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Revision Path on Smash Notes

Revision Path podcast.

December 28, 2019

Revision Path is an award-winning design podcast that showcases the world's Black designers, developers, and digital creatives. On each episode, host Maurice Cherry explores the stories, processes, experiences, insights and inspirations of these awesome creators. Produced by Glitch, Inc.



Episodes with Smash Notes

In the early 90s, there was this show on ABC called Phenom about a tennis prodigy. If Hollywood were to reboot that for the digital age, Xalavier Nelson Jr. would no doubt be the star of the show. His body of work rivals those of people in the gaming industry for decades!

We kicked off our conversation talking about his studio, Strange Scaffold, and he spoke about several of the games he’s either worked on or created, including An Airport for Aliens Currently Run by Dogs and the popular 90s Internet nostalgia title Hypnospace Outlaw. Xalavier also talked about his newest game, Space Warlord Organ Trading Simulator, and he shared how his work as a pre-teen game journalist helped him become a narrative designer. Xalavier’s prudent vision for finding better, faster, cheaper and healthier ways to make video games is so important, and I think that if he’s making waves like this now, just imagine what he’ll do in the future!

If you’ve been a longtime listener of Revision Path, then you probably already recognize this week’s guest, Harrison Wheeler. Along with being a senior design manager at LinkedIn, he’s also a podcaster with his own show called Technically Speaking. (And I’ve been a guest twice!)

Our conversation started off with a peek into life at LinkedIn, and he talked about working and managing remotely, as well as about how he’s changed as a manager over the years. We also talked shop about podcasting, the metaverse, the future of design in business, and Harrison shared some of the best career advice he’s received. I love checking back in with guests and seeing just how they’ve grown over their career, and Harrison is proof that hard work and dedication pays off in the long run!

The introduction of the metaverse to the general public was one of the biggest topics in tech last year. As we all learn more about the metaverse and what it means for the future of the Internet, I thought it would be a fantastic idea this year to talk with some of the folks out there who are involved with the metaverse in some capacity.

Meet Charlene Atlas, an interaction designer for undoubtedly one of the biggest companies to stake their claim in the metaverse -- Meta. We started off our conversation talking about her resolutions for this year, and she spoke about her work on the Reality Labs team. From there, we discussed the metaverse and some of Meta's plans, and Charlene shared how she became interested in technology, gaming, and eventually got into the AR/VR space.

Charlene is just one of many people who are helping to create the future of the Internet, so I hope you get inspired by her work and discover a way to chart your own course!

2021 has been quite a year for us all, including this week’s guest Alanna Flowers. This year, she became a full-time creative and launched her own business, AGF Design Studio, and I had the chance to talk to her in the midst of her very busy holiday schedule.

Alanna gave me the rundown behind why she started her studio, how she plans to expand her services next year, and also gave some insight into her creative process. She also talked about growing up in NYC, the pros of art licensing, and how she builds her brand through social media.

Thank you all for listening to Revision Path this year — onward to 2022!

Networking is a valuable skill for designers and creatives to have, which interestingly enough is how I met this week’s guest: André Smith! His career has touched several fields — advertising, music, education — and now he runs his own firm called Appendix where he offers strategy and branding services for companies from all over the world.

We talked about his recent shift back into agency life, and he shared a bit about his day-to-day work and gave a peek into his creative process. André also spoke about his time at Morehouse, his early post-grad career, attending NYU, and his forays into art curation and being a university lecturer. André’s advice to Black creatives is simple: learn to think wider and deeper, and you’ll find many opportunities to succeed. How will you expand your horizons?

Happy Holidays from all of us here at Revision Path!

When you think of people who are masters of their craft, there’s no doubt that Vida Cornelious would be part of that list. Her 25+ year career in the advertising industry reads like a who’s who of agency titans — GlobalHue, DDB, Burrell Communications, Walter Isaccson…the list goes on. Now, Vida’s latest role as VP of Creative for New York Times Advertising will allow her work to reach a global audience.

