Starting my artistic career when I was just a child, I unwittingly trained myself to understand proportion, depth and visual organization. My brother and I used to draw comic books before we were even teenagers. It was important to me that the books looked authentic, even though they were made on folded over sheets of typing paper. So, I not only drew the comic story in the books, but I drew all the advertisements that a normal comic book would have. I was copying the actual ads from real comic books, which were a plethora of page layouts, incorporating different designs, structures, typefaces and more. Through the years of doing this I developed an innate visual sense of balance and proportion, as well as continuing to feed my creative appetite in the stories themselves.
By the time I was in high school, I founded an independent student humor magazine, of which I was publisher and editor. This was sanctioned by the school and sold in the hallway between classes. I assembled a team of students to write and draw for the publication, but in the end, I did all the creative direction, layouts, and wrote and drew most of the content.
Publishing this magazine, along with my grades and success in my art classes, helped me to win a scholarship to the first Michigan Summer Institute For Gifted Students, a special two week program at Michigan State University in the summer of 1987. One student from each school district in Michigan was chosen to attend, and I had the honor of representing mine. That same year, I won first prize in the Bay City Times Ad Craft Competition, a contest for students where each of us had to design an advertisement for publication in the newspaper, working with a local business who paid for the ad.
In college, I majored in Studio Art with an emphasis in painting, although I also took graphic design, advertising and telecommunication courses. In my senior year, I had the honor of winning first place in the field of painitng in the Undergraduate Exhibition.
While in college, I worked at a local retail chain, Quality Dairy Company. Upon my graduation, they promoted me from sales associate directly to store manager, bypassing the interim position of shift manager. In 1991, I moved to Chicago and ended up in another retail management position, as store manager for TransWorld Music Corporation. It was in these positions that I was able to hone my employee management skills, learning how to train and motivate employees and produce results.
During this time, I began teaching myself how to use computer graphics programs, such as Corel Draw, Fractal Painter and Photoshop, as well learning HTML to code pages for the newly invented World Wide Web. By the mid nineties I had left retail management and was doing freelance graphic design, pitching websites to creative agencies in downtown Chicago.
In 1996, I took a position at I-Works, a Chicago based Web development company. At I-Works, I handled all creative direction, developed all their printed advertisements and collateral materials, and designed and maintained their visual business identity. It was at I-Works that I was given the opportunity to produce my first high profile project, designing and developing Lyric Opera of Chicago's debut website. I took to the project with gusto, handling the creative direction of the website, designing all the interfaces, and hand-coding much of the website myself. Other clients included Cox Communications, Sears Tower and the Chicago Tribune.
As 1998 drew to a close, I started my own design agency, Eyetopia Design. Within one year I had strategically partnered with AMN New Media, a division of Arts Marketing Network, helping to produce national marketing campaigns. I provided creative direction and, along with my team, produced interactive and printed materials for a variety of businesses and organizations, including Sears Tower Conference Center, KUOW Radio Seattle, Kansas City Symphony, L.A. Philharmonic Orchestra and many others.
It was during this time that I collaborated with AMN New Media in the development of the Intellimmercial, the world's first personalized talking web commercial. The Intellimmercial was an Internet presentation that featured an audio track which addressed each specific user by name when clicking on the link and viewing the commercial. Together we produced these as part of a marketing strategy for such organizations as The Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston Pops, The New York Philharmonic, Brookfield Zoo, and other well known arts organizations.
Eyetopia Design also designed and developed the visual identity and interfaces for the Ravinia Festival website from 2004-2007, as well as producing interactive and printed materials for many companies and organizations, including ACT Theatre Seattle, Indiana University Auditorium, MARC USA Advertising, ARU Chicago, Chicago Lighthouse, Sears Tower Conference Center, Conference Center at UBS Tower, American Symphony Orchestra League, Damien Services Corporation, European Sojourns and Distinctive Journeys International.
I closed my agency at the end of 2012 to focus on producing and selling art, and in the next several years sold hundreds of paintings all over the world. I continued servicing some of my clients on a freelance basis, and kept up with emerging technolgies in the creative field, such as responsive website design and social media marketing. I marketed my artwork heavily through social media, and in 2018 my Pop Art blog was listed number four in Feedspot.com's list of the top 15 Pop Art blogs on the web.
In 2019, I started planning a return to the agency world. I moved back to Michigan and acquired a contract position at Raytheon Professional Services as a graphic artist. While I enjoyed my position at Raytheon, it is a contract position, and I really aim to return to a full time role. I have the creative experience, skill sets, and proficiency in communication and management that make me a valuable addition to any company or agency seeking someone to help guide their creative presence. I have consistently succeeded in my endeavors, and have always brought value to those I have worked for, both employers and clients. I am a unique combination of left brain administration and right brain creativity. I have seen where graphic design has been and I see where it is going. What's Next.