A chat with Web Designer/Animator George Samuels

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George Samuels is a Melbourne based Web Designer and Animator. He will be facilitating an Host Your Own WordPress.org Website workshop as as a follow up to his last workshop: Introduction to WordPress. Read below to find out more about George’s practice and book for the workshop here: colourboxstudio.com/workshops

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your project/ arts practice? 
I find myself constantly evolving. As a creative, we can sometimes be pigeonholed by the titles we give ourselves. At this point in time, I’m starting to use “creative entrepreneur” but, the more generic labels include: storyteller, animator, designer, entrepreneur, and philosopher. Some of my “proud moments” include being interviewed by ABC Radio, Adobe and then being featured at the 2012 Viva Victoria Festival. I was also included in Foundation for Young Australian’s Top 50 “Young & Extraordinary” category in 2012.

I did my undergraduate degree in Multimedia Systems, then followed up with a Masters in Animation & Interactive Media at RMIT. I was passionate about games and animation but, in the early days, web work was what paid the bills. My web-design business decided to grow and take a form of its own, which resulted in me landing some pretty big clients, attracting a wider network of freelancers, and now separating out as a separate business entity (Siomedia).

Web-design is all about storytelling, in my opinion. When a client approaches me, they usually ask “how much does a website cost?” Which is about as generic as “how much does a house cost?” I find that by asking a series of questions, it extracts the deeper motivations behind the client’s requests, which usually translates into “how can I tell my story in a new and relevant way?” This forms the basis of User Experience (UX) design – something that’s only popped up as a credible field in the last couple of years. UX design is just as much about story as it is consumer or user behavior. Instead of focusing solely on the mechanics, which is important as well, we can start to focus on the feelings the experience invokes. This also doesn’t just show up in the work, but extends itself through the entire project and client relationship. That’s why I tell clients, “If you’re looking to compare specs, let me show you ours plus a list of cheaper vendors. If you’re looking to develop a deep relationship with your website (your house, your temple), business and customers, you’ve come to the right place.”

When I’m not working the web, I’m highlighting and connecting “cultural animators” – creatives involved in animating indigenous myths and legends – on my website (http://siosism.com). My passion for animation is intricately tied with the web, especially since a lot of animation is viewed online – whether it’s on a desktop or mobile device. This interweaving of technology and artform is inescapable, yet it can be one of valuable exchange when channeled positively.

What inspires you, and how do you go about creating your art? 

A lot of things. Philosophy, the Renaissance, indigenous culture, myths and legends, cartoons, Japanese anime, behind-the-scenes featurettes, technology, multiculturalism, spirituality, animation, quantum physics, conscious rap, revolutionaries, past leaders, and so on. The list is endless. Everything is connected, so there is always an abundant supply of inspiration, if you so choose.

What projects are you working on now? 

Currently running a crowd-funding campaign for Episode 4 of myTales From Nanumea series over on Pozible (http://pozible.com/fromthesea). In conjunction with Pacific Stories, we’re seeking a minimum of $5,000 to get started and continue preserving the myths and legends of a sinking nation, Tuvalu. We really want to create something that’s entertaining, is of high-quality production value and highlights ancient wisdoms. So be sure to show your support (every dollar counts)!

On the web front, I recently completed a website for Sandra Robins, an up and coming celebrity in the image consulting industry. Check her site out at www.sandrarobins.com.
Do you have any tips for aspiring artists/entrepreneurs?
I’ve got a couple things:

If you’re looking to go solo or start your own business, don’t underestimate the power of networking

  • Learn basic business skills – many creatives believe that if they have the technical talent, they’ll be able to run a business. Nothing is further from the truth
  • Find yourself some mentors or advisors
  • Surround yourself with people better than yourself
  • Create a 5 year plan (even if it’s just one page long)
  • Trust your gut above all (if you’re inclined that way)
  • Take the Wealth Dynamics test (no joke), then contact me via my website for a free chat. You’ll find out why.
How do you feel about being a part of the Colour Box Studio programs?
Very honored! Have always admired Amie’s work, so if she contacts me, I know it’s of value. It’ll also be a great way to share some of the things I’ve learned over the years, and hopefully impart some of that knowledge into others who are looking to get started with the web.
Go to George’s workshop for more information: CLICK HERE

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