(Q&A with Greg Martin, director of design, Kichler Lighting)
Why did you decide to go to school at Cleveland Institute of Art?
I went to a college-prep Catholic high school with not even a generic art class. In spite of this, all I knew is I wanted to go to art school. Despite the best efforts of my teachers, my parents, and the school counselor (whose career testing indicated I was best suited to be a farmer), I convinced my parents enough that they agreed to let me apply at CIA. CIA was the only choice as I knew it was a great school, and it was close to home (meaning I could save money and live at home). I started at CIA intent on going into illustration, but changed course last minute to industrial design.
What is your best memory of CIA or what did you learn that got you to where you are today?
Best memory of CIA is being able to explore and delve into many different mediums, despite being an industrial design major — glass, sculpture, printmaking, and ceramics. All were amazing experiences. Back then the five-year program allowed for much “play” outside of your major, which had a great impact on me. I learned how to think and to ask “what if.” I also learned that the more you worked the more you got out of it. Richard Fiorelli, who I had the pleasure of having for sophomore design, was the most influential professor by far in my five years at CIA. I didn’t realize it until much later in my career. I just wish I had the foresight to have known it when I was back in school as I would have spent more time with him.
Do you consider yourself an artist or a maker?
What do you create and with what types of materials?
Sculpture, furniture, decorative objects (functional and non-functional), ceramics, photographic images
How long have you been an HGR customer?
Fellow CIA Student Matt Beckwith introduced me to HGR in 2005 or 2006.
What have found at HGR that you incorporated into your work?
This list could go on for pages, literally. Everything from things I incorporated into sculptures (firehoses, chains, conveyor belts, tooling, robotic parts, electronics), to items used in the creation of art and furniture, but not incorporated into the final piece (cameras, microscopes, misc. lenses, clamps, etc.), to items that help me in preparing to create (mixing bottles, rinse trays, etc.) I also have used HGR for materials in creating for my work (old tools and hardware for creating NERF gun prototypes), as well as for inspiration for my design work in the toy and the lighting fields.
Would you recommend HGR to other artists and makers?
Not only would I recommend it, I would say it’s a must for all creative artists/makers.
What do you do when you are not creating art? Career? Hobbies?
I am an industrial designer/product designer; so, “creating” makes up the bulk of what I do. I have taken field trips with our design team at work to get inspiration from walking the aisles of HGR. I also play guitar and banjo when time allows.
What inspires you?
Just about anything/everything. I try to keep my eyes and mind open to seeing as much as I can and asking “what if.” Creative people and creative solutions inspire me.
Where can we find your work?
My website (in progress) is gmartinstudio.com.