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Meet Daniel Sozanski

Today we’d like to introduce you to Daniel Sozanski.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My creative career kicked off senior year of high school. I signed up for a basic intro to Graphic Design course because I loved computers and I thought it would be an easy elective to fulfill my requirements. Little did I know, that class introduced me to Adobe’s Creative Suite (CS3), and in particular Illustrator.

I remember walking out of that class analyzing street signs, store logos, movie posters, food labels, CD covers, magazines, etc. I was mind blown at the fact that all of these things around me could be designed with Illustrator. I knew then and there that I wanted to create my own designs.

I got accepted at Drexel University in Philadelphia to study Graphic Design. Drexel offered a fantastic design program that included six months of “co-op” where students work full time at local design studios to obtain real-life experience in their desired field.

I landed a Jr. UX Designer role at a small company called EmpathyLab and just three months in, we were acquired by a large software engineer Company called EPAM Systems Inc. After working with EPAM for a few years in Philadelphia, I was presented with an opportunity to move to LA to help work on building out the experience design practice on the west coast.

I’ve been living in LA for three years now. I’m working as a Senior Experience Design consultant for EPAM at Ticketmaster in Hollywood where I’ve helped them design products such as the global mobile ticket, mobile website, mobile app, virtual venue experience, a group purchasing experience and a new product that aims at beating bots and getting tickets into the hands of real fans.

Moving forward, my goal is to find a way to bring together my passion for photography with my profession of designing digital experiences. I’m excited to see where my journey takes me, but so far LA has been the perfect place to find inspiration and network with other creatives who are looking to do the same!

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Definitely not. Toward the end of college, I found myself constantly overcommitting to projects. Trying to balance work, school, shooting multiple concerts a week, keeping up with friends and family. That experience taught me the value of having a healthy work/life balance. If you don’t have a healthy balance, you can run the risk of burning yourself out mentally and physically.

Moving to LA was probably my biggest challenge. I had built my entire foundation in Philly, leaving behind friends and family was obviously not easy. Stepping outside my comfort zone (and home town) has taught me so much about myself, and I have grown to be a better man in the process.

We’d love to hear more about what you do.
Aside from designing products for EPAM, I am also a freelance photographer for Live Nation. Most people who follow me on social media know me for my photography, and many think it is what I do full-time!

One of my required courses at Drexel was B/W Photography 101. For the final project, we had to document an event. I loved electronic music at the time, so I thought I would try to document a concert. One thing led to another, and I got access from a local promotor to shoot Wolfgang Gartner’s Dancegiving concert at The Electric Factory in Philadelphia in 2011.

During that show, I met a very talented photographer named AJ Kinney (@atothe). He reached out to me after the show and invited me to shoot with him as a second shooter for events he was hired to shoot. As we continued to collaborate over the next few years, I was able to build my portfolio and find new opportunities as a result. I eventually got contacted by Live Nation to shoot their concerts and festivals.

With Live Nation, I have had the incredible opportunity to cover some of my favorite artists such and Bassnectar, Pharell Williams, and Coldplay. I even had a few of my photos published in Billboard Magazine and Rolling Stone. I was even given the opportunity to travel to Tokyo to help shoot a music video for an artist named Mija.

The most important take away for me was all the relationships that came out of it. All along, I met some of the coolest creatives who I still collaborate with to this day. Every time I get to go back and work with the Live Nation team I look forward to reconnecting with everyone.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
There were a few times in the beginning of my career where I was rather obsessive with my work. I would tend to hyper-focus on things whether it was a design project, or trying to get a photo pass for a show and as a result, I wasn’t that great at keeping up with friends and family.

Looking back, I would advise myself to never let the idea of success get in the way of establishing meaningful long term personal and professional relationships. I would also tell myself to always be clear about what value you are bringing to the person, people, or company you intend to work with.

In the age of social media, it is all too easy to take advantage of people just to fill out your Instagram feed or to get access to shows to party. Make sure you have the right intentions going into it and be respectful and grateful for every opportunity you get especially when you are just starting out.

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