It’s been said that you have had a colorful childhood living in several places around the U.S. Could you please tell us more about this?
I moved around a lot when I was a kid and I continued to be nomadic for awhile in adulthood. I think I was more resistant to it as a kid, but now I see change as an opportunity rather than a set back.
Somehow I have ended up living in the states in every corner of the country but only one in the middle of the country.
NYC is now your home and has been for the last 15 years. How did NYC win your heart and could you ever imagine living anywhere else?
Initially NYC drew me in due to having quite a bit of family here, which funny enough is not true anymore. NYC can hit you pretty hard and I think you know pretty quick if you love it or you don’t, but when you love it you REALLY love it. I have spent time working here, having kids and building my family, it feels like home more so than anywhere else I have ever lived.
Does creativity fly high within your family and at home?
It definitely does, our kids draw and play instruments. My wife works in creative fields. It feels pretty natural for that to be our dynamic. My larger family has creative DNA which has manifested in different ways and different fields but there was always a strong sense of encouragement within my family.
You have been illustrating, painting and working with music for quite some time now. Do you have a favorite?
They all speak to me. Painting and illustrating are obviously closely related, and I always listen to music while I am doing anything. Playing music is a creative language, and when you are listening while creating, it strongly places you in the moment. I feel like it brings your senses together while following a structure and a pace. I find that when animating, playing music is a driving force in my creative process.
How has your work evolved over the years? Was there anything that changed the direction of your career?
I started out doing illustration for package design and then technical illustrations. I had done about 500 technical illustrations for a client, and they asked if I could animate them for other platforms. I had no idea how to animate but I said, “Yes for sure, no problem!” So I figured out enough After Effects to get me by and went for it. Ironically that part of the job went away but then I had quite a bit of experience with animation. The combination of illustrating and animating folded into storyboards and motion graphics. It happened pretty fluidly but it wouldn’t have gone that direction if I hadn’t went for it and taught myself.
Those early experiences fueled me to try more and more things, and pushed me to see challenges as opportunities and learn from the people around me. Working with amazing people is an endless resource. Trying what they teach you, you learn something when you do it, add something, pass it on. It fuels itself and each layer and person that touches it adds their thought process. It’s incredibly rewarding to be apart of this process and see the result.
What inspired you as a child to start illustrating and painting? How did it turn into your career?
I would draw to sort of pass the time or go into another head space, where it could all be things that I could add or subtract from a world, and start over if I wanted to. As far as a career it was going to be either creating visuals or music. At the time, I had friends in music and the career trajectory was a shorter one. I went with the illustrating and design, my feet had always been firmly planted in visual things, comic books, graphic novels, photos, collage, I was into trying it all.
What is your favorite band to see live and why?
That is tough, music I like to see live isn’t always the same music I like to listen to when I work.
I like to listen to a lot of metal when working. I think I would listen to just about any music live! I like the energy of the people, the feeling of the air, and the musicians.
What is your favorite book and why?
I like books that are historical fiction. All Souls' Rising by Madison Smartt Bell, Island at the Center of the World by Russell Shorto. I ate up things like LOTR and the Hobbit as a kid.
Lately most of my reading is children’s books to the children.
Who has been the most influential and inspiring person in your career?
Everyone. Even the people that weren’t great experiences, I try to learn from it and make sure to not to repeat negative experiences. Empower the great people you work with to do what they love, and work doesn’t feel like work, just fun!
Who has been the most influential and inspiring person in your life as a whole?
My kids. They demand adaptability from me and a quality to continue to grow and improve myself. Not remain stagnant in any part of my life. They change so fast you have to move with them and that keeps me growing.
What are some challenges that you have been through within your your job as a Creative Director?
I don’t know if they are challenges as much as opportunities to focus energy. Getting to know your team's strengths and weaknesses and pushing them to break new ground for themselves while still kicking ass at the things they are all amazing at and then moving quickly to pivot and navigate deadlines and quick turnarounds. It can be challenging to push forward hard and make great work, focusing on that together keeps things greased and moving fast.
Is there something that no one knows about you?
I dunno, I skate goofy foot.