Interview with Stanley Clayne Sandström

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Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Stanley Clayne Sandström (SS) for A’ Design Awards and Competition. You can access the full profile of Stanley Clayne Sandström by clicking here.

Interview with Stanley Clayne Sandström at Wednesday 20th of April 2016
Stanley Clayne Sandström
FS: Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
SS: If anything, I am the epitome of an “accidental artist.” I have not received any formal artistic training in art history, or art appreciation, nor have I been recognized for any of design work; although I did receive two awards for architectural design at a county fair once. I am trained in both mechanical engineering and architectural design. I am enthusiastic about my altruistic and entrepreneurial approach to life and career.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
SS: While I have been designing for years, I don't consider myself a designer, per se'. That is why I have coined the phrase "accidental artist." I do what I do, not as an accident, but accidentally what I do becomes something special. I enjoy tools, and I have a small garage workshop. Me and my "company," try to provide service at a higher level.

FS: What is "design" for you?
SS: Design and artistic expression is the ultimate expression of thought, consideration, and esteem for the product, technology, process, and ultimately the end user.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
SS: The most enjoyable projects have no rules. The Music Chair for instance ... there are no rules, it has never been done. I find that "first ever" projects are the most fun because the bar is not only being set, it's being created. The only standard is the imagination giving permission to dream and to think beyond "what is" and explore the possibilities of "what if."

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
SS: My latest design is always my favorite. The latest design project is the culmination of all the learning, experience, and tools used from all previous projects. There are, of course, "turning point" projects. These are the notable highlights along the way. When I was a young boy I designed large cardboard arches with a span of 6.7 meters (22 feet) and a height of 5.5 meters (18 feet). As a young man, my attention turned to Architectural design. I enjoyed the opportunity to design and build several custom homes in Southern California.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
SS: This question, it seems, is directed to a dedicated artist. But for me, the first thing I designed for a company was a marque sign while working for Columbia Homes in Mesa Arizona, USA. I was in the eleventh grade at the time, attending high school.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
SS: While any material or element may be exploited to create artistic expressions, I prefer what I know ... steel, woods, plastics. I am very excited to learn more about composites, carbon fiber, and other exotic materials.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
SS: All it takes to ignite my imagination is a simple request, or a design problem. When I feel that what I am asked to do is important, I become animated and alive inside, eager to provide an elegant and simple solution.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
SS: During the design phase, my focus is on function and aesthetic flow. I give particular attention to design movement as it transitions from one form or element to the next. Associations and connections within the design and the area that surrounds the piece or project are also very important initial considerations that may affect the design.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
SS: Design is exhilarating. Design is freedom of expression. Design is limitless. Design is what sets mankind apart from all other life. Design is the power of intelligence over element. Design is three-dimensional—thought, blending color, texture, mode, shape, and function into a single expression. When designing, I feel alive, totally engaged in life, and connected to my Creator. At times I feel humbled when He chooses to express his love and passion though the work of my hands.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
SS: As a father of five amazing children, I know the deep and emotional feeling that fills one's heart when a little baby is placed gently into your arms for the very first time. There is no comparison to the sweet experience of witnessing the miracle of birth. Still, when a design is finally realized, there is a feeling of a miracle occurring. Where once there was nothing, now there is this design. At first it was only a thought that lived in my mind, and now it is something tangible and real. Good design deserves to occupy space, to perform a function, and to satisfy a need or want. That is what makes me feel good about myself.

FS: What makes a design successful?
SS: Scale, weight, color, proportion, intensity, or duration, all play a part in art and design. Ultimately the success of a design or artistic piece, how it will be judged and remembered, is by the positive impact it has upon our life.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
SS: The first, and I feel the most important, aspects of design are: A design should deserve to exist. It should make life better in some significant way. A good design will, in some way be helpful.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
SS: The best of design or artistic expression is not the inspiration from which it springs into life, but the feelings it evokes the thoughts that echo in our mind, and the emotion that is ignited within our hearts.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
SS: The design field is exciting. It's full of dreamers and entrepreneurs. To me the future of design is elegance, and simplicity.

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
SS: This is my first.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
SS: First, I am inspired by family; my late father’s long life example of constant service and hard work, and my late mother’s appreciation of all things beautiful. Another source of my creativity is a deep desire to meet people's needs and to serve their wants. Design is a personal expression to delight. I have experienced the costly devastation of bad ideas and designs. Bad design hurts, and good design heals. Design's power to heal comes from its ability to inspire. Design as an expression that provides a creative outlet for the one designing, and functional encouragement to the one experiencing the design.

FS: How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
SS: My design style is simple, direct, and straight forward. Design should promote understanding and communication, while providing an answer to a question or problem. Good design solves a problem. Great design solves the problem beautifully.

FS: Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
SS: I live with my family in Temecula California, USA. Temecula is beautiful. Surrounded by snow-caped mountains in the winter, and hot air balloons can be seen almost every morning. The area is filled with kind and wonderful people, great schools, fine eating establishments, and is home to several vineyards and wineries.

