The Creative Unconscious: What's your name, age, and professional title? Where are you currently employed?
Eric Cancino: Eric Cancino // 24 // Graphic Designer // Turn 10 Studios
TCU: What hobbies do you have outside of your professional field that keep you inspired and motivated to generate personal work? How do they inspire you?
EC: I try not to look at any one thing as direct inspiration. When I do, I feel overwhelmed and ultimately frustrated that I’m forcing an overlap between two different things. I play video games, watch movies and listen to music like anybody else.
Every now and then I’ll come across something that really resonates with me. This isn’t exclusive to design. It can be a well framed movie shot or the way a score builds during a particular scene. I’ll think to myself “Wow, I wish I had made that.” This feeling is what forced me into the position I’m in today. I now have a chance to say “I made that”. As a designer, there is no greater feeling.
TCU: Do you have a hard time balancing being a creative professional and generating personal work that you're proud of?
EC: Unfortunately, yes. You can only be committed to so many things before they start to lack the attention they require. Like, my current situation at Turn 10 is creatively demanding, and I’m usually drained by the end of the day. I prefer this though. It takes me time to get into the mindset of the current project at hand, so any time I have more than one, there’s a clear favorite.
I keep a growing list of personal projects I’d like to start, but that’s just not possible at the moment. Somewhere down the line I’ll say fuck it all and decide to do my own thing, but at the moment, I’m very satisfied with where I’m at.
TCU: What time of day do you feel the most creative? What about the most productive?
EC: For the longest time I had myself convinced that I worked best at night, after everyone has gone to sleep and I have less distractions. Recently though, I’ve realized my work ethic only depends on the urgency of the task, not the time of day.
There are two important stages to my process: The first is when I initially begin a project. I don’t feel restricted in my creativity. I’m able to brainstorm freely, and even the most ridiculous ideas seem plausible. It’s a vital stage to me, as it’s also when I get myself excited for whatever I’m making.
The second, is crunch time, when the reality of a deadline starts to hit. This is the point where I panic and force myself into a productive state. It’s arguable less fun than the first stage, but necessary all the same.
TCU: What are your creative goals for the future?
EC: Working in the gaming industry has been an actual dream come true for me. I wasn’t prepared to be designing for Xbox or a huge gaming franchise like Forza coming straight out of school. It’s intimidating and overwhelmingly exciting to check things like that off my list so early in my career. I’m just having fun with everything, so in the short term, I would like to continue doing so.
Looking farther down the line, it’s much harder for me to predict where I’ll want to be. Like I said, I simply want to make dope things that inspire people. And who knows, maybe this won’t be limited to graphic design. I have no doubt that I’ll continue creating, but what way I’ll end up doing so is completely up in the air.
TCU: Are you working on any personal projects right now? If so, can you share a little bit about your inspiration and your creative process?
EC: The extent of my personal projects currently consists of noting them down on my phone and saving them for later. When “later” is exactly, I couldn’t tell you. But get back to me then, and I’ll have some really cool stuff for you...
TCU: What scares you?
EC: You know that feeling when you find out the person you use to crush on felt the same way about you, but nothing came of it because you didn’t say anything? That feeling, I think, is at the core of what scares me the most. Looking back on my career and life, I don’t want to realize that “I should have applied for that position” or “I should have left that job sooner”.
It’s easy to settle for what’s comfortable, but that mindset doesn’t really get you anywhere. I like to think there are dream positions out there being fulfilled by people much less competent than me. That might sound arrogant, but what’s the point of getting up every day without the confidence that you’re on a path towards something big?
TCU: What does success mean to you?
EC: Doing what you want.
It’s a simple thing in concept, but how many times have you felt unsatisfied with your job? I mean, really ask yourself, do you love what you’re doing, or have you settled because it’s “good for now”?
When I was five years old, my dad brought home an Atari 2600 and Instantly I knew I wanted to make video games when I got older. The fact that I’m doing exactly that, is one of the biggest successes of my life. That being said, I’m only 24, so it might be time for some new goals.
TCU: Anything else you want to add?
EC: Never settle.
And all you Xbox One owners, look out for Forza Motorsport 6 in September! We've been working very hard on it :)
You can see more of Eric's work on his Behance at www.behance.net/cancino