I graduated from the Ringling School of Art and Design in 2005 with a Bachelor’s Degree of Fine Arts with the major of Computer Animation and a secondary focus in Illustration. Since then I have been working in web design, video editing, internet programming, search engine optimization, direct marketing through the internet, and the occasional caricature gig with multiple companies.
Click here for a full work history. (link to be added later)
WARNING: Boring life story to follow… DO NOT READ!
You’re still reading, aren’t you? I bet you did everything your parents told you not to, you naughty devil. Fine. I’ll show you mine.
Ever since I was 6 I wanted to be an animator. My parents, both very understanding and encouraging, wrote to Disney Studios (this was pre-internet, mind you… Yes I am that old. Shut up.) asking what they should do to prepare me for being an animator.
Disney was nice enough to write back, with some guidelines and a list of colleges they recommended. I kind of hope it was one of the Nine Old Men that wrote my parents, but it was probably just someone in HR. Oh well, not important.
When I hit ninth grade I got a chance to see a computer rendered animation of the word “Hello” rising over a hill of snow and landing in the fresh powder falling in the foreground and that was it for me.
I was to become a computer animator.
I was lucky enough to have a brand new school opening in my district and they had an advanced computer lab with copies of a computer animation program called 3DS Max 2.5. I suddenly became rather popular when my classmates realized “Jabas has a brain!” and I became the de facto teacher’s aid.
Anyways after writing to ILM (STAR WARS fame) and asking what colleges they accept from and overlaying the two lists there were three choices: Cal Arts, Sheridan, and Ringling. I lived in Minnesota and didn’t want to go anywhere colder so Sheridan (in Canada) was out. In the end, Ringling won out over Cal Arts (come on, founded by the father of the Ringling Bros? How can you not love clowns?) and I began the next step of my journey.
As much as I was very good with the technical aspects of computer animation, I was a bit of an odd duck as an artist. I just didn’t get it when they said you had to “feel” the art and was constantly frustrated when it couldn’t be explained in concrete terms and ideas. Then they wanted me to tell stories and not just someone else’s stories but my own.
What stories did I have to tell?! I had spent all of my life in school! I had not lived, had not loved, had not lost. There was no wellspring to draw from, only fantasy and imagination as to what life could be like, if only I had yet lived it. It made no sense to me. Any story would be as thin and lifeless as the paper it was written on.
So anyway, I graduated and found the job market to be sorely lacking. Companies were beginning to see the value of outsourcing and the job market dried up. In all our training, they never taught any of us how to market ourselves, but that is not their fault. The companies that needed artists actually came to them, making it easy to get in front of the people who needed to see your work. I bear them no ill will or regret.
I got a job working with my father building websites and coding little programs. I even got to dust off my animation skills every now and then for web banners, product demos and various animation competitions. I’ve also worked freelance for other companies as well.
While my love of computer animation has never died I have found other fantastic things to focus on that allow me to continue living. I enjoy building programs that companies can use to make their marketing efforts more efficient using the internet. I have built websites for multiple companies and am learning copywriting, as well as marketing in general to make my work even more useful.
My passion is helping others achieve the impossible.
I have helped everyone that I can from a little old lady crossing the street (I was a Boy Scout and yes, I have done that) to my church dealing with a malfunctioning computer in the middle of a service to millionaires trying to brainstorm new ideas for their businesses, and it feels great to have that rush of seeing someone else’s eyes light up with what has been done and the possibility of what can be accomplished. If I could be the Sancho Panza to one man who dares to dream the impossible dream, I will consider my work life a success, especially if that dream is not realized by the end of my life.
I am still waiting for my Don Quixote.
The crazy old man who would tilt at windmills. The only difference is that as an artist, a salesman, and a businessman, I am very much used to this business of adventuring. Will it be me who is my Quixote?
Is it you?
If you are looking to hire me, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 952-913-8782. I look forward to hearing from you.