Hello! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Jamar Callender, and I’ve recently graduated with my bachelors in advertising and design in June from New York City College of Technology. I’m now a crowned MAIP alum (class of 2019) and currently reside at Ogilvy as an Art Director.
I was born and raised in Flatbush, Brooklyn, which is the Caribbean epicenter of NYC. Yes, I have a Caribbean background my mom is from Jamaica, and my dad is from Trinidad. The artistic side comes from my mom and my analytical side I got from my dad. So just imagine my potential.
I’m 1 of 8 siblings, me being the baby of the group. [Ironically] everyone looks up to me, when I initially looked up to them as role models.
My website Callamar.com should be launching soon! I’ll be selling home décor prints of my digital art.
What brought you to the world of design? What kept you here?
The world of design wasn’t initially in my mind when I first started out. I wanted to be an artist… the next Basquiat, Kehinde Wiley. As I was aspiring to create great works of art just like them, I realized it will take a lot of time and effort to gain the acknowledgment and fame they achieved. Knowing how expensive the rent is in NYC (“whew chile”) I needed to still be creative while being financially stable.
So how did I find out about the world of design? It was when I applied to City Tech, a CUNY college that had an advertising and design program. It wasn’t easy at first (especially the first year), because I was so accustomed to thinking subjectively as a fine artist. Eventually I broke my bad habits and worked really hard to get where I am today. To see the growth from where I started up until now is impressive. It motivates me to continue [moving forward].
What’s a unique project that you’ve worked on that excites you?
A particular project that I’m still working on til this day that excites me is an awarenesses campaign about gentrification in Brooklyn. The campaign is called BLOCC because culture and memories happen on every block corner to corner.
The goal of this campaign is to inform low-income tenants of color about their tenant rights and create a workshop with financial advisors of color that are involved in the community about teaching financial literacy in real estate.
The reason I’m passionate about this project is that my family and I were victims of getting pushed out of our home that was in the family for over 40 years. So as you can see, I won’t be stopping anytime soon until BLOCC becomes a reality. You can look at my website for more details and background on this project.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given, in regards to your career? What would you like to share in turn for someone who is just starting out?
“Fail hard, fail often.” – Douglas Davis
“When you fall flat on the ground, don’t let anyone step over you when you’re down. Get up, dust yourself off before they get the chance.” – Keni Thacker
“There’s always going to be some ups and downs in your creative career. They’re going to be moments of doubt, remember that you’re only just human. You’re allowed to let go of that “tough skin” mentality once in a while.” – My own advice for others
What is a question that you are currently exploring?
A question I’m exploring is, how do you not become stagnant in your creative once you’ve climbed up to the chain in command position?—And another one is, how do you know when you’ve found the right mentor?
Is there anything else that’s important that you’d like to say?
I’m going to keep it real here, and I’m sure everyone has heard of this saying already, but closed mouths don’t get fed.
Quick Links to learn more about Jamar: