Incognito: Paul Rizzo, Art Director – FWRDMAN
When it comes to dream jobs, the ability to take an idea and turn it into a vision, from concept all the way through to the finished product is what makes the role of an Art Director so appealing. But if you think this means sitting around and guiding others while sipping on a coffee you are sorely misdirected. As Paul Rizzo, Art Director of FWRDMAN will tell you, it’s an around the clock cluster of never ending work. One which requires you to wear many hats and for creative juices to continue flowing in an environment where there is little time to reflect let alone mull over ideas. But time constraints and a hectic schedule aside, Paul does just that. As the Art Director of one of the fastest growing and most recognizable online destinations, FWRDMAN, he is both creating and leading trends in men’s fashion and online shopping. Spend just a moment on this creatives Instagram page and you will quickly realise there is never a shortage of inspiration. Having our offer to swap lives kindly declined we thought an interview was the next best thing… read and learn.
Where did you begin your career?
I began as a hairstylist in Los Angeles. I knew that I wanted to be a creative…although I didn’t know what form it would take, so I started with hair and allowed it to evolve from there.
How did you transition from a hair stylist to an Art Director?
I didn’t get into hair to just work in a salon, I wanted to work in fashion and entertainment… so as I worked in the industry it just happened organically. When I’d work on shoots, photographers and stylists would always ask for my creative opinion. Because I didn’t just see hair, I saw the whole picture… from the model, to the clothes, location, lighting, mood etc. I have always believed that when you are no longer growing, that is your sign to go into another direction. Art directing felt natural to me.
What attracted you to FWRDMAN?
Well I was doing hair for their shoots and they were lacking creative vision at the time…it was sort of being ignored, so the creative director of the company asked for my input and opinion about the website…and I felt like I was the FWRDMAN customer and I knew that I had a vision of what it could be and should be.
Talk to us about your current role and what it involves…
Well I am in charge of everything creatively, from the look of the website, to casting of the models, art directing, editorial shoots, styling and social media. So I am obviously working everyday on Instagram and social media and editing short features and preparing for next features. So it never stops.
What is the most challenging part of your role?
The most challenging part I would have to say is that I’m only one person and sometimes it moves too fast…and there are times I need a minute to breathe and get inspired. But most of the time, there is no time for that.
How is your role evolving?
I am not sure yet…maybe photographer next… or a Creative Director of a magazine? …
Where do you look to for inspiration?
In people, travel, art, music, something that I haven’t quite seen yet.
Who are your style muses?
Young Eastern European kids…
What advice do you have for others wanting to follow your career path?
Find what your talents/gifts are, work hard and go with the flow.