Meet All-Around-Creator Tim Lampe
Brought to you by Talenthouse (@talenthouse)
Tim Lampe (@timlampe) is a casual professional specializing in art direction for underdog brands. His titles also include Art Director, Creative Partner at Very Clever, Founder of Future Photomakers and Creative Director of Morgenmete Journal.
Interviewer Alexi Ueltzen (@alexi) is Ello's Social Media & Email Manager. She lives in Evergreen, CO with her husband, two dogs, and one hedgehog named Ditters who hates everything except for mealworms and tunnels.
Tell us a little about your background. Because it’s kind of awesome and crazy. How did you turn into a designer/photographer/social media expert who creates images of popsicles and gorilla hands?
It’s been a long journey! I graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design with a degree in advertising design, found myself in ad agencies for a few years. Then I went in-house with CNN, where I worked on product design, but also was allowed to build up CNN’s Instagram voice in the early days. There was an editorial project I worked on with CNN and VSCO to present stories of Hurricane Sandy One Year Later over Instagram first, and it was an editorial first for CNN. What I learned there encouraged me to dig deep into my voice and point of view in the work I was creating. This led me to create the Summer of Ice Cream Sandwiches, an art show called Link in Bio, and then eventually to this print journal Morgenmete. Along the way, that work attracted incredible freelance art direction projects in the same vein.
What are some of your favorite materials, or software, or tools to work with?
I love doing things by hand, whether that’s set design, rigging some machine to photograph, creating hand-done textures or cut out shapes to scan in and manipulate digitally. It’s easy to stick entirely to digital tools to make work, and a lot of the photo art direction work I’ve done people point out I could do easily with a 3D render. It’s more thrilling to me to create it in production, and I love adding just a little bit of imperfection or signature to the work. Plus, the stories of pulling off photo productions are so much fun to share.
So much of your work on Ello features food and color and retro fashion. Do these subjects consistently inspire you? Where do you go for inspiration?
I love color, and these types of environment and materials help to amplify my concepts. I’ve done work that has humor and work that tries to poke fun at highly curated lifestyles. What I realized quickly is that even if you’re making satire that looks like the thing you’re making fun of, people will pass by it assuming it’s the highly curated lifestyle work. I do believe that with how work is presented online, you really only have a few seconds to grab someone’s attention, so if my visuals can stop people for a second, that’s a success.
Some of your work is really fucking funny. How do you imbue photos and art with a sense of humor?
If you’re not having fun while making the work, then why are you making it? I’m really inspired by fine artists who can make work that elicits laughter and joy from people. I don’t believe work that is funny can’t be art or can’t be taken seriously. I don’t want to create work that is hard to understand, and I want every piece I do to have some hard truth in it. I have an ongoing list of “stupid ideas” that I come back to often. One of the best creative processes for me is to just see through an idea without overthinking whether it’s worth doing or not.
Tell us a little bit about your latest project - the print journal Morgenmete.
I wanted to develop my voice in writing and editorial illustration. With this project, I asked some of my closest friends to design and write to faux-article titles I had written ahead of time. The journal originally began as a send-up of curated culture mags, like Kinfolk and Trouve. It quickly became something of its own, and I’m proud of the humorist writing inside. It’s not a curated food journal, with rewarding recipes and insightful advice from chefs in the food industry. It’s a food journal that explores the concept of death and the absurdity of life around the setting of breakfast. It’s something I’m really proud to bring to the world and keep developing.
It’s a universal subject, and it was the starting point for this journey to find the voice in my work. This idea started a few years back when I started asking people about their breakfast traditions, how they make their french toast, and what their favorite dishes are. I’d get wild answers like french toast prepared with sour cream on top. For me, breakfast, and the morning, in general, sets the tone for the day. It’s that hour in the morning you have to yourself to set expectations, make a plan, and feel optimistic at the possibilities of the day.
Who are some of your favorite creatives on Ello - some of them are featured in the journal, correct?
Amber Vittoria (@amber_vittoria), the way that she works and makes each one of her pieces unique is wonderful. She jumped in last minute on my journal and just made spectacular editorial pieces. Wade Jeffree (@wadejeffree) and Leta Sobierajski (@letasobierajski) have an incredible photo style. Damian Correll’s illustration is really inspiring. Wesley Verhoeve (@wesley on Ello) is endlessly influential in what I do and has become a great advisor for the work I’m making.
What are your thoughts on social media, and how it helps or hurts artists today? Specifically, can you share some thoughts on Ello?
It helps and it hurts, but the opportunity to do what I’m doing today would have never come up if it wasn’t for social media. My creative voice developed during the early days of Instagram, and I saw a benefit from being on the suggested users' list there and building an audience, but it still isn’t easy. Building an audience, connecting one on one with people, and making work that resonates with people is still the challenge I see. Ello has thrived on artist work and building around that and has built this great community around that work. It’s hard to find places that stick to this mission of creatives first, so I really love getting to continue to discover new artists on Ello.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever made (or would like to make someday?)
Working on the photo shoot for the features in Morgenmete with Hales Photo, I had to make about 50 waffles to create this “buried in waffles” effect, along with dozens of fried eggs for another scene that was to look like raining eggs. I think the journal itself is the craziest thing thing I’ve made, as of now, but I’ve got big plans for future issues and photos I’d love to shoot for it.
What’s something about you that would surprise our readers?
While maybe not surprising, I like to share that getting to this point in my career and finding the voice in the work I do is a long process. It’s been 5+ years of trying and failing at a lot of things and trying to acquire the skills to do some of the work I want. I keep a daily journal which helps keep an inventory of my thoughts, and it’s great to look back at and see how far you’ve come. I think those discouraged that they don’t develop their style and voice rather quickly shouldn’t give up. Oh, and I also have a twin brother.
Morgenmete is a food journal exploring the absurdity of life through the setting of breakfast.
It’s a bi-annual print journal covering breakfast that combines humorous writing, photography and illustrations in a sendup of curated culture.
Issue 01 features new, incredible work from the following artists: Jason Travis, Andy J Miller, Danielle Evans, Tommy Perez, Grace Danico, Amber Vittoria, Andrea Sparacio, Pablo Alfieri and Paloma Rincón, Cristina Vanko, Josh LaFayette, Felicia Rein, Kaitlin Boyle, Laura Lynn Johnston, Jason and Natalie Hales.
You can learn more about Issue 01 of Morgenmete here.
You can also follow Tim Lampe on Ello, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, and Dribbble.