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Damion Michaels's Desk

Who are you and what do you do for a living?

I am a creative strategist who designs everything from websites to packaging to office designs. My latest passion is that I am designing office space interiors where I blend technology with quirky, colorful design. One of my latest clients is a Prosthodontics (rebuilds smiles) who is a one of the most attentive, gentle person on the planet and he let me put up a 6’x3’ gallery canvas of evil dentist artwork (Steve Martin aka evil dentist in Little Shop of Horrors movie) taken from a movie still. I am also working on a book and documentary for a larger than life New Orleans character.

Can you tell me something about your desk setup?

When I am working at my computer, I am facing my built-in bookshelves. Where there was an opening for a television (tube), I had a carpenter install a workspace that permanently juts out from the bookshelves and creates a desk space for my keyboard and mouse. I use two monitors. One for palettes, iTunes movies, etc and one for actual work. As a child of the 70’s, I am used to working with TV noise so a movie usually plays while I work.

When I write am writing. Everything is turned off and I work in silence. Silence is important sometimes. So much that I used a 30M Thunderbolt 2 fiber optic to travel from my computer through the wall and into the laundry room next to my office where my Drobo and G Studio drives are located. This expensive set up eliminates drive and fan noises which is very important when working.

When I want to write longer, I turn around and type on my Macbook Pro which sits on my 1965 Herman Miller desk. This desk is the perfect monster space to sprawl out and getting things done. I have a Pablo LED light which is perfect for night time desk work. I also have various vintage glass pieces on my desk that hold paper clips, my watch at night and keys for when I have a visitor.

Speaking of visitors, when I have clients, I can show them work in progress or plans on the Samsung 48” LED TV via Apple TV. It took 10 years after Katrina to rebuild my creative workspace and I love it. My space helps inspire and stimulate me.

Can you tell us something about the items on/around your desk?

I use a Herman Miller Aeron chair with wheels from the HM Embody chair (they roll smoother). I use two 27” Apple Thunderbolt displays. I use a Fujitsu Scansnap every day because the one thing I learned after Katrina is that one good hurricane can wipe away years of records, notes, cards, etc. so I digitally scan everything.

My favorite and latest acquisition is a pair of late 60s Laurel Mushroom Lamps from the Laurel Lamp Company in NJ. These lamps are solid aluminum powder coated in orange and are extremely well made. They perfectly complement the design I was going for in this office.

Is there anything you would like to improve on this setup?

Even though I use two Apple monitors, eventually I would like to move to one 34” wide screen display to simplify my workstation design. I am in a minimalist phase at the moment where I am trying to pare down to less stuff and be as clean as possible in aesthetics. My clients love my new passion for minimalism because a few of my more interesting pieces, like a genie bottle inspired orange aluminum Laurel lamp, have ended up in their offices as I design them.

I would love to continue to improve this space by continuing to pare down this space to a balance of design and functionality. So potential clients beware, some of this stuff could find a home in your office.

Is there something on your desk which helps you stay focused? What is it?

My books help me stay focused.

I have several books on design, color, architecture and art. The one book I use most as a reference is the story of Chuck Close. Chuck is an artist who was known for hyper realistic paintings early in his career. He became nearly completely paralyzed and taught himself to paint again using a different technique that was even more unusual than his previous artwork that required super fine motor control. Chuck’s new way of painting has him gridding out a photo, transcribing that grid to large canvas and then painting different colored circles in each square of the grid. Up close, the art looks like a myriad of repetitive circles. Only when you step back you see the photo he has recreated. Chuck’s philosophy became that he can overcome any task as long as he breaks it down into hundreds of smaller tasks. I love that philosophy and it helps inspire me to tackle any project. All I have to do is break the project down into simple, winnable smaller task until the larger task is complete. It is a great lesson for life because it essentially is the philosophy of “one day at a time”. People however seem to forget that and let the enormity of life wash over them and then feel as though they are drowning.

One small task at a time.

One small task at a time.

One small task at a time.

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