I met Perry while working at a digital agency in New York City where he was gracious enough to allow me to capture his daily looks. He is an Experience Creative Director currently based in NYC, soon-to-be in San Francisco.
Hi Perry, can you tell us what type of work do you do?
I want to say that I’m an Experience Solutioneer. Experience now touches everything, digital and physical. It’s interesting being in this realm because there’s both a research and strategy aspect to it. Then turning that into something creative and tangible. It can be anything from a wireframe, to a storyboard, to an animatic or a prototype. Whatever you need you need to tell the story.
We’re in this insular world right now where we’re focusing on web apps, mobile apps, tablet apps, etc. That’s why we need experience designers to tap into that new horizon. It’s fascinating to me that our discipline continues to evolve. It’s always different. Five years from now, there will be a different sort of paradigm for interaction.
That’s the long answer to what I do. It doesn’t even really explain what I do (laughs).
Is there is a project in particular that comes to mind that made a special impact in your career?
I think there were a few along the way. And sometimes it’s not an entire project, but an aspect of a project. One of my more memorable projects is creating digital signage for Bank of America in Time Square. They had acquired a smaller bank at the time and there was an opportunity to do something really cool with the notion of “play”. I took a team to Time Square’s Father Duffy Square and mapped the pattern of the day, where the crowds are, and how they come and go over time. We then created an interactive experience similar to video-tracking game experiences. The User’s play got captured and it was projected live on a giant BMA. Then people were able to participate even though they weren’t right there where you were.
It was memorable, even though it didn’t end up going live. I always think that the process is very important. As cliché as it may be, it’s not where you end up, it’s your journey along the way. Earlier you asked about some of the philosophical approaches that I have in what I do. That would be one of them. It’s always about the journey, never just about the end results.
Are you active on social media?
No, I try not to be. I’ll post a picture here and there, but things like the News Feed and all that, I just can’t deal with it. I may read a few updates, but I can’t get past three or four.
Where do you look for inspiration?
I don’t frequent as much as I’d like, but I find inspiration at dance performances. Specifically, Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane Dance Company. They’re really prolific because they start from a story. Bill T. Jones will think of a theme and then write a story around that. It’s usually addressing some social issue or something in his life. Then their entire choreography happens around that story. It inspires me to think differently about my work.
I also get inspiration from yoga. Yoga is a life-long learning process, but some of the tenants of yoga, the breathing and the flow, and the notion of letting go, and being in the moment; it’s truly inspiring to me.
Architecture inspires me as well. I have a blog, called littlediggs.com. I love the idea of small space living. It’s applying experience design to a spatial environment. Learning how people do the things they need to accomplish in that space. How they store waste, create storage, create space for entertainment, work, etc.
You’re obviously well-versed in the digital realm. What do you enjoy doing or learning about in the physical realm?
I try to stay away from the digital realm as much as I can at home. I just like to be outside, doing things I don’t necessarily have to be doing (laughs).
So how would you describe your personal style?
I feel like it’s always evolving. I would say it changes probably every five years or so.
Do you collect trendy or more timeless pieces?
I would definitely say timeless item. I’ll mix and match very different pieces to create an outfit that I like. Some stuff I’ve had for years. I don’t know what makes me decide what is timeless. Timeless for me is quality.
I’ve noticed that you frequently accent your daily looks with a pair of glasses or a unique hat.
I didn’t always wear glasses, because frankly, I didn’t need to. But now I’m like, “Hell, now that I have to wear them, I want something different.” And I’ve always been a hat person. You’ll notice that my hats are a little “off”. The color is what people notice first, but I’m actually more interested in the silhouettes. To me, that’s what really makes the piece stand out.
I’ve always been interested clothing in general because I grew up with three brothers. I’m the third out of four so I always got hand-me-downs. I had to do the best with what I got and get creative.
So you had to make it your own somehow?
That’s where that comes from, and I still have it with me.
What would you say is the most challenging thing for you as a creative person?
I think the most challenging thing is being in this space where you need to be okay with ambiguity, not knowing. There’s a discovery phase, an exploratory moment during all creative processes. Sometimes for what seems to be quite a long while. But like I said before, it’s more about the process, what you learn along the way.
Lastly, do you have a personal motto or mantra that you live by?
I believe that everything has its perfect timing. I feel like we get overwhelmed sometimes with this drive to be something, to be someone, to have things, to be in a certain stage in your career, etc. We’re always wishing for things and when it doesn’t go our way, we get disappointed or think less of ourselves. The best that we can do is just to throw things up into the universe and see how it comes back to us. And the way it comes back is how it’s meant to be for now. Focus on your passion and the things that you’re doing now. Do a kick ass job. Things will come, things will come.