Pawel Nolbert – Interview
I have the pleasure to introduce you to Pawel Nolbert. Warsaw (Poland) based graphic designer, illustrator and art director, he has given his time to answer our questions. I was particularly interested in his Sneakercube project so I did an interview with him…
Hi Pawel, how are you ?
Hi, All good! It’s a pretty new time for me right now. I’m back on freelance again, it’s spring & it feels great.
Tell us more about you. Who are you ?
I’m a Designer, Illustrator & Art Director, Graphic Artist, currently based in Warsaw, Poland, from where I work on creative assignments worldwide – for advertising & design industry, as well on more artistic & personal projects.
What’s your interest about graphic design and illustration ? When did you start ?
I always was more of an illustrator, than graphic designer & that can be clearly reflected in my work. I started from doing illustration (desktop wallpapers) or gfx, as it used to be called in 2001. In 2002 I published my first artwork on the Internet & started getting more & more into digital creation. Now, I’m more aware of graphic design & I still want to learn more about it & apply it to my illustration work. I like graphic design that, in comparison to illustration, it’s more about solving problems related to usability etc, while I love illustration for the richness of different visuals you can produce with it. Both have their rules, that intersect in some points. Therefore, I like to blend styles & blending genres is another step.
You’re an art director too. How do you process in your work ?
Art direction is often a part of my projects, along with the design/illustration part. I’d like to do more art direction in the future, as It’s always more challenging than just executing someone else’s complete vision, especially when working for bigger clients or agencies, who often limit your role to designer (executor) only. I always try to come up with striking & up-to-date ideas when art directing a project. I like simple ideas for commercial projects, that are usually targeted for a wider audience. More sophisticated ideas are better for fine arts… & some art directors forget that, creating ads that only people from the “industry” get.
I really appreciate your Sneakercube project. Can you explain us this work ?
It’s my new personal project that I released along with my new online portfolio. However, it has its origins in the late 2010, when the first cubes were created. It started from my passion for footwear design, especially for sneaker design, that for me in some way resemble graphic design. It started one boring weekend, when I was browsing some fashion & footwear blogs. I stumbled upon those yellow Raf Simons “Astronaut” sneakers. I thought I might start working on something footwear related, as I didn’t feel that watching footwear news & buying just another pair of sneakers is enough. What else could I first do, than using my graphic skills?
It was also a time, when I began to think about doing more minimalistic artworks & those two thoughts resulted in me using a cube form, as a base for Sneakercube. I quickly picked up that Yellow Astronaut from the folder I used to save my favourite sneakers to & the first sneaker-cube was born.
What inspires and influences you ?
It’s mostly a range of small, random things that I notice everyday. Things that only a creative mind can find interesting…
You have to be aware, that every day is different & even on your everyday route to work or wherever else, some new interesting things may catch your attention & eventually inspire you. I like that spontaneity – it make ideas original. Successful people inspire & influence me too. Whenever there’s something I have doubts doing, I remind myself of those people I admire & again I see that everything is possible.
I appreciate too your EVRxDAY photo-blog. Some of your photographs are very architectural and colorful. Is that another kind of creating process ?
Yes, it’s another way of expressing myself & how I see things. I’ve been always interested in photography & been watching a lot of photography everyday.
EVRxDAY contains a selection of photos, that I take in batches every couple days. Also Instagram took a huge role in the whole thing. I started using Instagram probably as most people, by simply shooting some random things of everyday events. But as I shot more, I started shooting mostly some weird frames of what visually interested me in my surroundings, rather than documenting my personal life. I tried to take more care especially on composition & having a certain form & texture in what I shot. Architecture & specific kind of architecture-centered street photography was a thing that let me include that in my photos.
At the time, Instagram was available only for iPhone users & with all of it’s limitations, it couldn’t give the right kind of exposure for my photography. I decided to put up a tumblr, where I initially put my Instagram photos in slightly bigger formats. Now, it’s more about “regular” photos from my digital & analog cameras & just another thing to fill up my already tense agenda.
What does your typical day look like ?
Right now, I’m enjoying first days of freelance, which means extended lazy mornings & doing mostly self-promotion work. I’ll have to work out a new, consistent daily routine, because I don’t want to work till late nights again – that happened a lot the last time I was on freelance. Also I often take breaks to chill & walk around the city with a camera, or just ride a bike, sometimes with a camera too.
Is there something special you want to do in your work soon?
There are two things I’d like to do in near future. One is to work more on my own style, that has become too much diversified by my commercial work. Second thing is related to Sneakercube. I want to try to create a real cube out of a real sneaker. For further future, I aim to design my own sneaker one day. It’s on top of my creative wishes now & I hope one day I could do it the other way – transform the cube of my own design into a real sneaker!
Some projects to come ?
For now, I can say that one of the coming sneakercubes will get printed in a nice publication soon. Of course other new cubes are also in the making. It takes loads of time though. I’m also working on other personal works now, that should be released in the coming months. Keep an eye on my personal website at nolbert.com or follow sneakercube.com to keep up to date!
The last word…
Keep calm… just keep calm!
/ Interview : Dennis Moya – April 2012
/ All pictures, artworks and illustrations are © Pawel Nolbert.
/ All original sneakers & photos belong to their respective authors. No parts of the original photos were sampled to create cube versions.