Alumni Update: Interview with Alex Uballe
Alex is currently a junior designer at What Do You Meme in New York City. He graduated from BGSU in 2018. You can check out more of Alex’s work at ALEXUBALLE.COM
Why did you choose BGSU to study design?
I chose BGSU because the collective of my art teachers at E.L. Bowsher High School actively pushed me into looking into the art program BG had to offer and once I did I feel in love.
What advice would you give to students currently in the program?
I’m really bad at giving advice, but I would encourage students currently in the program to not be afraid to experiment and to express themselves in their work.
What led you to moving to NYC?
I have always wanted to live in NYC since I can remember! Something about the fast paced active energy always seemed attractive to me. Everyone has a place to be here. No one ever stops moving here and that’s how I wanted to live my life— constantly moving forward. However, the final decision to make the move was actually extremely spur of the moment. My best friend and fellow BGSU Alum, Nicole Bogdanovic, and I found the perfect apartment for us online and we simply couldn’t pass up the opportunity! So we packed up our bags and my cat, Luna, and headed for the Big Apple!
What lessons have you learned by making mistakes as a graphic designer?
I don’t make mistakes…just kidding. I make a lot. Like A LOT. I honestly don’t know if I have learned any “life lessons” from mistakes I have made as a designer. I feel like I am still in my infancy and hindsight isn’t exactly 20/20 yet. I have no regrets though.
What was your design internship experience like at BGSU?
My internship experience was pretty simple, I don’t have any horror stories to share unfortunately. I interned at Imagination Station after an interactive exhibition display project we had done for the science center in Amy’s Design Theory class. Fun fact: the Creative Manager for Imagination Station had final say as to whose icons where chosen for the exhibition, and mine was rejected, but the took me on as an intern anyways and then went one to hire me full-time! So who really won that class group project?
What are some experiences or programs you’ve participated in that have strengthened your design career or process?
I absolutely loved taking printmaking classes! Primarily because of one Janet Ballweg, no offense to any of the other printmaking instructors I had! Her passion for the media and skill for the craft was so intoxicating that it was hard to not be swept away by it all! I actually almost switched my majors! Can you even image? What would the design world look like without me in it? OMG. But anyways, taking multiple printmaking classes from etching to screen printing, and at one point an experimental methods printmaking class that I didn’t and still don’t quite understand but still hope is being offered, really pushed me to not be afraid to get a little dirty and play with my hands. Being primarily based in the digital world I think it’s amazing for designers to get out and tackle a new medium and unplug for awhile!
What are some interests in your daily life that influence your design work?
Everything. Everything influences my design. The one thing I can clearly pin point as having a direct affect on my work is my favorite TV show, The Simpsons. I think everyone that knows me or my work will understand.
Looking forward on the next decade, what are some goals you are working towards at your current job and with your design skills? How are you working towards them currently?
This is the hardest question for me. I’m such a hot mess that my goals constantly change, there are a lot of things that I would love to be able to do in the next ten years! I would love to be a fashion icon. I would love to be a chef and I would love to be in the inevitable reboot of Queer Eye, but I don’t really have a ten year plan. I prefer to live in the moment, as much of a cliche as that may sound, and take in my environment to see what’s out there and what I can learn from it.
Interview with Neala Atkinson