I’ve had quite a few titles over the last decade, but no matter which one I happen to hold I always seem to view myself simply as a creative professional. That’s it. I love to create. Whether I’m designing a website, screen printing a t-shirt or drawing in my sketchbook I believe it’s my inherent nature to want to give people something to look at… and hopefully something they can use.
I took an interest in all things imaginative when I was very young. I remember as a child my mother always seemed to be sewing, drawing or refinishing old, discarded pieces of furniture. Meanwhile my father would be in his workshop turning a pile of lumber into a family heirloom. I loved the sense of accomplishment I got when I helped my parents with these projects. Since working with my hands seemed to come naturally to me my parents encouraged it. I could draw, paint, sculpt and build whenever I felt the urge.
My father was a mechanical engineer in the Navy, so by the end of high school my family had lived in six different states (some of them more than once). Most people think that moving as much as we did sounds insane, but I can’t imagine life any other way. I was able to experience a variety of lifestyles during some really impressionable years. From beach communities and big cities to small towns and farms our scenery changed often, and so did my interests.
Our family spent six years in Norfolk, Virginia. Growing up near the Virginia Beach surf community led me to skateboarding – skateboarding guided me to punk rock and “zines”, which led me to the friends who would introduce me to graffiti and hip hop. When I dissect my past I notice the pattern in these interests is always rooted in subculture. Subculture always embraces imagination, and art in its most simple form is just the manifestation of the things we imagine.
I was never trained or educated as a designer. The time I spent in college was geared towards fine art. My first job as an artist was for a small screen printing company in Western Indiana. I had a friend working for the company and he was leaving to pursue other opportunities and when asked if he knew anybody who would be interested in the position he gave the owner my name. I didn’t have an actual portfolio… just a sketchbook and some photos of my paintings. The interview was very relaxed and consisted of the owner quickly thumbing through the book and asking me if I knew how to use Corel Draw. Of course I didn’t, but I assured him that I was a fast learner. I spent the bulk of my energy for three and a half years trying to absorb everything I could about graphic design. Over time I became obsessed with getting the perfect print and streamlining all of the processes that led up to it.
The job in Terre Haute gave way to another opportunity in the screen printing industry. This time I would be working as an in-house artist for a much larger company with a more demanding client list. It was an extremely fast paced facility and the workload was always demanding. I stuck with it and put in the necessary hours to learn everything I could about the company’s processes. Within four months I was promoted to Design Team Leader and was given the opportunity to hand pick my own staff. I spent every second working towards creating an efficient and more lucrative art department. It took nearly a year, but by implementing repeatable processes, developing an archiving system and hiring the right people the department was finally on its way to being more profitable than it had ever been.
It was a tough decision to leave PDA, but after seven and a half years in the apparel industry I simply needed a change of pace. In July of 2008 I decided it was time to see what I could accomplish within an agency environment. MediaSauce was a welcome adventure that was never short on challenging projects or big ideas, and I believe that they employ some of the most talented and creative people in their industry. I truly miss the relationships I built with everyone at “The Sauce”, but I always knew there was something bigger in my future…
By September of 2010 I had been with MediaSauce for a little over two years, when out of the blue I received an email from a design manager at adidas-SLD. They were asking me to step into the role of Senior Designer for a new business venture in self branded product. Obviously, it isn’t everyday that the world’s largest producer of sportswear calls with an offer to start right away, so naturally I took it.
I’m now working with an incredibly talented staff to create graphics, identity systems and licensed products for the likes of the NBA, NCAA, MLS, NHL, Reebok and of course adidas. No regrets!