July 19, 2010

So Fun You'll Just Want to Hug It!

An interview with Julius ‘Bulius’ Santiago

Part 2 of 2 (link to Part 1)
Click any image to biggenize

Julius, what means do you use to get your ‘messages’ out there (Facebook, flickr, etc.)? And which approach to you think brings you the most exposure?

I communicate with fans through both
Facebook and Twitter. They're linked together, but I think I have an equal following through both.

The most exposure I've gotten (and continue to get to this day) is from an article about my site that was on the illustration blog
(ZN: love this blog!)

You have had your work featured via a number of media, including illustration, buttons, fashion (I really want one of those skull belt buckles, too cool!), motorcycle helmets, photography and other neato things. What’s been your favorite media to express your work on so far?
Oh man, you’re right. I always forget about that belt buckle; that was really fun to work on! But in terms of media, my favorite has to be stickers.

The best part is seeing them in random places or on cars. It's sort of a big deal to be put next to a DARE bumper sticker, or next to the one from whoever you voted for three years ago.

Has there been an outlet you’ve always wanted to explore that you haven’t gotten to yet or even want to explore in more detail?
Even though I work in video games, it's a completely separate from my art.

But one day I am hoping to have my characters in a game. Especially since I've been doing football games for so long, it'd be fun to do some art for something like an iPhone... something that has more of a universal appeal.

I saw a cool bit on your home web-site where a pal (Chris Bromby) made your SumoRobo6k design into a 3D model, seen here below. Is that an, or even one of, the ultimate targets for your designs, getting them somehow ‘out there’ in the 3D or even 2D+ world?
My love will always be for the simplicity for 2D images, but I wouldn't mind maybe one day seeing my designs in 3D.

I have been sort of exploring 3D stuff more recently, especially now that it's easier to get 3D prints made. Still, I'm not really a 3D kind of guy, so I tend to focus on my 2D stuff.

Of course, we can’t let you go without asking how the ‘Bear a Day’ project is going. So, um, how is it going? What inspired you to effectively ‘discipline’ yourself enough to approach this project?
The ‘
365 Bears Project’ is going pretty well. It's probably the best idea I've had as far as inspiring myself to keep cranking out art. Seeing the traffic on the site increase as time goes by doesn't hurt either.

As far as where I got the idea, I was just browsing some design sites when I came across some guys that did similar projects. I had previously asked for requests on my original blog, and thought that building off that would be a good idea. With that in mind, I was hoping that creating some sort of dialogue with the audience would keep me from quitting.

So far it's working, and I'm half-way done!

Now that the mid-year is essentially here, how much tougher is it getting to come up with a new idea every day?
The ideas were actually kind of hard to come by in the beginning, but I've started doing themes that go throughout given weeks. I even have a few themes that I hope to revisit in case I run out of ideas for themes. I don't think that will ever really happen, but we'll see.

It’s kind of like if you’ve ever have a problem trying to figure out what you want for dinner. Then as soon as you narrow it down to sushi or pizza you know exactly what you want, right? No? Oh well, never mind then.

Okay, I’ve decided not to avoid this question after all: where did the ‘Bulius’ moniker come from?
It was a nickname that kind of stuck in college. As in "Julius bulius bo bulius, fa nana nana bo bulius..."! (wow, I think that's the first time I ever typed that out)

It’s funny, but in fact at the time, I was trying to come up with a cool address for my portfolio site. Julius.com was taken, so I thought the next memorable thing would be "julius bulius."

Looking back, I kind of wish I chose something I could say with a straight face in job interviews… but in the end that's kind of why I like it so much, too.

Finally, a selection of ‘what if’ questions:
If you could get a hold of any project you heart could desire, what would it be and why?

Plush toys for little kids.

I think my style has always been towards making characters you'd want to hug. But on a more conceptual level, I like the idea of how cartoon characters in art are so accessible.

My favorite example of this is
Murakami's Superflat. I like the idea that even babies can enjoy art.

You’ve just won the Super Florida Lottery, and you’re suddenly richer than Bill Gates. What becomes of your illustration career and why?
I've always told myself that if that happens I'd keep my day job and invest in something responsible… you know, like a mutual fund… or perhaps bringing dinosaurs back to life. But I guess that's not very exciting.

So for a more exciting answer: I suppose I would start my own company and hire all my friends. Then I'd have this super awesome design-/video-game studio that also fixes cars and bikes and serves awesome food, coffee, and boba tea.

And I'd do all the art!

What is a super cool-as-shucks fact about yourself that you would like to (or can) share without getting arrested, beat up in a dark alley or even worse, being forced to vote for Sarah Palin in 2012?
I sleep with my eyes open... like a Ninja!

Well even though that is true – the bit about sleeping with my eyes open I mean – it's actually not all that exciting. It creeps out my wife and I'm always tired because I'm a super-light sleeper.
(ZN: I’d just point out that Julius has moved beyond ‘a fun person to be lived vicariously through’ to kindred spirit… and yes, it creeps people out all the time, especially when they try to talk to me in meetings…)


Julius Santiago has been the lead UI Designer of the #1 Football Franchise ever, having been credited on seven
EA titles. He has spent at least 3 years working with NextGen Systems (Xbox 360 and PS3) and is quite knowledgeable in the usability and graphic design aspects in video game creation, as well as motion design, video editing, and graphic optimization. His experience list reads like a sports-based video game junkies dream including the design and implementation of menus for next generation video game consoles having game credits with Madden 08 and 09 (lead UI Designer for Xbox 360/PS3), NCAA 07/08 (Xbox 360/PS3), NASCAR 06 (Xbox/PS2), NCAA 07 (Xbox/PS2) and more.

Julius brings to the table extensive expertise in Adobe After Effects, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Photoshop, Final Cut Pro, Adobe Dreamweaver, Adobe Flash, and Quark Xpress, just to name a few. He has also done work with Tampa Bay area newspapers as a graphic designer, worked as a Senior Lab Assistant diagnosing hardware problems in a Mac computer lab, and contributed graphic work for other public and independent publications.

Educated at
Stetson University in DeLand, Florida, Julius graduated with a B.A. in Digital Art. Among his various honors and awards include receiving the Outstanding Senior Award, Digital Art Department (2004); being listed in Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities (2004); being named the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship - Recipient (2000-2004); and also being decorated with the Audience Choice Award - Stetson Student Video and Animation Competition(2003).

And if you act fast, you can even
send your proposals or requests for teddy bear designs to Julius! Who knows, maybe your dream teddy will become a reality… hm, maybe I should re-phrase that… oh well, you know what I mean!


All pictures, videos and other media are used with written permission of Julius Santiago also referred to as Julius Bulius, or are available in the public domain (noting copyright and other restrictions, accordingly). No further reproduction or duplication is permitted without contacting the artist directly.

Some pictures have been modified slightly or combined only for the purpose of space limitations.

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