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Office tale of Ben Dickey, graphic designer

Office tale of Ben Dickey, graphic designer

Published by Leonardo Calcagno

Who are you :
My name is Ben Dickey. I’m 21 and a little nebulous in nature. I like to float around. I do work in photography, (digital, film, wet plate and other alternative processes), graphic design, video and various experimental mediums.

Your current job :
I am an International Relations student who does graphic design on the side.

In which city are you located?
Currently: Sackville, New Brunswick. It’s a beautiful little microcosm.

A word to define what kind of worker you are :
A bit reluctant and a bit obsessive. Sometimes, the decisions that open up while making something are overwhelming. There’s a certain kind of jump needed in creative work. It requires faith, confidence and decisiveness – all things that at times I don’t have. But that’s part of what makes it worthwhile, rousing this creative conviction from within yourself.

What tools are essential to your life (app, software, etc..)
My laptop, my head, any camera I have in a given moment, a film scanner, photoshop.

What does your office space look like?
My office space is my living space. I have a small one-bedroom and do most of everything there; gymnastic rings, punching bag, cooking, working. It cycles with my mood. Sometimes put together, sometimes a mess. I live above a diner and get the glow from the big neon sing in the evenings. My friend built a loft under the skylight and I have an air mattress and some fairy lights up there. It can be a nice escape sometimes. My prized distractions are a lava lamp I bought at a thrift-store and a holographic picture, I found in Toronto’s chinatown that changes from Jesus to Napoleon riding his horse, depending on what angle you look at it from.

What kind of music do you listen to when you are working ?
All kinds. Lately, I’ve been really into post-rock – arrhythmic, eccentric kind of stuff. “Battles”, “Jealousy Mountain Duo”, “Giraffes? Giraffes!”.

Do you have a way to organize your day to maximize your work ?
Not always. I just try to get the most out of my work not in terms of time, but personal satisfaction. I feel that’s the healthiest relationship to have with work.

What tips would you give to improve productivity?
Make sure you do one creative thing a day. It sounds like a platitude, but it works. There’s a brilliant sense of fulfillment and purpose that comes with this. Additionally, it allows you to not let your ideas disappear, or stagnate. You do not need an excuse to make work.

You’re better than your colleagues at? :
Everyone has their own understandings and interests that guide their work and make it distinct. No one is better, just different.

What is the best advice anyone has given you ?
I don’t think anyone has told me, but I’ve come to see, forgiveness is essential – it’s the currency of human interaction. It means understanding, it means compassion.

What is your best tip for saving time ?
Haha. If someone gives you a a good answer, let me know! I don’t really try to save time, or just not really look at it that way. Time escapes on all of us, as long as it is spent enjoyably, its not of too much concern. However much time I put into something, it is only the journey and subsequently, product that matter at the end.

What is your routine start and end of the day ?
I either wake up work out and give some time to myself, or dive right into the work. What often helps is keeping a list of goals. Check a few off every day and your work and progress become tangible. I just try to orient myself around doing this, completing the things I have to do and balancing it with doing the things that are personally fulfilling. At the end of the day, unless there is a deadline crunch, I think it is best for the soul to simply relax, spend time with loved ones.

Aside from your computer and your phone, what gadget can you not you go without?
I’d like to think I could go with out any of them, but I know that’s not always true. Recently I have found my scanner to be an indispensable aid. Ultimately though, it is not the tech, but the will to make and do that truly matters.