Designer, Animator, and Videographer at Wide Awake Films
I sit down with multi-talented designer, musician, videographer, animator, and all-around cool dude Jim Button to discover what gets him groovin and inspires the designs he makes.
Tara: So Jim, you are a designer, animator, videographer, and musician. Is there one of those mediums you prefer over the other?
Jim: I would say I enjoy all of them about the same. Various projects bring out different aspects of my creativity, they each feed a different type of catharsis. Music is definitely more emotionally driven than my design work. Music is also great because it’s a pure representation of me, it doesn’t have to fit into any catagory, there are no rules.
Tara: Where have you worked and what type of work have you done? Jim: I started out doing mostly simple print work, type setting forms and designing forms, kinda lame. Then I went to Arnold Imaging where I was for about three years, which was 3d animation. We’d have to build 3d models out of drawings from architects and make them look really realistic, so they could use them for marketing. Then I went freelance for almost a year, before I got hired at Wide Awake Films, which is where I’m at now. It’s a small studio, about eleven of us. Half of it’s historical, documentary style film production, and then the other half is commercial, where I do full on animation. Sometimes I’m just doing design, like t-shirt designs, cd, or dvd covers for different projects. It kinda runs the gamut. We also do visual effects work. They’ll be a film shot that we need an explosion in, or we need to remove a rip from somebody’s clothing, or greenscreen footage of somebody where we need to composite them into a whole different world. Everyday the work is a little different, so it’s interesting.
Tara: So what are you creating at your work right now? What’s your day to day?
Jim: I’m working on a spot for a dairy farmer’s association. It’s a fun project because it’s basically my whole style where its bright colored illustration work, and little characters that I’ve made and animate. It’s always really fun to get to draw all day. I have a lot of freedom with them, and the client is really cool in that way. It’s cool when you can find people and they say, yes we love it, we trust you, just do what you want to do. A lot of time there’s really strict branding that we have to adhere to. It’s nice with people who are willing to let you go to town with it, and just say, as long as our logos on it.
Tara: Is there anything in your career that you feel like you really want to do, or a certain project you hope to accomplish?
Jim: I’d love to do more album covers, or posters. Just to work with bands that I really love. To work with some band I really love and feel like, “oh man, I can’t believe I’m designing this album cover!” I like the artist Leif Podhajsky; he did all the Tame Impala covers. That seems like the life to me. He has a very particular style, and everybody tries to rip him off, but he just gets it. He’s a modern artist that I look up to.
“I love all the stuff from the sixties and seventies. Half of it’s illegible, but that’s the point. It’s like they just wanted to mess with you to see if you were cool enough to know what was up, and I dig that.”
Tara: What music gets you deep into the creative zone?
Jim: I just got some new stuff. The new Allah Las record that just came out is really good, “Calico Review.” I go back to my ole favorites, The Stones. I like to put on a good Stones record, like the mid era stuff, “Satanic Majesties Request”, or “Between the Buttons”, I love that. I like to start my day off with jazz.
What artists do you feel you resonate with?
I have a lot, I like Milton Glasser, he’s an old school dude. I like people that have studied the history, they know the rules. Then when they can take all of that inspiration, and chose to break the rules to create a whole style all their own, that’s really cool. I love the sixties psychedelic poster dudes and all the stuff from the sixties and seventies. That scene was really cool. Half of its illegible, but that’s the point. It’s like they just wanted to mess with you to see if you were cool enough to know what was up, and I dig that.
You create all the artwork for your band that you drum in, “The Conquerors,” right?
Yes, I design all the artwork for my band “The Conquerors”. It’s an entire branding campaign. I like the new album cover a lot, I’m really proud of that. I put together the vinyl album cover, cd, cassette, all the digital assets like Facebook and bandcamp page, photo covers, t-shirts, stickers, posters. It’s funny because I don’t get paid for it, and I just do it in my free time. It’s a labor of love, it’s about passion, man.