What Matters: ‘Hello Mr.’ Creator Ryan Fitzgibbon and the Pink Sewing Machine That Started It All

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Debbie Millman has started a new project at PRINT titled “What Matters.” This is an ongoing effort to understand the interior life of artists, designers, and creative thinkers. This facet of the project is a request of each invited respondent to answer 10 identical questions, and submit a decidedly nonprofessional photograph.

Ryan Fitzgibbon is the creator of Hello Mr. magazine, former IDEO designer, and lover of print. He is currently based in Tulsa, Oklahoma putting his experience to work by supporting The Black Wall Street Times and building a digital space for queers to shop at hankcode.com.

What is the thing you like doing most in the world?

Well, having sex comes to mind, but the experience of having an idea and seeing it manifest is pretty cool, too, I guess. But let’s just stick with sex.

What is the first memory you have of being creative?

I asked for a pink sewing machine for Christmas when I was five. I can’t say I constructed any runway-worthy looks with it, but the creative intent deserves acknowledgment. Also, good on my parents for coming through for their little queer son.

What is your biggest regret?

Allowing the opinions of complete strangers to influence my mood.

How have you gotten over heartbreak?

We attract what’s most needed to expand our experience in this life. So, I try to look at every relationship with an appreciation for how it helped me grow and remind myself in their absence that more is coming. Move love, more growth, and a better understanding of myself; If I allow it.

What makes you cry?

When I finally realize (admit) something that I’ve suppressed and avoided being honest to myself about.

How long does the pride and joy of accomplishing something last for you?

Forever.

Do you believe in an afterlife, and if so, what does that look like to you?

I’m too focused on orchestrating a meaningful experience of this life to think about what comes next. I do think about legacy often, but ultimately, we can’t control what others think of us while we’re living, so why bother worrying about how we’ll be remembered when we’ve moved on? I’ll continue exchanging energy in this world long after my body ceases to exist.

What do you hate most about yourself?

My need for validation.

What do you love most about yourself?

My honesty.

What is your absolute favorite meal?

All of them, but I feel most at peace when I’m alone with a breakfast burrito, coffee, and the Sunday paper.