair?

A graphic designer and illustrator based in Seattle, Victor Melendez is originally from Mexico City, but after studying electrical engineering for two years he realized it wasn’t his calling. Victor relocated to the beautiful Pacific Northwest and got a BFA in graphic design from Cornish College of the Arts.

With the spirit of an art director and the eye of a muralist, Victor focuses on work that draws you in and makes you think. He has produced work for SubPop, Starbucks, and more than we can name here.

Victor loves baseball, beer, and thai food. He also loves producing amazing work. We found Victor through our West Coast beer contacts and we couldn’t be more thrilled that he agreed to do our dumb interview. (more…)

Featured Question

Where’s the strangest place you’ve peed?

Originally hailing from the Pacific Northwest, Courtney Macca, visionary designer and illustrator, currently lives in “the heart of Atlanta” where she works as a graphic designer for a marketing team by day, and focuses on freelancing, hand lettering and illustration at night.

Courtney, a self proclaimed lover of typography, illustration, and branding, is constantly creating new designs to be viewed by the world. In her spare time (though it’s hard to believe she has any), Courtney spearheads an Atlanta-based monthly lettering Meetup group called ATLphabet.

One of the projects that sticks out to us is Courtney’s 100 Days of 15 Minute Faces, where she worked for 15 minutes each day to create a person’s face, sometimes based off of fictional characters, famous people, or people in her life, using her Wacom tablet, photoshop, and occasional reference photos.

We’re so glad Courtney found the time to join us for our DQSD series! (more…)

Featured Question

What’s your uncle’s name?

Anna Laytham is a designer, illustrator and artist residing in Brooklyn, New York, whose focus shifts from digital, ui/ux, and app design, to print design, illustration, sculpture, character design, comics, zines, prints, product design (physical & digital), and pretty much anything else that is interesting and challenging. Anna may not dig our pop culture questions, but interviewing her sure was fun.

She has made a name for herself designing major book covers, and her client list reads like a litany of who’s who in a myriad of businesses and organizations. She has done work for Pepsi, GE, Brisk, MSNBC, The TODAY Show, AMP Energy, The White House, Ben & Jerry’s, Makerbot Industries, Simon & Schuster and Penguin Random House.

On top of all that, and producing an art show in Berlin, Anna was a former adjunct professor at the School of Visual Arts, where she also graduated with a BFA in Graphic Design. When free, which isn’t often, she enjoys building things, using her hands, and learning about the Universe. (more…)

Featured Question

How do you feel about sandwiches made with the ends of loaves of bread?

As an illustrator and musician from Illinois, Johnnie Cluney wears a lot of hats, metaphorically. He may be best known for his hand-drawn artist portraits for the Daytrotter sessions (he has fashioned close to 10,000 of them, according to his estimates), but he also used to play in a ton of bands, such as American Dust, Mondo Drag, Quiet Bears, and Romantic and the Sirens. He will be releasing his debut solo album later this year.

In addition to recently illustrating a children’s book, he somehow found the time to let us ask him some seriously dumb questions. Cluney took on the tall task of creating the downtown Davenport ‘Welcome’ sign, which highlights the city, and he describes as ‘mind blowing’.

For all his hard work in design, illustration, and music, Johnnie is mainly a husband and a father. While doing this interview, we could hear his family running around in the background. For the man who finds time for everything, we are super thankful he found time to answer these silly questions, probably while painting and definitely being a working dad on top of it all. (more…)

Featured Question

Have you ever eaten something in a bathroom?

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The Complete Series of Interviews