I am a classically trained art director and designer having attended Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. But my artistic side goes deeper than the Art Center experience because I also come from a family of working artists, so the “creative thing” is in my DNA.
My parents met at J. Walter Thompson in Detroit. My Mom went on to write 27 cookbooks and appeared on Phil Donahue's show twice before she retired. Both my aunts are working fine artists who've taught, shown and have been collected nationally and internationally for decades. One uncle is a highly respected sculptor and another opened a Southern California animation studio where he created Elsie the Cow for the Borden Dairy Company before his studio was acquired by Hanna Barbera. So growing up, I got brushes, paint and canvas every Christmas and birthday. I won my first art competition in 3rd grade. My first architectural competition as a sophomore in high school and my first college art scholarship as a senior. I won my first Belding Bowl shortly after leaving college and joining Dailey & Associates on the $65 million Honda Motorcycle account. Over the years the awards I've won have covered all types of accounts in all types of advertising industry categories. I've won for Art Direction, for Copywriting and for Design, and then I started winning for my photography of old neon signs.
A business neighbor stopped by my offices in Sacramento to welcome me to the building. She saw my photography and asked if I'd ever shown anywhere. I said not since college. She called a friend of hers who owned the Barton Gallery in the art district of Sacramento and he agreed to see my stuff. Greg liked the work,... well, not enough for a show in his gallery but he also owned the restaurant next door — Michelangelo's Italian Art Restaurant, and he said he'd hang 14 of my photos there for a couple a weeks. He was honest with me and said that the photos were nice but they'd probably only appeal to someone who'd eaten at one of those places as a kid and they might buy one because it was nostalgic.
Sure enough, Greg called me a few days later saying he had a check for me that someone at the restaurant bought one of my photos because he'd eaten at that place with his family as a kid. I thought Shit! is that the only type of person who'll buy my art? A week later Greg said he had another check for me but he needed to ask me a question and could I swing by the gallery. I thought he was going to say he needed me to take the photos out of his restaurant because he'd only sold two. As it turned out a designer was at the restaurant the night before and ended up buying 12 photos - All at once!
Shortly after, my wife and I moved to Phoenix, Arizona and I put my photography on hold for a few years until a close friend, Caroline Oppleman introduced me to the owner of the Arte Media Gallery in Old Town Scottsdale. As it worked out Caroline convinced her boss that I should be part of the Scottsdale openning Art Walk Weekend and represented as new talent at their gallery.
Scottsdale Mayor, Jim Lane and his wife Joanne stopped by the gallery and posed for a photo with my wife Lynn and I. Pretty cool and what a great couple!