1991 was a helluva year.

I began my creative life in 1991. My mother would argue that I have been finger painting since I was a baby, but, that logic is the same that makes everyone with a cell phone a photographer. I remember coming home from high school as a sophomore and saying to my dad, “Hey man, you’re not going to believe this software that we just got at school – it’s called Corel Draw.” I can vividly recall looking at the artwork on the box of this beautifully illustrated hot air balloon and thinking, good grief – whoever created that is a genius. Ripping open the box I found a stack of 3 1/4 inch disks – and I mean a STACK! At the time, I had no idea what a Mac was, I was all PC. Adobe didn’t exist to me. I was rocking with Aldus Pagemaker and Corel Draw. I was the only kid that I knew in Ocala, Florida (look it up) that was doing paste-up of magazine and newspaper spreads with hot glue – and so when that software showed up I was blown away. No more cutting out clipart and burning my fingers. I was about to be in heaven with Corel Draw – or at least I would get to heaven in about 6 hours when it was done installing.

As an artist, I often think – am I actually an artist? I do have an MFA – that makes me an artist right? Well, I’ll be the first to tell you – I can’t draw. Literally terrible at drawing. I can sketch, concept, and do some cool things with type – but does that make me an artist? I think I’m more of an artist in the kitchen. although my fiance’ may disagree. I take photos – but is that how true artistic photographers even say it? Don’t they say, I capture moments in time photographically? Or something like that – I really just take photos, but I take them more like a technician. I get out the tripod and look for the focus – I want to make sure when I print the output looks sharp. I don’t even shoot in the “magic hours” – I’m too busy when the sun is going down and I’m too asleep when the sun is coming up. As an artist, I often think – am I actually an artist?

As a designer, I often think – what about my work is actually for sale? Is it the sketching, the time in Illustrator, the talking and talking and talking – the silence? Are my clients just buying ideas and art? Is this world too pristine with its interpretation of what looks good? Are we even allowed to use the word, “good” when describing creative work? Or can we shoot from the hip a bit more? Can we make things that just feel right? Can we use gradients without fear of ridicule? Does everything have to look like the Netflix logo? Can we outlaw Papyrus and Comic Sans and Helvetica? ((Did this guy really just propose to outlaw Helvetica?)) Why am I drawn equally to a hand-painted sign on cardboard that says, “Yard Sale”, as I am to a polished billboard? Why does every take-out Chinese food restaurant have the same pictures from 1981? As a designer, I often think – what about my work is actually for sale?

Featured Media: AAF Montgomery Awards Video

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