Thomas talks to us about how he got into type, what it was like to be Josh Dardenâ€™s first apprentice, and why people make him happy.
Thomas Jockin is the organizer of Type Thursday. He is also a type designer, and amateur boxerâ€”something he got into while living in Portland and searching for a way to get fit. Attending classes once per week at first, heâ€™s now won three amateur fights and loves it.
When we asked Thomas what makes him happy, his response was simple: People. Specifically interacting with them as you rarely know what youâ€™re going to get! He explains we often have expectations of what will happen during an interaction with someone else but unknowingly gain collaborations, partnerships, relationships, or a completely different perspective towards a situation. As a type creator, he spends so much time alone. Yet, what he loves most is collaborating on a team and creating projects with others.
If you donâ€™t take the time to get to know someone, a person can be like a black box, according to Thomas. So much more becomes clear about them when you do. Uncovering the importance of this was a hard earned skill. He was mostly an animated person himself, always going full steam ahead, and not really collaborating with those around him. A few years back, after noticing the difference between communicating well with someone versus not doing so, his perspective completely changed along with his personal life and career. When he tries to do things from a self-centered perspective, nothing gets done. By changing the mindset of how he approached thingsâ€”aka seeing how something could help or change peopleâ€”projects he was working on exploded and everyone wanted to join in. In Thomasâ€™ experience particularly, heâ€™s met a whole group of people who care about type just as much as he does because of it.
Thomas was the first apprentice of Joshua Darden of Darden Studio. At age 19, he had no idea what type was but wanted to be like Josh, who also happened to be his professor at Parsonâ€™s School of Design. This was an opportunity Thomas found on his own by presenting the idea of being an apprentice to Josh. He considers working with him to be the best three years of life and a beautiful gift.
When Thomas moved on to work outside of Darden Studio, it was a mixed bag. He had a low self-esteem regarding his work and felt as though he was a shadow of Josh Darden. The idea of doing his own work was daunting to Thomas. After forming a part of the inaugural class at Type@Cooper, however, he was able to work through this, produce work in his own voice, and has been able to publish multiple typefaces. Although this is rare accomplishment, he is not arrogant in the slightest.
This may be because Thomas feels he had an unfair advantage after having had the opportunity to work at Darden. Even though he made that opportunity, he understood what a big deal it was and gained a huge amount of knowledge from the experience. Because of this he feels like he has to honor it. He also felt very limited at first on what he could do on his own. He attributes a lot of his successes to the network of people in his life.
Thomas first realized this after working with an instructor while studying at Type@Cooper, Jesse Ragan. Jesse told Thomas he believed in him during a difficult project and to this day he can’t forget how much he was motivated by that conversation. What also helped were weekly calls with his friend and colleague Lila Symons. In general, he is incredibly grateful to everyone who he interacts with especially the group at Type Thursday. He believes they could totally be doing something passingly entertaining on a Thursday evening, but they choose to come to events, donate their time, and contribute. This is why Thomas feels committed to the group.
What is Thomasâ€™ greatest goal in life? To be the best person he can be, to put everything he has out there, and to have the people he has instructed in some way throughout life surpass him.
What else makes Thomas happy? His girlfriend, Alexis, the word conviction, coffee on his porch and memories of hugging his Grandma as a kid. You can learn more about Thomas by visiting Type Thursdayâ€™s website, Facebook page, Instagram (NYC and San Francisco), and Twitter (NYC and San Francisco). Type Thursday the meeting place for people who love letterforms.
Links / Read / See / Hear
Jason Zappolo for editing and mixing this episode; follow Jason on instagram.
Orly Margulis for social media support; follow Orly on linkedIn.
RocÃo CastaÃ±eda for ongoing support; follow RocÃo on instagram.