When we catch up with designer Matt Rudinski during the late summer of 2014, he’s a man in the midst of transition. He’s just completed a cross-country road trip from Los Angeles, his prior home, to Niskayuna, New York, a small town near Schenectady (a place “beyond the pines,” like the Ryan Gosling film), between the Catskills and the Adirondacks. He’s planning on soaking up the summer here before moving on to New York City, and a full-time motion graphic design job, in the fall.
Matt’s no stranger to the joys of summer in upstate New York—he spent his life here before moving to Boston for college in 2009, followed by Los Angeles after graduation, in 2012. However, the joy he feels now upon his homecoming is something quite different than he felt growing up here. Though beautiful, Niskayuna—relatively small and primarily upper-class—could at times feel stifling for Matt, and he didn’t always appreciate his father’s solution to suburban dullness: escape to the “wilderness.” When dragged on countless day trips to nearby parks and lakes, like the Catskills and Lake George in the Adirondacks, he recalls feeling “bored to death” as he “sat on docks with his parents.” It’s only as an adult, returning from two years working at a production company in California completely “zapped of creative energy,” that it becomes clear how influential—and necessary—this environment is to Matt’s mental wellbeing and creative productivity.