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Educated Guess: A Podcast for Artists
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Educated Guess: A Podcast for Artists

Author: Educated Guess

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We are bridging the cultural gap for careers in art + design.

Our interview episodes dive deep into community, tactics, and mentorship. We share candid conversations with the best in Design about what it actually takes to have a seat at the table and see your ideas come to life.

No fluff. No ambiguity. Mild cursing.

So, whether you're knee deep in building your own design business or just a lover of fine art, this is a place where you can come to elevate your mindset and skillset as a designer.

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65 Episodes
If you're a self-taught designer, the chances are very high that your path began with a torrented copy of Illustrator or Photoshop. And, even if you received formal training at an art school, graphic design is a frequent choice for it's relative practicality and market demand. However, as most people jump into the wonderful world of advertising and art direction, they mind find a different reality than they once imagined as a teenager.  In order to demystify the grey area between the way projects are handled as an independent illustrator as opposed to a graphic designer, we bring in Jocelyn Tsaih to offer a first-person account of what she's experienced in both worlds. As a Taiwan-born, Shanghai-raised visual artist currently based out of Oakland, California, Jocelyn spent the early days of her career in New York as a graduate of SVA's graphic design program. Now practicing illustration full-time, Jocelyn has secured work, commissions, jobs, and more from clients including: NYT, Airbnb, Facebook, Stanford Business School, Soho House, Nickelodeon, and more. For roughly an hour, Justin and Jocelyn tackle questions that include:  Knowing whether to seek salary, cash, royalty, or licensing fees for commissioned work Negotiating long-term deals Prioritizing other goals alongside artistic pursuits Developing a world view on what's harmful yet avoidable --- Support this podcast:
On this segment of Incomplete thoughts, Justin shares extemporaneous thoughts on the ever blurring lines between design and art. In an effort to root the thoughts of this episode in some historical context, Justin provides a passage from Bruno Munari's 1966 publication of Design as Art.  With the rise of UX Design, particularly in American cities, reconsidering the delicate balance between form and function has never been more apparent than right now. Specifically, we all must ask the question of "what role does aesthetic play in actually lifting the human experience in 2020?"  -  Bruno Munari - Design as Art Educated Guess - Instagram Educated Guess - Website --- Support this podcast:
"If the content is there, then you don't need to hide behind the language." -- Jeannette Kuo For roughly 60 minutes, guest lecturer Jeannette Kuo and host Justin McElderry talk about why it's important for designers to move beyond using esoteric, architectural lingo. Specifically, we discuss how reversing this perception begins with clear, and direct explanations of work.  Some of the topics we cover include: Understanding the loose fit between form and program Brainstorming the future of privacy Responding to the obsolescence of type, use, and lifestyle Jeannette is co-founding partner of Zurich-based Karamuk Kuo Architects and Assistant Professor-in-Practice of Architecture at Harvard Graduate School of Design. Her research and work focus on the intersection of structures, space, and culture.  From multi-unit housing to cultural infrastructures like the Augusta Raurica Archaeological Center, the work of the office spans across scales and typologies, each time looking for spatial and conceptual opportunities within the constraints of reality. Recent built works include the International Sports Sciences Institute in Lausanne and the Weiden Secondary School.  Publications include the two-volume research on workspace typologies: A-Typical Plan (2013) and Space of Production (2015), as well as the recent El Croquis 161 monograph on Karamuk Kuo. --- Support this podcast:
"Hoping for a good future without investing in today is like a farmer waiting for a crop without ever planting any seed." -- John Maxwell Have you ever started checking items off a list in hopes that things will change one day? Yet, as more and more tomorrow's pass you by, you realize the moment you're waiting for is never coming at all.  To make matters worse, living your wildest dreams can often come with a new burden of reality. Imagine the emptiness of getting everything you ever dreamed of--only to realize how small your dream was in the first place.  For roughly 15 minutes, Justin McElderry reflects on a few personal meditations on this exact subject.  Tune in. --- Support this podcast:
Erez Nevi Pana is an explorer who uses design as a significant tool to investigate phenomena through material experimentation. Nevi Pana earned his BA in design from the Holon Institute of Technology and a MA from the Design Academy Eindhoven where his thesis focused on the recrystallization of salt. He now practices research and design around the world as a doctoral student investigating the topic of vegan design. For roughly an hour, we discuss a method of creating a purpose-driven design system. Some of the questions we address include:  What it means to take stance on waste How to find an integrated value system Understanding the quantifiable benefit to purpose-driven work What the average person should understand about veganism as a practice Tune in. --- Support this podcast:
This episode begins a new Educated Guess segment called "Incomplete Thoughts". Occurring only on Mondays, these episodes--in conjunction with lecture hall episodes--aim to provide both tactical and aspirational advice directly from Justin McElderry. For this episode, we provide you with an excerpt from an interview Justin recently did with his brother, Bryan. For about an hour, they discuss 3 different ideas to consider that might just help you reclaim the childlike feeling toward you dreams again.  Some of these ideas include:  Dealing with one of the most disrespectful things someone can say about your dreams Understanding the role data plays in your life story Reimagining form as the headline of anthropology Tune in. --- Support this podcast:
Every artist dreads answering one single question, “What do you do?”. So, in an attempt to understand new ways of dealing with this angst, we lean on Dave + Mark, founders of Dark Igloo. And, in this episode, we explore how they’ve found a unique sweet spot to describe what they do and why. Some topics we cover include:  Why it's important to choose studio principles wisely A goal that humanity is not focused enough on achieving A job that could be done for just one week What could be learned from hosting a demolition derby You can keep up with the whereabouts of Dark Igloo here: --- Support this podcast:
For just a moment, let's think back to the days of yelling at our peers--and maybe even our parents--this very statement, "You're Not the Boss of Me!". We were so convinced that we were the sole proprietors of our future. We were in control. We held the keys to our happiness inside of us. And, we were courageous enough to let everyone know the same.  Now, logically, there is only one question that follows: "What changed over the years?" So, on today's episode, we are explaining this question in detail. Some topics covered include:  Scientific evidence of why we are biased towards what is easy The truth about the thoughts that hold us back What it looks like to hold fast to our dreams -- And, as always, you can support, contribute, and become a patron at any of the following links --- Support this podcast:
Melancholy is often considered cool in the art world. Yet, plenty of examples show the extreme consequence of living in a consistent state of sadness and reserved joy. Often, artists and designers think that keeping joy within is the only way to remain happy. The internal satisfaction of living a reserved lifestyle is often the fuel for the some of the greatest work ever.  But, as Newton said, energy cannot be created on destroyed--only transferred. So, where is your energy going? Today, we unpack new ways of looking at the current moment. We imagine new ways of using sad moments as fuel for our work without becoming a slave to our desires. Tune in. --- Support this podcast:
Rachel is a Tokyo-based, multidisciplinary designer and art director originally from England. Her work is multidisciplinary and echoes her interest in music nature and contemporary culture. She has worked for independent record labels XL Recordings and Young Turks, as well as freelance projects for clients such as Adidas, Puma, Sony Music and Universal Music. Some of the topics we cover in this episode include:  Advancing your ideas of luxury Taking unwieldy risks in your work Consuming a better diet of inspiration Crossing the chasm between graphic design and art direction Choosing optimism in the face of despair If you're interested in keeping up with future happenings related to Educated Guess or Rachel Bungey, you can follow along using the links below. --- Support this podcast:
Hobbies are often a sore spot for many artists. Having someone refer to your very craft as a "hobby" is almost the ultimate diss to some. Yet, today, we make an attempt to make peace with hobbies once and for all. ]Some questions explored on this show include:  Did you quit on a past time if you call it a hobby?  Can you seek mastery in more than one area?  Do hobbies have a purpose in a capitalist society?  Tune in.  --- To access more content from the brand, find us at the following links: --- Support this podcast:
Dewey Saunders is a Florida-born visual artist residing in Los Angeles. Some central themes in his work include hip hop and psychedelia. And, most recently, he’s garnered a lot attention for his work with both Future and Anderson.Paak on album art.  For about an hour, we talk about the trials of practicing art full-time as well as being disciplined in your design aesthetic. Tune in.  --- Support this podcast:
Ben Fry is principal of Fathom, a design and software consultancy located in Boston. He received his doctoral degree from the Aesthetics + Computation Group at the MIT Media Laboratory, where his research focused on combining fields such as computer science, statistics, graphic design, and data visualization as a means for understanding information. Fathom’s projects span from arenas of social justice like an affordability calculator for Farmers to the computer graphics built inside of Minority Report. Independent of his work with Fathom, he’s garnered degrees + accolades from MIT, Carnegie Mellon, Cooper Hewitt, + the MOMA.  For roughly an hour, we talk about the many applications of cross-disciplinary visual art + we work hard to try and identify a reasonable answer to the question “can visual art help save the world?”  Tune in.  --- Support this podcast:
This week on our radio show, we are joined by Natalie Nixon. Natalie holds a PhD. and is the founder of Figure 8 Thinking, LLC. She advises leaders on change management at publicly traded and privately held corporations and non-profits. She helps them find ways to leverage creativity, sustain innovation and achieve systemic change -- at scale. We spend roughly 1 hour talking through real methods of changing the way you work and implementing change into your daily life. Some of the topics / questions we cover include: What is a good framework we can use to improve on the art of anticipation? What systems can someone put in place to make themselves a better collaborator? How can we ensure that we are on the right side of the future of work? And, how might we bring someone else along? What are your daily / weekly creative habits? --- Support this podcast:
