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Jarred Elrod - Creative Performer (Graphic designer + educator)

Updated: Sep 27, 2021

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Number of years in career: 11

Astrological sign: Gemini

Where are your family roots from?

West Texas and Oklahoma!


How have your parents/guardians/teachers/mentors influenced you? I am super lucky to have been blessed with amazing parents and mentors in my life who always created space for me to explore / experiment in supportive environments. Having the flexibility to experiment coupled with seeing my parents / mentors always lead by example and be genuine, respectful + responsible people had a huge impact on how I continue to operate as a professional designer and educator today.

Can you remember one childhood memory of happiness and one of fear? Happiness: Getting to go on dirt bike rides with my dad or riding my own mini-bike I got when I was 4. Fear: Tornado sirens going off when severe weather was in our area. Tornadoes and sirens still freak me out, lol.

Is there something in your life that you feel very passionate about? I am passionate about being a good partner to my spouse, taking care of our animals, and being a good teacher. I also really like vintage dirt bikes from the 80s, sprint cars (which I raced when I was younger) , and typography—the interest in type and graphic design in general probably came from the racing number plates, gear logos, colors, etc...I love that stuff when I was a kid...and I still do now!

If you could be any animal, what animal would you be? Why? Coyote—they're scruffy and small, but they're adaptable survivors. I like that.

What is it about being a/an_Design Educator___that keeps you satisfied in your career?

Working with design students—seeing the grow as practitioners and people is incredibly rewarding. One of my favorite things to do as part of my job is fielding reference calls for employers that are hiring former students—that's a really neat experience.

What is your creative process? And major influencers? My creative process in a nutshell is to allow the process to determine the form. I'm trained as a graphic designer, but my approach is very experimental and I very much prefer operating in the land of open ends as opposed to rigidity and structure. I like to work on projects long term and build on them through daily exercises. Influences...Kate Bingaman-Burt, Ladislav Sutner, Egon Schiele, Otto Dix, Kelli Anderson, Jessica Bellamy, El Lizitsky, Jessica Hisch, Eddie Opara, Experimental Jetset, Daniel Eatock...pretty wide spectrum

Can you tell us something you just learned that intrigued you? I'm learning to speak Italian right now! Today I learned the word "schifoso," which means lousy, disgusting, rotten etc.

What is something people often get wrong about you? People are surprised when they see that I ride an enduro motorcycle (like a street legal dirt bike). Guess I don't look like the motorcycle type??

What are you listening to these days? Hmm..I really like the latest releases from Fleet Foxes, "Shore" and Glass Animals "Dreamland." I'm probably too old for those records, but who cares. Both albums are great from beginning to end.

What’s the best and worst decision you ever made? Tough one. Best: Applying for graduate school! Worst: Riding my KX250 in running shoes instead of my boots in 2006—this directly led to a shattered right ankle and surgery.

Can you narrate your proudest moment? Lol dang this one is tough, too! I would probably say there isn't a whole lot of narrative that goes on in my head or to other people...just a sigh of relief, maybe a gin and tonic or cold beer and then on to the next one.

*What do you find ridiculous about life? The current president (not for much longer, thank god), who is a white supremacist, the United States of America and our current political situation—I never thought I'd see people actively waving confederate flags inside our capitol we are governing through the CV-19 pandemic, the value of money over people, how poorly we seem to be treating each other these days, it's all sad, disgusting, and shameful. (Sorry for the super dark answer there)

Can you share a topic that causes your blood to boil & how you deal with the frustration?

uhm. Guess I should have read this before I answered the last question! I'd say the empathy vacuum we seem to have these days and the pubic health crisis we are currently experiencing... and how it has all been exacerbated by political propaganda and selfish people.

If you could take a peek in your future (say 10 years from now), what would it look like?

Me somewhere in the mountains on a dirtbike or back in a racecar.

Bonus: What’s one thing you are deeply grateful for right now? My spouse, our dog and our two cats!

Instagram: jarrederraj + relentless_transient

*all photos are from Jarred's instagram and website page and approved

*This mini-interview was sent in February 2021 & published September 2021- making some responses reflect that particular time of the year.

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