Shawn Stuckey

Who are you and what do you do?

Shawn Stuckey Creative Director at Fair Oaks Farms | Freelance Designer & Marketer

Where are you from?


How did you get started?

Music & breakfast. As far back I as can remember, I loved cereal boxes and album art. But I didn’t know or understand that was a job. Even in high school when I was supposed to pick a career, graphic design classes sucked. It was all graph paper and French curves. It didn’t feel at all creative. Computers were used to play Westward Ho not create. Leading was still literal. I majored in “Art” and played music. Pre-interweb, Pre-MySpace Pre-Itunes, Pre-Spotify music. I’d play in the evenings in suburbs like River Grove and then sleep first period. This was obviously a major creative outlet via what we made. But it was also a learning experience in how to market, how to communicate visually and break through the noise and pollution. After high school I was accepted into various art schools but turned them down to continue in music. To make my car payment and pay for pawnshop gear I got a job as a screen wash boy at a graphics company that printed dashers for the NHL and NBA. Solid start, yeah? Over the next decade, I worked my way up to design and eventually went to school for visual communications. Then continued being a designer.

Do you have a side hustle or hobbies?

Certainly. Are those things usually related? I don’t consider them the same. My hobbies have to separate me from work or I burn out. Become uninspired. Experiences promote creative ideas. And when they’re positive experiences, it feels even more motivating. Being a creative, if I can call myself that, I have to love what I’m doin or it produces crap. If you love what you’re doing work kinda feels like a hobby. So, I guess the difference between the two would be what it is you’re expressing. When paid, I’m most likely expressing someone else’s idea and goal. Whereas when it’s your own initiative and your own dime, you have the luxury of expressing yourself or your own goals and ideas. I can’t imagine giving up that luxury.

To answer the question, yes. Thanks for askin’

What was one of your biggest mistakes and what did you learn from it?

Damn. There are so many. I was recently careless and rushed and sliced my thumb with an X-acto….

I’m kidding. That was another very talented local creative I recently spoke with. I have witnessed a similar accident and was seconds away from feeding someone’s thumb chunk to the birds before it was collected to be re-attached. That would’ve been a pretty big mistake.

I tend to take too much on. What I produce, and well-being suffers. I’m still trying to get that right.

What are the top tools you need to do your job?

Paper, pencil, eraser, mind, whiskey, coffee, laptop, internet, Adobe Creative Cloud. I don’t really use French curves. The usual stuff, ya know.

Who or what inspires you and why?

Oh boy. Heavy.

There are a couple trains of thought here and I’ve explored both at least at a high level.

There is this dude, Allen Gannett who writes about a creative inspiration and collected the common patterns. But this forced approach feels flawed to me. You’re removing the unexpected and recreating based off of what has worked before. And the end result is mainstream success. I don’t think that’s an accurate measuring stick.

Inspiration is like this spark that hits you from somewhere floating out in the ether. And when its faded in you, it’s pretty scary. Because of its random and powerful nature, ya never know for sure if it’ll hit you again. I hate that feeling. I do know that fear is NOT inspirational. At least not for me and not so far. For me it has been via experiences. Never forced, and always unexpected.

What do you love about Northwest Indiana?

Hmmm. Sometimes I don’t.

But when I do, I’d have to say it’s the people I’ve met and not the geography. It has its own little gems of unique beauty. It has a vast sea of ordinary. And maybe there’s something to that, idk.

But I’ve met some incredible people who’ve had some impressive accomplishments. Sometimes even unaware. And I sure the hell wouldn’t be the same person if I hadn’t met the same people in the same place.  

What resources are you finding to educate yourself?

Always unexpected. Let’s leave that open. Traditional, non-traditional, it all works. Make time to read. Make time to experience. Make time for discussion. It doesn’t have to be formal. It doesn’t have to be organized. Just be open.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in your industry?

Depends on the someone I guess. Maybe they have advice for me?

What’s next for you?

I’m making a record label for a new record label. That’s pretty cool. Like I said, I love album art and cereal boxes. People get to look at that little circle to determine side one or side two on every single album released. So cool.

After that, who knows. I’m open to suggestion.

Where can we find you?

Walkin my dog. Sittin in a pub. Sometimes grab a coffee from the Sip in the a.m..

I’ve got stuff on the interwebs that I don’t update. It’s fine, I’m not alone in that practice. So will connect you to me, but so does conversation.