Identity is Everything


An Interview with Graphic Designer & Vinyl Artist, Jorge Oswaldo.

What has been your biggest challenge as an artist/designer?

My biggest challenge is balancing my time being both an artist & a designer. I think the best work I do usually involves handmade elements combined with good design. When you’re an “artist” it’s more about the expression and experimentation with different ideas and mediums. Whereas with design, it’s much more about consideration of a specific goal or audience and the execution so it has to be edited and reduced. To work as both a designer and artist efficiently, you have to focus and plan out a lot of your time.

What is the message that you hope to convey through your work?

I always wanted my work to connect to a broader audience no matter what the medium. Whether it’s through painting, sculpture or even through skins. I enjoy when people can connect with my ideas. Doing designs on skins has allowed me to reach a much broader audience.

How old were you when you first realized your artistic talent, and how long was it before you knew that this was what you wanted to do for a living?

I started drawing when I was about 10 years old, but it didn’t really get serious till I got into Mundelein High School. My school had a really great art department. The teachers there were all really amazing and they constantly pushed us to do more and seek out new opportunities. Pretty much after that, I really didn’t look back. Art became a part of who I was. It was in my DNA to make stuff. There was never a moment in my upbringing that I could ever see myself not doing something creative with my life.

Playing off of that last question, if you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?

Okay, so not as exciting as you would expect, but I’d be sitting in a room somewhere just thinking. Lately I’ve been doing a lot more thinking about what the next project or art piece might be. Some people call it meditation, I like to call it spacing out. I’m always one step ahead of myself. The artwork that results is just a tangible, visual expression of all the thoughts in my head. I like to think. I’d be sitting on a rock somewhere just sitting and thinking – but it would be a cool rock. So yeah, probably that, oh, and probably traveling the world. I’d be on an exotic rock, somewhere cool, thinking.

On your blog,, you posted one of your more recent works; a ‘branded self-portrait.’ First, I’d like to mention that it’s awesome and I loved the colors you chose. But more importantly, what are the brands/logos you included, and why are they representative of you as a whole?

I decided to create a “self-portrait” using the brands that I associate with the most: Nike, Starbucks,Stüssy, Facebook, Redbull, Apple and Coca-Cola. I got to thinking about how people are so often defined by the clothes they wear, products they buy, foods they eat and brands they associate themselves with. I work for a street-wear company and it’s really interesting to see how the clothes and associations represent an image of who people are. In working with fashion, I get to see how fast we go through images and graphics, use and reuse them and then discard them so quickly. People are constantly searching for an identity. The brands that represent me in this piece tell my story. I am a young modern dude (Facebook), who probably works a lot (Stüssy) and burns through a lot of energy (Red Bull, Coca-Cola and Starbucks), and cares about fitness… or at least wants people to think that (Nike). You would also gather that I am probably into computers and more so, that I do some type of creative work (Apple). It’s an abstract representation of who I am, or portray myself to be. In reality, it’s simply abstract symbols – maybe even just a small corner or sliver of that symbol. Though somehow it’s remarkably recognizable and instantly defining.

Skins are just another extension of a similar kind of personal expression. It represents the kind of person they are or want to be. It’s the same way people say that T-shirts are walking billboards. Identity is everything.

In daily life, what are the types of things that inspire you?

The things that inspire me tend to be pretty basic; colors, music, pattern, rhythm.

What would you consider to be your biggest, most memorable and meaningful project, to date?

I’m always working bigger in idea and in scope. My latest work, “F U”, my most recent piece, is a 9-ft tall Facebook “F”. The giant logo sculpture is 1 inch taller than the tallest human being that ever lived and is both a representation and a warning. A Trojan horse of sorts, it encompasses all of the themes that I am currently working with: Identity in brands, seduction, social media and hyper-modernism, among others. It also has a sound element that further engages the viewer. The Social Network movie soundtrack is slowed down to 800% and is played from the inside of the “F”. The resulting sound is a loud, booming ethereal noise that is almost meditative. It’s a giant loud speaker that subliminally forces the viewer to slow down, look and listen and truly have an experience with the Facebook logo on a physical level. That being said, if anyone knows Mark Zuckerberg, tell him to call me – I have a sculpture for him!

How do you decide which designs you are going to turn into skins?

I try to create designs that my 11-year-old nephew and 8-year-old niece would think is cool. They are my best critics.

Depending on how detailed a particular design is the answer to this question will vary. But in general, how long would you say it takes to actually create and finalize a design once you’ve come up with a vision for it?

It really depends on how complicated it is. Sometimes it will take just a few hours or sometimes a few days at most. Some of my clusters, which originated from actual original artworks, are heavily layered and complex. Those I think took me the most time because I really think about the color ways and how the shapes play on each other.

Out of all the skins you’ve designed for Skinit, which is your favorite and why?

I haven’t made it yet. I’m always a work in progress.

It is the year 2020. Where are you and what are you doing?

Designing a skin for the 5th generation hover-board, steadily working on my art, creating designs for personalized anything and everything. Cars, clothes and appliances now have personal on-demand customization. I’m in a world that is perfectly saturated with color and personality.

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Categories: Q&A with Designers


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4 Comments on “Identity is Everything”

  1. September 29, 2011 at 6:46 pm #

    so nice.

    • September 29, 2011 at 8:14 pm #

      Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it.. 🙂

  2. Dina Aguirre
    September 30, 2011 at 2:21 am #

    I know you going to be an artist since your were a little boy, You mama

  3. October 1, 2011 at 4:53 pm #

    So Awesome cousin!! You are so creatively talented and driven! Keep at it 🙂

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