My Professional History
In the early 90’s, when I left East Carolina University and entered the real world, all I wanted to do was to be an artist working on computers. My first job was designing screen printed t-shirts for a small shop. It was a perfect way for me to use my illustration skills and develop a foundation of a strong production ethic.
I continued that career path by working with many large and small screen print shops. I started at the bottom as a production artist. The graveyard shift at Champion’s Mid-South Distribution Center taught me how to increase production and efficiency, even with an old stat camera! At Coming Attractions, digital output helped me bring those stat camera skills into the digital era. I was able to replicate an old analog spot separation technique into Photoshop. That technique really helped me concentrate on the art and give me the confidence to explore different design concepts. I worked with some great artists and their great art started rubbing off on me.
During the late nineties, I took my art to a new level. My designs became heavily concept driven. I would combine a visual pun with a catchy tag line. I developed techniques to make screen printing photos easier. Eventually, I was able to separate anything I could design.
NAFTA had a huge impact on the screen print industry. Most production went to Guatamala and over seas. The price points for wholesale production absolutely dropped. I watched as the company I worked for for 8 years dwindled from over a hundred employees down to a handful. In the early Y2K, I made the big jump from a loyal employee to an independent entrepreneur. I started my freelance business catering to multiple screen print brands.
I used to design for some great clients when I started my business. The prosperity lasted for a while, but the industry and economy evolved. I felt that I needed to expand my skill set to be more competitive. I branched out by designing for ad agencies and building web sites. I’ve taken assorted contracts and have embraced new techniques to network and establish myself in the design community. To see a time line of my career, check out my LinkedIn profile.
Now, my freelance business exists in my spare time. This economy has affected the design community immensely and I am grateful for the stable paycheck that a full time position provides. But, when a client approaches me for a project, I know they need my help. I love the diversity of the projects that freelancing presents.
My Personal Life
In my spare time, I’m hanging with my wife and kids. Soccer practice and ballet lessons consume our weekends. I love designing bonsai, working on my yard, or in the fall, tailgating with friends at ECU football games. My online social media philosophy is as follows; I keep up with old friends on Facebook, co-workers on LinkedIn, and embrace the design community on Twitter, Google+ and Dribbble. See you around!