5 question Interview series with HDW

High Desert Wanderer is a Blog that focuses on graphic design, personal views and random mutterings. I was attracted to this blog because of the Faces of Iraq series on photography, and then Photoshop and graphic design tips kept me coming back. Be sure to cross post this interview so other people can find this wanderer.

1) Why blog? How did you get started with blogging?
Due mostly to chance, I’ve tended to work with people who are non-designers, some older, but mostly younger. I’ve also tended to work with people who’ve spent most if not all of their lives in very urban areas of the East Coast. While I can work well with just about anyone, I find that we have little in common outside of our work to talk about. Over time I came to find this a little stifling. I started blogging in September of 2004 as a way of expressing myself.

2) Is the practice of blogging developing your graphic design skills?
More than anything the process of blogging has helped clarify my thoughts on graphic design and other subjects. I’ve found that it has been useful as a form of intellectual exercise. The process of sitting down and writing about something forces me to consider a subject as a whole rather than the bits and pieces I’ve picked up over time. My opinions and ideas about graphic design haven’t changed a lot, but they are clearer, and I can express them more clearly to my clients and coworkers.
The process of designing and maintaining my own site has also been beneficial. It lets me experiment in ways that I wouldn’t do for a paying client. It’s my site and I can crash it if I want to.

3) How do you use creativity in your life? How do you include it in your day to day work? Does your work feel like playing?
My work often does feel like playing, and my playing sometimes feels like work. I really enjoy the production process of graphic design. I actually quit a reasonably well paying Art Director position about two and a half years ago partially because I wanted to get back to the hands on process of graphic design.
I express myself creatively on a day to day basis. I take a lot of photographs, a few of which I have published on my site, and I paint and sculpt as well. My education was actually in Fine Art rather than graphic design.
My wife and I have remodeled one house completely and are working on our second. The first house included a lot of carpentry which I very much enjoyed. The current house has a lot more landscaping involved, and I’ve been enjoying as well.
I mentioned my playing sometimes feels like work. One of my creative exercises this last year or so has been building rock walls. I’ve currently built two dry fit rock walls in my yard from rocks I’ve found on the property. Very strenuous work, but rewarding as well, and they look great.

4) You have postings of photographs of the Iraq war; can you tell us how the media affects your view on current politics?
They’ve caused great frustration more than anything. I’ve been in some aspect of the publishing business for more than a decade. If I was to do the sort of sloppy work I’ve seen on network news and in the mainstream media lately I would no longer be working in this field. This recent controversy about the Qana photos is a good example. The news networks get a controversial story, and publish it. When the authenticity of the story comes into question, they don’t follow up. It’s bad for our country, it’s bad for the industry, and it’s bad for the individual networks. They are quickly loosing any semblance of integrity. They are becoming just another political pawn to be maneuvered.

5) Can you give us an explanation of why you chose High Desert Wanderer as your blogging title/name? Also, that is a great photograph in your title bar. Is that you? And is that a true moment or a graphic designer completed work?
I grew up in central Washington State. My first paying job was driving cattle on horse back. I also broke horses to help pay for college. I spent a good part of my youth literally wandering around the high desert country of that beautiful state on horseback. That aspect of my life defined who I am more than anything else.
The picture was taken by me for a college photography class, but it isn’t of me. It is however, my hat, jacket, and duffle bag in the photo. The subject of the photograph was a college roommate of mine who agreed to get up at the crack of dawn and pose for the photo. I took it with 35mm slide film and it is mostly unedited. I did extend the color slightly to the left to better fit the header. The right half of the image is original; the left half has been extended. The streaking on the left side was in the original, but I extended it about 20 percent or so. I’m also very fond of the repeating image down the left side. That is a tiled image of the tooling in my father’s saddle. I inherited the saddle when my father passed away in 2001 and it is one of the most beautiful pieces of craftsmanship I’ve ever had the honor of owning.
I did post a photo of myself a few days ago, but I didn’t identify myself in the post.