Member of the Month – January 2020

Name: Eric Torres

Title: Design Director, W.L. Gore & Associates

Member since: August 5, 2008

How did you get started with AIGA Arizona?
I was invited to join AIGA and get involved. Kelli Campbell was the Program Director back in 2008 and she saw some of the personal projects I had done and contacted me to see if I would be interested in volunteering.

So I got involved. I did some branding and design for the Mingle Bells event AIGA was putting together that year. It was a holiday time event they did in partnership with organizations like AAFMP (American Advertising Federation Metro Phoenix), Ad2Phoenix, PIAZ (Printing Industries of Arizona), and Southwest Graphics Magazine.

I had heard about AIGA for a while, but I had never thought I’d be the caliber of designer they’d need, you know? So it was awesome to be invited to contribute. It really did a lot for my confidence, and I credit that project with helping me find a creative voice locally. Since then I’ve had lots of fun volunteering with our AIGA AZ chapter and have had opportunities to contribute nationally too.

What do you like most about AIGA Arizona?
The social aspect. I’m truly an introvert at heart. I get my energy through solitude. But getting involved with our local creative community has helped me grow a ton.

There were many times I attended events and felt very out of my comfort zone. I can remember sitting in a corner and just kinda watching everyone mingle. I really had to force myself to just walk up and say hi to people and ask about who they were.

Now, I feel like I’ve “grown up” creatively in a way with so many local designers and illustrators I’ve met here in AZ.

What design event do you look forward to every year?
The Phoenix Design Week conference. Hands down. In recent years I’ve attended Adobe MAX, HOW Design Conference, and other events. Our local event is my favorite. PHXDW is so energizing for me now because I’m reaping the rewards of putting myself out there and getting social in person with others years ago. Those relationships are just really important to me.

What is the superpower you wish you had?
LOL. Multiple undos at life. I mean think about it – to take back that thing I said, or undo that questionable sushi I ate, or get a redo on a project. With a snap of finger? Dang. Or teleportation! That would be rad too.

Take a moment to showcase some designers or creatives who you think people should be following and why.
My friend Maria has a little company called Otterworks and I think she has a fantastic sense of details, especially with things she makes by hand. I’m always impressed by her cheer and the fun she has when she’s making things. @otterworks on Insta.

Will Mejia is another creative I’d give a shout to. He’s a designer and illustrator, but he also explores all things culinary to cocktails. He’s @tortillamejia on Insta. I think the best memories are made with food and drink and his work makes me think of how I can make my friends feel special by being a good host.

My colleague Jeremy is a great photographer. He goes storm chasing. He’s outta Flagstaff. @jperezmedia on Insta. His work is a reminder of how small we are. Something I think we need to be reminded of often.

Tell us about your favorite event or moment with AIGA Arizona.
Rather than a single favorite moment, I have moments to reflect on. Inspiring conversations with members, lending a hand at Phoenix Design Week events, having lunch with people I’ve never met before but knowing we all share the language of creativity.

I don’t know that I completely understand it all, but these seemingly ordinary moments with other creative folk are pretty profound to me. They’re part of why I belong here in the AZ desert.

Connect with Eric

Have a story to tell about your own AIGA journey or want to nominate someone? You don’t need to be an award winner, a prodigy, or even a graphic designer to be chosen. Send a note to Membership Director Julian Martinez and tell us what being a member of the AIGA Arizona community means to you. See you next month!

By AIGA Arizona
Published January 14, 2020
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