Zachary Pereles is a University of Madison Wisconsin student majoring in Retailing, and is working toward a career in industrial and product design before becoming a business owner. He is also hustling as a freelance photographer.
We loved “meeting” him at our virtual workshops and chats, and are pumped to feature him as a FindSpark Creative.
Learn more about Zachary and his work!
What sets you apart from other young creatives?
I identify not only as an artist, but also a scholar. As a Retailing major at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I have a well-balanced background in business and the arts. It has been my mission to obtain a deep understanding of both the creative and the analytical functions of a business setting.
In June 2011, I participated in a four credit intensive course in Product Design at Parsons The New School for Design. My class assignment was to design a multi-functional product that enhanced the consumer’s everyday life while maintaining an eco-friendly status. I chose to redesign the picnic basket specifically for the urban dweller.
This entailed defining and researching my target market, sketching many iterations of the prototype, and ordering samples from various vendors. Upon completing the course, I successfully constructed a trial product, created an informative book in Adobe Indesign, and acquired all sample materials for potential production.
I got no sleep for a month, shared an apartment with five guys, and had no money, but I’ve never been happier!
What’s something cool you’ve done recently?
I have so many great photo shoot memories! Notably, my friends and I just completed the first photo shoot of an installation art series which aims to enhance our skills and understanding outside of the classroom. We set up a living room scene on frozen Lake Mendota in Madison, Wisconsin for mrsjasonsegal.com. We’re really stoked to collaborate and bring living art to the Madison community. Though we may have suffered frostbite and potential pneumonia it was totally worth it!
What’s something new you’ve recently learned?
Since spontaneity and candid shots describe my style the best, I attempted a more constructed vision and direction, like Annie Leibovitz, during the frozen lake installation art series. I used this photo shoot as a learning experience to improve my creative director skills. I successfully communicated my vision to the team and created a clear direction for the models while on set. I found fulfillment in challenging myself and testing a fresh approach. I believe in learning through action, and I have found it pays off!
Where do you see yourself in in 5 years?
I see myself working for a design firm such as IDEO, Frog or Lindsey Adelman while I earn my second degree in industrial design. After years of experience in the industrial and product design realm, I will use my background in creative problem solving and analytical business to transition into entrepreneurship.
My company will challenge the status quo for American corporation standards. My goal is to form a company that not only allows local communities to become more self-sufficient, but also is environmentally sustainable. This business society will be founded on researching and implementing innovative materials, such as industrial hemp. The entire supply chain will remain exclusively in the United States from farming to manufacturing to production. This company will bring “Made In The USA” back to the United States through mass production.
What’s your favorite social media network and why?
As a creative, I admire Linkedin because it’s a tool that empowers individuals with big, scary dreams. As an artist and a creative, finding my vocation feels like a constant battle. However, with tools like this, I am able to pave a clearer path — not just for me, but other future-inspired warriors as well.
What do you do to get inspired?
- I make houses out of magazines in barnes and noble (then read & scan them) -I climb climbable anythings
- I walk on water
- I experiment with the fourth state of matter (plasma)
- I see the forest through the eyes of a deer
- I wear shorts in the winter
- I thrift
- I write fictional endings to non-fictional stories
What’s your favorite productivity tool and why?
I love InDesign! My visual OCD and Layout Design are a really cute couple.
What’s been your favorite piece of career advice you’ve received?
My current roommate sent me the quote below, and now it hangs on the wall across from my bed. I wake up to this reminder every morning:
“If you end up with a boring miserable life because you listened to your mom, your dad, your teacher, your priest, or some guy on television telling you how to do your shit, then you deserve it.”
What has been your biggest obstacle? How did you overcome it?
Ever since I can remember, my parents always told me to follow my dreams. My dreams are big. My dreams are scary. As an adult, I realize this is much more of a daily struggle than I ever imagined. The reality of paying the bills and becoming self sufficient provoke a lot of fear. A fear that stokes the fire of self-doubt.
So, I’ve changed my mindset. I’ve found communities that support me and material that inspires me to endure this battle. It’s no longer about following my dreams, but actively making my dreams a reality. For the creative, there is no clear established path. Our talents are often discounted by teachers, and deemed risky by family and friends. I have found validation in other artists like Elizabeth Gilbert who speaks about universal struggle artists share:
What’s your favorite part about being a FindSpark Member?
I am super excited to be a part of the mentor program. I love learning from wiser individuals with more experience than myself. I cannot wait to be matched with someone I can consider a lifetime mentor and friend.
How did you hear about FindSpark?
I found out about FindSpark through Linkedin. (Surprise, surprise!)
You can also find Zachary’s artwork featured on The Fashion Hash.