ArtCenter: What are you working on right now?
Rodrigo Camus (BS Transportation Design ’05) Designer/Artist: Tons of car sketches for clients and YouTube video tutorials on my channel Pro Sketch.
AC: What inspired you to create sketching tutorials on YouTube?
RC: When I’m at car shows doing live presentations, kids and even adults ask me how I learned to sketch; many of them haven’t seen this type of design. Growing up in Mexico, I didn’t have access to any of this. My idea was to allow people everywhere in the world to discover this kind of sketching and get started.
AC: You’ll be part of the LA Auto Show — what will you be doing there?
RC: Live sketching, inspiring new generations, displaying my work and promoting myself as an artist.
AC: Earlier in your career, you worked transportation and product design. How did you make the jump to artist?
RC: I had this low blood sugar condition that continued to get worse, and I was having a hard time doing a 9-to-5 job. I started Pro Car Sketch, and I started getting more and more business. It’s been a gift that keeps giving.
AC: What’s your most irrational or rational fear?
RC: Myself! When low blood sugar hits me, I become a zombie. And I can’t predict it. I spend a lot of time performing in front of an audience, and I’m always scared that my brain will quit while I’m up there.
AC: How do you define success?
RC: Quality of life, not money. Doing something you love every day; something that touches other people’s lives in a positive way. And having time to smell the flowers (I usually smell race cars).
AC: What’s the design cliché you’re most tempted to use?
RC: When I’m doing a design/sketch demo, usually it’s on a time crunch. So I use every single cliché I can think off. That way I know I will produce something decent looking without premeditating the design. Shame on me!
AC: What’s the one tool you can’t do without?
RC: My markers. That came later in my career. At first, I was all about digital sketching and 3D software.
AC: What’s the first site you look at when you open your computer in the morning?
RC: I usually start sketching before I even turn on my computer. It’s too easy for me to get derailed. I would say YouTube studio — that’s where I keep track of my channel and reply to comments.
AC: What’s the most unique thing you’ve designed?
RC: Tupperware! It’s such a common product. My challenge was to make it more unique, so I gave it a bit of style. Now, every time I go back to Mexico, I see it everywhere. Most of the products I design are more complex, so it was interesting to create something simple that was so successful.
AC: Where do you go (online or offline) when you’re taking a break?
RC: It used to be playing soccer; I’m turning 40 and my body can’t handle it as well. So cycling and lots of family time. I have a racing simulator that’s really cool (in a very geek way). I just don’t have the time to use it.
AC: What do you do to detox from media and screens?
RC: I love being outside. As comfy as a couch and a TV sound, I’m always happiest outside. I can go for hours without looking at my smartphone — something most people can’t do anymore.
AC: If you could trade jobs with anyone for a day who would it be?
RC: Pro baseball player Mike Trout. He earns $60,000 average per at bat, even if he strikes out! I would be great at striking out.
Seriously now, maybe a Formula One team principal. They manage hundreds of designers and thousands of parts getting manufactured, tested and used every year. Constant evolution of the same components; pushing the limit of performance and reliability; going from design prototype and final production almost every day. Good thing it’s only for a day. More than that I would be exhausted!
AC: What book is on your bedside table?
RC: Something For Dummies. I’ve read a bunch of different subjects and learned a lot.
AC: Who are the most interesting designers working today?
RC: I think digital and human interface have the biggest chance to shape the world. Things we took for granted have radically changed, just from apps in our pockets. It’s strange to see how something that isn’t physical can completely change the world — that didn’t exist when I went to ArtCenter.
AC: Describe a moment in your childhood when you first identified as a designer.
RC: My dad took me to see some race cars in 1990 called Prototype C. Every other car on the street was a shoe box. These race cars were all round; they looked like spaceships to me. I saw for the first time that things could be done differently. My favorite car is still one of the cars I saw that day: Sauber C9 driven by Michael Schumacher.
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AC: If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
RC: Turn back time. Maybe I would do everything the same again, but it would be nice to have the option. My years at ArtCenter were golden days and I would love to experience them again. At the same time, I’m living in a golden era right now. If I change the past, maybe I wouldn’t be where I am.
AC: What’s your most prized possession?
RC: None. I moved once and the container with all my stuff got stolen! Everything I owned. I was shocked to realize how little that affected me. I guess I’d say irreplaceable things: all my photos, videos, and design work from the past.
AC: Where is your happy place?
RC: Nap time with my dogs on top of me. I get a sense of calmness that I don’t get anywhere else.
AC: How would your closest friend describe you?
RC: I have no idea, ask them! Handsome, funny, charming. I feel like I’m biased here.