Artist Spotlight: Catching Up with Chris


People. Ideas. Nature. Creativity.

These themes are infused into every single detail that goes into the PINC experience, from the speakers to the intermezzos to the traditions...even the food. It’s this unique intermingling of subject matter that turns PINC into an unforgettable experience.

As such, there are lots of moving parts to the day. Although the basic model of PINC is pretty standard (well, as standard as PINC can be) year to year, the audience never truly knows what to expect. It’s this delicate balancing act between keeping PINC fresh and keeping PINC...PINC.

So, how do we do it? We do it with a little help from our friends at Ringling College of Art and Design. Ringling is our Sarasota conference’s Presenting Partner, which means it helps us make the conference a reality in our community, including access to a whole lot of artistic genius from the incredibly talented students at Ringling College’s Design Center.

The Design Center manages the development and design of a variety of print and web-based marketing, recruiting and fundraising materials, from conceptualization to delivery both on-campus and off. It is designed to help students build a practical understanding and knowledge of print, interactive, multimedia design, technology and professionalism.

Each year we’re paired up with a new set of students from the Design Center -- one graphic designer and one motion designer. We collaborate with the graphic design student to create the overarching look and feel for the conference, and the motion designer takes it from there to create an animation from the design, which is used at the beginning of each track the day of PINC.

Our graphic design partner for PINC.Sarasota 2016 was illustrator Chris Rees, pictured below with motion designer Katrina Stapleton.

We don’t like to constrain the artist to too many rules or guidelines, as we feel the best work comes from creative freedom and a genuine feeling of project ownership. That may be a bit scary to some, especially since students are often used to prompts and restrictions. Not this guy. One look at the cubebots, and Chris ran with it.

What’s a cubebot, you ask? This is a cubebot (well, two actually):

Each year, the audience takes a little bit of PINC with them, not only in the form of inspiration, memories and photos, but also in the form of a gift. A token of our appreciation. A charm that binds the PINC family together. For anyone who attended PINC.Sarasota 2016, that gift was a cubebot, an adorable little robot that folds into a cube. A living Rubik’s Cube. The ultimate desk buddy.

The cubebot took on a life of its own in Chris’ designs, with a different cubebot character for each speaker. The mix of illustrations helped to tell the story of the day. From program booklets to nametags to t-shirts and posters, Chris brought his artistic vision to life and left a lasting impression on the entire experience.

We had the pleasure of catching up with Chris recently. Here’s what he had to say...

PINC: What was your favorite part of working on PINC.Sarasota 2016?

Chris: My favorite part of being able to work on PINC was the trust in creativity from PINC. Working together and developing ideas to see what all would work best in each piece, and then to see it go into actual production for the conference was a great experience.

PINC: What was the most challenging part of working on PINC.Sarasota 2016?

Chris: The most challenging part of PINC was creating a style that would work with such a diverse group of individuals. Trying to find that look that could represent and let each piece shine individually while also working together as a whole.

PINC: When did you start illustrating? Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Chris: I've been drawing/doodling for as long as I can remember. As a kid I would always be coloring or drawing. I still work with charcoal on my free time for drawings. My inspiration comes from many things randomly. It could be a drawing, photographs, something three-dimensional, even other types of creativity in the arts, like music. Something sparks, the feeling of wanting to draw or doodle rushes over me, and I begin.

PINC: What's your favorite project you've worked on to date?

Chris: PINC was actually one of my favorite projects to work on. It was the first project of mine to be put into production. To see this event with everyone wearing my designs and holding the boxes with my doodles on it was amazing to see. It was also the first project I was able to collaborate with a motion designer, Katrina, and see the drawings come to life in her animation. Working on PINC was an unforgettable experience.

PINC: So, you work at Disney! What's your favorite part about that?

Chris: I do work at Disney. It will be my two-year anniversary this month. I love the diversity and creativity that is everywhere. Themed entertainment design is amazing and has been a privilege to work in as a Photopass Photographer. Each day is filled with new guests to create magic for and memories they will never forget from their visit. There are also many opportunities that Disney offers once within the company.

PINC: What are you up to now?

Chris: Right now I am focusing on preparing myself for graduation. I am currently a Universal Creative Intern as a Graphic Design Intern. I am hoping to work with Disney or Universal in design following the end of this internship.


We are fortunate to have the support of Ringling College of Art and Design and look forward to future collaborations. Stay tuned as PINC.Sarasota 2017 takes shape!

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