Knowledge Worker, Capgemini, Jersey City, N.J.; Painter/sculptor (damonginandes.com), New York area
How would you like to get paid for doodling at work, drawing images to illustrate ideas that percolate at corporate workshops? And when you’re done with that, you hit the streets to create celebrated pieces of art in locales ranging from the traditional (art galleries) to the urban-exotic (a decommissioned subway station).
Welcome to Damon Ginanades’ world.
He’s a “knowledge worker” in the Accelerated Solutions Environment at the consulting agency Capgemini. In the ASE, executives from large companies and government agencies participate in focused, intense workshops where they try to solve problems in a compressed amount of time. Ginandes facilitates these workshops by graphically recording the conversations through sketches he composes in real time to help participants absorb information more efficiently and make sure the flow and content of the discussions are captured accurately.
Art has always been a big part of Ginandes’ life. He has seriously pursued a career as a painter/sculpture for more than four years and sees plenty of room for entrepreneurship in the visual arts, especially with the growth of technology and media.
After graduation, Ginandes did post-production work as an assistant editor on historical documentaries for PBS. He also tried his hand as a graphic artist.
“While both involve levels of creativity, I missed the hands-on, tactile nature of art-making,” he says.
Ginandes aspires to show his art to a broad audience through exhibitions and public work.
He’s off to a great start. In 2007, he was commissioned to paint The DeGraw Street Mural, a 60-foot-long mural in Brooklyn. He toiled every day for a month on the piece, which he says “generated more acclaim than I could have ever imagined.” In 2008, he had a solo show at a gallery in Brooklyn. In 2010, he and more than 100 street artists from all over the world created the “Underbelly Project,” an exhibition mounted in a long-abandoned subway station. His work has also been exhibited in Los Angeles, Miami and London.
Ginandes has done a handful of large-scale commission projects, including murals in Brooklyn and Manhattan, and a sculptural relief installation on the facade of the Carlton Arms Hotel in Manhattan. Although his works physically reside in and around New York, photos of his larger works, featured on websites and blogs, have generated regional and international interest in his art. He has created numerous studio pieces on commission for individual collectors.
“It’s a challenge to stay inspired without getting discouraged,” he says. “It takes a lot of focus and self-motivation to continually create new work, especially when creativity is not always financially rewarding.”
Whether Ginandes can earn a living as an artist is still to be determined, but he insists he must try.
“If I gave up, or simply relegated art-making to a hobby at this point, I think I would be deeply disappointed with myself for not following through on a true passion.”