We talked to multidisciplinary designer Kiel Mutschelknaus about his coding affinity and how different areas of design are cross-pollinating each other
In 2008, Kiel Mutschelknaus started his career as graphic designer in advertising in South Dakota, in the American Midwest. Back then, his work focused on print and illustration and he maybe drew one too many corncobs. On he went to Detroit in 2010, to study 2D-Design at the Cranbrook Academy of Art (https://cranbrookart.edu), where he also started to explore loops, got a feeling for creating motion graphics and graduated with a Master of Fine Arts in 2012. After graduation he moved to Baltimore, where he began to teach himself programming languages. All these different skills combined led to many interesting design experiments, new inspiring tools for designers and jobs as freelance illustrator and animator for clients like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Booz Allen Hamilton or Marriott. As designer and as teacher he likes to challenge the boundaries of conventional working methods by exploring the unknown and stepping out of his comfort zone.
At what point in your life did you start coding?
Kiel Mutschelknaus: After I graduated in 2D-Design, I started teaching. First, in the Michigan area, later I moved out to Baltimore, where I started teaching at Maryland Institute College of Art. I always liked the idea of coding, but I had never done it. I kept learning motion design on my own and was really excited about After Effects back then. That was when I really started to teach myself. I watched lots of Daniel Shiffman (co-founder Processing Foundation) videos and other YouTube tutorials. I think I have a good brain for math, I studied math in my undergraduate degree, so I felt pretty comfortable with some of the core concepts that line up nicely with coding and motion. So now, most of my teaching and most of my freelance work is based on coding, motion, 3D and illustration. I learned a lot about motion and design through teaching at MICA as well. When I teach somebody about the process, I find myself absorbing the concepts more thoroughly. But right now, I’m on sabbatical.