FS: How do you work with companies?
SS: With all my clients, my first objective is to meet their needs and wants. Once a dialog is begun, we negotiate the scope and details of the project and work together to get it done.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
SS: When clients have allowed me the freedom to design the end result is that the client gets more than they requested. If a client says “I want this” to a designer, they have constrained the design. The designer is obligated to give the client what they requested not necessarily what they want. Companies should select a designer based upon the work they admire. If the designer is allowed to design, and if the designer is responsive and hard-working, the client will be delighted and surprised by the finished piece.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
SS: My design process is simple: Imagine it. Plan it. Do it. Imagine It―Dream big. Dream bigger―Dream bigger still! Imagine a tremendous and bright future; a future with purpose―one that is not selfish, but blesses everyone around you. Imagine the project filling that space. Plan It―Start with the final dream in mind, and then work backwards―reverse engineer “The Big Idea.” Now is the time to study, prepare, test, develop, ponder, and pray―pray again. Pray always. Do It―Carpe Diem! Capitalize on every opportunity! Nothing kills a great idea, plan or action faster than doubt and fear. Fear will kill the thrill!

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
SS: My single pedestal, articulating Bieffe drafting table and Mutoh digital drafting machine; A room dividing screen made by my Father; Our baby grand piano; the Ridged portable air compressor; and the Logitech mouse in my hand.

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
SS: If I'm working as a litigation consultant, my day begins at 6:00 in the morning, in the war-room by 7:00, in the courtroom by 8:30 until 4:30 in the afternoon; finishing the day preparing for the next day's witnesses until midnight or so. When I'm not doing that, I'm up at 6:30 or so helping with breakfast, doing the dishes, taking the children to school, lunch with my wife, and working throughout the day on mundane everyday projects or creating "the next big thing." After dinner and getting the children to bed, I spend my time designing, researching, and writing late into the night.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
SS: Work hard. Get all the education you can. Work hard. Big dreams are realized one very small step at a time. Dreams must be stronger than fear, despair, defeat, or discouragement. The bigger the dream, the more exceptional one must become. To realize one's dream, one must be equal to whatever success demands. To become truly accomplished as a designer, make sure it is something you love and then give your whole self to it. You can't perfect anything if you're busy with everything. Keep your eye on design perfection, and your work will become so compelling that people won't be able to take their eyes off of you. Remember hard work is very important.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
SS: In a world where money, wealth, and the accumulation of things are perceived as power and success—being a designer may prove to be a challenge. Like a musician, artist, or anyone creative, as a designer you will be driven to follow your own path. Many other careers have well defined and well-worn paths. If you choose to be a designer it may be a long time before you will be recognized and rewarded for following your own path. While designing is freedom of expression, keeping the realities of life balanced can be very difficult. The best thing about being a designer is the magic that good design promotes. Designers are agents for positive change. It takes courage, tenacity, and hard work, but is all worth it if you are able to maintain the balance.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
SS: Design and artistic expression is the ultimate expression of thought, consideration, and esteem for the material, product, technology, process, and ultimately the end user.

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
SS: The most important skills for any designer are: imagination, education, and dedication, and the absence of hesitation; reservation, and design constipation (hesitation and doubt).

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
SS: My tool box is filled with a wide assortment of mechanics hand tools, wood working tools, and a large collection of electric and air power tools. I use Adobe, Corel, and other design software to visualize projects. I make very good use of a pencil and paper too. I like the feel of a pencil in my hand as the graphite bites into the tooth of the paper. My inspiration comes from the world that I see around me. That is a good reason to expand ones vision. It's important to get out and away from the computer and internet, they have their place, but they are someone else's expression. I try to live outside of myself. Giving service in the community allows one to see the needs of others and how, as a designer, one can better help. I'm inspired by the design of a playground merry-go-round being used as a way to pump fresh water in remote areas of Africa, and the Falkirk Wheel rotating boat lift in Scotland. To me these represent the best of design and are inspirational to me.

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
SS: I think we all believe we manage our time well. I know I do ... well most of the time. The fact is, if you don't manage your time, it will manage you. First, always do what must be done each day. Then you will have the time and freedom to do the things you enjoy.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
SS: Ten seconds to ten years ... more or less.

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
SS: How much will it cost and how long will it take?

FS: What was your most important job experience?
SS: My most important job experience is having the courage to accept a challenge or task that seems too big.

FS: Who are some of your clients?
SS: As a designer: my wife, family and friends. But as a consultant, they are Fortune 500 companies.

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
SS: I prefer the design of consumer products, home accessories, and automotive products. I enjoy fabrication of all kinds, and of all materials. Building and making real things feels good in the hand. See the results of your efforts is extremely rewarding. Because it's real and it's measurable, it is very satisfying.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
SS: My plans are simple. Keep doing what needs to be done to provide for my family until there comes a time that allows me to focus on designing and making projects full time.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
SS: Depending on the project and the client, I will work as a team member or independently. The Music Chair project was a personal and individual effort.

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
SS: I do have works-in-progress, but because of their intellectual property potential they remain under wraps for now.

FS: How can people contact you?
SS: I am best contacted by email.

FS: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
SS: “Remember that there is meaning beyond absurdity. Know that every deed counts, that every word is power...Above all, remember that you must build your life as if it were a work of art.” -Abraham Joshua Heschel

FS: Thank you for providing us with this opportunity to interview you.

A’ Design Award and Competitions grants rights to press members and bloggers to use parts of this interview. This interview is provided as it is; DesignPRWire and A' Design Award and Competitions cannot be held responsible for the answers given by participating designers.

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