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Becoming an established professional in any line of work can be a long road traveled, but what if you want to really niche down? We reached out to talk to Desi Moore, aka Dude It’s Desi, about how she not only got her foot in the door of creating in the entertainment industry, but also what’s kept her there. Squarespace is the website building platform that has helped Desi out by getting her portfolio site organized in a way that represents her brand and welcomes new business with vigor, letting her quirky and fun personality and style shine through!
Back in 2003, Desi found herself in a place lots of us have been – young, undecided on a future career, and having a good time living a fun, carefree lifestyle. She had just relocated back to Los Angeles from Brooklyn and had the realization that a plan was necessary for the next steps she was hoping to take as an artist.
“I just thought artwise, without a college degree, who would hire me and for what? But I swore when I moved back to Los Angeles that I would not work another day in a restaurant, and that I had to get something legit in the entertainment biz on my resume to get some sort of foot in the door. The movie advertising agency Trailer Park hired me to be their receptionist, and I did that for about a year.”
Just before Desi planned on submitting her two weeks notice to take a position as a film director’s personal assistant, Trailer Park opened a print department specific to movie posters.
“Of course I thought that was super cool, but again why would they hire me when I had no experience. However, when the print department found out I was leaving they offered me a job. Apparently my goofy illustrated company newsletters, cut out 3D lunch menus, and all the weird arty shit I made and surrounded myself with in my reception desk area caught their eye and they saw potential in me – which to this day I am still very grateful for. So, I turned down the personal assistant job and immersed myself and became completely obsessed with learning and succeeding in being an Art Director. I worked really long hard hours and will never forget how stoked I was when I saw my first official movie poster printed.”
There’s usually that moment that stands out, the one that makes you decide to commit to what you’re doing and have a go at it with everything you’ve got in you. For Desi, it was a specific movie poster that ended up being more of a lesson than a success.
“I made a poster for Mad Max Fury Road that was super time consuming because I constructed a giant mass of people, car parts, motorcycles, smoke, destruction, skulls, etc. Each piece had to be painstakingly and intricately masked out (that is where you cut something out of its environment). So halfway through I was like ‘Oh my god this sucks, my hands and eyes are killing me, what was I thinking?!’ But I kept on going and finally finished it. The client and I both thought it turned out really cool, but in the end it didn’t end up getting used for anything, but hey that’s showbiz for ya!”
Being a creative individual in a business world can sometimes be a struggle, and you’ll often find yourself at a crossroads trying to balance both sides of a company.
Desi says, “I do find it a struggle. The business side of things: discussing money, paying bills, finding the time and energy for paperwork, etc. has always been a struggle for me. Being such a right brained individual it’s not a natural forte for me. But I absolutely love being my own boss. In my art career it offers me the freedom to work on such a variety of projects: huge movies, indie movies, album covers, gig posters, clothing brands, paintings and illustrations, whatever! So I never get bored or feel pigeonholed as an artist.”
She also owns a gallery – Showboat – in Los Angeles, an entirely different creative outlet. “As far as owning the gallery, my favorite thing is it’s like I have a big ‘ol rubber approval stamp for any idea I may have. The show concepts and artists are all decided by me. Once I even painted the whole space purple, rented a clawfoot bathtub, and exactly replicated the When Dove’s Cry video set to a tee – purple roses, smoke machine, faux doves, stained glass windows, and my friend dressed as Dr. Fink. Dan Monick beautifully lit and shot portraits of people in the bathtub all night. Carmen Electra even showed up and stole the show! Basically I spent a bunch of cash to create the raddest free Prince photobooth ever. Business-wise nobody else would have ever probably approved that idea but I did, and so it happened.”
This spring, Desi is stretching her creative legs even further and releasing a children’s book – ABCs of the 80s – in collaboration with a former coworker from her Trailer Park days.
“Erin (Campbell Dunkerley) has a young daughter and really wanted to teach her about all the cool eighties things she grew up with along with her ABCs at the same time. Being an 80’s kid myself, I was totally onboard! Erin had some letter ideas and even a few clearances already in place. She was super cool about giving me creative control of the drawings and layout of the book. We were basically on the same page as far as the letters went (although for ‘N’ I did begrudgingly draw The New Kids on The Block instead of the Nancy Reagan / Mr. T D.A.R.E program, but in return I got to do payphone over Pop Swatch so it’s all good – teamwork making the dream work!) I’m not used to working on one single project for so long and I had a hard time focusing at the start of it. So me and my little dog Crackers went up to my friend’s cabin in the mountains in California for a month last year to begin it. So very cliché I know, but it was awesome and I now get why people seclude themselves when working on a book. It hits stores everywhere March 5th and a limited advance amount are available now via http://abcsofthe80s.com!”
When it comes to choosing a favorite project Desi has worked on, I’m willing to bet you’re already familiar…
“I really love when someone says ‘just do your thing’ and I can execute my vision on a project. Being micromanaged or being used as a tool to create something I don’t believe in is never fun. As far as my favorite project to date, I would say it was working on the poster for the movie Bridesmaids. I got to see it through from start to finish, beginning with creating the concept, to art directing the photoshoot with Mark Seliger, and on to constructing the final poster. The cast were all so sweet and hilarious. We shot several setups that day and one included going to a park with Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, and the rest of the girls to pose with a whole bunch of puppies, bunnies, and swans in bowties and berets. The bunnies wouldn’t stop humping and right then I knew it was career highlight for sure. In the end, we went with the original idea of making the girls look like badasses posing against a brick wall, juxtaposing the whole typical demure bridesmaids in a cupcake dress thing. The original copy line I came up with that almost made it was just simply ‘What?’. Shoutout to Damon Wolf and Maria Pekurovskaya from Universal for being a dreamteam and letting me do my thing and have fun with it!”
When it comes to searching out inspiration for her work Desi says, “I really love to travel and have my eyes opened to new customs, colors, and patterns. I travel often and try and be as porous as possible and stow it all away in my brain to subconsciously draw inspiration from when I’m just back in LA working in my studio. I like when the inspirations all get mixed up together and create a whole new vibe of their own.”
Further inspiration comes from a source that’s right at our fingertips, literally.
“On a daily basis, I would be lying if I didn’t say Instagram. There are so many amazing accounts that lead you down rabbit holes of incredible art that I would never be exposed to otherwise. I also have made friends with some wonderful and inspiring artists via Instagram and we share what we find and dig, weaving the web further. I would also be lying if I didn’t say I go into very deep Instagram meme holes on a daily basis – but hey, no shame in that game – humor is the icing on the cake of life!”
It’s clear that Desi’s outlook on the world, her eye for art, and her inherent creativity know no bounds! Squarespace has helped her corral all of the bits and pieces she excels at into one amazing site that shows all of her hard work and long hours off in a cohesive, beautiful way.
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