Local emcee and producer Def-I is a bit of a phenom.

Def-I’s not only one of the most talented rappers I’ve ever seen, and not only does he make beats to match his verbal dexterity, and he’s not only an impresario to beat the band… he’s also one of the most sincere performers in town. It’s rare you find that combination of talent, ambition, and humility in one person, and here he is, the full package.

Def-I’s a local boy. He grew up in a rough part of town (now known affectionately as the International District), and cut his teeth in local bars. With the release of Shields for Raining Arrows, his latest album, he’s been touring around the US, leaving a trail of dropped jaws.

We first worked together at the El Rey theater in downtown Albuquerque last year, when he opened for archetypal Dub act Sly and Robbie. (The best shot from that night made its way onto Shields for Raining Arrows, literally, later that year. He also hired me to shoot the painting by Randy L Barton that would be used on the cover.) We liked the look of that space so much agreed to explore the same pallet in a headshot session at my home studio.

It’s Def-I’s sincerity that makes him such a joy to work with.

As I shot, he told me about growing up in Albuquerque, his years in the local hip hop scene, and his hopes for his new album. It’s rare such talent comes in such a confident, humble person.

Def-I has since used images from that shoot all over, from an article in The Alibi, our local alternative weekly to his Bandcamp page.

In January of 2016 I shot the release party for Shields, at Sister Bar. It was a huge, rawkus night, a full celebration.

Digital Photography Print Writing & Editing

Vital Foods

In 2015 I co-owned Vital Foods, a small organic grocery, and vegan cafe, with a team of five. Though hired to implement and maintain their website, I quickly began designing identity and marketing materials.

The logo was the first step in a rebranding effort. I kept several elements of the original logo: sun rays, and two of the colors. The goal was to evoke a fresh taste, full of energy. I chose the type to imply both structure and verve, and the V quickly became a standalone design element.

Photography Print

The National Poetry Slam

Though I collaborated on and designed the event programs for the ’05 and ’06 National Poetry Slams, respectively, my favorite remains 2007. Mike and Phil already had a great identity campaign for the festival from Wall to Wall, and gave me plenty of room to indulge my Russian Constructivist sensibilities. I designed and copyedited the 100+ page document, and delivered it early. The result was a readable, attractive, and on-brand event program, which was used by more than 500 poets and 3,000 attendees to find and plan logistics.

Digital Photography Print Writing & Editing

La Montañita Co-op Market

In September 2009 I began writing and designing for my local Co-op market. Though I was hired as a Marketing Assistant, my skills grew so much during my time there that my position was renamed Senior Designer.

I wrote, edited, and maintained their blog and Facebook presence. I edited 4–6 posts per month, and whittled from 1000+ words to 400–600, and varying the depth from light punctuation to full-scale rearrangement and rewriting. I more than tripled their Facebook fans and substantially increased fan participation on the page. I wrote articles for the center-spread of the monthly newsletter, ranging from layman’s clarifications of worldwide Cooperative statistics to marketing copy, and drove in-store participation. I also wrote and edited innumerable marketing posters and small signs used around the stores.

Meanwhile, I planned and designed many in-store signs, for materials ranging from magnets to steel. I often oversaw installation and maintained relationships with store-level managers, helping to grease communication between the stores and the Administrative Offices. I was instrumental in the formation and iconography of the “We Love…” campaign, which has increased sales and customer loyalty, and which the Marketing Dept. still uses today (“We Love Food,” “We Love Our Customers,” etc.).