Designer, filmmaker, and author Hillman Curtis (pictured left) is the Principal and Chief Creative Officer of hillmancurtis, inc., a digital design firm in New York City. He founded the firm in 1998, after three years as Art Director at Macromedia, Inc., and has since designed sites for Yahoo, Adobe, The Metropolitan Opera, the American Institute of Graphic Design, Paramount Classics, Fox Searchlight Pictures and eMusic, among others.
Curtis, a San Francisco native and one-time rock musician, first gained notoriety in the film world for his popular "Artist Series", short documentaries on designers/artists including Milton Glaser, Stefan Sagmeister, James Victore and filmmaker Mark Romanek, as well as for his award winning short films. His commercial film work includes spots for Rolling Stone, Adobe, Sprint, Blackberry and BMW. In 2008, Curtis made a documentary feature for the David Byrne and Brian Eno album Everything That Happens Will Happen Today.
Curtis - who has been dubbed the "Michael Jordan of web design" by Glide magazine - also has written three books on design and film, which have been translated into some 14 languages and sold close to 150,000 copies. Curtis, who lectures extensively on design and film subjects in Europe, Asia and the US, has had his work featured in design publications worldwide, and has a string of honors, including The One Show Gold, Silver, and Bronze, The Webby, Communication Arts Award of Excellence, and the South by Southwest Best of Show.
Curtis' first foray into the creative world was as a songwriter and guitarist for the new wave group The Stells, which was formed while he attended Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. He moved on to become a 10-year veteran of the rock band The Green Things, playing the club circuit across the U.S. and scoring a hit song on Beverly Hills 90210.
In this economic downturn, name one thing you have done to weather the tough times.
Saved some money from last year's billings and also delayed billing for the projects that are continuing.
If you weren't a designer, what would you be?
I'm as much a filmmaker as a designer these days...that said, I spent some time as a carpenter years ago and I could see doing that.
What's the one thing ALWAYS in your bag that you never leave home without? My glasses.
If you could spend 15 minutes talking to any person, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Maybe the Buddha. It wouldn't be much of a conversation...lots of smiling though.
If you could work for anyone, a client or on a project, what would it be?
Maybe the Richard Avedon Foundation...I've been wanting to write/produce a feature on him for some time.
ONE THING I CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT IS My family
READING The Songlines by Bruce Chatwin and my son and I just finished Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick.
FAVORITE TV SHOWS
Maybe 30 rock, though we don't have a TV so I've only seen a few.
Depends on when you ask. Right now I might say "All That Jazz" by by Bob Fosse
FAVORITE MUSIC, BAND, SONG
I really like the new album "You and Me" by The Walkmen