1. What makes you laugh out loud?
My friends. Also professional comedians. Good ones. (Patton Oswalt, for example. Paul F Tompkins, Frank Conniff, and the late Bill Hicks, of course.) Numbers make me laugh. Somehow saying numbers out loud always makes me weirdly happy. Especially when it’s remembered numbers. I don’t know why. And reflexes. When my doctor does the mallet-to-the-knee bit? Cracks me up every time. I always think that my body is primarily a thing that carries my head around, so the realisation that it has its own will, and that that will involves party tricks? I think that’s pretty funny.
2. If you had to live inside a work of art, which would it be and why?
I’d like to live in the album “Purple Rain.” I’d like to live in the song “Comfortably Numb,” too. But as beautiful as that is, it’s also too depressing. The Beatles catalog is an option, but might ultimately be a bit too twee. With “Purple Rain” you have exuberance, you have pathos, you have the humor, and you have the sexy funk.
3. What is the best piece of design you've seen recently?
4. What is your favourite book?
Anything involving spaceships, preferably alien.
5. To which faults do you feel the most indulgent?
6. What is the question you ask yourself the most?
Why can’t I figure this out already?
7. Have you ever seen insanity where you later saw creativity?
I’ve seen actual insanity. To compare insanity and creativity trivializes both. Extreme creativity may strain social norms. Many creative people are eccentric. But creativity is to insanity what a jet engine is to a tornado.
8. What would you save from your burning house?
Realistically? My main hard drive. I keep my drawings in a fire safe cabinet. Fingers crossed. Emotionally, I’d try to get as much art off the walls as possible. When I was in my early teens I talked a few of my favorite illustrators into giving me some of their original drawings. I’d try to grab those first.
9. How do you deal with failure?
Not well. Not well at all. I move on from success almost instantly, but I nurse my failures forever. It’s one of the main reasons I work as hard as I do. Which is good, of course. But it also makes me crazy. I’m the TV doctor that keeps pounding the dead patient’s chest, yelling “Live, damn you! LIVE!” Which might also make me Ed Harris in The Abyss. A dire thought indeed. I’m working to be better at not taking failure so personally, but it goes very much against my instinct.
10. Do you have a creative muse?
My friends. I work to amuse and impress them. Making things is how I dance for my supper.
11. What's your favourite gadget?
The gadget that has given me the most delight over the years is still my TiVo. That said, my favorite gizmo is the iPhone, my favorite doodad is the iPod, my favorite thingamajig is a doohickey, and my favorite whatchamacallit is a horse.
12. Who in the world, dead or alive, would you most like to have lunch with?
Somebody who makes me laugh, and likes Indian food. And can we make it dinner, please? Lunch tends to be a bit early for me.
13. Which qualities do you most admire in others?
A fast and generous mind. Loyalty.
14. What's one thing that you haven't done that you would still really like to do?
Oh my! ONE thing? Learn to play the piano, learn to play guitar, write music, do something that gets me out of my head for longer than two seconds.
15. How do you know when a piece of design is complete?
When a piece is complete its stops feeling like something I made and starts feeling like something that is.
16. Can creativity save the world?
Douglas Adams used to say something along the lines of “The world doesn’t need saving, The world will be just fine after we’re gone.” Can creativity save OUR world? It does look like we’re headed for a global crisis, doesn’t it? If that’s true then creativity is the only thing that can save us. But it certainly won’t be a poster or a viral video. It’ll be an engineer somewhere who comes up with a Mr. Fusion device that completely changes how we use the resources available to us. And then that will be my favorite gadget.
17. What do you do on Sundays?
18. Summer or winter?
Spring and fall. Best foliage, best skies, best clothes.
19. What's the best creative advice you've ever received?
20. How do you feel about answering random questions like these?