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CESAR IDROBO: Re-Crafting Tomorrow [2nd Conversation]

“Don't let the best come in between becoming better.”



Cesar Idrobo in Conversation with GAHSP.


Join the 2nd Conversation with Cesar Idrobo, and discover his evolution since the 1st Conversation CESAR IDROBO: Crafting Tomorrow.



THE CREATIVE


Profession:

Designer


Current Location:

Los Angeles


Introduction:

I am a footwear maker and designer residing in Los Angeles, California. I was raised in Colombia but came to the US when I was 17 to study English as a second language. I completed my academic studies at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Savannah, GA. Since then, I have had the opportunity to work with top-tier brands in the industry.


Context: 

Futurestitch, YEEZY, Puma, SKIMS, eBay, KX Lab, TOM’S, SCAD



Cesar Idrobo in Conversation with GAHSP. The shoe designer captured while working.


THE QU & A


What are 3 values that you wish to mediate through your work? 


1st Conversation: 

Idea & Inspiration

Creation & Craftsmanship 

Methodology & Aesthetics


This Conversation:

Open Communication 

Human Expression 

Starting Small


Open Communication 

Creating the space for open communication in terms of ideas. Ideas are all we need to trigger new conversations, products, and processes. For breakthroughs to happen, it’s often like, “Oh, I had a  conversation with someone and they made me think about something that I didn't think about before.” 


[1st Conversation Extract: “You could be at the right source of inspiration but if you don’t know how to translate that inspiration into what you’re trying to create, into your field, if anything goes missing in that translation from inspiration to idea, the essence of it could get lost.”]


Human Expression 

The other value would be the value of human expression, acknowledging, celebrating human creativity and human ingenuity. There is a lot of value in those first ideas, in raw creation.


[1st Conversation Extract: “I value a lot craftsmanship because people have to live with your execution, not with your ideas.”]


Starting Small 

The third value would be the value of starting small. We always have these out of proportion goals. There is nothing wrong with having a small idea that turns into something bigger. A lot of people freeze because they have this big idea, but they don't know how to tackle it and how to go step by step.


[1st Conversation Extract: “To me values could also be translated into methodology, how you operate, how you think, how you work.”]



Cesar Idrobo in Conversation with GAHSP. The designer working on a one-of-a-kind shoe design for Ebay.

eBay x Cesar Idrobo. A one-of-a-kind handmade prototype sneaker. 2022.


What are 3 relevant problems that you wish to solve through your work? 


1st Conversation:

Communication

Execution 

Judgment


This Conversation:

Generation of Ideas 

Execution

Implementation


Helping people articulate their ideas and make decisions when it comes to bringing them to life. In the process of making something, you run into a lot of issues that make you reassess your original idea. I want to help people work through that process of creation and help them make informed decisions along the way generating ideas, then with execution and implementation


[1st Conversation Extract: “Communication and visualization, like expressing your ideas clearly, making sure they resonate with what you are trying to do - to me that’s the biggest challenge.”]





THE CONVERSATION

Free format conversation with Cesar Idrobo. 



What did your personal evolution look like since your last conversation with GAHSP?


In two years a lot can happen. I’ve gone through some career changes that have affected how I approach the value of time. I want to be more purposeful in the things that I work on. Everything that I do, I want it to have an angle. Just being mindful of what I'm doing. It has to have a purpose. That’s one of the biggest learnings for me, just like a self-discovery moment. 



Cesar Idrobo in Conversation with GAHSP. Ebay x Cesar Idrobo sneakers in the making.


How do you define change, imperfection, and focus, and how do you integrate them into your professional approach? 


Change 

I'm okay with change as long as it’s for the better. If the change is just there for the sake of changing something, it just goes against creation, it becomes a replicate. I want to make sure that change as well has a purpose.


Imperfection 

We have to be okay with the challenges and flaws that our ideas might have. If an idea is 90% solved, I wouldn't hold that 10% as the gatekeeper from this idea coming to life. There can always be an improvement later. I would rather have something 90% well done, than nothing at all. 


Using the iPhone as an example, these are phones that are pretty good but they are not perfect. There are bugs. There's a little bit of a learning curve. There are loose ends that people have to be okay with. That doesn't keep Apple from releasing a new phone next year. Maybe that's what they want. Maybe they want to have a phone with flaws so they have a reason to release another phone next year, so you have a reason to buy another one because you're going to say, “Well, this one is not perfect, but this one is better”. You're always chasing for the better instead of the best. And I think that's an angle where you can look at things in terms of imperfection, using them to your advantage. 


