Studio Visit: The Pressure

Founder of the The Pressure Adam Garcia wears many hats as a director, designer and illustrator. The Pressure team including fellow designer Anton Pearson and filmmaker Ryan Bush invited us to their creative studio located in Northwest Portland. When we arrived the world cup was on in the background and after a few minutes we were watching the guys dance to Bell Biv Davoe song Poison with the music video playing in the background on youtube. The song was inspiration for their Never Trust Public Service Announcement letterpress card portraying a venn diagram with “big butt” and “smile” with the intersection labeled to never trust. We had rad conversations during the visit about a friend of The Pressure, Aaron Wojack, a photographer who had stopped by the previous day and Jason Sturgill’s Art is Forever Project. We are in awe of Adam’s positive attitude and accomplishments while still being able to balance his personal art work and his coveted The Amazing Stumptown Spelling Bee (#assbee). Check out our studio visit with the stand-up dudes from The Pressure.


1. Why Portland? What was it that drew you to Portland or has kept you here?

AG : Got recruited to work at a well-known footwear company. Worked there for a few years and felt that I wanted to involve myself more in the city, grab as much as I can and just be a part of the world outside of a single company. I love this city. It's fertile ground to grow whatever you'd like. And the energy is contagious.

AP : Just moved here last October when the opportunity to work at The Pressure came about. 

RBWhat's kept me in Portland is the community vibes and the easy going nature of it's inhabitants. I didn't really tap into this until I went to college at PSU for Graphic Design, and after meeting more and more people in the creative industry, I really started to see how special the city really is. I've heard a lot of other cities are really fast paced and competitive, and here it seems somehow the opposite, and I like that. 

2. What are your favorite things happening in Portland (design or otherwise)?

AG : The open-mindedness and potentiality.

AP : Design wise the community here is great. It reminds me of the Hip-Hop scene in Minneapolis where there was a sense of solidarity — everyone supporting each other at shows and events.

RB : I feel like Portland has a lot of potential for growth, and I'm excited that it's become a destination spot for people that are like-minded. The fact that so many people are migrating here will (hopefully) help diversify the overall aesthetics and associations that people have with the city (Beards, Beers, Bicycles), and help the overall community mature in a positive way. The current growth feels promising.

3. How did your brand start?

AG : While still in school back in '05, I was searching for a name that could provide a creative platform that is somewhat ambiguous. With a lot of room to stretch and grow. The name relates to the way that I was raised, and was also heavily inspired by a Queen / David Bowie song.

RB : Ask Adam :P

4. What has been your biggest obstacle?

AG : Every obstacle is an opportunity, y'all.

AP :  Being overly self critical of work.

RBMy biggest obstacle has to be my transition from design to filmmaking. After studying graphic design through college, I realized that I had a strong love for film, and in my last year or two of school I started playing around with a camera. Soon it became more than just a hobby, and I had to acknowledge that it was a prominent interest of mine - and so I finally decided to present myself as a filmmaker - even though I still feel funny doing so - because of how much education I have in design. Once I admitted that to myself, it helped me focus on the kind of future I'd like to have, and what goals I want to achieve - it's been hard, but very good for me as well. 

5. What or who inspires your design?

AG : We are absorbers. It all gets sucked in constantly through these sensory receptacles and osmosify into our particles, synthesized through our filters of experience and manifested in our outlook and work. It's all inspiration, always.

APIt may sound cliché but life — inspiration is all around us, all the time. You just need to be open to it.

RBI think working in the studio has helped me realize that there shouldn't be one person or thing that inspires a creative. It's harder, but I think in the end it helps to try and be as knowledgeable as you can about any given subject. That's what makes the work a more authentic representation of it's source. Honestly, I'm still learning how to do this, but it's good to always be learning.

6.What are your favorite things about Portland?

AG : The community of creative humans

AP : FOODS. The integration and accessibility of nature throughout the city is pretty fantastic too.

RBThe answers are kind of cliche, but still so true: The food is wonderful, the ability to walk almost everywhere (or at least not own a car) is nice. The creative community is open and mostly collaborative. It's nice to see a lot of people you know in a given day, just by walking down the street.

7. What is your favorite part of your studio?

AG : When I get there early in there morning and prop my feet up on the windows and drawing. Also, awesome collab dialogue sessions, of course.

AP : Adam and Ryan.

RBThe communal work table is definitely my favorite part. I like that it's high up and has lots of work room. It feels like the optimal space to get things done, and it's great for multiple people, too. 

8. Your favorite thing about your workspace?

AG : Our furniture, newly built by our friend Matthew Phillip Williams. And the location. 

APThe large windows facing 13th St. which let in a lot of natural light and the sounds of the city street below. 

RBMy workspace is pretty minimal - I have a mobile set-up because I often work from home (editing mostly) - But it's kind of nice to travel light and use any area as my workspace. 

9. Tell us two truths and a lie!

AG : I love my collection of oversized Aztec masks. I used to travel and compete at a form of dance called "popping." My mother is a pool shark.

AP : Have a collection of more than two thousand vinyl records. Drove 126 mph on the autobahn in a BMW M3. Once had lunch next Heidi Klum in NYC.

RB : I've jumped over a rattle snake, I can't drive stick shift, and I've flipped a golf cart. 

10. 5 things you can’t live without.

AG : My books — Coffee — Oxygenfoodwateretcetera —These headphones — Being surrounded by good humans

AP : Music — Pencils — A Good Local Bookstore — Cold Pressed Coffee from Barista — Friends

RBiPhone 5s — Kershaw Utility knife — Tanner Goods leather bracelets — 2010 iMac — Peanut Butter Puffins cereal.