... I really owe my creative career to my loving parents and sister. Back when I was in high school, I was not fortunate enough to go to a school where art was looked at very seriously. It was considered more of a blow off than anything else really. So during my junior year, when my parents asked me where and what I wanted to study in college, I really didn’t have an answer. I was always interested in drawing and photography, but never considered it for college, mainly because of how it felt in high school. Then my sister asked, “Why don’t you go to school for art?”. I just had this confused look on my face and thought “I can do that?”. With their support, it all began.
Next thing I knew, my parents and I started visiting campuses and reviewing course curriculum at art schools. What once seemed like a crazy dream, become reality. In the fall of 1991 I entered Northern Illinois University studying for a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. In 1993, I was accepted into the School of Art and went on to graduate in 1995 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, with an emphasis in Illustration. The experiences I gained in those short 4 years are ones I will never forget, and still reflect on today.
After graduation, while looking for steady work, I worked part-time in the Freeman Decorating Company’s graphics department. There I worked in screen printing and a lot with vinyl graphics. In 1997, I entered the work force at a medium size, not-for-profit auto collision repair training company called I-CAR. I was there for about 2-1/2 years where I served as graphic designer in their Marketing Department. I was responsible for the design and layout of the Courses and Services Catalog, quarterly newsletters, marketing brochures, direct mail and advertisements for trade publications.
In 1999 I left I-CAR and joined Integrated Merchandising Systems (IMS) design division, Schwarz Worldwide. There I worked with a team of designers developing POS signing for retail environments. Projects aimed to create a feel for a season, holiday or sale. Clients included Sears, McDonald’s, Follett Bookstores, AutoNation USA and National Tire & Battery. Unfortunately, after only about 1 year of me being there, the main client Sears, decided to bring their creative we were doing for them in-house, so the office was going to close.
In late 2000, Sears Roebuck Company asked that I come over and join their in-house design team. I spent the next 10 years with them. In those years I started out as a Designer, moved up to Designer/Traffic Manager, then became a Graphic Design Manager and finished off as an Art Director. Here I served as key member of the in-house staff responsible for the development of all in-store navigational, promotional and seasonal POS/POP. My main focus was hardline categories for Kmart and Sears. I organized photoshoots and directed photographers and stylists on brand position. I also had to manage external design resources and reviewed daily work of design team to ensure consistency through all creative work.
I left Sears in 2010 and tried the freelance thing. It was OK and I gave it a go for a while, but I must admit, I don’t think freelancing is for me. I prefer to be on a team vs. being out on my own. During this time I temped as a Packaging Art Director for Enesco Corporation in Itasca, IL. There I developed packaging concepts for private label brands. I also worked with Product Development to create style guides and the Procurement Team to source concepts.
Then in October 2011, I joined The AdArt Company as the Creative Director of Marketing & Visual. They are a large format printer headquartered in Los Angeles, CA. My office was in Elgin, IL where we were responsible for all internal marketing collateral and digital media. I was part of a Creative Committee which researched retailers and market trends. Our office drove business by providing sales reps with creative concepts as a tool to attract current and perspective clients. We also provided creative services to clients, such as branding, packaging, print collateral, POS/POP displays, web development, info graphics and photo direction.
In the fall of 2015 I was let go from The AdArt Company due to cut backs. Then in January of 2016 I started contracting as a designer for Ulta Beauty in Bolingbrook, IL, where I currently still work. There I partner with an very talented team of people producing/managing in-store graphics that is brand submitted, along with internal graphic development.
I’m lucky to share my life and be married to the most amazing woman. We’ve been married since January 2000 and I wouldn’t trade one day of it. She loves to cook (and is awesome at it). She has given me 3 beautiful children and keeps a loving home like no other. She is supportive and makes me a better man having her in my life. Between school, baseball, cheer, gymnastics, Tae-Kwon-Doe, late dinners and 2 dogs - she runs a tight ship and I don’t know what I’d do without her.
Besides having a passion for all things creative, I love golf and hockey. Baseball and football are cool too, but not much of a basketball fan (except playoffs). I’m a fall/winter person and prefer comedies over horrors. Chocolate over vanilla. Coke over Pepsi. Hard shell over soft. Blue is probably my favorite color, but really prefer black/white/gray. I pretty much like all genres of music. Sinatra and Snoop are a must for me. I’m laid back, easy to get along with and ready to work. If you’ve made it this far, thanks for caring. Drop me a line, I’d love to hear from you.