Bio: Terrence Moline is an illustrator at heart, designer by trade and community builder by freak of nature. Originally a New Orleans native, TMoline, created a national community for AA/Black graphic designers after being displaced by Hurricane Katrina. In addition, T. — people call him T. — has designed for clients ranging from academia to cultural African American Institutions.
His mission in life is to design opportunities that were not available to him as an AA/Black creative and to continue the tradition of education through community.
What is your first memory of graphic design?
I created flyers for my cousin, who was a born hustler. I designed flyers for a club called the “Spider’s Web.” I was not old enough to get in. Actually, I was “my little cousin who could draw you a flyer for close to nothing.”
Can you recall your earliest experiences with art and design when you were younger?
I think I’ve always mixed copy and image together to tell a story or to convey a message. I do remember in elementary school, I provided a story about our mayor, Earnest J. Morial. My teacher, Mrs. Robison, praised the artwork and stated she would show it to the Mayor next time she saw him. I thought that was cool.
What was your college experience learning about graphic design?
I was fortunate enough to go from not knowing how to operate a mouse to becoming a computer lab monitor in the university’s Graphic Design Lab. In my spare time, I would make controversial flyers and plaster them all over campus.
What gravitated you towards illustration, and how did you cultivate your own style?
I cultivated my own style by drawing doodles my whole life. I’ve always scribbled ideas on a bus ride or in the back of the class. I’ve always loved old french posters and Playboy illustrations. I’m a fan of collage with everyday discards and urban textures. That’s primarily what I post on Instagram.
How did you develop your eye for design?
D.I.T.C. (Diggin’ in the crates), devouring everything…magazines, books, then through my own pursuit after college, through old school library research. I also look at the evolution and natural development of communication for inspiration.
Do you have any particular methods for researching and choosing projects to work on?
Depends. If I’m doing work for a professor, I read their books. I try to get to the bottom of concepts: the fundamental importance.
I try to understand the project and work from a historical context.
I choose the projects based on how the relationship feels, context, and budget.
Are you working on any passion projects?
AAGD is my passion project. Honestly, I have a hard time making space for any other artistic production. I do have a few secret blogs and one project dedicated to my Muse.
Who are some of your favorite artists/graphic designers?
Cey Adams http://ceyadams.com/
Andrea Pippins: https://andreapippins.com/
Amos Kennedy: http://www.kennedyprints.com/posters1.html
How do you see graphic design as a part of our visual culture?
I see visual communication as a tool to teach an economically viable trade. Also, a vehicle to help illuminate ideas from educators who are working to bring their studies and concepts to the AA/Blk community.
As part of visual culture, that’s changing daily. I think through technology, our community is getting a dose of branding and image-making. As graphic design becomes more democratized, I hope we use design as an opportunity to redefine and establish our own identity.
Can you tell me about your role in African American Graphic Designers and how was the organization started?
My role? I’ve definitely settled into Director. Development. Design.
My focus is growing community and circulating money within our national and global community.
After Katrina ’05 I was uprooted and searching for community. At the same time, I was learning web design and search engine optimization. Long story short, I found a group on Facebook, turned it around, and built a community and brand around it.
What do you envision for AAGD?
- Business education for our graphic designers.
- Visual support for our community. To act as idea enhancers. To hear the creative dreams of our people and help them come into fruition — if they are ready.
- We will serve as a connection between the academic world and regular folk to illuminate ideas and concepts uncovered.
To seriously consider starting a movement called Reconstruction Revival — I would love to be a Reconstruction Revivalist. Someone who, through the lens of Afrofuturism reimagines what our ancestors would have accomplished if it were not for the massive, murderous campaigns launched against our body and identity.
What is something you would like to see for black and brown designers that hasn’t been done yet?
Unification; Collective creation beyond Capitalism.
Is there a black graphic design aesthetic?
Yes. Has it been fully realized? No. Too few of us are digging into history to create relevant symbols and icons that are not something that we are accustomed to seeing.
And to start the argument: I feel the “black graphic design aesthetic” is mostly appropriated in an attempt to signal our African origins. A lot of the symbols used to establish the aesthetic, we have little cultural understanding of them; thus, we redefine those images and wash over their artistic value.
What do you do for fun?
Take deep breaths. Sit at a bar. Shoot pool with the Muse. Martial arts — but it’s been over a year. I like bike rides and exercise also. I still sketch for fun.
I also like to watch people and make up stories. I Iove to discover off the wall stuff like: Did you know Claire Huxtable was married to one of the members of The Village People?
What’s on your playlist right now?
Anything at any time. Lol.
Arabic Trap, Anderson Paak, an Afro-punk playlist,
Madison McFerrin, 90’s hip hop, Blue Note jazz, choral music.
Hip hop from England, like Little Simz, seems to come up a lot.
I’m also in deep love with a few podcasts.
Any great shows/movies/documentaries you’ve watched lately?
The Western Tradition — Love that series. I try to watch it every year.
Euphoria — Euphoria was eye-opening.
The Mind Explained on Netflix.
I’m also watching Fantasy Island again. I want to learn how to give a good intro from Mr. Roarke.
Are there any books you enjoy reading?
Nonverbal Communication by Marshall Rosenburg is one of my Favorites of all time.
I enjoy anything that has anything to do with interpersonal communication. Anything that helps me repair or advances the inner self.
Right now, I’m reading a book on boundaries recommended by my therapist, and I like it a lot.
Who is someone/What is something that motivates you?
Everyone out there hustling and building what needs to be made without questions of how. I like the hustle of Lacy Jordan.
People like the crew at Hue Design Summit.
Jordan Moses and Theressa at Black Bird Revolt.
Where do you see yourself 5–10 years from now?
Hopefully, running AAGD.co. Having our own products, buildings, galleries. Teaching everyone I can, everything I’ve learned throughout the years. Destination unknown.
Follow @afrovisualism here.