We had the good fortune of connecting with Mason Williams and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mason, other than deciding to work for yourself, what else do you think played a pivotal role in your story?
Listening to others and accepting criticism, even if it’s harsh criticism. Although work in the graphic design and mograph world can be highly subjective, there’s still an objective nature to the skill set. There are right and wrong principles in any design industry and there’s a set of rules that every designer needs to at least be aware of. It may sound restrictive, but once you know those rules and learn to master them, you can begin to break those same rules using your own creative license. It brings the designer to a place where solid and consistent method encourages innovation.
Likewise, in learning or practicing design, I’m a huge believer in learning from the work of other, more seasoned designers. To this day, I still take inspiration from those I admire. In my early years, I didn’t realize that I was slowly learning the principles of design and layout by unintentionally looking to those who I admired and whom I considered were “doing it the right way”, but I gleaned volumes just from observing their work. Being a good observer is paramount. The good news is, there’s great design all around us, which gives an aspiring designer a world of content to glean from.
I’ve always found a funny but strange truth to Pablo Picasso’s quote “Good artists borrow, great artists steal.” It may sound almost like plagiarism, but just like all trades, a student has to start somewhere…we all need a teacher or two along the road, so observing other artists for education/inspiration is no different in my opinion. Not to mention, the landscape is constantly changing in the design world, so observing other’s work helps keep things fresh and exciting. There’s always something new to learn or explore, which is why I love doing what I do so much.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Initially, I started my career with an interests and formal education in sound engineering. I loved the creative side to mixing producing music. This was an easy career choice for me because I was already writing and recording my own music. It’s a long story, but shortly after graduating college and running a successful project studio for about a year, a job opportunity came up for a local television broadcaster that I was interested in pursuing. Initially, I was hired to run sound for a live evening television production 5 days a week. The hiring process was a a fairly long one, but by the time I had the job, the company had a greater need for a video editor and graphics position. Having had some training with the early Avid non-linear video editing platform (in college) as well as several different audio DAW applications, the transition to this new position was fairly easy. Long story short, I was able to develop a solid video editing and graphic design skillset with the help of all of the great people that I was surrounded by at the time. It took years to get to a level that I was confident at, but I couldn’t have done it without the help and support of others. Through this initial career opportunity, I eventually wound up doing the 2 things I love the most: sound and visual design along with learning how to photograph and shoot video the right way. Luckily, I feel that I have the God-given ability to “observe” design and art to the point where I can break down the details and learn new things from it. I think this is one of the most underrated gifts that most artists inherently have… The ability to observe their surroundings and visually interpret them in a creative medium.
Additionally, one of the hardest lessons to learn is to accept criticism, whether good or bad. It’s a refinement process, but you end up in a better place by just listening. The design landscape is constantly changing, so there’s always something to be excited about.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
First and foremost, I would probably treat them to some good shows. I’m a big fan of indie music and the Metroplex always has a great offering of good bands that come through the area… old and new. Additionally, we (my family) love to take our guests to good restaurants in the area. There’s plenty to choose from. We enjoy visiting unique places like Bishop Arts, Deep Ellum and the downtown portions of the many cities throughout DFW. Since I’m a student of art, I always enjoy visiting the many museums and galleries and studios throughout the area. Creatively, there’s a lot that DFW has to offer.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My wife and family whom I love deeply. My mother for always encouraging my creative endeavors. My friends and colleagues in my first job in broadcast who mentored and gave me my first shot at visual design with patience and grace.