[OUR WORK | YOUR STORY]
I loved drawing as a kid, I would draw on walls, desks, even paper, everything was my canvas. My passion was drawing portraits and caricatures. Every month, I would run to the corner store to pickup the new issues of MAD and Cracked magazines, oh that sweet smell of fresh ink on pressed pulp. That was my obsessive indulgence and source of inspiration. Those talented magazine artists who contributed to those masterpieces of art which were not only beautiful but so brilliantly clever. I remember my excitement as I turned another page and my mind raced again full of excitement, flabbergastedly motivating me to grab something and just start creating anything, just create something, that voice spoke to me. Those brilliant pages influenced me to copy that style and develop my own crazy caricatures.
People liked my art and I started selling some of it. Who knew you could make money doing something you loved to do. The caricatures sold faster than the portraits, I loved exaggerating male facial features; However, I could not use that similar style and approach when drawing ladies. "Ladies and girls always have to look beautiful when you draw them" my mom and sister would always say. That is when I stumbled across the girl that graced the cover on RIO, the Duran Duran album cover. What a face! I swore I fell in love that day with a paper doll. I went to the library and eventually located the artist who gave birth to this stylized beauty. His name was Patrick Nagel, I found a book of his illustrations at Coles book store and bought a softcover book of his artwork, glad the cashier didn’t look through the book before allowing me to pay for it, I doubt she would have let a twelve year old buy that type of art book.
For my 14th birthday, my dad bought me a Canon AE-1 film camera. I fell in love of photography, I wanted to become a photographer like Karsh, whose portraits energized and fed my soul. I could lose myself for hours looking at a portrait. The next several years I devoted myself to experimenting and convincing people to let me photograph them doing whatever they were doing. My apologies Mr. Smith for stepping on your vegetables when I was photographing you at your favourite activity, gardening. I spent a lot of money dropping off rolls of film upon rolls of film. Every week I would be so excited in the anticipation of what those photos would look like from the photo store. I dreamt that a talent scout would be in that store at that very same time and would offer me riches for those photos that he caught a glimpse of when I opened that golden envelope. Those photos that I dreamt would grace the cover of Tiger Beat or 16 Magazine, were so much better in my mind than the actual final product. I would be let down every time, looking at poor uninteresting compositions, underexposed, overexposed and sometimes even double exposed photographs. I couldn't blame the photo store, I knew that it was me, my inexperience and lack of knowledge. I swore to get better and stop wasting my parent's money on really, really, really bad pictures. I wanted to quit so many times swearing that this was the last photo I would ever take, but every time, just as I was about to sell my camera I would come across one of my photographs that I would find interesting, potentially interesting. Did I really take this one photo? At that moment I would make another promise to myself. I would dedicate my spare time, when I wasn't playing sports of course, to learn and read whatever I could about photography and composition. Boy there were a lot of boring books on those subjects. The heavy encyclopedia photography books housed gorgeous images but the technical stuff was so above my head and could not compete for my attention with those breathtaking glossies. Looking back... How I wished I had YouTube, correction: How I wish I had internet, correction: How I wished we had a personal computer, correction: no correction needed, I think all that happened, the way it was supposed to happen.
When I turned sixteen I spent all my savings on a state of the art VHS film camera and a recorder. These two contraptions had to be connected together to by ten pound heavily chorded cables. Unlike photography, I could see what I filmed within minutes, I could erase and record over all my bad footage and start again. I filmed sports, baptisms, weddings, but mostly filmed a bunch of of my friends doing silly stuff. We made wrestling movies, monster movies, wrestling movies, music videos, and wrestling movies. People liked what they saw and I started to get paid for my filming special celebrations. I was now getting paid to be a creative film maker. Getting paid once again for something I enjoyed doing.
I was asked to create a rock poster and to promote my friend's younger brother's band, the band was trying to get a gig at a local bar. The bar manager said he needed to hear their promo tape, and see their poster and other promotional materials. They lied to him and told him they would have it to him by lunchtime next day. They came to me that afternoon on the windiest day ever. I took photos of the band on a hill, hair every where, thank goodness it was the eighties and messy long hair was in. The film was dropped off at Astral photos at the mall, they were the first to have one hour film development during those days. I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening filming them, designing their logo and made that promised promotional package. Thanks mom for allowing me to use the photocopier at your work at 1:00 in the morning. I did not sleep that night but got it done. The band dropped it off in the afternoon and they got the gig and rocked the Beverly Crest that Friday night!
Who knew the joy of creating art in my early years would turn into such a rewarding career full of creative opportunities and an absolute love of designing. I love exploring and creating new ways to promote people's ideas. I have learned a lot from making mistakes, figuring out better ways to do things. I remember the tedious tasks of doing everything manually and how carefully you had to work to not mess up all the work you had done before. There was no CTRL Z button to push to undo the last poor creative decision you made. Oh how much do I appreciate technology and how it has opened me up to be more artistically and creatively brave. I have played with a lot of software and apps through my artistic and teaching career. All the family of Adobe apps to CorelDraw, from drafting in AutoCAD to 3D programs such as REVIT and 3DS Max. Learning software that drives CNC equipment such as ARTCAM and V-Carve Pro, I have loved using these programs to solve real world design problems. It is so gratifying to fuse all those apps and guide friend's ideas and nurturing those ideas into breathing, living, visual prototypes. It always gives me a sense of inner pride and fulfillment when people are excited and pumped about seeing their final products. Several friends later, I am still that same boy who is curious, passionate and finds joy in learning with every project. So if our paths cross and we find we are a great fit, I would love to work with you to help promote your brand, or your band:)