Meadows 50th Anniversary Interview

After participating in a phone interview with Meadows School of the Arts alumni, Eskinder Abebe, I found myself intrigued by his broad level of creativity he had developed during his studies at SMU.

Upon Transitioning into SMU

Entering SMU as a third-year junior, Abebe graduated with his Bachelor in Creative Computin. He then went on to complete his Master’s degree in Design and Innovation from the Meadows School of the Arts. Abebe was open about how his experience in such diverse programs.

Before he came to SMU, Abebe enhanced his knowledge of art at Richland College in Dallas.

Abebe came to SMU with a unique plan. “I came in wanting to do design and computer science field,” Abebe said.

Merging both degrees would allow him to become an expert in both science and art. This would optimize his knowledge on creative computation.  

Post Graduation

Abebe discussed his post-graduation endeavors. He worked as an intern in Portland, Oregon for both Asics and Footlocker. The globally run program called, “The Pencil in Footlocker,” was very exclusive and strategically selected 18 students to attend with only one art submission. Abebe truly embraced the opportunity he was given, and in just three weeks, asics used one of his shoe designs.

With a better grasp and more sophisticated knowledge on product design, Abebe returned to Dallas. Soon later he collaborated with close friends to launch their upcoming creative design agency called Design Frame.

Abebe explained that the group focuses on, “new product visions, creation of 3d and 2d renderings, digital marketing such as product photography, virtual reality, video editing, graphic design and SEO.”

Additionally, he was frequently participating in interviews and landed a job at Evolve Scholastic, a company that manufactures school, church, and party decorations. Abebe currently works within the jewelry design sector, specializing in necklaces, bracelets, pendants, and soft goods like performance hoodies, joggers, quarter-zips, leggings, and T-shirts.

“So far, designing a shoe for asics was my favorite project I’ve worked on,” Abebe said.

Abebe’s most exciting aspect of his work is, “designing products for people who use it day-to-day.”

He went on to explain the process to his success, “it begins with visualizing new ideas, seeing the final results in manufacturing, and lastly, taking pride in the work I’ve accomplished for that individual.”

His voice lit-up as he said, “coming in live is the most exciting thing.”

Abebe credits his success to the skills he acquired at SMU as well as his mentor. His embedded skill and background of art helped him learn more on computer science programming. This enabled him to do web development for his company, while simultaneously, “designing jewelry, rings or any artistic things they need.”

Keen Mentors

Abebe mentioned SMU’s Ira Greenberg, a professor of painting, drawing, creative computation and the standing department chair of Creative Computation.

Professor Greenberg had a large influence on Abebe, and encouraged him to do more freelance. This small push allowed him to focus on projects that he had more interest in. This skill required a more advanced and creative focus in terms of diverse topics

Abebe mentioned that, “Yong Bakos, Suzette Henry, Dwayne Edwards and Advanced Design Sketching as mentors as well they hugely helped me shape my career.”

Concluding Advise

Abebe’s advice to undergraduate students entering the workplace is to, “take internships and get experience even if it is unpaid. It will give you direction, exposure, and give you something to talk about.”

Eskinder Abebe is skilled at his unique combination of  merging both art and computer science into a different and desirable platform. Meadows School of the Arts prides itself on graduating such a dedicated, motivated, and intelligent student and is excited to watch where his work takes him in the future.