Nicholas Capanear is executive vice president, executive creative director at GSW New York. A 20-plus-year veteran creative, Capanear is proof that the best creatives never stop learning — see his response below about Procreate. Chops caught up with Capanear to learn more about his approach to the work, the life, the industry.
So, what do you do all day?
One day I brought my very young daughter to the office and about 1pm, she asked “Dad, when do you start working?” Apparently, I do a whole lot of nothing.
How would you describe life as a creative to someone who’s not familiar with your job?
Solving business problems with spanking new ideas. And sometimes alcohol.
Did you ever think you’d be doing this? If not, what did you think you’d do?
It was always going to be something with art and creativity, yes.
What can you point to in your past and your education that prepared you for this career?
Art school. But it didn’t really prepare me.
What’s the ideal office set up for you to do your best work? Quiet? Music, and if so, what? Open work space or closed door? Home or office?
Always music. I’m currently binging on the Elvis performance on YouTube where he wears the black leather jump suit. His coolness is pretty timeless.
Name five things that help you do your job better.
Music, the internet, music, all my teammates at GSW, my new iPad pro with iPad pencil and Procreate app… it’s awesome.
Like clothes or blue steel? I don’t have one either way.
What piece of work/project/campaign/creation are you most proud of?
This question will always come with the answer of the thing I’m working on currently.
What’s your favorite color right now?
No favorites. Any color can be great in the right setting.
Which individual has had the most influence on you as a creative?
Probably my dad. Not in the sense of creativity but in that you must have pride in the work you do, so don’t half-ass it. It’s your name on it.
Do you create on your own time? If so, what do you do and why?
Yes, some drawing, some painting. I’ll put up some stuff on my insta so gimme a follow if you want to see. (Editor’s note: You really should.)
Name a single piece of work, in any medium, that gives you the greatest pleasure.
Film — “The Three Amigos.”
Name a single piece of work, in any medium, that leaves you thinking, I wish I had done that.
The White Album
Name a single work, in any medium, that leaves you wondering, How the hell did they do that?
Ridley Scott’s recent spot for Hennessey X.O.
It’s super cool. I know how it was done but still makes me feel like I don’t.
If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?
I’d be doing poorly, I think. Probably something creative but no idea what.
How do you recharge?
Umm… sleep for 9 or 10 hours
Pastel or oil? Oil
Sound or vision? Vision — but it’s very close
Strings or horns? Strings, six of them
Clear or cluttered? Uber clean, minimal
Morning or night? Dusk
Design school or liberal arts? Neither