We’re back with another edition of Meet the Creative! As we’ve mentioned, it takes a lot of talented minds and hands to develop the innovative productions we put forth and one very important member of our team is Carmelo Samano. You may not recognize his name, but chances are you’ve seen his work, (psst… head to our Instagram @hmrdesigns if you haven’t!) Carmelo has been with us for nearly a decade and has proven to be an irreplaceable craftsman in our ever-growing art department. A six-foot broadway sign for your birthday? Carmelo. How about giant ice cream cones for a mitzvah? Carmelo. A ferris wheel? You guessed it… Carmelo.
He’s our Senior Art Designer that hasn’t met a vision he couldn’t produce. Any large, custom prop or artwork is built by him right here in our studio. The process begins with an HMR Designer dreaming up the artwork they want to see at their event, and from there Carmelo brings their concept to life. Keep reading to hear more about how he achieves this, where he sources his inspiration from, and some details about his time out of the studio. If he had his way, he would be hightailing it to Italy someday soon! But for now he’s happy here, enjoying the lovely cooking of his wife and cherishing time spent with his family. Get to know Carmelo below!
What’s your role at HMR?
I’m a 3-D Artist in the art department, but ultimately my role is to be a part of and contribute to the HMR Team.
How did you end up doing what you do?
I discovered that I was able to visualize things and bring those art visualizations to life. In short, I can build out someone else’s vision. I soon realized that was something others in this industry couldn’t do, so I guess you could say it was a gift I stumbled upon.
And what brought you to HMR?
Initially I started my art career with a special events company. After a few years a company named Ronsley bought them and from there you know the story… Ronsley eventually merged with several other companies to become HMR Designs. And here I am today.
What kind of events do you contribute to?
I’m involved in everything, but I probably find myself busiest with galas, corporate events, and mitzvahs. Those tend to be more art heavy.
What’s the first thing you do when beginning to create a piece of art?
I try to get into the designers mind and I ask them a lot of questions, it’s important to get a clear picture of what they’re looking for and want in their end product. To know what they’re thinking is the first step. From there, I consider all of the options on how to best get that done and get to work!
Where do you source inspiration from?
That’s easy, I just look around here for inspiration! We have so many pieces of art from all departments coming and going – everything is constantly changing. It’s hard not to be inspired by all of the creative work and ideas happening in our studio.
What’s the most memorable piece of art you’ve created at your time here?
I make a lot of pieces here, but truly every single one is special and memorable to me. I can’t choose!
What’s the most challenging part of your job?
The first step in my process is probably the hardest. I have to translate the vision that someone else has in their head into a tangible product. As you can imagine, that’s pretty tricky. And every designer is different, so I have to find a way to absorb the idea in their mind as accurately as possible. Once I’ve done that the building aspect is easy!
Do you have a favorite type of piece that you like to create?
Oh yes, absolutely. The 3-D art is always the most fun for me. The bigger the piece the better!
What’s your favorite thing about HMR?
The team diversity and company flexibility. I’ve been here for a while so I’ve been able to showcase what I’m capable of doing and they respect that. If you give respect you’ll get it right back.
How do you spend your free time?
Any free time I have I usually spend at home with my family, it really doesn’t get better than that. Occasionally, though, we do like to go out to eat or head to the movie theatre. My wife loves pasta, so we find ourselves at the Olive Garden quite a bit. But I like burgers, my favorite spot for one is Red Robin. The Whiskey River BBQ burger is the best, get it!
What’s your favorite way to relax?
Watching movies on the couch with my wife.
If you could pick up and move anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Italy. I spent a week last year traveling the country, first in Rome and then in Venice. It was fantastic! We did all the big tourist stops, had a lot of good food, it really was just so enjoyable… I’m ready to go back!
Do you have a favorite book?
There is one that always comes to mind, it’s a Spanish novel that you’ve probably heard of by Miguel de Cervantes; “Don Quixote.” I’ve only read it just once but I absolutely loved it.
And your favorite type of music?
Classic rock, including pop. No heavy metal for me. And once in a while hip-hop. (Editor’s note: This came as a surprise as Carmelo loves to play Christmas music – loudly – in the studio well before the holidays hit). And yes I do like Christmas music! But just seasonally. (Editor’s note: His holiday “season” is much longer than that of the general public).
What’s the last movie you saw?
A Star is Born. I liked it! It was an interesting perspective on the lives of famous people… and all the fame didn’t seem that great. I think it’s good to see stuff like that, the public only sees the glamour and bright lights but it’s a lot darker than we know. My wife and I really enjoyed it, and we had a nice conversation about what life might be like behind the Hollywood curtain. That said, I do love that song!
What’s the first thing you do when you get home after a long day at work?
Sit, ha! Relax with my family, turn on the tv, and enjoy a good meal.
What’s the best meal you’ve ever had?
My wife’s home cooked food. There’s not just one meal, it’s all of her meals. She has a special touch.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Oh, that’s simple. I hope to be retired and traveling around the world. The first stop, obviously, would be Italy. I really hope to explore different countries, but maybe I’ll get lucky and end up in Italy after all is said and done. In the meantime, though, I’ll keep playing the lottery!