Designer Interview: Brad Krawczyk

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Blue Hope’s Strides for Kids
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Page from bk Clothing Co. Catalog

This is the fifth post in our October series of interviews with the six designers featured in the exhibition By Design, in the Baer Gallery of the Bush Art Center through October 30.

Would you describe a typical workday?

I work out of the Pizza Man corporate office when I’m not at either restaurant. I oversee and manage all the creative work: graphic design, website design and maintenance, menus (we have five!), our email newsletter, direct mailer, photography, and video.  I create content for our social media platforms along with the print production for all of our menus, flyers and posters, which between two busy restaurants is a lot! Our wine lists change every month, each unique to its restaurant.  Along with our pizza, they have been a staple of the Pizza Man tradition since 1970. Our specials also change every couple of weeks, depending on the seasons and the ingredients that are being featured. One of my favorite responsibilities as creative director is conducting photo shoots for the food and being able to eat it afterwards, especially when it’s truffle season! Delicioso!

I also manage and oversee all the creative and online advertising campaigns for F Street Investments, which owns a number of businesses.  In addition, I am the owner-operator of BK Clothing Co, which is an apparel line I started back in 2010. I typically work from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the week but also frequently find myself working from home in the evening and on weekends.

What were your “next steps” after graduating from SNC?

After graduating from SNC in 2006, I moved back into my parent’s house in Pewaukee and was looking forward to taking a month (or two) off to relax and watch the World Cup. I’m a big soccer fan and a year earlier I had just finished a semester abroad in Florence, Italy (Italy won!). I remember vividly one morning when my father, an attorney, walked into my bedroom around 6 a.m. and told me I needed to start looking for a job. I had not applied to any yet and had been living there for about a month. Coincidentally, the next day I received an email from my SNC advisor and professor of Graphic Design, Brian Pirman, who told me that The Rave / Eagle’s Club was looking for an art director. I sent in my resume and was thrilled when they asked me to come in that same day for an interview. The interview went well and they asked me to come back the next afternoon for a follow-up interview and told me I had gotten the job. That evening my dad asked me if I had started applying to any jobs yet. I told him that I applied for the lead art director job at The Rave / Eagles Club and that I would be starting the following Monday. He almost spit out his dinner!

Describe the journey to the work you currently do. How has your design work evolved over the course of your career?

As the art director at the Eagles Club I gained critical work experience and taught myself many different skills and applications. I went from being just a designer and photographer to a Flash designer and action scripter, web administrator, concert photographer, videographer, motion graphic artist, 3D artist, animator and renderer. I also took classes at MIAD and MATC before and after work to further my skill set. It was a great job for me because I’ve always been a big fan of music. I was able to see and meet a majority of my favorite bands and work with some great people for eight years.

I’ve been working as the creative director for the Pizza Man Restaurant group and F Street Investment group since last September. Transitioning from the entertainment business to the food industry has been an exciting change for me.

What advice do you have for current SNC Art students? What opportunities should they take advantage of at SNC? What should they best do to prepare for life after college?

Never stop learning. Don’t be limited to being a designer or fine artist. It was critical for me to learn new applications and keep developing new skills after I graduated. I feel students sometimes have the mentality that they’re paying to learn and when they’re done with school they think they are done learning. You never stop learning and if you can figure out how to get paid to learn new skills you will have done your future self a huge favor! Having a knowledge advantage in technology is always a big help.

Who and what are you artistic inspirations?

I’ve been inspired by many artists in my life and looked to their work to help develop my own style. Some of my favorite artists are Rene Magritte, Paul Cezanne, Robert ParkeHarrison, David Carson, and Cristiano Siquiera to name a few. Music is also a constant inspiration to me. I love finding new music and seeing live shows when I have time! The impressions my SNC professors, Brian Pirman, Fr. Neilson and Bill Bohné, made in my life were the most significant!

Bradley Krawczyk earned a B.A. in Art from St. Norbert College in 2006.  He has been working for over 9 years in the creative design field, serving as the Creative Director at The Rave / Eagle’s Club, one of the Midwest’s most popular and busiest concert venues, the Pizza Man restaurant group and F Street Investments.  He also manages BK Clothing Co., a small, independent apparel company based out of Wauwatosa and recently launched the creative company, Brandolier Creative.  He lives in Wauwatosa with his wife, Laura.  Visit http://bkclothingco.com/bradkrawczyk/

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