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8/14/01:  spending a little time with Bo...

Bo BozemanBo Bozeman is a Graphic/Web Designer whose site, Cleotis.com, was a daily pick back in March just a few days after it was launched.  His clean design style and great graphics throughout the site are what first got my attention.  Bo's also a quite talented photographer which had a lot to do with my interest in his site.  His photos of Willie Nelson, Isaac Hayes, and Joan Jett live simply knocked my socks off.

I was hoping to try something new with Bo back when I picked his site, but it didn't work out timing-wise.  I was interested in interviewing him and including it with his site review.  I'll admit it was a brainstorm then, but I promised Bo that if I decided to start featuring interviews at coolstop, he would be the first.  And here we are...


JOE

Main Page Hi again, Bo.  My guess is you like living in Pearl, Mississippi, but a comment on your "whois" page tells me you've taken a little flack for it.  Is that true?  What's it like living in Pearl?


BO

Hey Joe.  I have lived in Dubach, Louisiana, a really small town, New Orleans, and Atlanta.  Every city has an area that gets a bad rap.  Pearl, which is a suburb of Jackson, is one of those areas.  In New Orleans, people joke about folks from the West Bank.  I do catch a little flack but that's okay.  I make that comment on my site as a joke and because I can.  I never take myself too seriously.  Pearl actually is a nice community with good people and schools.  The cost of living here is really low compared to the rest of the country.  It was so unfortunate about the school shooting that happened here.  I do like living in Pearl and I really like living in the South.  I have thought about moving to a city with a bigger job market and more opportunity, but so far, I have not decided exactly what I want to do.


JOE

Personally, I think your site design is slick.  I like the photographic backgrounds and the compact layout.  Tell me a little about your background in design and if you're doing it for a living.


BO

Thanks, I did two other layouts that I scrapped.  I felt they were too cluttered or looked like I was trying to be too trendy.  Sometimes influences can just slip into your subconscious.  I decided on this design because it was so simple.  I have no formal art training and have never taken a computer class.  My father is an artist who never really capitalized on his talent.  I only wish I could paint like him.  I have always liked to draw and still do.  I did my first oil painting in '83.  My Mom always encouraged me to be creative whether itt was music or art.  I opted to go to music school over art school because at the time, I felt like I just had to rock LOL.  I played music for a while and when that fizzled out, I applied for a job with an ad agency.  I walked in with a bunch of obscure sketches and was quickly told that they needed someone with computer experience.  The only computer experience I had was with an old Commodore 64.  Immediately I went out and purchased a PC and a copy of Photo Paint.  I got started in web work around ' 94, working for a gaming site that promoted river boat casinos.  Later, I ended up working with some really cool guys I met through a local BBS where I would upload my images.  I have been doing web design ever since.


JOE

Willie Nelson at Jubilee Jam Cool.  You know, I've been playing guitar for 30 years - it keeps me sane.  I knew you liked music when I saw those great photos from "Jubilee Jam."  What instruments do you play?  Was Jubilee Jam in Pearl?


BO

I am a fellow guitar player.  I know what you mean - playing guitar is the best therapy after a long day.  My hands are a little out of shape endurance-wise now days.  Jubilee Jam is a growing yearly event held in downtown Jackson.  It is a weekend music fest that is similar to Memphis in May and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, only smaller.  It is great time and I have blast every year.


JOE

Long live the blues, I always say...  Before I ask about your site, tell me what 3 websites you like the most, besides coolstop, of course :)


BO

Oh man there are so many great sites out there that I love.  Do I have to just pick three?  These are three of my faves right now, they center around photography.

istockphoto.com
I really like what they are doing over at istock.  Free quality stock images.  People are submitting some really nice stuff.  I have submitted some photos myself and will be submitting more.  Next time I will get the thumb nail size correct.  I can't wait to see how people use them.  Did I mention that they were free, watch out Photo Disc.

photoworkshop.com
The Robert Farber Interactive Photography Workshop.  My friend Larry turned me onto this site not long ago.  Anyone can join but you do have to pay to be an exclusive member.  I think this site is a great resource for people who want to learn more about photography, especially if you live in an area where you may not be able to take classes or workshops.

michelle7.com
This site is of adult nature focusing on fine art nudes.  To be honest I am not a subscriber so I can't comment on the pay galleries.  There are tons of free galleries with great photographers and beautiful models.  I like the fact that they feature well known and unknown photographers and models.  I find myself there checking for updates every month.


JOE

Plenty of Good Links I'm familiar with istockphoto.com.  I've noticed a number of sites that use some of their images (and give credit, as they should).  I've seen some images there that interest me and could end up in one of my projects.  And the good news is, I now know about two sites that I didn't know about before this discussion.  Now I feel terrible about limiting you to three.  Go ahead and hit me with one more, dude!


BO

safeweb.com
This site has nothing to do with photography or design.  Safeweb is good for anyone that works in an uptight corporate setting where they monitor you.  I was told about it by a friend and fellow web designer whose employer filtered surfing.  With filtering, even Design Is Kinky could be filtered out on the name alone.  Personally I think filtering sucks unless it is for protecting kids.  I think safe web is a very cool net app – they just need to loose the banner ads.


