2 Minutes With ... LaShun Tines, Wieden + Kennedy Design Director

The graphic artist's journey from comic books to global brand projects

LaShun Tines is a graphic designer by trade. LaShun is currently a design director at Wieden and Kennedy who has also been lucky to contribute to some of the most awesome creative campaigns in Chicago to date—including relaunching Dodge for SapientNitro, reintroducing Converse (after being acquired by Nike) at VSA Partners, and rolling out the "I'm Lovin' It" campaign for McDonald's at Leo Burnett.  

Additionally, LaShun is the former inaugural diversity lead for AIGA Chicago, where he was tasked to lead new initiatives to help AIGA-Chi define the parameters and long-term strategy for diversity and inclusion.

A passion project and initiative that LaShun is super proud of is The Art of Blackness exhibition, a national group art show dedicated to furthering the presence of African Americans in the fields of art, design and advertising. Since its inception in 2011, The Art of Blackness has hosted thousands of attendees and exhibited the works of artists from Chicago to Oakland and Detroit to Pennsylvania.

We spent two minutes with LaShun to learn more about his background, his creative inspirations, and recent work he's admired.

LaShun, tell us...

Where you grew up, and where you live now.

Chicago, Illinois, born and raised.

What you wanted to be when you grew up.

A comic book illustrator and writer. As a kid, I the only thing I enjoyed more than reading comics was writing and drawing them.

How you discovered you were creative.

Somewhere in the process of creating my own comic book storylines.

A person you idolized creatively growing up.

There are several, all from the aforementioned comic book industry: Jim Lee, Todd McFarlane, Chris Claremont and John Byrne.

A moment from high school or college that changed your life.

Probably getting kicked out of high school lol, I was definitely "running" with a crowd that didn't have my best interests in mind, and the separation, albeit forced, was a defining moment in my life.  

The first concert you saw, and your favorite band or musician today.

A Tevin Campbell cover band at a back-to-school event. Favorite band, The Internet.

Your favorite visual artist.

Brent Rollins. From designing identities for cinematic classics like School Daze to art direction of seminal spreads for rags like Ego Trip and Complex magazine, Brent's work spans more than a decade of creativity and innovation in design.  

Your favorite fictional character.

The Marquis de Carabas.

The best book you've read lately.

Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James.

Your favorite movie.

Do the Right Thing.

Your favorite Instagram follow.

The Art of Blackness (shameless plug).

How the Covid-19 crisis has changed your life, personally or professionally.

Covid-19 precautions—shelter in place, restriction of movement, etc.—have definitely affected almost every aspect of both my social and professional life. But I am encouraged by the design/advertising industry's ability to mobilize entire workforces in some cases within a week!

Your favorite creative project you've ever worked on.

The opportunity to revamp a global brand from the ground up was not only an awesome opportunity as a designer but also an invaluable learning experience and has helped to shape how I look at managing projects today.

Your favorite creative project from the past year.

America 250.

Someone else's creative project that inspired you years ago.

The "GoTellMama!" art exhibition was created in conjunction with the official announcement of Obama for America. Its mission was to parallel the official race, to inspire the public, and to heighten awareness of Barack Obama using non-traditional tactics such as a national street art and viral video campaign.

GoTellMama! toured the country with site-specific art installations in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver, Austin, Atlanta and Chicago. The exhibition included the works of Jessica Hische, Cody Hudson, Alex Ross and Shepard Fairey, among many others, and I was beyond grateful to have been both an intern for the exhibition as well as a participating artist.

Someone else's creative project that you've been impressed by lately.

The Robinhood app visual identity by Collins.

Your main strength as a creative person.

Flexibility and intuition.

Your biggest weakness.

Flexibility lol.

One thing that always makes you happy.

Discovering new music.

One thing that always makes you sad.

Cold coffee.

What you'd be doing if you weren't in design.

Probably another aspect of visual expression. Possibly comic books? Definitely photography.

2 Minutes With is our weekly interview series, publishing every Wednesday, where we chat with creatives about their backgrounds, creative inspirations, work they admire and more. For more about 2 Minutes With, or to be considered for the series, please get in touch.

Ashley Epping
Ashley Epping is art director of Muse by Clio and program lead at the Clio Awards.

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