Interview with Joe Cavazos
Interview with Joe Cavazos – This is another interesting interview with a talented artist. Joe Cavazos is a graphic designer with a great passion to use the talents God has given him to bless others. Joe works as Creative Director at Palm Valley Church and also have a love for music. Joe’s passion is to see the local church reach it’s full potential of being a light to the community, this passion is revealed in his amazing designs. So lets get into another great interview with this talented artist.
1. Welcome to INSPIKS, please introduce yourself. Could you tell us where you’re from and how you got started in the field of Graphic Design?
I was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan and have lived all over the Midwest, but Texas is what I call home. My wife, Lulu, and I have been living in Mission, TX, for four years. I loved drawing as a child. We didn’t have TV for a while and not many toys, so there weren’t many options to pass the time. In high school, I became interested in sports and started to think about going to college, which caused me to stop drawing. By the end of my sophomore year, I had decided to go to school to become a mechanical engineer. I remember going to my first art class as a junior and falling back in love with drawing. One thing lead to another and I found myself switching my plans and taking four independent study art classes my senior year. One day, my art teacher handed me a software box called Photoshop® 3.0. That was the tipping point for me. That summer I got a job at a t-shirt shop and realized that graphic design was something I wanted to do.
2. Describe for our readers the circumstances in your life that lead you to Christ.
After growing up in church, I had a fallout when I entered college. I still went to church, but my relationship with Christ was slowly slipping away. After a full year of college, I found myself feeling alone. My isolation affected my school work and attendance. I was put on academic probation and had to drop out of school. I was at my lowest of lows. I moved back in with my family thinking that would help, but I was still missing something. My problem was that I needed a relationship with God. I’d be lying if I said that the skies turned sunny and everything was peachy. I still had struggles, but the difference now was that I didn’t feel alone. I now had someone I could take my burdens to.
3. Please tell us a little about your work at Palm Valley Church.
I currently serve as Creative Director on the production team at Palm Valley Church. The production team is responsible for all communication: web, print, video and the production of services. Primarily, I oversee our online and print communications. I have the opportunity to work with some talented individuals who are always raising the bar. All graphics from Kid’s church and Youth to “big church” all go through our department. This really makes design exciting for me. In the same day, I can be working on a series graphic for big church and some shirt design for Jr. High. What I really enjoy the most is working on sermon branding.
4. Who are your favorite artists? What impressed you about them?
- Barton Damer An awesome motionographer who, even though I don’t do any motion, has inspired me to bring movement and depth to my designs.
- Chuck Anderson I’ve been a fan of his work for a while. I particularly love the colors he uses.
- Bryan Clark He does it all: illustration, animation, 3D and video. He continues to set the bar high in the church creative world.
- David Choate This guy is a sermon branding machine. Quality + Output = David
- Fabien Barral I’ve always thought there are difference between being a graphic artist and being a graphic designer. Fabien does an excellent job in mixing both design and art.
5. How do you see art and design making a difference in the local church and your community.?
For me, it’s all about clear visual communication. We have the opportunity to tell the greatest story ever told; I believe design and art is another avenue to share this story. Just like Jesus simplified his message with parables, in the same way I believe good design can help spread that message.
6. How challenging is it to do sermon series? How much time goes into planning each design?
Some sermon graphics come easily, and some take a while. I wish I could say I had months to work on series art; however, that’s not always the case. One thing that makes it easier for me is that I work with some great preachers. When you work with someone who can draw pictures with words when they communicate, it makes my job easier. I see myself as a translator, taking their thoughts and passion and giving them a visual interpretation.
7. One of your designs that I truly admire is “Love Wins”, tell us a little about that project and how you came up with the concept.
The “Love Wins” art was one I struggled with on the initial concepts. This series was done here at PVC several years back, and they wanted to repackage it with a new feel. During the sermon planning meeting, I remember Pastor describing how he wanted to communicate that the word “love” is a verb. He wanted me to somehow incorporate images of love in action. My goal was to give the feel of a heart without it being so typical. I wanted the piece to have an action feel, like it was a frame of a motion graphic. A cool story that I heard several months after the series ended was about a long-time church member who had passed away. The family placed the cover art in his casket. They said his life was defined by the phrase.
8. When you are low on inspiration where is a common place that you turn to? What are your favorite websites?
I go to people that are better than me. Inspiration is out there. I get mine from artist like the one I listed above, Flickr Communities, Photographers, TV Shows…. Some sites that I go to regularly for inspiration are:
- Smashing Magazine
- Signalnoise (Another talented artist I should have listed above.)
- Charm City Cakes (What these kats do with cakes is amazing.)
- Chase Jarvis (Killer photographer and creative thinker.)
9. Thanks again for providing INSPIKS with this opportunity to interview you. Any final thoughts for our readers?
One thing I’ve learned about growing my design skills: the more I surround myself with people who are better then me, the better I get.
Where to find Joe on the Web