For this episode, we are joined by Matt May -- Head of Inclusive Design @Adobe. We spend ~1 hour talking about the necessity of building products / experiences that are both accommodating and delightful for all skin tones and ages. Some of the topics / questions we cover include:  What qualifies someone to be head of inclusive design?  What should we do once we recognize a subconscious bias?  Is there a testable method of reducing the amount of design decisions which exclude specific racial or social groups? How do you measure whether the mission of inclusive design is being achieved or not? To become part of the rapidly growing EDU community, you can visit us at and register for our bi-weekly newsletter. Tune in. --- Support this podcast:
One of the core tenets of Educated Guess is "Accessibility". For us, this means that people (at any age) should have the opportunity to shadow and learn as much as possible about a career they are interested in. And, ultimately, we believe that this mode of thinking will lead to more "pluralists" in today's society. The term "pluralist" for us has gotten a bad rap over the years. Unfortunately, having more than one interest can be a slippery slope towards being perceived as a "jack of all trades".  However, even if our interests, skills, and background tend to look more like a paper machete, we find it incredibly powerful to acknowledge this as a good thing instead of a setback. That said, for this episode, we're joined by Amy Choi someone who has a pulse on the power of being multifaceted. A few years ago, Amy Choi and Rebecca Lehrer founded MashUp Americans where they produce The Mash-Up Americans podcast and curate stories in a weekly newsletter. While seemingly operating under a normal blog to business model, what makes Amy and Rebecca unique is their ability to focus especially on the grey area (Mash-Up) between culturally relevant stories. And, with a background in journalism, they now help select clients create and distribute content that speaks to "Mash-Up America" in an authentic, meaningful way. You can learn more about our client work here.  So,  about an hour, we spend time walking through the following questions and topics: "The Tanning of America" Finding a Business Model as a Journalist Pharrell's concept of being a pluralist The hidden risks of not seeing color If you want to checkout more work from Mash Up America, you can visit them here: --- Support this podcast:
Educated Guess is now a year old! And, after putting in a year’s worth of sweat equity, I’ve decided to take a moment to reflect on some of the lessons I’ve learned along the way.  In this moment of silence and reflection, I’ve realized a pretty exhaustive list of tactical things I would’ve done differently -- “start sooner”, “come up with detailed content plan”, or “don’t come up with detailed content plan” lol. Yet, each of the items on that list ended up being pretty specific to starting a podcast--and therefore, pretty low value to most of you listening. So, instead, I decided to zoom out a bit and share with you some life lessons and principles of starting a new venture -- hopefully these help in some fashion.  These are my thoughts….tune in. Enjoy. --- Support this podcast:
Educated Guess is all about bridging the gap for careers in art + design. And, as a result, we spend a lot of time working to understand the complexities of an innovative solution so that we could explain and share it with someone who might just be starting out. This week, we're joined by someone who’s helped chart that exact same path — Dong-Ping Wong—co-founder of Food New York, Inc.  Food is a New York-based design studio focused on architecture and environmental design. Their projects range from installations, private residences, set design, giant swimming pools, and more. A partial client list of theirs includes Kanye West, Tom Sachs, Virgil Abloh, and more. For about an hour, we spend time walking through the following questions and topics: Figuring Out the Right Amount of Iteration  Collaborating With High-Profile Clients Finding a Path to More Productive Architecture Navigating the Field of Architecture in a Slow Economy   If you want to checkout more work from Food, you can visit them here: --- Support this podcast:
Given the ever-changing landscape of tech, it can frequently feel difficult to sell a new design service centered around a piece of technology that’s still evolving. So, for the few companies who are brave enough to step out in front and lead the charge on defining different use cases in the space, a moment of recognition is required in our book.  This week we're joined by someone who fits that bill exactly — Hassan Seguias— co-founder of Elevux, Inc. Elevux is an Orlando-based design studio focused on disruptive experiences and product design. They specialize in Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and product design. Some of their clients include 3M, Disney, and Universal Studios. For about an hour, we spend time walking through the following questions and topics: The Importance of Creative Discharge   The Death of the Traditional Agency Model   The Biggest Pain Points in Explaining AR/VR to Clients   Mapping Out a Learning Plan for Yourself   If you want to checkout more work from Elevux, you can visit them here:   --- Support this podcast:
If you're interested in starting a studio or agency of your own, it's most likely because you'd like to consistently take on projects that are both fulfilling and financially rewarding. Yet, for anyone who's spent time in a small agency or studio, they know that the reality is usually a lot tougher to bring to bear than the ideal scenario.  This week we're joined by Archie Lee Coates IV -- co-founder of PLAYLAB, Inc. PLAYLAB is an art and design studio with projects spanning dozens of industries and disciplines, and for about an hour, we spend time walking through the following questions and topics: The Pros and Cons of Corporate Projects How to Initiate the Work You Want to See  Embracing Ambiguity  How to React to Being Placed in a Box Finding a Balance Between Work and Play  If you want to checkout more of PLAYLAB and Archie's Work, you can visit them here: --- Support this podcast:
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