Back in 2013 he made a poster. Now he is busy catching up on online orders with hopes of having his own space someday. This is John AKA Bozz.
Tell us about your childhood. I grew up in small-town Iowa. I was obsessed with watching cartoons, collecting baseball cards and comic books, and playing Nintendo. I drew in my sketchbooks as often as I could, mostly just copying from the comics I read. I really just loved creating and making things up.
Why do you call Des Moines home? Des Moines is such a thriving small town disguised as a larger city. It's got everything the Kansas City's and Chicago's of the world have, and it costs almost half the price to live. The people are friendly and creative culture is really growing and supportive. I feel really fortunate to call Des Moines home and financially support myself with my prints and shirts.
What was your first job? My first job was as pool cleaner/groundsperson for an apartment complex in West Des Moines. I started everyday by scooping bugs out of the pool with a net, and then picking up trash around the buildings. A typical summer job for the most part.
How did you get into designing and making prints? There's a great bike-themed poster show held every May called "PedalArt." I first made a poster for that back in 2013 and I remember my print selling out that night at the opening. I think it was then that I really started to realize the potential for other ideas I had and it began to snowball into me leaving my day job as the head designer at Raygun and doing my own thing full-time.
Your designs have a very unique but uniform style, who and or what influences your style of design? I'm inspired by a lot of things: vintage travel posters, comic books, artists I follow on Instagram, etc. I really gravitate toward simple designs that are timeless and have just the right amount of polish.
Des Moines is such a thriving small town disguised as a larger city.
What’s currently keeping you busy? Right now I'm trying to power through the end of the Summer show season and into the Fall. I've done 15+ craft markets/fairs already this year and have about 10 more before the end of the year. I'm working on new shirt and print designs, and expanding into making coffee mugs and hooded sweatshirts. I'm really looking forward to the Holidays and taking a bit of a break to figure out the next step. Ideally, I'd like to move into a studio/retail space in Des Moines and keep on making cool stuff and having fun.
Walk us through your typical weekend? If I'm at a craft fair I'm waking up pretty early to get everything set up. I put a lot of work into my displays and want to get it all set up and orderly. I love meeting everyone that comes by our booth and it's great getting feedback on the things that I love making. And if I've got an actual free weekend that doesn't involve being at a fair or show, I'm probably catching up on online orders, printing posters, playing with my dog, or chilling with my wife.
Top three apps you currently use for and at work. Go! If we're talking desktop computers it's Squarespace for my online store, Gmail for communication and talking to clients/customers, and iCal so I'm not late on things. If we're talking phones it's Square for sales at craft fairs and shows, Instagram (social media power!), and Dropbox for file sharing and transfers.
Get feedback and improve.
From one maker to another what is your tip or advice? My advice is that having a career in the arts is completely viable. Artists and creatives have never been more in demand and the internet makes it so easy to connect with prospective customers and clients. Get your work out there and make people look at it. Get feedback and improve. If no one knows what you can do, how can they hire you for it?
Convince us to visit one of your favorite places in the Des Moines area. Ashworth Park. It's behind the Art Center and has a great pond, tons of trees, and some really cool trails. I suppose a lot of people already know about it but it's still one of the coolest spots in Des Moines.