ABOUT THE ARTIST:
When I was 4 years old I got a Spider-Man action figure. It completely captured my imagination and I began to draw it. I would come up with all of these adventures for my toys by scribbling on paper or acting them out for my 3 brothers. I loved telling stories and illustrating them so much that it got in the way of school-work. Although my parents and teachers were not initially pleased with this obsession, they recognized that I was being very productive and creative.
I was recommended by a family member to a high school vocational commercial art program that used computers and graphics. Though I didn’t recognize it at the time, this meeting of art and technology opened up many new paths my life could go. Training in a vocation that I could possibly be employed in cemented my desire to be a commercial artist. I wanted to graduate, and I wanted to go to an art school by any means necessary.
I practiced day and night, burning through sketchbooks. I had no idea if what I was doing was going to get me into art school. By some miracle, I ended up at portfolio day at Pratt Institute my senior year in high school. The admission staff really liked my portfolio even though it was rough around the edges and mostly drawings of Spider-Man. They said that it wasn’t the drawings themselves, but the creativity and sheer amount of them that they we're impressed with. A few weeks later, I got Pratt’s letter of acceptance.
I packed my bags, and headed for Brooklyn. I absorbed all I could from Pratt’s creative staff and did my best to keep up with all of the talented peers in my classes. I scored the Dean’s List a few times and eventually secured an internship with Valiant Comics- the 3rd largest comic book publisher in NY after DC and MARVEL. I ended up working for Valiant for 3 years and by the time I graduated Pratt, I already had a foot in the door to the comic book industry. Life couldn't get any better.
At the end of my senior year, Walt Disney Television Animation came to Pratt to scout for upcoming talent. I submitted my work to Disney hoping to get some advice on how to break in to animation. To my surprise, Disney offered me the opportunity to enroll in their talent program.
They really liked my work and said I had an eye for characters. I was really excited but conflicted at the same time. Going to Disney’s program meant moving away from all my connections in NYC, more schooling and more tuition. It was a risk, but I felt I could go my own way and I did.
So there began my career in Television Animation. I did design for an animated Banana Boat Sunscreen commercial, character design for Galoob Micro Machines and various pre-vis storyboards for MTV. Eventually I got hired by Curious Pictures Studios to help the lead designer on a pilot episode for the show Cyberchase. It was an animated kids show that taught math. It got picked up by PBS and has been on for years, and I was one of the artists that worked on the very first pilot episode, I was very lucky.
I kept following the path that comics and animation laid out and I found myself learning more and more about computer software and animating using flash. I had learned that many corporate companies and websites were looking for flash animators and I wanted to try my hand at it. What began as a few animations for a few sites turned into years as working as a flash animator and web designer. I designed for various companies such as Circuit City, Pfizer, Sony, Dean Foods and Nabisco. It was very lucrative.
Though I always had high paying work in design, I began to miss my first love that was drawing and story telling. I began drawing comics and writing scripts in my spare time. I would freelance for the local newspaper doing editorial illustrations. I even wrote a movie script or two. Even though I was making a living designing, it just wasn’t my first love. I had to make a change.
About 7 years ago I began teaching Art and Design at a vocational high school. It has completely changed my life. I now feel like all of the practice and training I endured was being put to a good cause. My students inspire me, and in them I have found a calling. I still take commissions for art and still work on side projects…. and in the late hours of the night, I dream of projects still to come.