Where do you see yourself in ten years?

This may be the question I hate being asked the most these days, (typically from a prospective employer). It’s difficult coming up with an answer that doesn’t sound like a canned “corporate response” such as — “Increasing profitability, driving market share, and bolstering innovation!”

Ten years ago, did you really think that you’d be…

Weren’t we supposed to have flying cars and robot housemaids by now?

Flying cars, a robot to clean my bedroom, skateboards that float on air, and matching neon spandex “onesies” for everyone — all of these things we were told as children to expect in our future, yet have failed to materialize. While I’m glad there’s no need to worry about drunk drivers crashing through the roof of my house while I'm eating dinner — the “Roomba” is a pathetic substitute for “Rosie the Robot” who was supposed to be cleaning my house and cooking dinner tonight. It seems like the only accurate prediction from “The Jetsons” are those moving sidewalks at the airport! What’s the point of trying to predict the future anymore? When I signed up for 2 years of art school in 1994, I actually believed that my future income would come from a paintbrush.

Ten years from now I expect to be doing what I love

I'm an artist, designer, programmer — and a problem solver. I thrive on being creative with whatever medium is put in front of me. Ten years from now, I expect to be designing sweet interfaces, cool graphics, and writing creative code for the latest technological wonder we are using to share photos of our cats with bread draped around their heads.

Maybe I will design that annoying holographic sales robot who follows you around the store nagging you about all their great deals, or those new windows for your house that double as video screens! Perhaps those crazy predictions about 2012 will come true — we will no longer have electricity, and I’ll be making a living with a paintbrush after all!

A true designer is adaptable

I truly believe that the skills you learn in one area of life can easily apply to others. For example, spending the time to learn traditional photography skills in the darkroom dramatically improved my Photoshop skills. I never took a computer-oriented class in 2 years of art school, yet built my first website before graduation. I went to art school to become a true designer — someone who is “creative on-demand” within the confines and capabilities of whatever medium they are working with. A true designer studies human behavior, and strives to use that knowledge to effect better communication and more efficient methods of interaction.

Being a knowledge junkie and livng for new experiences means that I never back down from a challenge — especially when it involves uncharted territory. This is the reason that in my 16 years of professional graphic arts experience I’ve worked on such a diverse range of projects and roles.

The gamut of projects I’ve worked on include — point-of-purchase displays, 1,500 page catalogues, advertisements across all media, direct mail, traditional and digital illustration, 3D modeling and animation, photography and retouching, video production, websites, motion graphics, ecommerce, transactional interface design for banking applications, general eye candy, search engine optimization and user behavior analysis, corporate identity, e-learning applications, game design, viral marketing campaigns, apps, and more (in no particular order).

I've had the pleasure of serving clients both large and small, but a few of the more recognizable names include — Kodak, Genesee Beer, Rubbermaid, Ziff-Davis, Black Box, Westinghouse, HD Radio, PNC Bank, Mellon, and Respironics.

How did you get started in this business?

A nerdy child in my youth, I spent my time with things like programming video games in the fourth grade and taking advanced math classes. However, by the 6th grade, after becoming aware of my artistic abilities, I quickly learned a very important lesson…

Girls prefer artists over mathematicians and programmers

Since the only methods to draw pictures on a computer back then involved fiddling with the positions of ASCII characters until your friends agreed that it resembled an image, or placing white and black squares on a grid until left with a digital “cave painting” of your intended subject — I quickly put down the pocket protector and picked up the paintbrush! Eventually our technological capabilities as a society caught up with our artistic abilities, bringing us full circle to the world we find ourselves living in today…