• About: Atlanta Designer Sean Michael Davis

    We stopped by the home of Atlanta-based graphic designer Sean Michael Davis to see how he lives and works. 
    Photos by Brinson McGowan

    Who is Sean Michael Davis? 
    I’m a 25 year old Graphic Designer, currently living in Atlanta, GA.
    Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background? Have you always lived in Atlanta? 
    I grew up in different cities up and down the east coast. I moved to Atlanta about 2 years ago after receiving a job offer here with a creative agency. I’m so grateful I ended up here. You can feel the energy and momentum in the city as it’s growing the last few years.

    When did you first realize you wanted to be a designer? 
    My senior year of high school I was on-again-off-again dating/friends with a girl who was the yearbook editor for the high school I attended. I swung by the yearbook office one afternoon while she was working on a layout and started to redesign a page. The teacher that managed the the yearbook staff asked me to do another and by the end of the year I’d essentially redesigned the entire yearbook (I’m pretty sure the rest of the staff lowkey hated me). That teacher encouraged me to look in to pursuing design as a career. I’d already registered for college as a Psych major, but that idea started to linger in the back of my mind. Eventually, a week before classes started I switched my major from psychology to design.

    We love your apartment. Can you tell us a bit about your space? How did it all come together? 
    I live in the flats above this great building in Atlanta called Ponce City Market. I had been living in a small red A-frame cabin in the foothills of the Tennessee mountains prior to moving to ATL. It was lovely and peaceful, but when I got the opportunity to move down here, I really wanted both a more urban, minimal feeling space. The apartment has amazing natural light and tones, so my goal when I moved in was to keep things minimal and let the space speak in it’s own voice as much as possible, reducing unnecessary items, while adding a bit of my own flavor and life to it. A good portion of the smaller things in my home are either things I bought to commemorate traveling, or that have some hidden personal meaning. The artwork on the walls are pieces I drew in 2015 when I was doing a weekly poster blog where I’d reflect on an event or lesson I learned from the week and translate it to a designed piece. So for instance there’s a hand-lettered poster on the wall that reads “Patience and Perspective” I drew that the week that followed a breakup and another “wish you were here” lettering piece I drew the week I moved to Atlanta. I have four Pennants that hang above my desk, representing the four cities I consider come – Raleigh, D.C., Nashville and Atlanta. And there’s a few dead things, like jars of moss and bones, a scorpion encased in glass and a couple others I picked up while traveling. I guess that’s oddly become a habit of mine when I’m in a new place.  

    Do you have any icons you look to for inspiration? 
    Kanye West more than anyone else. As a creative I respect the hell out of him for being fearless when trying new mediums, whether it’s new sounds, film, fashion, you name it. The result may not always be the same quality, but he always lends his tone and perspective to whatever he’s doing and that’s inspiring to me. It takes a ton of courage to put any piece of work out there for the world to see and judge. I don’t think enough people stop and consider that when we criticize and critique each other. I’m still figuring out how to change that within myself, but I’ve made it a personal goal that latter half of this year to look for opportunities to uplift and encourage those who are actually trying and are in pursuit of something, rather than being critical and competitive.

    How would you describe your personal style? 
    I try to stay conscious of trends while weaving them with traditional, timeless things. There’s certain things that will never go out of style, whether it décor, clothing, or whatever else. I also try and step back and observe things as a whole unit. Sometimes you just have to hold back with your shirt because your shoes are doing the talking that day.
    Do you have any items you can’t live without? 
    I’m pretty lowkey as far as needs. As long as I’ve got some black jeans and boots I’m ready to take on any day.
    Can you walk us through an average day in your life? 
    I’m the definition of a morning person. I like blocking off some personal, creative time in the mornings. Most mornings I’ll hunker down at a coffee shop to work on personal projects or just to get ahead on my day for an hour or two before heading into work. I work for a digital design agency (full of amazing talented people I’m so blessed to work alongside) here in Atlanta during the day, so I’m plugged in and on my laptop working on things like websites, apps, or logos from time to time. Depending on the day of the week there’s usually some form weekly dinner tradition with my friends that’s a great excuse for different creative people to get together and catch up.

    Who’s the pup? 
    That’s Charlie! I adopted him almost 5 years ago now. I’d been watching it’s always sunny in Philadelphia with my roommate all summer and had made up my mind that I was going to adopt a dog by the end of summer break and that I would name him “Charlie” after Charlie Kelly on the show. I went to an adoption day and fell in love with this litter of puppies, only to be informed that they all already had homes – “except for Charlie” and I figured that must be sign that we must be meant to be a pair.
    What’s the last great thing you read? Watched? Listened to? 
    The Sun’s Tirade by Isaiah Rashad is probably my favorite album that’s come out this summer. It has such an honest and refreshing tone. He’s been my dude for a minute and is by far my favorite rapper to play during any long night time drive.
    What’s next for you? 
    More than anything right now I really just want to continue to be a part of the blossoming creative scene here in Atlanta. Whether that’s through shooting stuff with people, taking on projects as an excuse to collaborate, or just grabbing coffee and hearing about what inspires, excites and scares someone. I get so much creative energy from others.
    I have larger, long term goals for my career and personal life, but more than anything I feel incredibly blessed beyond what I deserve and I just hope to encourage and inspire as a result.

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