Will Work for Art: Brandon Ballog

"Will Work for Art" takes you behind the scenes to meet the people who make the Fine Arts Museums work. This week we take you into the graphic design department, where all of the visual material associated with the Museums (except the art, of course) is created. Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Brandon Ballog is a junior graphic designer who has been with the Museums for almost three years.

What do you do here at the Museums?

I’m part of the in-house graphic design department that creates work for both the de Young and Legion of Honor. I’ve had a hand in producing a wide variety of printed materials ranging from special exhibition gallery labels to large Muni bus advertisements.

How did you become involved with the Museums?

After college, I knew I wanted to work for an arts and culture organization. I completed a fellowship at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre, which helped prepare me for my role at the Museums. I had my eye out for job openings at the Museums, something opened up and the rest is history.

What is your favorite artwork or gallery in the Museums and why?

My favorite would have to be Richard Diebenkorn’s Ocean Park 116 in the de Young’s permanent collection. There’s something really alluring about Diebenkorn’s paintings, and the Ocean Park series has always impressed me with its gridded, yet abstract representations of landscape and color. It’s a quintessential California painting by a prominent Bay Area artist.

Richard Diebenkorn (American, 1922–1993). Ocean Park 116, 1979. Oil on canvas. Museum purchase, gift of Mrs. Paul L. Wattis. 2000.20. Currently on view in Gallery 15 at the de Young.

What do you do when you’re not at work?

I enjoy aggressive rollerblading throughout Northern California. Along with being actively involved in the rollerblading scene, I create an independent online zine that documents the rollerblading subculture. RollZine is my way of combining my interest in skating and my knowledge of graphic design. And, true to my museum roots, I also paint in mixed media formats—slowly building a body of work.

What are you working on right now?

I’m currently working on my favorite FAM project, designing layouts for the Fine Arts member magazine, which is a massive preview of all upcoming exhibitions at both museums. I hope members enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy creating it!

Do you remember the first time you visited the Museums?

I remember being really shocked at the size of the museum and its beautiful architecture. Thankfully I got some time in the galleries, and Maya Lin was in the process of installing her giant sculpture in Wilsey Court.