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Field Study

An Unedited view of design and thought process:

work, experimental and otherwise by Keenan Cummings

Kuvva Interview: Maintainers & Builders

This interview appeared on the Kuvva Blog. Many thanks to team and their support for what we are trying to build with Wander.

This week we’re celebrating creativity with Wander! They’ve provided Kuvva with the wonderful and inspiring wallpapers. We did a quick Q&A with no other than the Creative Director of Wander, Keenan Cummings, to ask him about Wander as well as about his background. If you’ve been enticed by this week’s wallpapers, you might want to know that there’s much more to it!

Hi Keenan! Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your role at Wander
Keenan Justin Daniel Cummings (yup, two middle names!); Age 28; born and raised in Los Angles; last three years in New York; obsessed with finding new obsessions (music then language learning then code then my scooter then architecture then food then Friday Night Lights and on and on and on).

A quick Google search on you shows us that you have a background in designing. What made you decide to pursue a career in design?
I didn’t grow up as an art kid. To fill my art requirement in high school I took an electrical engineering course (not much of an art form the way they taught it in public school) and joined the school choir for year (don’t ask). But I was always drawing to keep myself busy in class, and that lead into several small ventures. I started drawing people’s names for them in something known as ‘wildstyle’, a street-art inspired typography. Then I got into henna and would design tattoos for friends and learned to mix and apply the paste that would dye the skin for 3-5 weeks. Finally, I started a T-shirt company with some friends. I would design all the shirts and we would silk screen them in my garage using a janky home-made setup. I had no idea that all of these interests were some form of design practice. Once I figured that out a few years down the road it was an easy decision.

What are some of the works you’re really proud of outside Wander?
I have a hard time being satisfied with my own work. But I recently built a site for my dad — designed and coded the entire thing in a week-long sprint. It represents a huge milestone for me, having always wanted to build things for the web, but until this point have been limited by the black box that is code, the underlying logic that makes the whole thing work. But even more so, it was incredibly satisfying to be able to do some small thing for my dad in return for what he has done for me.

I don’t have to tell you that there seem to be a shroud of mystery hanging around Wander. However, could you tell us more about Wander and what we can expect in the coming weeks?
We’re getting close to launch and that’s extremely exciting. Place is an important part of who each of us are. We all have a history, a present, and a hoped-for future that is grounded in and visualized at the places that mean something to us. Wander is where we share that. It will be something to get lost in.

What is your favorite spot in the world?
Many favorite spots! Brooklyn is home for my small family of three. California will always be my heritage. Stockholm is where I want to spend a summer. Korea is home to many close friends and a language I love. Tokyo feels like a present future. Yosemite is the most peaceful place the world.

The selection of wallpapers for Wander on Kuvva is wonderful! Are there any of them that belong to your personal favorite and that you’re excited about?
I love them all. For me anything about wandering, being lost, or exploring new things resonates. I haven’t been to too many places, but I personally have been wandering my entire life. I’ve never felt fixed to any one place or idea and my career and hobbies has been a reflection of that. Working on and building Wander is a strange new world that I’m only beginning to explore.

The wallpapers are part of the Wander Postcard project; can you tell us more what it is about?
Wander is all about sharing your view of the world. I’ve done some illustration myself, but we wanted to get a group of great artists to share what wandering feels and looks like to them. The first product we are launching with Wander is a web app, but the goal of Wander is to be an experience and a community, and that is much more than UI and code. The Postcard Project is one example of that.

What tickles your creativity?
As long as I can read a lot and spend time with friends and family I can keep going. I am in constant awe of the amazing things being created everyday so part of my drive is merely to keep up. And I am happiest when I am making things for myself or people I care about. Another huge drive behind my work on Wander is building a community around the product that I really care about.

Got any essential tips for aspiring designers out there?
Everyone works slower that they wish they could. Everyone worries that they are not as good as the next designer. Everyone does plenty of mediocre work. But any new and interesting inputs into the system are infinitely more valuable than redoing what has been done. There is a certain magic in being able to make everything into anything you want. There are a million pieces in the machine that simply need to be maintained with repetitive regular tasks. We are lucky to work on the edge. We don’t have to be maintainers. We get to be builders. That is a privileged position. Something I read yesterday articulates this idea much better than I ever could: We now live in a world of “creative democracy… where professional jobs are deconstructed into families of intelligent software enabling anyone and everyone to take over the continuous re-forming of the culture in every act and every thought.” (The Internet and Everyone, John Chris Jones) That is more of a pep talk to myself than anything, but hope it is useful!

Wallpaper Feature by Wander
This week we’re featuring Wander’s wallpapers! You can grab a hold of them here and visually awesome up your desktop or Twitter profile!

Wander Official Website:
Twitter: @onWander

  1. keenancummings posted this
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