Steve GordonAug 20, 2012 03:33PM ● By Leo Adam Biga
Growing up in the North Omaha projects, Gordon displayed an inquisitive mind and aptitude for art. Attending Omaha Creighton Prep exposed him to a larger world.
“I was encouraged to explore, and I think exploration is a major part of creativity and innovation,” he says. “All of that comes from the wide-open spaces of being able to reach and grasp at straws, get some things wrong. After I bought into that, so many things opened up. At Prep, I fell in love with architecture. It still drives a lot of the work I do. My work is a lot more structured than the free-form work of some other designers. Mine is very vertical and Art Deco influenced.”
His design endeavors shared time with his passions for music and competitive athletics. He “fell in love” with music as a kid and went on to success as a DJ, producer, and remixer. His skill as a triple jumper earned him scholarship offers from top colleges and universities. After two years as a Cornhusker in Lincoln, he transferred to the University of South Dakota, where he won multiple national titles. He was ranked among the world’s best.
His pursuit of an Olympic berth and a music career took him around the world. Back home, he worked corporate gigs before launching RDQLUS Creative in 2005.
“As an artist, you want that creative outlet to do something a bit more outside the box, something you’re passionate about,” he says of going the indie route.
The sneaker aficionado recently combined two of his passions when NIKEiD invited him to design shoes and to document the process online.
“I didn’t want to just put some pretty colors on a shoe, I wanted there to be some story, some branding. I’m very much into fashion, style, aesthetics, and athletics, and so I wanted to design a shoe that spoke to all of those things.
“Guys like myself, though we dress in denims and sneakers rather than wing-tips and a tie, we’re no less in tune with wanting to look sharp and present ourselves well.”
He’s authored two books on freelance design for Rockport Publishers, whose Rock, Paper, Ink blog features his column, “Indie.” He also does public speaking gigs about design. He’s a big tweeter, too. “I love communicating with people.
“At times I wonder how I keep everything up in the air. All of the things I’m involved in, I really have a true belief they feed each other. Someone asked me once, ‘What is it you do for a living?’ and I said, ‘I hope my answer is always, I live for a living.’ What I do to sustain that, well, that’s a different story.”
This one-man shop embodies the independent creative class spirit of engaging community. “Design and creativity are not about art,” he says, “but communication. We’re visual problem solvers.” He says “the really fervent” way he worked to better himself as an athlete “is a lot of like how I still approach life in general,” adding, “If I could work so hard at something that was a game and that gave me fulfillment and made a lasting legacy for myself, then how can I not enjoy life that same way?”
Read more of Leo Adam Biga’s work at leoadambiga.wordpress.com.