Meet Gabe!

From marketing, photography, and illustration, to creative director and family man, Gabe is taking the creative world by storm! He entered the Buildstack contest to win an iPad and after viewing his work, he was quick to gain the Buildstack team’s attention! Check out the interview with him and how he is paving the way (humbly) for new creatives to step into the world of design, photography, and marketing. Navigating through the COVID with his family, all while learning new skills! We LOVE Gabe! 


“I’m a multidisciplinary designer with over 13 years of experience. My skill sets include print production, digital design, marketing, illustration, photography, project management, and leading teams over multiple projects and campaigns. I love the exploration and diversity you find when collaborating and bringing people together to create great products.

When I’m not working, I love hanging out with my wife and kids, watching movies, and playing board games. It was definitely Colonel Mustard with the knife in the billiard room!”


How did you start in the design/illustration and photography industry? -are you self taught? – schooling? -mentorship? I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember and once I graduated high school, a counselor suggested I look into graphic design and went to school for that. I’ve been using Photoshop since I was 13, so thankfully I was familiar with that. I do have to say that most of what I’ve learned has been playing around with the software and teaching myself. Thankful for youtube!


What is your biggest strength as an illustrator? What are you the best at in what you do? I would have to say my biggest strength as an illustrator is my adaptability in using different styles. As a creative, I love being flexible with trying new methods and processes. 


Do you consider yourself as someone who is paving the way for new creatives? -how so? I wouldn’t put myself on a pedestal like that. There are so many creatives who are killing it in regards to innovation, but I love being a part of the creative community. Having art directed projects and teams in the past, I love being able to give other creatives a platform and giving them the tools and direction to succeed and grow.


How many hats do you wear? Do you think that is more important or is a team more important? I think that depends on the situation. I’ve illustrated, designed, directed, photographed, edited, and project managed, but I lean towards working with a team. When given the opportunity, I feel that building a team of the best for each area of a project usually yields the best results. Plus it’s more fun to work with a team of talented friends than by yourself.   

Gabe’s pictures, available on Unsplash

What’s one thing you wish you had known when you began your career? I wish I could’ve taken care of all the legal stuff (contracts, taxes, etc) ahead of time. I probably would’ve avoided a lot of headaches with clients. Also, I wish I would’ve been more confident as a designer when it came to knowing my worth. Not just monetarily, but in my ideas and suggestions. Being a professional in the creative field is great, but I think a lot of people see the profession as really just a hobby and try to take advantage because of it.


How do you feel social media has affected your industry? From my perspective, it’s completely opened the door to have direct access to the people in the industry that you look up to. As long as you’re respectful and concise, I’ve had a lot of great feedback and growth opportunities from heroes and frontrunners in the industry.


What motivates you to stay in the freelance/creative industry? -COVID impact? -future of photography?

I mean, it’s the only thing I know how to do haha (only partly joking)! I’ve found it to have given me so many unique opportunities. It’s pushed me to learn new skills, get better at communication and leadership, travel across the United States, and work with some of the most talented and down to earth people I know.
Regarding the impact of COVID-19 on the industry, it’s been incredible to see the community come together and support each other when it comes to sharing opportunities for work, resources, and simple encouragement. Companies and agencies are doing their best to adapt and offer more remote projects, and I am grateful for that. It’s sad to see jobs go under. I know how it feels to be let go due to the shutdowns and know a lot of people who are having to navigate through that. Hopefully, we can safely get back to normal and bring back a lot of the jobs for the people that need it. I think if there’s one thing I’ve learned during this entire situation, is that if you’re willing to be adaptable and work hard, you’ll find there are opportunities out there.


Have you picked up a quarantine hobby? If so, what? Currently, my main quarantine hobby is being more present with my family and spending more time with my two kids! Before this year, I’ve always worked on location at an office somewhere, and now that I’ve been working from home, it’s been a balancing act of work and being with family. It’s hard to “clock out” when your workspace is just a room away. But making the best of the situation and getting to see my kids a lot more is definitely a bonus. Other than that, I’m slowly getting into learning 3D in Blender. It’s been fun learning something new!

Where to find Gabe | | | Instagram