The amazing… Andrew Capener!

andrewcapener_headshotWelcome to another Inspiration & Motivation Monday! This edition features the amazing Andrew Clifford Capener, an American artist who combines making music with graphic design. And he knows how to take a photograph, too. He is best known for his band Parlor Hawk, or perhaps you have seen his beautiful designer Scrabble set around. Want to see more of his work? Check his website! Now, the man in his own words:

So, what is going on in the world of Andrew Capener at the moment?
I’ve got a couple big projects that I’m excited about. We are releasing the 2nd edition of Scrabble Typography, which I’ve spent a lot of time designing this year. The 2nd edition should be available this summer. We’ve also been working on releasing an international version of the 1st edition, available to customers around the world. The sets have only been available in North America up until now. It’s sort of quite at the moment, but I am also working heavily on a poker set that we will most likely be releasing in 2014, which I’ve been designing for months now. I’m also really excited to release a 2nd record together with Parlor Hawk. Our fans recently helped us raised over $15,000 via kickstarter to fund our upcoming record which is scheduled to release this September.

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You juggle several art forms: music, design and photography. When and why did you start practicing each of the art forms? Have you had any formal arts education?
I’ve always been interested in creative outlets of every kind. I don’t think that any creative person is interested in just one form of creativity. I am interested in music, design and art because they all adhere to the same principles: balance, contrast, communication. I can learn just as much about design by writing a song as I can designing and vise versa. Art is art no matter what medium.

Personally, I am always running out on time as I’m working on so many different art/writing/film projects. How do you find a balance between your different projects?
I find that for me I have to tackle what is pressing, first. I make a list every morning of items I need to do throughout the day and I make a goal to finish them all. Sounds ideal but I would say 95% of days I have to take care of something that wasn’t on the list that pops up. If its more important that what I am currently dealing with, then I take care of it right then and there.

Creatively however I think what is most nourishing for me is to jump from one medium to the next throughout the day. That way I don’t get tired of focusing on one thing all day. I also find that if I get stuck on something, if I go work on something completely different, that I usually find a solution when I come back to what I was working on.

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Where do you find the inspiration for your music/design/ photography? Does it differ per art form?
I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately, and I may have found the secret formula. For me the trick is the “keep my eyes open”. Basically what this means is to be present, and aware in every situation.

I find that my biggest inspirations are the objects, and people that I come in contact with. Anything can be inspiring if you allow it to.

You funded the upcoming second album of your band, Parlor Hawk, through Kickstarter. Why did you choose this method? Does it have anything to do with the freedom of not having to work with (the demands of) a label?

It has everything to do with the freedom of not working with a label. We have had a rough go with labels in the past and basically were tired of being mishandled. The truth is that we all really love the writing, recording, and playing shows and we felt

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we really didn’t need any whisperings beyond our own self motivation. Plus it’s brought us so much closer to our fans. This record is really their record. They (the fans) enabled this record, and it really will become theirs in that sense. Its been a tremendous experience for us.

Why Scrabble? 🙂
I sort of fell into the Scrabble / game thing. I redesigned a Scrabble set for a school project and posted it on my portfolio site. The internet world caught ahold of it, and a year later we had worked out a deal with Hasbro to make the concept a reality. The true revelation about the whole experience has been to see what an internet voice can accomplish. Because there was so much online demand and attention brought to the concept, Hasbro listened and made it happen. I sort of was just there to watch it all happen. Since then I’ve devoted many tireless months designing future editions and other games, and I can trace it all back to the online crowd that pushed my concept into the hands of the right people.

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What can we expect to see and hear from you in the near future? What upcoming projects do you have? Are you planning on taking up another art form?
Keep your eye out for the release of Scrabble Typography Edition 2 this summer, as well as the release of Parlor Hawk’s upcoming record in September. For those of you in New York, I’ll be speaking at the World Summit on Innovation & Entrepreneurship this October. I’ve got a couple of personal projects that I’m also really proud of that I will be announcing shortly. Sign up on my mailing list to stay posted. (link is on the scrabble page on my portfolio site).

Thanks Drew!

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