Material: Being an Inter-multi-disciplinary Creative – Dan Rubin

Wednesday, February 12th, 02020 at 11:11 UTC

Born in Miami Beach and now living in London, Dan is a designer, photographer, and founder / creative director of webgraph, a multi-disciplinary studio based in the US.

In addition to working with selected clients and speaking at conferences around the world, he also provides his photographic services to select clientele on request.

He often leaks small chunks of his brain directly to Twitter, posts photos to Flickr500px, and Instagram, and on rare occasions uploads works-in-progress to Dribbble.


This is the second time Dan has spoken at Material. In 02017, he’s session was about looking at analog objects again and how their impacts can make digital more interesting. With examples of using photography of heavy, light, rough and smooth objects juxtaposed with digitally printed MOO business cards, this combination of analog and digital can compliment each other in new ways.

This time Dan is back with a new topic, one close to our hearts as well. He wanted to discuss being an inter-multi-disciplinarian. We were completely on board with the idea.

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) is certainly a buzz word these days. Everyone is trying to get people to code and trying to also expand STEM fields into a more diverse background. Both are excellent ideas, but there has been some push back. If we are all focused on STEM, we’ll loose the creative arts. So now we have STEAM (the A being Arts). This means that practitioners of STEAM will need to be able to work across many diverse disciplines.

What better way to explore this than from someone who’s spent his life trying new things. He can setup his own web server, write the code, design the web page, write the copy and take all the photos. Dan has spent a life-time jumping to and from different disciplines.

Inter-multi-disciplinary  Web

The Web was originally the domain of scientists attempting to share their works with each other via connected computers. Now we have online retail, streaming video, personal blogs, collaboration platforms and more.

The skills to knowing and understanding the web have long surpassed the 44 HTML elements which make-up most of the web.

For a year, Dan decided to say ‘Yes’ to all interesting projects that can his way. This opened-up plenty of new doors and opportunities that he might have never done. From producing a music video for Emily Denton to creating his own pair of denim jeans.

How did he do it? Well, his trick was a combination of two skilful acts. Firstly, he’s never pigeoned holed himself into any one things. If he found it interesting, he followed his curiosity. Secondly, he made the smart move of trusting others and accepting that he was not the expert, but when he could at least ‘speak their language’ he could better convey his ideas and then the magic happened.

You can view all the video recordings and subscribe to the Material podcast on the Material Archive site.