10 Questions: Danny Mendoza

What do you do and where do you do it?
I have a perfectly ambiguous title of Digital Creative at keiler in Farmington. It represents my desire to be involved in various projects, across multiple disciplines. But the majority of my time is devoted to art direction for interactive products.

What inspired you to choose this profession, and what makes you stay in it?
My family’s support. I honestly feel that they would of been supportive of anything I set my mind to. The first time I considered advertising as a profession was in high school. I signed up for a technical program in my home town of Hollywood, FL. That’s when reality set in that I could design and create things for a living. It gave my self-expression a focus. My father played head-hunter and I was working part-time at an agency my sophomore year. What makes me stay is the potential for creativity and the common need to do good work.

What is your single favorite portfolio piece?
It has to be the most uncommon. I worked with the Connecticut Sun WNBA team for several seasons. Aside from designing their secondary logo I had the privilege of designing their court. The actual court they play on, the greatest stage and honor possible outside of a mascot re-design. The process was unique. I was researching wood stains and looking at a lot of anamorphic type projects. Eventually I decided against the anamorphic stuff for the fear of inducing vertigo and nausea. I remember an overwhelming sense of disbelief until I saw the floor being painted. All that floor needs now is a championship banner hanging over it.

What/Where do you want to be in 10 years?
Relevant. I hope that in 10 years businesses continue to see the need for good design and creativity every step of the way. Being positively optimistic, I would like to be celebrating the public launch of another service.

Who/What are your biggest influences?
The kind of work that makes you jealous and turns your stomach.

What do you wish you did better?
In terms of immediacy I wish I could code better. It’s the one thing that holds me back from developing apps and services stored up in the cache. It would help cut that ten year plan down some. Imagine if coding became an industry-wide goal. What kind of services would we be able to dream up?

Why Connecticut?
Why not? It’s a beautiful state. My wife and I decided to move up from Florida to be closer to her family. Seasonal changes are a plus. And professionally speaking, I’ve been really lucky to work with some of the best people I’ve ever met in the industry. It would have been great to work on the CT Tourism project and gotten to know the state better. Seeing that go out of state was the first time I felt insulted as a local. Still, I’m sure any agency in the state would have done a great job.

Who are the best creatives you’ve worked with?
Too many to name. But in the early days of my career I’d say I learned the most from David Stewart, when we worked together in Fort Lauderdale. David played the multidisciplinary game well with creative direction, design and illustration. His Peruvian ceviche was amazing too. Currently I work with an insanely talented, energetic, and resourceful bunch. I have a high level of respect for Lucas McHale’s ability to view a project from unique points of view. That’s the kind of thought process that erases blind spots and helps the work get better.

What are your loves/passions outside of this field?
I love my family and I’ll never be able to properly express the sanity they provide. As for hobbies, I’m still window shopping. Fishing has its moments when I’m not filling a boat with bluefish. Photography matters more now with our son growing up fast. I love to cook and hate to ruin a meal so there’s passion there. It’s hard to stay outside of this field because of how symbiotic it is so I tend to include technology as a part of business. I like the possibility of producing something that improves life. Art and design can do great things for humanity but that layer of tech multiplies the effect.

What do you know now that you didn’t know then?
Technology is moving so fast, you could ask me this question every quarter of the year and get a different answer. I didn’t know the industry would see so many new channels spring up, but I know we can’t afford to ignore or become oblivious to them.

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