Aiming for ‘better' is more realistic than the ‘best’ because the best is subjective. It might work for you but it might not work for another person. You could have on paper a perfect product but it's subjective. That’s why it’s not worth chasing the best. Yes, it’s worth aiming for the best but I think ending up with something better is eventually much better than the best. Don't let the best come in between becoming better.


Focus

I think focus is having the right mindset at the right time. We need to have the ability to gauge and assess what type of mindset we need to have for a specific moment in time. There are times to focus on details and times to focus on the big picture. It's important to know which one you are using at the given moment. A lot of people get caught in details when they're supposed to be looking at the big picture, and a lot of people get caught in the big picture when they’re supposed to be looking at the details.



Cesar Idrobo in Conversation with GAHSP. Ebay x Cesar Idrobo sneakers in the making.

0011;58;14

What is your view on separating work and life? 


Work and life should be together. But not mixed. Both have to be in balance in order for you to feel good because if you don't have balance then you can burn out. This goes for both sides of the spectrum. Coming back to fine-tuning that balance, there are moments for personal life and then there is time for work, and sometimes it's going to be 60/40 or other times 70/30, and so on.



What is the ideal work situation for a human being? 


I use my time the best when I have a project and clear direction with clear deliveries, and then I can manage myself. I like the aspect of, “This is the task and you can achieve it however you want to”. I'm like, okay, let me manage that. I will deliver.  But let me let me take care of the how. That type of environment and team that supports that is important. You're responsible, your reputation is on the line, so you want to come across as someone that you can be trusted. That's ideal when they trust you and then they let you do your job.



Cesar Idrobo in Conversation with GAHSP. Ebay x Cesar Idrobo sneakers in the making.


What makes your work authentic in your opinion? What are the ‘accents’ that make it recognizable? 


When people think of style, they think of a visual, of an aesthetic. To a certain degree, there is room for your signature style. However, you have to be mindful of not getting married in one style because then that's all people are going to know you for. Then you become predictable. You have to be mindful that what you do doesn't become repetitive, but rather coherent. That's how I approach my work. I try to do something slightly different every time so that people have this sense of getting something special because it's something that will be done once and never again. 



How do you believe environments shape your creative evolution?


The physical space where you are creating is important because it's going to influence what you create. I don't want to say it’s going to dictate what you create but it’s going to influence what you can make, and it is your job to curate how to translate that idea into the products or entity that you are creating. 


There is a tendency for life to get more complex as we become adults. This leads to a tendency to seek simplicity, convenience, or peace of mind. I think mixing that tendency with the “baggage” that you have from your past environment is interesting because it is very personal and it's different for each person. You have to be willing to delete things or curate the thoughts that you dwell on in order for you to think of new things.  And then, yield to new actions from actions, new habits from habits, new cultures from cultures. 



Cesar Idrobo in Conversation with GAHSP. Ebay x Cesar Idrobo sneakers in the making.


What are your thoughts on digital routines and the current media landscape?


I'm not opposed to anything digital. I think it has in some ways helped us enhance just in general just the approach to how we do things, it has like in some way improved our lives. We just have to be mindful that it doesn’t overshadow the human creation aspect. I think that's why a lot of crafted handmade products remain relevant and remain perceived as high-value objects. 


I think media outlets could maybe do a little bit more work in terms of just bringing new people and ideas to the table, and giving them a proper spotlight. A lot of new and upcoming designers and creatives get coverage but I just don't think it goes to a high level, it’s more just checking a box. 





THE LEADER


Creative Leaders to look up to:


I look up to my friends or people that I've been working with for the past few years. I love seeing them succeed and being involved. We once were doing work for someone and now we are past that stage.



# ASK

Question raised by Cesar Idrobo. 


Are we creating or replicating? Is it different or is it better?



This conversation contributes to a new media format, where Creatives are in full control of their narratives. By exploring alternatives to narrative journalism, GAHSP starts unconventional conversations, emphasizing values and problems that shape our lives collectively.


Conversation Led by Julia Horvath

Conversation Assisted by Julieta Flores

Image Courtesy of Cesar Idrobo

Unedited. Only Formatted.

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