Our makers never fail to motivate us, encourage our creativity, and fill us with inspiration. So, when a new design enters our assortment, we’re always excited to learn more about the people behind the product.
What gets an artist going and keeps them creating is certainly worth sharing, and every great connection starts with a simple introduction. Meet Rich Moore and Avik Maitra, creators of our new Free Form Bulletin Board and Magnetic Cutting Boards and Knife Rack.
When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
Avik: I got my first job at Mattel at age sixteen, painting prototypes of the toys for the Pixar movie “A Bug’s Life.” Soon after spending that summer with toy designers, I decided to major in Product Design at Stanford, a combination of Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Design.
Rich: When I was in junior high, I saw a skate ‘zine called “Lurch” that made me realize that I want to design and make things. It was a revelation that people — young kids — could make their own thing. I made ‘zines for a long time, which translated nicely into graphic design, which then translated nicely into architecture, which then translated somewhat nicely into product design.
What was the most exciting thing about becoming a professional artist?
Rich: The ideas are always the most exciting part. The moment when you are pretty sure you have something that is smart, beautiful, useful — and that has never been done before…the moment before the hard work begins.
What does your typical day in the studio look like?
Avik: Most of my day is spent standing at the computer, designing and redesigning new products, communicating with our manufacturing partners in China, and the everyday nonsense that comes with being a small-business entrepreneur.
Rich: We have to schedule time to be creative; otherwise, every day would be consumed with email and crap work. We have regular times scheduled when we can’t talk about housekeeping and talk only about new ideas.
Is there a trinket, talisman, or other inspirational object you keep near? If so, what is it and what does it mean to you?
Avik: I have a good number of Lego Minifigures on my desk at home, and there’s always one on my keychain. It inspires me how they relate to each other in scale and with their blockish details, yet each one individually takes on a unique personality and identity.
Rich: No trinkets. I don’t like anything on my desk or other horizontal surfaces, with the exception of a photo of my family. Other than that, I like art on the walls and clear surfaces everywhere else.
Imagine you just showed your work to a kindergartner for the first time. What do you think they would say?
Avik: They’d probably ignore everything I said and start swapping out body parts on Chimeras, our mix-and-match plush animals.
What quote or mantra keeps you motivated?
Rich: A friend was looking at something and just telling me what she liked about it. I could sense there was something she wasn’t telling me, so I said, “If you don’t have anything negative to say, don’t say anything at all.” Since then, it has been a useful way to invite, and therefore, not be offended by criticism when creating something new.