Not long into my freshman year at the Maryland Institute, College of Art, I was lucky enough to meet Justin Winslow, who was a bright burst of color in my world. We became fast friends, going out dancing at the Hippo in Baltimore, taking late-night walks to the City Diner, and of course, sharing our art with one another. Our work was very different — me a Fiber major doing some ‘art-school-esqe’ performance art, and Justin an illustration major who created amazing illustrations, some of which I even got to star in. He nicknamed me the flower doodler, because that’s all I seemed to be able to illustrate :). There was never a doubt in my mind that Justin would become a force in the illustration world after graduation. He has worked for clients like Animal Planet, Cartoon Network, HBOfamily, HGTV, MTV, Nickelodeon and PBSkids. Just take a look at his portfolio and you’ll see what I mean.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your creative medium.
I’m a full time graphic designer by day at Noise New York. When I’m not creating digital illustrations or infographics at work, I like to unwind at home in my room/art studio in Brooklyn, New York. Usually, “unwinding” might involve some wine and some new ink brush pens, microns, and watercolor paints. By day I’m digital, by night I’m hands on. Either way it’s a fun challenge to arrive at something visually compelling.
How long have you had your space and how does it affect your creative process?
I’ve always had a personal home working space since college. I can’t imagine living without one. I’d be a mess. If I didn’t have my own space I think I’d go crazy. It’s my safe haven.
Are there any kind of rituals you do before you start creating?
I have my ways of unwinding, usually it involves a little self meditation and listening to music or enjoying just sitting around and goofing off and wasting time. I get the best ideas when I’m happy and enjoying a diversion. For me it can’t be all work, work, work, work. There needs to be inspiration breaks.
Is there anything you like to listen to while you’re working?
I’m a big fan of working to music. It can totally color the tone of what you’re creating, but I don’t mind that at all. In fact, it helps me to be versatile and enter a new style if the music seems to match it. I usually just do a playlist shuffle on Rdio.com. I also love reading to inspire ideas for concepts or stories. I’m a big devourer of New Yorker cartoons.
Is there any special trinket in your space that inspires you?
I got a big yellow and red ceramic skull bottle filled with tequila from my family. It sits on my shelf. I’m looking forward to drinking it one day. I also bought a really swell orange amoeba plush toy. It always makes me smile. If my room caught on fire, I’d definitely be remiss if I didn’t rescue the unicorn and robot
figurines a fan made for me. I was really touched.
If you had a couple hundred dollars to improve your space, what would you do?
I’d probably take the plunge and buy that fancy Cintiq computer tablet for my home studio. I’m ready to graduate to a screen I can draw directly on.
What advice do you have for people who want to make a personal space where they can be creative?
Solitude is important. Sometimes, it’s the only time you can really concentrate. Keep order in your space but don’t overly police the cleanliness. Sometimes ordered chaos is better. Also flat drawers or shelves for storage is important, because as you start to create, things accumulate.
Any new projects you’re working on?
As of right now, I’m developing a new comic that I hope to put out there soon. You can see all my other recent projects at justinwinslow.com
Thanks for sharing your beautiful space, Justin! I look forward to seeing what you’ll do next!