What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
I peruse the trade journals and look for articles pertaining to my business. Keeping my programs updated tends to help because I maintain a thorough knowledge of the features as they are revised, added, or updated. I also like to check out my competitors work and when I see them doing something I haven't tried, a new technique or what have you, I'll figure out how they did it and somewhere down the line I'll have a use for it.
Usually I come up with the new method before they do though, haha. When you spend as many hours doing this stuff as I do each day you don't miss too much. There's always more to learn though.
How did you get started doing this type of work?
It's the family business. My dad was an art director for several major ad firms for 45 years. My older brother is an accomplished commercial artist. I had a good career as a studio musician but always did art on the side till age 25 when there was a lot more demand for artists than there was for trumpeters. The problem with being a musician is you have to hang out with musicians, haha! Funny thing is when I was 6 thru 12 you couldn't pry me away from my desk where I would spend long hours drawing detailed renderings of everything from architectural elevations to auto partsI did that for fun! It was as though I was just waiting for them to invent the computer. I was a strange kid, I know.
What types of customers have you worked with?
I have a varied clientele, but lately I've been doing a lot of branding, event branding, corporate or small business. Cd cover designs, digipaks. Kiosk graphics and product packaging. illustrations for everything from t-shirts to technical spec drawings. I'd like to do more childrens book illustrations, and I also build things. Miniatures are my strength because I don't have the strength to build big things. A bit of everything. No monuments, nothing gargantuan.
Describe a recent project you are fond of. How long did it take?
I do subcontract work for a candy store in Hollywood and they asked me to do a portrait of Eminem (the recording artist) made out of M&Ms! I ended up building a 4 foot square likeness using almost ten thousand M&Ms in 18 of the available colors. It's a huge attraction for the store and it's on display now at "Sweet!" in the Kodak Center right between Graumann's Chinese Theatre and the Hard Rock Cafe. Recently they shot a segment of the Jimmy Kimmel Show at the store. With two days notice I assembled a 27" by 40" portrait of Kimmel out of Jelly Belly jelly beans. It actually appeared on TV too!
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
Leave your worries behind and let's get to work. Tell me everything I need to know to do your job and know you're in good hands. Don't be afraid to ask me for advice on a concept or approach. Ive been doing this for many years and chances are I can help you in ways you never expected. And I'm happy to do so. I really enjoy my work and love making my clients happy. And they always are. It's one thing to get the job done but when I can provide that extra bit of service that makes them more successful. That's what it's all about for me.
What questions should customers think through before talking to professionals about their project?
They would do well to realize that when you hire an artist like me you don't have to tell him how to approach your job or what steps to take. That is my expertise: knowing the best way to approach the work to get the best results at the best price. If you call a plumber to fix your sink you wouldn't tell him to tear out this wall to get to these pipes and vent that drain etc. etc. You'd let him use his experience, training, skill, and intuition to determine the right course of action. With an artist it is a fine line because we all have a bit of the creative muse in us, and it looks like fun to do what I do. Well it is, but it also takes years of hard work to make it look so easy. I will do a job and the client gets so excited about it that he starts changing it. He's inspired, can you blame him? But a design is a delicate balance of elements and if you move one of those elements, the whole thing changes. They don't realize it's not as easy as it looks. I've had clients go through a whole series of revisions and wind up right back with what I gave them in the first place. And they think it was all them! haha! I never tell 'em. They always figure it out eventually, anyway. But the point is they're learning and having a great time, why spoil their fun? Everybody should have a chance to be an artist at least once in their life.