I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, but I know it will involve creativity.
After more than 35 years as a working artist, designer, and animator, I still enjoy spending hours and hours making art, in whatever form. I am energized by the opportunities to once again be a hands-on creative after spending the past several years managing a facility of creative people.
I spent the first 7 years of my career working in the KOMO-TV art department making the daily news graphics (the old-fashioned way with press type, markers, color paper, and an x-acto knife), building sets (for humans AND puppets), learning the silkscreen process, and a myriad of other skills, including a very early computer graphics system, circa 1982.
After KOMO, I studied illustration at the School of Visual Arts in NYC, and returned to Seattle as a freelance illustrator and computer graphics designer. This led to a position as a computer paint artist/animator, and ultimately Art Director, at KIRO-TV’s Third Avenue Productions.
Leaving Third Avenue after 3 years, I partnered with two other video pros to start the 21-year run of FlyingSpot. As a design-oriented video facility, FlyingSpot quickly became the hot shop in Seattle. Our strengths were original concepts, quality work, and great client service. At our peak, we employed more than 35 designers, editors, audio engineers, and various other staff, housed in a 24-suite facility. Among our many successes, we won a national Emmy Award for a National Geographic Television show open, beating out the likes of NBC’s Dateline and ABC’s Primetime Live.
The desktop revolution had a profound effect on the video industry and the facility business model. As a result, I made the transition out of the role of facility owner and manager. I am quite happy to be back in the chair as a designer, animator, and creative director.
Today, I’m proud to say, there are scores of FlyingSpot alumni working as video professionals in the Seattle market, and across the country. Many of them I still rely on when projects warrant a larger team.
My creative interests are an eclectic collection of media and processes. This might be perceived as a lack of focus, but I’ve come to view the variety as a valuable asset. I enjoy drawing, painting, motion graphics, traditional graphic design, caricatures, illustration, and even furniture design. I’m especially fond of realism and trompe l’oeil. They’re all fun and challenging, and each of them has an influence on my overall design sense.
Pretense isn’t my thing. I don’t pretend to be hip or cool or leading edge, but I do incorporate contemporary trends in my designs. I have learned to trust my opinions and my years of experience to help guide my clients, to suggest possible directions. However, the ultimate goal of the commercial artist is to please someone else. Period. I have done this for the past 35 years.
Aside from art, another passion of mine is coaching youth basketball, which has occupied my winter months for the past 20 years. Most recently, I have enjoyed coaching girls basketball at a local high school. It requires focus, patience, organization, and creativity. It’s not a lot different than making art. Just a little louder.
My primary passion, my family, is a wonderful blend of my own passions. My wife, Kristi, is an enthusiastic sports fan, adventurous cook, attentive gardener, and willing art critic. We also share a passion for travel.
All three of our kids mix sports, design, travel, and entrepreneurship in their lives to varying degrees. Kristian, a UW grad, is an accomplished designer, photographer, social media dude, coach (basketball, baseball, track) and a member of the video control room crew for the Seattle Mariners. Raija is a Sports Business grad from George Washington University with the goal of starting her own business after satisfying her travel bug for a couple of years. She, also, is a coach for basketball and softball. The “baby” of the family, Hanna, is a sophomore at Syracuse U, studying… wait for it… yes, Sport Management. She enjoys making art, too, but hasn’t had the opportunity to coach. Yet.
9645 48th Avenue SW Seattle, WA 98136
Lighten up, will ya?
Let's have some fun.
My first portfolio was a mess. Scattered bits and pieces of drawings and paintings, in a mish-mash of styles, presented as though the portfolio had been blown open by a windstorm on my way to the interview at a local TV station art department. While it was reflective of my varied interests, it was also reflective of the messy mind of a green 20 year-old artist. I remember pulling out drawings on little scraps of paper to share with the art director, who I hoped would hire me. The more bits of "art" I pulled out the more I felt like crawling in a hole. What was I thinking?! Damn, a wasted first impression. Learn from your mistakes and move on. Yet, as most idealistic 20 year-olds are, I was hopeful.
Amazingly, I got the job. The art director, (who was my boss for 7 years, and lifelong mentor) said that my resume "kept popping up in his files". I may have been only 20 years-old, I may have been raw and unrefined, but I was honest and sincere in my desire to be a working artist.
Somewhere in the ensuing years, I pushed that eclectic kid into the background. The resourceful, but naive kid who enjoyed so many different forms of art. It wasn't cool to be the jack of all trades, master of none, in the too-cool world of video design. This website, this new era, is all about putting it out there for everyone to see. And maybe the bits of paper are just a little messy, and uncool, but that's how I like it.