Creative duo, Niffer Desmond and Geno Soroka, bought together by their admiration for Nikola Tesla are coming to Buffalo Mini Maker Faire on Saturday, May 20th, to display the ultimate Nikola Tesla Experience. The artist and engineer teamed up to tell us how they became makers, their inspirations and some advice for future makers.
Answers from Niffer Desmond:
- Tell us about yourself and how you got started as an inventor/maker? My name is Niffer Desmond and I have been a creative maker since I can remember. In the 70’s I grew up with a Microbiologist Father and artist/nurse mother. We traveled a lot and so I was exposed to many awesome sites of nature. I was always excited to create art and make things with my hands. I loved to go rock hunting and chase lizards and butterflies and go to museums. In college I dabbled with technology and created a humorous robot, the “Hugh Grant Machine” that would stutter and follow people around. I incorporated animals into my art a lot and made and animated puppets for films. The closest thing to an invention I made was a drawstring venus flytrap puppet that you could put together. But Drawing was always my first and foremost talent, and came to play when I created the Nikola Tesla coloring book. I first found out about him around the year 2000 and my love for him grew as I learned more about this generous genius, and felt compelled to make the book about his life and inventions in 2015.
- What is the first thing a new inventor/maker should consider? I think this is completely variable in the wide range of making and inventing possibilities- but certainly I’d say, safety first! The biggest change making inventors will always be asking, how can I improve the way we live? Or how can I save the planet? Which are a high priority at this point.
- Are you selling products? What sorts of licensing/patents do you have in place? I am selling my Nikola Tesla Coloring book in a few places- it is not an invention in itself per se, but it is the first and perhaps the only coloring book in the world about history’s greatest inventor! You can purchase it or read all about it in my blog at Teslacoloringbook.com.
- What has been your greatest success in business? Good question, I make art for a living and things go in and out of popularity. When I made this book I had some success with the Kickstarter campaign to launch, building a community around the cause of educating.
- What advice would you offer fellow inventors/makers who are in the beginning stages of development? I don’t have professional advice here but my wisdom says to follow your intuition and passions!
Answers from Geno Soroka:
- Tell us about yourself and how you got started as an inventor/maker? My name is Geno Soroka. I have been making and building things since I was 14, robots, electronics, and etc. Eventually my hobbies led me to become an electrical engineer. Now I do what I love at work, and after work I help run a makerspace in Pittsburgh PA, HackPittsburgh. I teach electronics and programming classes to the public at HackPittsburgh, and help produce our own Pittsburgh Maker Faire. Like Niffer, I am fascinated by the inventor Nikola Tesla. He was the best Electrical Engineer ever, and is my role model. I run a club at HackPittsburgh dedicated to Nikola Tesla and High Voltage. We play around with Tesla coils and such.
- What is the first thing a new inventor/maker should consider? Ask yourself, “Why are you making this?”, Will this help someone? Inspire someone? Or is this just for fun? It’s totally okay to make things which are just for fun. Also, know when to stop being a perfectionist. At some point you have to stop trying to improve your design, because there is no such thing as perfection. Sometimes you can make things worse by trying to fix something that isn’t broken.
- Are you selling products? What sorts of licensing/patents do you have in place? I am not selling anything. I will be advertising memberships of HackPittsburgh which is a nonprofit makerspace in Pittsburgh PA.
- What has been your greatest success in business? I work full time for a company as an engineer. I have never tried to start my own business, but definitely planning on doing so one day.
- What advice would you offer fellow inventors/makers who are in the beginning stages of development? Ask for help! Learn things from others! Find other people who love making things. Join a makerspace. They have tools, and community. You can do it alone, but it’s a lot more fun with others.
Don’t forget to check Niffer and Geno out at Buffalo Mini Maker Faire where you will be able to dive into the world of Nikola Tesla while coloring in pages in the Tesla coloring book, playing a musical Tesla coil on a piano, and making spooky sounds by moving the spirit radio around.