JOE

What was the motivation behind Cleotis.com?  Why do you do it?


BO

Well – I am still asking myself that question.  I have resisted the temptation to do a personal site until this year.  I have had sites that I used to solicit work while freelancing.  The market I work in is pretty conservative.  I wanted a place where I could put personal work and not have to worry if anyone thought the content was questionable.  I really have enjoyed being able to say anything I want.


JOE

Being an unemployed designer at the moment, I can relate to your keeping the "hire me" type pages separate from the "personal" stuff.  I have an online portfolio and resume, but it's not meant for the general public and the content is more business/career related than my typical projects.  There's a number of designers looking for work now and many of them think that submitting their resume/portfolio sites to "portals" is going to help find them a job.  I don't think so...  do you?


BO

I am not sure, to be honest.  I guess it all depends on who is looking at the portal sites.  I would love to look at some log files and see.  I do understand wanting to get your portfolio out there.  If I were looking to hire designers, I would want to see personal work just as much as I would commercial because you know the personal work is something the designer felt a need to create.  Good work is good work whether you are doing for yourself or a high profile client.  I just like looking at someone else's personal work more because it represents the designer more than commercial.


JOE

Plenty of Good Links Well-stated, Bo.  I do think any decent prospective employer would overlook so-called "questionable" content if it's your design skills they're interested in.  I guess I distinguish between portfolio sites on one hand, and portfolio/resume sites on the other.  Like you, I find it extremely useful, inspirational and fun to look at other designers' work.  As a website user and fellow designer, though, I don't like feeling like the site's author is treating me like a "mark" or something.  The constant "hire me, hire me" can be annoying when one checks out as many new websites as I do every day.  I'm nobody's meal ticket or next big job opportunity – just another designer who likes to enjoy one's creative magic without a pitch or marketing angle.  Resume and CV sites definitely have their place, but I don't think an alternative portal like coolstop is that place.  I'm not interested in other designers' employment histories – it's their actual creative work samples (both personal and commercial) that do it for me.  But, I can certainly understand those who don't share my admittedly prejudiced attitude.  Oops - I forgot who's being interviewed here...


BO

I understand where you are coming from.  You have to filter submitted links which I don't have to deal with.  I just post sites I like.  I can only imagine some of the crazy stuff that gets submitted to coolstop.  I bet you get commercial submissions also, even though it clearly states noncommercial sites only.  Maybe we to need to develop a portal that caters to designers and web professionals looking for work.  Get the head hunters out there to come to the designers.  What is banner ad space going for these days?  LOL


JOE

"Wannabe Photographer?" You've gotta be kidding.  Those photos of the musicians tell me you're no wannabe.  How long have you been into photography?  What cameras are you using? 


BO

I joke about me being a wannabe photographer because I feel I still have so much to learn.  I know some really good photographers, some here in my area and some I have met online.  I have developed a real passion for photography.  I always had fun with my old Polaroid when I was a kid.  I used to have an old Petax K1000 in high school that I toyed around with but never took seriously.  I started taking it seriously in 97 mainly because I was tired of using stock photos and could not afford to contract photographers.  I bought a little Fuji MX700 and a Canon Rebel that I still use.  I also have a Sony Mavica MVC-CD1000 and HP S20 slide/negative scanner.  My equipment is pretty modest but I am happy to have it.  I would like to try a medium format camera one day soon.  I have been taking some photography classes to improve my skills.  Next month, I will be taking a studio lighting course that I am looking forward to.  I feel that I am becoming more confident and consistent with my photography.


JOE

Plenty of Good Links Did you use a digital camera for the photo backgrounds on your pages?  The quality is excellent.


BO

I did them with my little Fuji MX700 digital camera (1.5 mega-pixels).  It is a great little camera.  It is small and has an unconventional shape that makes it great for parties and situations when you don't want to lug a camera bag around.  Fuji has released two or three newer MX models with better image resolutions.


JOE

I acquired an Olympus D490 Zoom last year and I love it!


BO

Olympus makes great cameras.  I would suggest that ever designer get a digital camera.  The prices and image quality are better that ever.  I have gotten wonderful results with modestly priced digital cameras.  There is nothing like the instant gratification you get with digital.


JOE

Well, Bo.  I really appreciate your taking time with me for the interview.  Is there anything else on your mind you'd like to share?  If not, thanks for helping me get the WebPeople feature off the ground.  Let's stay in touch.


BO

Thank you, it has been my pleasure.  You are providing a great service with coolstop.  While most of us are up to our shameless self promotion, you take the time and effort to promote others.  I think you should be commended on your work and dedication to noncommercial and independent sites.  And you did with out banners and pop up ads.  I will stay in touch, in fact I'll be back in the morning to see the daily pick.


JOE

Whoa!  I'm not sure what to say, but thank you kindly, Bo...


























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