Day 211

On a personal level, one of the great things about #TGAA is that I get to meet artists and designers, who’s work I’ve admired for years. I was actually lucky enough to have such an encounter with Boxing Clever’s own, Matt Reedy. Although he was sitting just a few feet from me, it wasn’t until I saw this article on Kotaku that I even made the connection. But after seeing the “Making Bacon Pancakes” print, I immediately recognized his work. In fact, he has a few pieces floating around the Internet that I—and many of my friends—have loved for quite a while.

Before I left St. Louis, I had the privilege of asking Matt a few questions about his work. So, let’s see how that turned out:

You seem to have such a diverse palette of influences. Where would you say you find the most inspiration?

Influence comes to me from all sorts of places: things I look at online, random ideas my kids come up with, movies, art shows—all that stuff. The biggest influence for me though is the work of my peers. Whenever I see someone I know come up with something cool, it makes me want to do better with my next project. I’m not saying it’s always successful, but at least I know I tried harder and gave it my all.

Can you tell me a little about your background? For instance, how long have you been designing or your overall background in design?

I’ve been working in this field for over 20 years now. I actually switched from a drawing major to a design major about halfway though college. In hindsight, it was probably a great choice, because I’ve stuck with it ever since. The greatest thing about working at Boxing Clever is that I get to work with a lot of guys I met in college, who I’ve been friends with ever since.

Can you talk a little about your process? Do you have anything in particular you use when creating something new?

When starting something new, I usually try to start from scratch. At the very least, I like to draw influence from something semi-related to the project. To be honest, I've never understood designers that just scour other people's work just to mimic it. I think recreating a style as an homage is one thing, but straight-up copying is just lazy.

Based on your experience in the industry, do you have any advice for young creative out there on how to maintain one’s freedom when doing work for clients?

I'm sure every designer out there knows that maintaining creative freedom is tough. It really helps to have a great team that backs you up and a good working relationship with a client. Of course, clients who are open to hearing ideas other than their own are a blessing as well. The easiest way to have total creative control is to do pro-bono work. If they aren't paying, they really can't boss you around. Or even better, just do work your love on your own time. I know a lot of designers that create fantastic art, sometimes just for fun or sometimes to sell on a site like Etsy. If you can get enough cool-looking projects out on your blog or portfolio, clients will start to seek you out for your specific style.

Are there any designers or artists out there, whose work you think people need to check out?

I've got a lot of friends and co-workers who's work amazes and inspires me every day. There's nothing better than seeing a new piece posted on Behance or Facebook, but the one who's work I share the most is from my twin brother, Brian Reedy. It seems like every other day he has some new print or drawing that's just incredible. You can see a lot of his work here.

Much like everyone at Boxing Clever, I can officially vouch that Matt is just as awesome as the work he creates. If you want to see more of what he does, take a gander at his Behance portfolio. Once you're done there, I highly recommend checking out what he has for sale on his Etsy site too.


Day 193

As I’ve mentioned in some of my other posts, one thing that makes Boxing Clever so unique is their ability to diversify their creative endeavors. This is a group of individuals, who have worked together for years and years—some even in other fields and agencies. Yet, in the end they’ve come together to do things in their own way and the results are undeniable. You can see it in their publishing work, in Boxing Clever Records and especially in their Fake Anything project.

What exactly is Fake Anything? Think of it as the creative equivalent of Google’s 80/20 rule; an attempt to bring pop culture references into the real world. From a map of Skyrim to an infographic about the ins and outs of Breaking Bad, Fake Anything does it all. They’ll create logos for the fictitious bars of the film, The World’s End. Or design posters for Jessica Rabbit’s burlesque show. If it exists in pop culture, there’s a chance Boxing Clever has—or will—bring it to life.

It’s all about creating work that isn’t reliant on, or limited to, the needs of others. Boxing Clever aims to diversify their capabilities, because they want to do more. It’s also refreshing to see they understand that in order to deliver the best creative, you have to keep your mind sharp and entertain it once in awhile.

Plus, you never know where a great idea will come from. That fake advertisement for Arrested Development could spark something ingenious for a client. It’s all about exercising your abilities and training your brain in the right ways. After all, we’re all highly creative and our skills shouldn’t be limited to a client’s needs.

Boxing Clever is as unique as those who fill its office and I’m thrilled to be a part of what they do here. Like many, I’m always looking for new ways to express myself creatively. And in my opinion, BC stands as a true inspiration to anyone wondering just how far an idea can travel with the right amount of effort, talent and determination. 


Day 186

I’m only a few days into my residency at Boxing Clever and I can already tell I’m going to love it here. From the moment the elevator doors opened, I’ve been shown nothing but warmth and enthusiasm for the project. I was already overjoyed with how my weekend shaped up, due to the generosity of BC Partner, Jim Harper, but it’s easy to see his kindness is shared amongst the rest of the office as well.

The office itself is littered with concert posters, industrial accents, metal figures and stunning artwork. They also have shelves upon shelves of things I love—from Kid Robot figures and Adventure Time toys to whoopee cushions, candy bars and whiskey bottles. It’s as if everyone’s inner child is on display and that’s certainly something I can relate to. Basically, this is what my apartment would look like if I lived here; just throw a bed in the corner and I’d feel right at home.

One Corner of the Boxing Clever Office

Oh, but that’s not all! There’s also a ton of records and skateboard decks scattered throughout the space—evidence of the agency’s deep ties to local Record Store Day festivities. Most of the posters you’ll see on the walls are musically inspired as well and a majority of them are even signed by the artists themselves—from the likes of They Might Be Giants and Rise Against to Torche and My Bloody Valentine. That’s because BC designs them for the national acts, who do autograph signings at local landmark, Vintage Vinyl. I haven’t been to it yet, but that’s probably a good thing because I like having money in the bank… but then again, I do like records… hmm...

Last night, I also got the opportunity to attend the 48 Hour Film Project—a showcase for the city’s talented filmmakers and creative minds.  Although Boxing Clever didn’t participate this year (you can see their previous entries here), it was really cool to see what people brought to life in just two short days. If you ever see one of these events taking place in your city, I highly recommend checking it out. After the show, I hit up Chuck Berry's local restaurant, Blueberry Hill, with some folks from BC and Bruton Stroube, which was a great way to cap off an awesome night.