With this weeks special announcement that Sonia Rentsch, Melbourne’s cleverest of creatives, will be presenting at this year’s Analogue/Digital Creative Conference, Designers Journal caught up with conference founder Matthew Haynes to talk baseball, standing ovations and grass roots design as he gears up for the festival season.
Returning for its second year, the Analogue/Digital Creative Conference shines a spotlight on the culturally starved Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast of Australia. Largely overshadowed by the lure of the nearby city of Brisbane, the state of Queensland has until recent years only had one focus for creative outlets. Insert one driven individual with one clear vision. Analogue/Digital features artists, directors and founders from the worlds most sought after companies and aims to be a guiding light for all students studying the creative industries within regional Australia. It’s our pleasure to introduce to you Matthew Haynes.
You wouldn’t think a career as a professional baseball player would result in the creation of a Creative Conference but Matthew Haynes isn’t your usual design graduate. Himself a forward thinking, Matthew has instilled these quality in his creative studio and work it creates, yet it’s his strong passion for culture that is causing waves in the conference world.
DJ: With an interesting start to your career, beginning with professional baseball and transitioning into the world of design, what was it about this medium that drew your interest?
I only ever excelled with graphics and tech studies in high-school. Once my baseball career was over it felt natural to use passions of architecture and design in forging my new career. I can’t say that baseball and design went hand in hand at all, but looking back, I would occasionally open Adobe Photoshop while traveling on the bus to help pass the time.
DJ: After graduating from University what was the draw to say on the Sunshine Coast? Was there a part of you that got drawn to the more cultural centres of design like Sydney or Australia?
The draw to stay on the Sunshine Coast is simply the way the cookie crumbled. I’ve been fortunate enough to sample the allure of Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney and I can honestly say that it is nothing life changing. Although I am regionally based, it is foolish to completely discredit us – Big things come in small packages.
DJ: How did the idea come around to start your own design conference? What inspired you?
How the idea came about is a matter of opinion. That said, I can look you in the eye and say I was the one who had the vision and balls make it happen. I wasn’t necessarily inspired to start a conference but I was inspired to give regional students the same equal opportunities that the city students had. Semi-Permenant and AGideas had a massive impact on me and my career. I met so many people from going to these events and I wanted to do the same for my regional peers and next-generation designers.
DJ: What’s been your highlights of the previous events?
Biggest highlight is confirming Dare Jennings for Gold Coast 2011. His presentation on reinventing yourself gave me the balls to quit my job and follow my dreams. Dare helped me understand the importance of brand culture. Employing Dares approach has allowed me to make the most of my graphic design career. If you ever get the chance to hear this man speak – do it.
DJ: Do you ever get to relax during the event and enjoy the speakers, or is it a bit crazy behind the scenes?
Hosting an A/D Creative Conference will push you to the breaking point! We strive for perfection in every sense of the word. We run sleep deprived for weeks heading in. We double and triple check everything meticulously. Whatever it takes, we make it happen!
DJ: In your opinion, what makes a great design conference?
Cutting through the shit is the most important facet to a great conference. Listening to someone talk about how good they are is fucking boring. People want advice, insights and inspiration. For sure, mix some work but speak about process, innovations, challenges and things learned.
In one hand we encourage our presenters to be honest and talk about design-culture and design-business openly but you need to be open minded for what may or may not come out of their mouths. For instance: We’ve seen a presenter flash up announced images of dead people on the screen and comment “I’m a bit hung over and feel like this” (Bad). However we’ve also facilitated the growth of hundreds of creative students and junior designers (Good). The thing is, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
At the after party some people grab me and hug the shit out of me and say “thank you”. Its a weird but amazing gift.
DJ: Looking to this years event, what are you most looking forward to?
A standing ovation and the tossing of many roses at my feet. Jokes. Actually, we’re introducing an event dinner at Black Coffee Lyrics. I’m looking forward to that very much! It is important to me that all our presenters feel welcome and at home.
DJ: What’s your goal, ambitions and dreams for Analogue/Digital?
My goal is to provide regional students the same opportunity as those in the city centres. I wish to cultivate design minds from a grass roots level and build an event which is known for its unique and honest insights. For me, the importance to make change outweighs the important to line my wallet with greenbacks. If I am to earn money because of A/D, it will be due to the work and results I have achieved at LMOX, my personal design company.
I firmly believe that the time and effort I have put into A/D has made me a far better problem solver and designer. I truly understand and respect strategy so much more then I did 2 years ago. Design and strategy are like yin and yang. There are great designers every where but I do not see as many great thinkers or ideas man/woman.
DJ: With side projects like ‘The Book Project’ you are indeed a man of many talents, what other projects are you working on / planning?
We’re in the process of touring a film entitled ‘Design and Thinking’ with the Sunshine Coast Council, AGDA, DIA and urBNE Films.
I cant say too much but please watch the screener. The movie is lo-fi but has great content.
Gold Coast October 12th 2012
Designer, still life stylist and art director… an true expert in crafting clever concepts into deceptively effortless scenes.
A trendsetter with an international following and a general disregard for borders, prolific street artist and painter.
Australian graphic designer living and working in Sydney.
Joseph Allen Shea
An independent curator, publisher, writer, creative consultant and gallerist.
Australian based artist who’s work includes painting, sculpture, illustration and outdoor murals.
Former editor of Desktop magazine and is soon-to-be digital editor of Dumbo Feather.
Founder and current Creative Director of Melbourne-based design consultancy Hunt Studio and Process Journal.
Along with his brother Tull, founded custom footwear company FEIT.