BIRTH OF A BRAND / Part II

Emilio Pucci, Paul Smith, and Ed Hardy walk into a Bar. J. Peterman is rambling with abandon behind the counter...

I know, I know—it sounds like a really bad joke...about a bunch of old white guys.

And yet, there's more than a grain of undeniable truth there. In the world of apparel (an innocuous term compared to 'fashion' or, dare I say 'couture'), these individuals (dare I say 'brands'?) are uniquely appreciated for their use of color, composition, and, simply put: celebration. They are the grown-up equivalents to the beloved Garanimals of my youth and their catalogs bring me genuine joy. Unfortunately, I have never been able to afford such luxuries. Perhaps I'm just too cheap--who's to say?

On more than one occasion during my tenure as an art school student, I tip-toed around the possibility of changing my major to: painting, apparel, and film & video—in that order. My parents were solidly smack-in-the-middle-middle-class and I knew my fancy education was costing them a fortune, so I always opted to stick it out as an architecture major.

Prior to attending art school I never took an art class. However, as a kid my dad frequently took me to work on the weekends at a printing factory. I would eventually learn to how to work just about every machine in the place, but as a kid, my favorite place to hang-out was the 'prep dept.' where I discovered x-acto blades and spray-mount. I had never heard of the word 'collage' but it remains my favorite activity to this very day.

On more than one occasion during my 30-year tenure as an architect, I tip-toed around the possibility of changing my career. However, as an adult, I did my best to re-invent myself within my profession, shifting from high-end residential projects to commercial / institutional projects, and finally, to urban planning and landscape design projects. While I always enjoyed exceptional peers and clients, the work was never exceptionally fulfilling and, often enough could be downright unfulfilling—especially the (NYC) hours.

Throughout the years I never stopped pursuing art—in a covert, after-hours way mind-you. NYC living made painting an impossibility and living with another kind of put the kibosh on adhesives, so I retreated to my computer and fell in love with Photoshop and the many other apps that would eventually become Adobe's Creative Suite. Over time I also discovered the world of print-on-demand and started making my own gifts around holidays and special occasions—again, I'm just too cheap! As the quality of these services improved (dramatically) people really started to take notice of their gifts. "You should really sell these!" was a common refrain.

During my thirties I became an enthusiastic practitioner of Zen which I channeled through Tai Chi, rather than sitting on a cushion for hours. My practice eventually morphed into a form of walking meditation that would frequently involve my camera. 99% of my collage work utilizes my own photography. Often times people won't even recognize the presence of a photographic original in a work, assuming the entirety of the composition has been designed. Of course, upon closer inspection the element of surprise kicks-in, hopefully followed by delight.

Last year, after abandoning a professional partnership opportunity that had prompted me to move my life to DC—no small  measure after living in NYC for 25+ years—I decided upon a major re-boot. This time I wouldn't play it safe. This time I would find a way to put my creative passions up front while utilizing the arsenal of skills amassed as a veteran design professional. This time I would be open to anything...

So, on the first Monday of January 2018, I asked myself: what do I feel like doing?

My answer: I've always wanted to design skateboards!

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