My work straddles the line between creative and academic disciplines and that fact usually prompts questions. Here are some of the most common ones I hear.
Rhetoric, Communication, and Information Design. In simplest terms, I study the nature of creative communication. I want to know how people make things on digital surfaces. I am especially interested in how that creativity can breathe life into all communities (not just those with money).
If you look at my education history closely you may see a pattern. I have always been interested in communicating. I started with the question of language and communication as an undergrad. I wanted to know how to communicate. I turned to religion and philosophy because they they introduced a new wrinkle. They taught me to ask what are language and communication? As I pressed deeper into these ideas, I resurfaced with a greater appreciation for my natural design gifts and creative talents. Along the way, and in my work history, I honed these into practical communicative skills . Now, I want to bring all of these elements together in order to give shape to ideas, visions, and dreams. When I seek out a job opportunity, I am looking to see If I can serve an organization by bringing my personal mission into alignment with that institution's expressed goals. In the end, I want to collaborate on making life better in some small way. This can all sound very vague and indirect if you do not take a moment to look at my actual work. You can do that here, or there.
“Informing” should mean more than transferring content from one person to another. It means shaping both the content of that communication and the people involved. It means creating ideas as much as organizing them. The best way to see this to observe the term itself. Informing describes a process of “going into" and that movement changes something or someone. My specific research focuses on the digital aspects of that change. I think of myself as a kind of information architect.
Information architecture is actually an outdated term. It has given way to the much more popular “user-experience design.” I retrieve the old term because it accurately describes the kind of thinking involved in design. I survey the material landscape and project, draw out, and craft arrangements that might enable new forms of life and experience. Architecture, as a whole, is defined by this kind of synthetic thinking. After all, this is what “tectonic” means: joining.
Many designers only commit to technical tools and rarely approach conceptual issues. I want to center my skills around critical reflection. Theory is not mere "head stuff." It is a way of seeing things. I spend time thinking through lines, shapes, and letters in hopes of seeing new routes for informational construction. In other words, theory opens new questions and guides technical decisions.
I love the mountains. My ancestry begins just a few miles from where I live now. I grew up in the foothills of the Smokies and have always admired their permanence and age. These hills have fostered diverse creativity in jam, poetry, banjos, and clogging. At some point, creativity receded in the face of fabrication. Those crafts and heirlooms became punchlines in the industrial era. And—while Appalachia does have deep problems and painful memories for many—I identify those very issues with the loss of creativity. So, I try to recover it in this the digital age.
I like drawing but I am not too keen on photos. Sure, I appreciate the complexity of the craft but the drawn line, typographic symbols, and shape language drive my visual sensibility.
Everyone loves playing with their kids. I watch sports but mostly to bicker and complain about logical inconsistencies. I goof around on the guitar. I am a glutton for conversation. Critically, I only drink Tennessee whiskeys (bourbon = Kentucky...which means: no thanks).