By Nick Christophers
As the saying goes, “You need to fall on your face before you manage to mature” this would be the case for artist Maia Benaim. Here is an artist that decided to come to America to make her mark in the tough industry of graphic design. In such a saturated market it is hard for an artist born in America to make a mark let alone someone from a foreign country. Maia, who hails from the scenic land of Venezuela, garnered an opportunity to attend Pratt Institute and since then has planted her flag in the New York art scene. Maia followed her sister’s lead who received a full scholarship in UArts, Philadelphia, to study fine arts. She applied for scholarships in NYC, and received 25% financial aid from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. From there the transition was seamless for her.
Her key focus is digital design and interactive media. With her knowledge and obvious drive she began her career as an art director which gave her the foundation to build on that experience. Soon she looked to branch out on her own and began freelancing and ended up working on multiple projects building her name in the graphic design world. Her 70 hour a week projects for various clients enabled her to grow as an artist in many ways.
“I found a job at a print shop in downtown Brooklyn. I loved it at first; I was the “project manager”, which later I learned is another word for “the person in charge of absolutely all the communication in and out the print shop and the person that has to deal with all the problems”. I was staying at the shop until 10pm some days, doing super heavy production work, and getting paid nothing at all. It was exhausting, but it was my first job, and looking back at it I needed that experience as a junior designer. I also learned all the nooks and crannies about pre-production and print design, which has helped me so much in my career. It really did feel like I started from the bottom. Bottom was fun though.”
After building her name in the industry she landed at the company Frank Collective, a branding agency in Brooklyn. Her experience there as a branding specialist was more than just educational it was gratifying as she would see her designs on subway ads and magazines. At this point is when she embraced the advertising world and made it her business to learn and develop creative ideas on her own. Eventually, a new door would open to her in the name of Creator Deck Media which took her on as an art director which is based in Brooklyn, New York.
“Creator Deck gave me the confidence I’ve always wanted in my career. This is a place where everyone can grow, and it’s a place where I feel trusted, and valued. I’ve never really worked for a startup, but I feel like I want to grow with this company. It’s everything I’ve ever wanted in a job. There is no one micro managing anyone, because I feel like everyone’s roles are so clear, and everyone’s job is precious. CD is pretty much run by women, badass women that built a whole platform, agency, and company, and it all started with a fashion blog.”
Through the years Maia has grown being skilled in digital design, visual storytelling across multiple channels, coupled with artistic skills and a passion for design. It is no wonder why companies like Creator Deck would reach out to her to work for them. Her work does give her the flexibility to travel and still be able to do her job anywhere with her reliable laptop. It looks like she may return to New York to gather up more of the energy that he has to offer which only fuels her creativity. One of her goals is to do something similar to what she started in Berlin an art studio called, Huella. She started that art space with two other artists where they hosted workshops and women’s circles.
“Traveling for work is the best feeling in the world. The thing I enjoy the most is getting to a coffee shop / co-working space in a city I don’t know, opening my laptop, and continue where I left off last city / country / coffee shop. My job gives me the flexibility to work from anywhere, but I also miss the office a lot. We are doing such cool productions these days that I get so much FOMO when I see my co-workers on set all day. And I think being in NYC gives me that “Mad Men” vibes that are perfect for a content creation agency.”
For 2020 it seems that the company Creator Deck Media is taking on production talent which only means more content creation. For Maia that dictates into more work and more creativity which will enable her to enhance her portfolio and spread her name in the graphic design industry.