In Aries Nunez
’s world, there doesn’t have to be a middle man – rather, when it comes to throwing a dance party, he’s able to pull off a one-man show. Nunez hustles for DJing gigs, designs the marketing collateral
, and then spins beats into the wee hours. Somewhere he even finds time to co-produce a TV show
. In an interview, Nunez opened up about his design style, the path his career has taken, and how he’s found balance. You wear a lot of hats – graphic designer, DJ, marketer – what did you want to be when you grow up?
When I was a kid I wanted to be an inventor and a comedian. I like to think my biggest strengths are compositing and problem solving, meaning making something out of limited resources that will be needed – or at least attractive – to a wider audience. Whether that be through designing, DJing, producing or marketing, I'll take what I have and make it into something that's easily absorbed or consumable. So in a way, I did become an inventor – or, at least, a creator. That doesn't really look right on a business card
, though. As far as being a comedian, I guess my sense of humor is an acquired taste. Which role came first in your career?
First thing I actually got paid for was design. I used to hand-draw marketing material and signage for a clothing/music retail store called House of Soul. Majority of my pay was in clothes and records, which is where all my money went at the time anyway, so it worked out. How do you find balance with your different jobs – are they all freelance, or is one a full-time, day job?
I kinda treat it all as the same thing. My approach is different, depending on the project, from production to marketing. But to put it simply, I'm a graphic designer by day and DJ by night. How did you learn to do what you do?
Really, I'm still learning. I always say that the biggest thing I learned in college was how to learn. I guess I first got serious about it when I graduated from college and was still working at a luggage store. Nothing wrong with selling luggage – it just wasn't my life purpose. Kinda like the comedian thing. Have you found yourself having an advantage in your DJ career, since you can also design your own promotional flyers and other marketing collateral?
Yes, I'm able to meet real tight deadlines by cutting out the middle man. Also, I sometimes have a hard time expressing my vision to other folks. So it's easier just to do the whole thing myself, from beginning to end. Then when it sucks, I can't get mad at anyone but myself. It usually doesn't suck, though. You produce a lot of creative, musically inclined design – do you ever take on projects involving, say, a business brochure?
At this point I'm lucky to say that I've developed a certain style. Most of my design work takes more of a digital imaging approach that’s heavy on compositing and blend modes – not really something sought after for a business brochure. But if the project was right, I'd do it. Where do you find graphic design inspiration?
Everywhere. Most of my inspiration isn't even from other designers or artists – it's more from feelings. I'll usually try to express a type of feeling or emotion in my work. If the job calls for something happy, I'll listen to music or watch videos that make me happy, then express it visually. If the project calls for something more bold and emotionally driven, I'll just watch Bill O'Reilly talk for a little bit. He makes me mad. Being a naturally curious person also helps. My brother, REL, is also a big inspiration. He and I co-produce “Distortion 2 Static
,” and he also creates some of the most amazing music. Have your different jobs crossed over to influence each other?
Yes, it definitely does. Like I said, my approach to everything is pretty much the same for every project. It's just communicating an idea and using whatever skill might be needed to get it done. What types of printing jobs have you used PsPrint for?
I've been using PsPrint for years now – printed everything from banners
. I wish there was some kind of rewards program so I can use my points to buy plane tickets or something. What’s your secret to DJing late into the night and then producing quality design work?
There's not really a secret to it – I just don't sleep. One thing that's important to me is mental health and taking a step back when I start feeling overwhelmed. Making lists and organizing thoughts helps a lot too. And beer. You’re on a desert island, with electricity – what are the five items you can’t do without?
1. MacBook Pro 2. iPhone 3. iPad 4. 2 TB hard drive 5. Febreze