Mike Tavarez
Mike Tavarez (BFA Digital Media '08) discusses his inspirations, favorite pieces of work and what he thinks will be the next big thing in design. Gentleman Scholar is a bicoastal U.S. creative production company drawn together by a love for design and an eagerness to push boundaries. The company is proud to present this series of interviews with some of its amazing, emerging talents, in conversation with its LA-based production and marketing maven, CJ Sustello.

What was your first memory of creating something artistically?

I accidentally stumbled into my first artistic creation in the first grade.  The other first grade students would often draw simple flat crosses whenever they were bored with classwork. In an attempt to fit in I would also draw crosses until I accidentally added a line extruding from the cross.  Something about this line was really interesting so I added more lines like it. Eventually, my cross had perspective and dimensionality. After that day I became consumed with sketching objects in 3D perspective, and later I became fascinated learning lighting and shadow.

You are a graduate of Otis College of Art and Design. What led you to Otis?

My high school art teacher recommended Otis to me.  I had already been accepted to a local state school where all my friends were going and I didn't want to move from my hometown. However, I gave Otis a chance by driving with my mom to visit the school. During that trip the student interaction won me over. I spoke with a group of undergraduates who seemed happy, creative, and genuinely kind. Those students did me a huge favour because applying to Otis was one of the best decisions I've ever made.

Who are the people that have inspired you the most?

Personally, my father inspired me because of his relentless work ethic. When I was young he would take me to his fence company and I would see him work from sunrise to sunset. I noticed his ability to engage all his employees with his rigorous energy. Creatively, most of my inspiration came from directors like Michel Gondry and Oskar Fischinger. Their work brilliantly combined my favourite mediums; film, animation and music. I love their ability to make breathtaking visuals out of simple shapes and ideas.

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