Jeff Hamada: Booooooom

by Kate Andrews | August 21, 2009

jeff hamada

Jeff Hamada is a self-described small Japanese artist working out of Vancouver, BC. He was recently selected as one of 100 artists to collaborate with Converse and Product(RED) to celebrate Converse’s 100th year anniversary.

He currently freelances as a graphic designer, and runs the hugely popular art / design site I asked Jeff a few questions about his design work, both personal and professional. How does one guy manage a hugely populate design site yet also complete very high-profile and beautiful design projects. Maybe this answers the question —

“Even if I don’t know how to do something I’ll tell people that I’m the person to get the job done because I’m just willing to spend all night learning how to do it.” — Jeff Hamada

Jeff Hamada’s Presentation at a Pecha Kucha event in Vancouver.

Notes on Design: What gig would you say was a turning point for you as a professional designer?

Jeff Hamada: I don’t know if I’ve had a “turning point” but early on I think it was leaving art school in my third year to work for Electronic Arts. I eventually went back to school and finished my bachelors but my time working as a concept artist for EA really opened my eyes to the idea that it’s all just a question of work. Even if I don’t know how to do something I’ll tell people that I’m the person to get the job done because I’m just willing to spend all night learning how to do it.

NoD: You were selected for Converse’s project 1 Hund(RED). How did that come about?

JH: I was invited by people in Converse’s art department who I had recently met and shown around Vancouver. There were 100 artists selected for the project and myself and Tokyo Police Club were the only Canadians.

Limited Edition Converse x Product(RED) x Jeff Hamada Chuck Taylor shoe

NoD: Who is your dream client?

JH: I don’t have one, mainly because I don’t dream about working for someone else. I have a long list of people I’d like to work along side though. Spike Jonze might be at the top of that list.

NoD: Who is your nightmare client?

JH: Anyone who doesn’t know what they want.

NoD: Your degree is in film/media? Have you done any commercial work in this area?

JH: I haven’t done much commercial work. I did shoot a 16mm film called “Eduard’s Airplane” and would love to really pursue film at some point.

Eduard’s Airplane / 16mm Film

NoD: What design work are you most proud of?

JH: I am really proud of the boards I did for Endeavor. It was a situation where I’d never designed snowboards before but they came out exactly how I wanted them to. It’s not a style that I carry through into all of my work but I think it worked for the project. It’s cool to be able to head up to the mountain and ride around on it.

Endeavor Snowboards – 2008/09 High Five Series

NoD: You went to Sri Lanka after the Tsunami to help build houses. Is it possible to summarize your experience there?

JH: Life changing, in every way. Helped me re-focus and prioritize my life and my career. A family there, who was living in a tent while we built them a house, served us and made us eat with them even though they had so little. It was one of the most humbling experiences of my life.

Sri Lanka / photographs

NoD: Care to share any details of your upbringing and family life? Did anyone in your family work in a creative field?

JH: My father was a landscape architect and is now a pastor. My aunt is an amazing painter.

NoD: Can you tell me about your studio space?

JH: I don’t have a nice studio space, I am currently working out of my house.

NoD: How do you select what to publish on


JH: There are directions on the site for submitting work. I look at everything (slowly). It’s hard because the volume of work being submitted is getting ridiculous. I only post what I like and many things I like still don’t get posted because I don’t feel like they fit. There is a very specific style of work that I feel belongs on there.

To see more of Jeff’s work visit and


Designer and writer Kate Andrews was the original editor of Notes on Design blog, founded in 2007.


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