Keynote

Tommy Perez

Maker of Fun Stuff
Tommy Perez Design

Tommy Perez is a freelance multidisciplinary maker based out of Southern California. With a love for storytelling and collaboration, Tommy crafts compositions with paper, produce and various props. He’s a self-described “designer, doodler & frequent paper krafter” who works with unusual materials in the making of his diverse portfolio of work.

From bacon bits and wonton wrappers to construction paper and glue, the mediums used are worked into vibrant compositions and colorful creations.

Tommy has had the great pleasure to collaborate with clients such as 20th Century Fox, adidas, Benefit Cosmetics, Coca-Cola, Facebook, Ford Motor Company, Fossil, Marvel Entertainment, Nickelodeon, Sparkling Ice, Specialized Bicycles, Target and Too Faced Cosmetics.

When he’s not making fun stuff, he enjoys skateboarding and root beer floats.

Get to know Tommy Perez

Tell us about a project or accomplishments from the past 10 years that had a major impact on your life or career.
I think the projects that have the most impact on me are self-initiated and passion projects. The biggest one being the idea to start creating paper kraft pieces outside of work as a way to fight burnt out and stay creative. That silly little side quest eventually became what I am now known for, which is awesome and super crazy haha!

What is your favorite color, and why? Pantone numbers and Hex codes totally allowed.
I absolutely love color, and I try to bring that into my work as much as possible. Given that I work a lot with paper, it seems fitting that my favorite color be from a paper company; the color is Blu Raspberry from the Pop-Tone line by French Paper Co.

What keeps you going when you’re focused on a project? Is there a particular saying or song that gets you moving?
Honestly it’s just the goal of reaching the end of the project and wanting to see the vision I had brought out into the real world. There are many a times when I get a little burnt out working on the same thing. When that happens, I try to step away for a sec, clear my head with something else — most of the time it’s skateboarding.

What’s your superpower, or one you wish you had?
I don’t think I have one. But I try to use my work as a power or way to make people happy and smile. If you scroll by my work and pause and it makes you happy, then I’m doing a good job!

What design or career advice would you give to your younger self?
I would tell myself so many things I’d lose my voice haha! But one of the biggest things would be to be open. Be open to different paths that your career can take and not be set on one direction. There’s many things I feel I shut out earlier in my career because I didn’t think I’d be going down that path that now are coming back full circle. Be open to others’ opinions and critiques, you don’t know everything. Reach out to people and make friends and connections earlier on. Things take time and you’re exactly where you need to be at right now.

If you were given the opportunity to see into the future, what would you want to know?
That’s a tough one! I’m not entirely sure I’d want to ruin the surprise! The journey is almost always better than the end.

If you hadn’t ended up in the career you are in, what do you think you’d be doing?
I’d like to think I’d still be doing something creative. I’ve always had an interest and love for baking and the thought of being a pastry chef has come to mind a few times before!