Duration: Full-time freelancer since January 2016.
Location: Tampa, Florida.
Education: BFA in art and visual communications and a BFA in graphic design from Boise State University, Boise, Idaho.
Career path: I honestly didn’t foresee myself being where I am today as a kid, but it still feels like a dream come true. I played in bands as a young teenager and created do-it-yourself materials for my bands, shows, T-shirts, merchandise. I also skateboarded, and obsessed over skateboard graphics, art and sport-team logos. I used to get sent to the principal’s office for drawing all over the back of homework, and now, people pay me to do it. Not realizing the potential for a career in art, I actually started college studying business. It wasn’t until I took a 3-D sculpture class as an elective with the head of the art department at Boise State University that he convinced me that I should pursue art. I realized that I should be honest with myself and decided pursuing my passion was more important than the fear of failing at it. Since graduating, some amazing opportunities have come my way, and I am extremely honored and grateful to be a part of them.
Cultural influences: Growing up, we watched a lot of old black-and-white movies and TV shows. It really ingrained an appreciation of vintage cartoons, packaging, ads and movies into me. I could dig through someone’s grandparent’s stuff all day. An appreciation for classic styles mixed with a modern mindset might best describe my approach. I am very drawn to printmaking and its texture and layering. Music and skateboarding have also been a huge influence in my life—I always loved and felt a connection with the irreverent tongue-in-cheek aspect that the music and skate scene would bring to their brands. Some of that punk rock attitude motivates me to push myself as an artist and designer everyday.
Work environment: My studio is—conveniently—located inside my home. When I am thinking or just need to move around, I ride my bike or go to the park down the street and shoot a basketball around. I keep some of my recent prints and work up in my studio; they serve as a constant reminder of where I just left the bar for myself. I have a collection of design books, advertising books from different decades, Communication Arts annuals, and a growing pile of awards and trophies that I need a new shelf for. I work on an iMac and Cintiq 27HD touch, but always start with pens and pencils. I am also very mobile and work from anywhere. I use a MacBook Pro and Cintiq companion for when I need to work on the road. After I complete a large project, I like to take a trip and go see a band or festival in a different city or something to balance the work with play. I created some art concepts for Austin City Limits and had never been, so I bought a three-day pass and went. I think it’s important to experience and immerse myself into a brand or client’s product. It helps that my work coincides with what I love to do anyway. Adventuring through a new city, forest, or desert—or wherever—is really a great source of creative energy. I have to reset and need to be refreshed and ready. That’s when I do my best work.
Approach: My personal aesthetic stems from my love of looking at and studying the history of design, packaging, illustration and tattoos. I can find lessons and draw inspiration from all eras of design. I really have a deep love for printmaking and the pre-computer methods of printing. The inky textures and surfaces really bring a uniqueness to reproducing something that tugs at my heart strings. I bring a lot of textures into my work that I create from photos I take while exploring around different cities, or by crumpling paper or rolling ink out onto a gritty surface. Even though most of my work is finished digitally, I like to start with raw materials and get as messy as possible during my exploration and texture creation.
Aspirations: My dream would be to be approached by a large brand and have them hand you the keys and say, “You drive.” That will probably never happen, but it would be the ultimate act of trust. Getting to that point were you have proven yourself to be trusted with that kind of responsibility is my real aspiration. I also hope to go to as many music festivals, concerts, breweries, distilleries and dispensaries as I can. I might even have some partners by then. Right now, it’s just me and my little sidekick kitten Bruce Wayne. I would love to be doing a wide range of things too, including animation projects, a children’s book, more portraits and large-scale murals. I would love to design a marijuana brand and packaging from the roots up—forgive the pun.