The website for a San Francisco-based art and design studio called Mind Traveler Design says its team is made up of dreamers and visionaries. Specializing in character development for video games and film, the boutique firm seems to approach the industry with a mix of quirky humor, a bit of irreverence, and a lot of creativity.
Anwar Bey-Taylor, CEO/Creative Director, started the firm 10 years ago as an effort to fulfill his own creative dreams and a desire to control his own professional destiny. “I launched Mind Traveler Design so that we can make all our ideas real,” says Bey-Taylor. “I’d always envisioned having more influence over the destiny of my wealth and creative influence. I’ve always had visions of the way things could be at various points in my life rather than what they were, and while I have always been thankful for this life and all its blessings, I also knew I was capable of so much more. I wanted to be able to tell powerful encapsulating stories that focused on character development.”
And while the studio may be described as providing character development for video games and film, there is a lot more to Mind Traveler Design. “While Mind Traveler Design is an art studio that makes monsters and characters for the entertainment industry, it’s also much more than that. It’s an opportunity for my team and I to develop our quality interactive experiences for the entire world…We partner with clients that are developing video games of all kinds, websites, illustrated books, toys, cartoons, film, commercials, science and more,” shares Bey-Taylor.
“Mind Traveler Design has been around since 2005. It was through my freelance video game artist identity, in those early years, that I was able to develop the brand, somewhat, while gaining experience working in the video game industry through freelance and full-time work,” he explains.
And the brand has been expanding ever since, especially last year. “Last year, in 2014, I took the brand to new heights by making it a full video game art studio,” says an excited Bey-Taylor. “In one year, we have created art with over a dozen clients ranging from video games, commercials, cartoons, film, websites, mobile, and more. It’s been amazing!”
Being a creative–and a businessman, it can be sometimes be hard to connect the two identities. “There is just so much to learn. In this past year my mind has expanded in astronomical ways. At start I was a creative professional with very limited business knowledge other than intuition and what I’ve observed in life, now I am a very much a creative business professional, I have to be,” shares Bey-Taylor. “When I started I struggled immensely, I was trying to fit into teams like as if I were their employee, that’s what I was used to. It wasn’t until I was completely out of money and on the verge of being kicked out of San Francisco in its entirety that desperateness came over me, it was within the space of desperation that I started to become unreasonable. I started to speak my mind, create visual project decks and info-grams to explain my work. I stopped being frustrated with potential client’s ignorance and instead got excited at the challenge of simplifying my point of entrance. I started spending time curating experiences that the clients understood and got excited about. It was at the point of desperation and the unreasonable execution of ideas that things got fun and thus business started to take off.”
It took work to solve the business creative conflict. One way for Bey-Taylor was to follow his heart and creative instincts. “As soon as I stopped being a tool and became a practitioner of imagination, the two said ‘different worlds’ of creativity and business started to seamlessly complement each other,” he says.
The company’s philosophy and work approach has made it stand out from the rest. “Mind Traveler Design is a boutique art studio. We work together to not just satisfy the client’s needs but to take their ideas to a whole new level while staying within the frame of their intellectual property and technical limitations. We spend the time needed to flush out, build, review, and execute the creations to a, immaculate fruition,” Bey-Taylor points out.
When asked what have been some obstacles Bey-Taylor has faced, he answers: “Multi-tasking and money had been the two chief challenge mechanisms. The cool thing about these dilemmas are wherein lay the problem also is the answer. So really the issue has been the ability to expand my mind in new ways of thought, staying present and creating new possibilities while also charging into my fears, head on, with my eyes wide open,” he says.
The challenges have caused Bey-Taylor to develop a way to think positively about obstacles and failures. “I’ve found that at every obstacle, there are at least half a dozen ways of getting through them. At least five of the solutions are things I’ve never done before and one is a past failed attempt, or should I say learning experience,” he notes. “It can be scary to think that there is no such thing as failure or that there are numerous ways in which a solution can be found. Yet, life only continues to show me that the fact that I can think of new ways of accomplishing things makes them possible, which leaves the only reason for not evolving past obstacles is due to only one reason: fear. Once I was able to get present to that realization, I was then able to move forward, for the last thing I was going to allow myself to do was progress this much and then stop because I was scared. Never.”
Bey-Taylor has big plans to follow up his 2014 successes. “2015 is the winter, when I say winter I mean it’s our time to explore, test as many ideas and business strategies as possible. 2015 is meeting and on-boarding as many clients as possible while at the same time expanding the network. 2015 is our opportunity to create what Mind Traveler Design as a brand is really all about and how much it can scale. We are pushing to the precipice and we are not stopping, for when we get there we will have created amazing wings and machines that will make us fly further than even I can imagination right now. Absolutely exciting,” muses Bey-Taylor.
Long-term goals? “Platform. Intellectual property. Multiple streams of revenue. Team solidification. Mind Traveler Design is creating a platform that will engage and enable the masses to wonder and delve deep into their imaginations. Multiple streams of revenue… Well, that speaks for itself,” he says with a laugh. “We are creating intellectual properties that are full of life, possessing of soul and personality. Stories rich in substance and saturated in adventure.
Through our client work, we are able to train and grow new artist skills. Each artist brings new skill sets and trains of thought that adds to the uniqueness of Mind Traveler Design; it’s beautiful.”
Since starting Mind Traveler Design, it doesn’t seem Bey-Taylor has ever looked back. So what does he enjoy the most about what he does? “Freedom. Freedom to work full-time on my dreams. Freedom to develop and test new theories. Freedom to take my time. Freedom to enable my industry and my network. Freedom to ignite passion and inspiration. Freedom to clearly be myself unrestrained. Freedom to know that every single thing I do is for the progression of something I own and that it is all leading to bigger goals, creating a whole new world of existence. Anything is possible. Everything is possible. Life is magnificent. Thank God.”