This is Revision Path — an award-winning weekly showcase of Black designers, developers, and digital creatives from all over the world. Each week, host Maurice Cherry interviews these creators about their work, their goals, what inspires them, and much more. First podcast in the Smithsonian NMAAHC.
“If you don’t see it in the world, see that as an opportunity.” Wise words from this week’s guest, the one and only Joseph Cuillier. Joseph is perhaps most well known for The Black School, an experimental art school teaching Black/PoC students and allies to become agents of change through art workshops on radical Black politics and public interventions that address local community needs.
I spoke to Joseph fresh from his move back to New Orleans, and he spoke on how the city feels now in the midst of gentrification and other new developments. We also spoke on his work with The Black School and the school’s principles, the unique studio model that helps fund the school, and how he works to center Black love in such a unique learning space. Joseph is truly building upon a family legacy to help educate the next generation and beyond!
I couldn’t think of a better way to start off the month than by talking with author, professor, and strategist Douglas Davis. Longtime fans of the show will remember our initial conversation from 2016, so it was good to catch up and talk and get an update over what he’s been doing.
What follows is less of an interview and more of a general conversation that ranges a number of topics: creativity during the pandemic, design equity, social justice, the value of remote design education, relevance vs. belonging, AIGA, fatherhood, and a lot more. Hopefully this conversation gives you some food for thought and starts some much needed conversations around our place in this current world as designers!
This week’s guest is a real treat for me. Sean Mack is an illustrator and graphic artist in Detroit, and I first ran across his work around a decade or so ago on Tumblr. His work has really taken off since then, so having him on to talk about his journey as an artist was a lot of fun.
We started off talking about his recent work on a commemorative comic for the late hip-hop artist MF DOOM, and Sean went into how he and writer Brandon Howard came up with their popular comic The Revolutionary Times. We also talked about balancing his art while working a 9-to-5 job, working with big clients, and creating new work through the pandemic. If you’ve never heard of Sean or seen his art, then this interview is a great place to start!
If you have been a listener of the show for a while, then you know I love cartoons and animation. So having a chance to sit down with this week’s guest, Steenz, was a lot of fun. Steenz is one of the few Black women syndicated cartoonists in mainstream funny pages for her work on “Heart of the City”, and her work on previous titles has netted her several coveted awards, including the Eisner Award, in the cartoon industry.
We talked about her picking up the torch from Mark Tatulli for “Heart of the City”, and she walked me through her creative process for starting on new projects. She also talked how she first got into comics, her teaching at Webster University, and one of her dream projects — a re-imaginging of Encyclopedia Brown! Keep an eye out for Steenz — I think we’ll be seeing her work in the world for years and years to come!
John B. Johnson
If you were a part of last week’s State of Black Design conference, then you’ve already been introduced to this week’s guest — John B. Johnson. As the principal of A Small Studio in Seattle, he leads a team of creative professionals that specialize in authentic digital design.
We spoke about how his business has changed through the pandemic, as well as his process with new projects (such as DOSE). He also talked about growing up in Cleveland, studying architecture, and how these experiences led him to start his studio and move until settling in Seattle. This is a really thoughtful and deep interview, and I hope John’s story resonates with you all!
It's a new month, and I am beyond excited to share with you my interview with Julian Williams. He may be young in age, but his impressive body of work rivals those of designers with years more experience. We talked a few months after he completed work on the Biden for American campaign as their lead opposition brand designer. Pretty cool!
We spoke about how he landed on the campaign, and Julian shared the differences between working with clients in the U.S. versus clients in Europe. From there, Julian took me through his history as a designer, including working for fashion designers Tommy Hilfiger and Karl Lagerfeld, a stint as an intern at &Walsh, and being a designer at Nike while in The Netherlands. Julian also shared how his passion for voguing and the ballroom scene helps influence his work, and he gives some great advice for graphic designers out there looking to find their own style. Julian's motto is about making good work with good people -- something we can all take to heart!
Insightful interviews and fascinating guests. Great show.
Invaluable & Authentic Resource
Wow - I’m so mad I just discovered this podcast! I’ve worked around tech for the past 4 years. This is exactly the resource I wish I had back then. Thank you to Maurice and all of the amazing guests that joined the show! I’m making the transition to UX Design so this is exactly the motivation and insight I need right now. Thanks again! So many people I look up to on here :)
The human-side of design
The show has a rich roll call of designers from all backgrounds. Some guests are more interesting than others, and how much you get out out of each episode may depend on which type of design field you’re most interested in.
The podcast is more about the people and their journeys and not so about the nitty gritty of design. It’s a good resource for people who are thinking about getting into some sort of design field or just want to be inspired by other black designers.
One thing that bugs me about this podcast is when the host asks the guests how they’re doing during covid. It’s overdone and has frankly become annoying. Otherwise, there are some good human-focused questions on the show.