Luis Alvarez

21 August – 11 November 2009

I’ve always thought that every decision made is good until you regret it. And if, like me, “regret” doesn’t figure in your personal vocabulary, I could say that coming to Art. Lebedev Studio could be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make.

Living and working halfway around the world from the Studio, I never thought I had a chance on applying. It wasn’t until I took a break from my city and travelled to Barcelona that somehow that distance seemed a lot smaller, and I decided to give it a shot. I just sent my portfolio and a couple of days later, Ludwig surprised me with an email inviting me to intern for three months.

Three weeks from that, Lesha, the Graphic Department Manager, was picking me up at the airport, introducing me to everyone around the Studio, and showing me the surroundings where banks, cafés and the inconveniently close and affordable McDonalds are.

The Studio itself has a very relaxed, creative feel like none of other places I’ve worked in. The flexibility on working hours allows you to watch movies, TV shows or documentaries, play a little bit of foosball, go to a nearby exhibition or even take a walk and have a sandwich for lunch right next to the Kremlin. Couches and blankets all over the place complete the home-like, warm atmosphere.

Follow the White Rabbit through his, in this case, door, and in the Anti-Crisis Café, which makes the most of its name, Dara, who is now ready to crash everyone at a national barista competition a few months from now, will gladly prepare the best cappuccino (or whatever espresso-based beverage) in town. Right next to it, in the kitchen, there’s everything needed to have any meal or snack at ok prices.

The language barrier is definitely something to have in mind. Speaking Russian will probably make your stay smooth and easy, but not knowing anything at all should make it very, very interesting… and I find “interesting” always good. Not a problem inside the Studio, though, several people speak English, share very cool stories and are willing to help you in any way they can. The Studio’s 14th anniversary celebration was a great opportunity to meet coworkers from all departments, and yes, drink loads of vodka with them. I also got to teach some Spanish vocabulary to anyone interested and explain to Timur the very Mexican “Day of the Dead”. Befriending Alex, the British intern of Prom Design, and exploring the nightlife together, as well as playing frisbee on Sundays with Lena, the typographer, and her friends topped everything off.

I can never describe cities accurately because I always end up loving every single one of them, and Moscow was no exception. I could just say that everything’s bigger there: the streets, the buildings, the billboards, the History. I have to admit that the cultural shock was also bigger, but having no time to waste, I soon started understanding how to live, enjoy and let myself be impressed by this awesome place. By the way, there’s nothing special to worry about it: bad things can happen in every single city in the world. I was even warned a couple of times that I might get punched because of my skin color… didn’t listen, didn’t care, didn’t happen. People, once you get to know them, are very honest and always have interesting stories to tell.

So what was a Mexican guy doing in Moscow? Well, much more than just acquiring technical or software knowledge, I was learning, by being part of the creative process of things and observing how they work, how to actually start thinking, working and twisting what I’m gonna be doing for the rest of my life.

Spasibo Bolshoi to Tema, Ludwig, Timur, Karina, Lesha and everyone else I got to work with, helped me get through the guards the first days, ran into on my way to the kitchen and met at impromptu parties or cigarette breaks.

Now you know, don’t mind stereotypes and warnings, send your portfolio today and come experience this once in a lifetime opportunity.

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