- When did you start taking photos professionally?
Late in life. I’ve always been interested but got “focused” around 2010 and seriously showing in 2013.
- Why did you decide to do a whole series on wave formations?
Every wave is different. They have personalities so I challenged myself to show the spirit of the waves with a new technique.
- Do people often mistake your “spirit of the wave” series as paintings?
So much so that I have a sign in my booth titled “Are these paintings?”. I developed a technique of leaving the camera open for a second or so and then panning the camera in the same direction and at the same speed as the wave. When you see it … you feel it … and then you start to think of waves differently.
- Your art adorns many walls, residential and public, around San Diego. What installation makes you the proudest? (Obviously, it’s ^this piece at Four Fin, but aside from that…)
I’m proud and honored when someone chooses my work for their home or business. When Four Fin chose “Soft Curl” at 80″ wide by 40″ high to hang in your offices, I saw how it fit your marketing message but it also fits your culture, your brand, and your style. I once had the privilege of showing my work at the Hospice center many years ago. One piece “Resting Giants” caught the eye of a wife and daughter of a man staying at the center. When his wife called me to order the piece she told me they loved it for its beauty but also for the title. Her husband had passed a few days earlier and she said, “He was my Giant and now he’s Resting”. I delivered the piece, hung it for her and we chatting for almost two hours about what a wonderful man her husband was.
See more of Dave’s work
- How long did you consider starting Sock Problems before finally jumping in feet first (pun intended)?
5 years. My last life running i.d.e.a. was a busy one. I was grateful to help grow the agency to 70 people and, when that happens, you stay focused on servicing those clients. It wasn’t until I was a year into working on my book about courage (Return on Courage: out in January ’19) that I started to realize that I wasn’t being very courageous myself. If you ink a book about courage you should live the premise! So I finally took action on Sock Problems and here we are today.
- What problem has gotten “socked the most” since you launched sock problems?
I think our “Baller” sock which Sock’s Prostate Cancer (25% of proceeds back to Movember) and our “Rainbow Pow” sock which Sock’s Hate (25% of proceeds back to The Trevor Project) are neck and neck.
- When you aren’t working hard on socking problems, where in San Diego might we find you?
Easy question. At the dinner table up in Encinitas with my family. I spend a lot of time outside of San Diego because of Sock Problems and Courageous (my Consultancy). So, when I am in San Diego, I try to be home and present with my family.
We say that we are “a hard-charging branding and graphic design studio.” What does that mean? Well, inefficiencies drive us crazy, we treat our clients’ needs with respect and urgency, and we enjoy music and positive energy. We approach projects and challenges with a can-do spirit and best-intent attitude, excited to push our client’s brand forward. We charge hard.
We also recharge hard.
I don’t mean we play ping pong or blow off the afternoon, though we have been known to go on creative breaks. What I mean is, we take time to pause. We start every week in our Monday meeting reflecting on the week prior, celebrating successes and learning from failures. We seek feedback from our clients. We listen to what they are dealing with to better craft our offerings. We immerse ourselves in the community and celebrate those who are making waves so that we can have a pulse on what’s happening around us.
Growing up surfing has taught me to value the re-charge as much as the charge. Obviously, riding a glassy left is really fun, but the pause is also impactful. Call it reconnecting. Call it observing. Call it what you want, but sitting and feeling the movements of the ocean, becoming in-tune with the currents and swell shifts, is a skill in itself. That skill leads to the fun times ahead. When you know the ocean on a deeper level, you land more waves and the right ones.
So how does this all relate to company branding?
Basically, you don’t know everything that will help you charge, unless you also recharge. We know that our brand design agency doesn’t know everything either. Strong designers realize this. Designers are curious by nature. We want to know the landscape and context for the work we are doing. We don’t have an in-house research team, so we look to you, our clients, for that insight. We know that if you recharge occasionally, you’ll know a lot about your market, your customers, the chatter, the politics, the waves of consumer habits, feedback from your employees, etc. It’s all deepening your understanding and awareness. When you take it all in and use it to shift your brand, you’ll move toward the right spot for the waves coming in.
So, yes, we look to you for insight. Then we help your brand charge forward – based on this insight. It might be that you decide you need a brand refresh. It might be that you’re feeling like your messaging isn’t hitting it. It might be that you want to branch into a new market. It might be that you aren’t SURE why, but somehow your brand doesn’t seem to hit the mark. Sometimes, we meet a business owner or marketing director who only charges. They’ve come to us to keep their brand charging forward, but they haven’t recharged recently. We might suggest that they do so. It’s an important part of the process.
The Auker Group
- So, you’ve been consistently named “Top 1% of all REALTORs in San Diego County.” What has led to this distinction?
I did what some really brilliant mentors told me to do. Fast forward three years of doing that and having my focus on people and not selling houses… and low and behold, I sold a ton of houses.
- What’s the coolest home feature you’ve seen?
I’m still a sucker for a master bath shower with a panoramic view and a door to the outdoors.
- What’s your favorite secret spot in San Diego?
Red House Pizza in University Heights. (Although I don’t know how much of a secret it is… they’re always packed!)
Roxie Prima & Phoebe Cornog
CoFounders, San Diego Letters
- When did you team up as SD Letters, and how many murals have you painted together?
We teamed up in August 2015 and started San Diego Letters as a monthly Meetup group. After collaborating on planning events, branding the club, and promotion, we realized what a good team we made. After doing a couple freelance jobs together for fun, we realized that we had a passion for painting murals. We were both frustrated and unfulfilled with our full-time jobs so we decided to quit our jobs and turn San Diego Letters into a business in January 2016. We’ve been loving entrepreneur life and have big plans to continue to grow the business. Since we turned it into a business we’ve painted 42 murals and are excited to do our first international mural in Tasmania in a couple weeks!
- What’s your favorite thing about the gig?
Our favorite part about working for ourselves is the freedom to travel. We love teaching workshops, painting murals, and meeting up with our friends that we’ve had on our podcast (Drunk on Lettering) in every city we go to.
- Do you actually get drunk when recording the “drunk on lettering” podcast?
Yes, we actually get drunk for our podcast and most of our guests do too. The only time we don’t get drunk is when we have to record at 9am with a paper lettering artist in Mumbai!
Check out more about what Phoebe and Roxie are doing at sandiegoletters.com and see more of their work on their Instagram account @sandiegoletters and their podcast @drunkonlettering