After a quick end-of-year check-in, Vida spoke about her work at the Times and the launch of their first ever creative franchise called “Soul of Us.” From there, she talked about growing up in New Jersey and being surrounded by the arts, attending the venerable Hampton University, and dove deep into some of the campaigns she created over the years before landing her current role. For Vida, the importance of mastery is key to her success, and it’s definitely paid off in a big way!

I think my conversation with this week’s guest — artist, musician, and designer Chris Burnett — is probably the most chill interview I’ve done this year. Don’t be fooled though — Chris is a creative dynamo, and someone you should definitely keep your eyes out for in the future.

We start off with a quick talk about the creative scene in Los Angeles, and from there he talks about being an artist at heart and how his current editorial design projects have been keeping him active. Chris also talked about growing up as a skate kid, attending Cal Arts, and scoring lucrative gigs including a stint with Nike, as well as designing for Odd Future. Chris calls himself a creative superhero, and if you trust your heart and spirit, so can you!

November ends with a fantastic conversation with Matshoshi Matsafu, and let me tell you…she has lived. Lived, I tell ya! She currently works as a senior UX designer at Microsoft on their Flipgrid product, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what she does and what she’s experienced.

Matshoshi talked about growing up in South Africa and attending college in Johannesburg, relocating to South Korea to teach for a few years, and about her most recent move to Minneapolis and how life has unfolded in the years since then. She also spoke about being a Black creative in flux (and how to embrace it), the joys of embracing being a generalist, and shared the what keeps her motivated and inspired as a creative. According to Matshoshi, being a Black creative is a myriad of things. So why not explore them all?

Back in the day, the path to becoming a designer might have meant attending an expensive art school, interning at a design studio or an ad agency, and then working your way up the corporate ladder. But this week's guest, Terell Cobb, illustrates how you can become a successful designer by carving your own path!

Our conversation begins with a look at Terell's work at Microsoft, and he talks about his day-to-day schedule, working with his team of designers and researchers, and gives a peek into Black Designers of Microsoft and how they work as a group. Terell also spoke about how his athletic career as a football player taught him about design, and shared with me some mentors who have helped him become the designer he is today. With his drive and ambition, Terell Cobb is definitely someone to keep your eye on for the future!

These past two years have been stressful for all of us in a lot of ways, but this week’s guest is proof that you can find a way to redirect those feelings into something positive. Meet Roneka Patterson, an associate creative director at Hawkeye in Dallas, Texas, and the co-creator of The Unwritten Rules.

Roneka and I talked about adjusting to work from home life, and she shared a bit about her process and what it’s like to be a creative director. From there, we discussed The Unwritten Rules, including how the project was launched last summer with other Black creatives, and she shared how she got Hawkeye on board with amplifying its message. Roneka also spoke about mentorship and how she’s helping local high schoolers discover their creativity as well. Roneka’s motto — “keep going” — is one I think we can all adopt as we move forward and chart our own paths to success in this industry!

I’ve been getting into TikTok a lot lately — don’t judge! — and that’s where I stumbled across the work of this week’s guest: Gabe Gault! Gabe’s brilliant portraiture blends the work of the Renaissance masters with Black culture in a brilliant and beautiful way. Not only that, he painted the largest mural in the world — the Glass City River Wall in Toledo, Ohio. I mean…talk about impressive!

Gabe talked about how he landed this massive project, and talked about growing up an artist in a big sports family. We also discussed Black fine artists being exhibited through this new wave of Black-created media, lessons he’s learned throughout his creative journeys, and even talk a bit about NFTs and the metaverse. If you’re looking for a creative pep talk, just follow Gabe’s advice: “Go out there and create on any scale!”

Several past guests have told me that I needed to interview Terresa Moses for the podcast -- well, that day has finally come! If you've attended any design events over the past couple of years, then you know that Terresa is all about liberating Black and brown people through art and design. Wait until you hear her story!

We started off talking about her teaching work as an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota, including her position as the director of design justice. We also went a bit into her work as a creative director at Blackbird Revolt, her current PhD studies in social justice education at the University of Toronto, and her recent solo exhibition Umbra. Terresa also talked about what keeps her motivated and inspired these days, living her life's purpose, and what it means to her to be a designer today. Sit back and get ready for a fascinating interview with one of the most dynamic design educators working today!