I think I first wanted a website my senior year of high school.
I would skip spanish II to update my Livejournal from the school library. At the time it was incredibly important to have a super styled-out blog, so I started “learning” (what are now deprecated) HTML elements and (barely acceptable) CSS. I had no concept of the internet, and I’m pretty sure the first time I got an “a href” working I called my mom downstairs to the family office to see.
I guess I couldn’t of known someday in the future I would look back in embarrassment, but I guess we all have to start somewhere. I guess that is what this post is about; starting.
I started designing in 2005. I mean, I guess if I could call chopping up “Wingdings” font in a pirated version of Photoshop 7 “designing.” My first shirt design featured a narwhal busting open a hot air balloon while snowflakes fell to the right. I would wager my next paycheck that it was in 72 dpi, and that I used the paint bucket, but somehow they got printed.
Over the next two years or so I learned silkscreen printing from a friend who was the first person to call me “his” designer. I remember the first design I sold to a local band around denver, and learning that the quickest way to sell out of merch is to print yellow on sapphire Gildan shirts. (Of The Wolves broke up eventually, but I still have the shirt in my closet.)
Some time went by, and as I got comfortable in Photoshop, I felt like I had really started. I was 20 or so and my computer was a old school Alienware tower (that doubled as a end table and keyboard stand) set up in a friends apartment. I figure at that point I hadn’t really had the time or means to learn the differences between raster & vector graphics. I then met Brandon Proff, who would change my entire world by introducing me to a little program called Illustrator.
I remember being in awe the first time I watched Brandon work with vectors. I think I asked him something like “Is that the new Photoshop?” because I didn’t recognize any of the tools and I wanted to seem cool. He laughed and proceeded to give me a short crash course on vectors and the beauty of scalability. Shortly after he sold me his old G4 Powerbook. As I tried my hand at the mountainous learning curve of Illustrator, I again felt like I was finally starting to learn something important. (Thanks again Brandon, I will always credit you with an enormous amount of my growth)
Not long after that, I met up with my now-great-friend Noah Cremisino, who took me under his wing at Lab Se7en, a screen printing press in Denver. I was finally blessed to learn screen printing the right way, and after about six months of overusing my fair share of splatter vector packs, Lab Se7en took me on full time. Noah eventually left Colorado for the entirely more beautiful New Zealand, and I became Art Director at Lab Se7en. (I miss you Noah, come back and see us sometime!)
In looking back I’ve learned that to be an effective designer I have to forget the idea that I have “arrived,” and grow comfortable with “just starting.” The launch of this site is no different; I’m sure in time I will grow tired of every feature I am currently excited about, but for now, I am happy to have the opportunity to start.
Truthfully, writing this is another reminder that while launching this little website is a way for me to represent my work, I have an enormous amount of people to thank for helping me along the way to “starting.”
Thank you, reader of this post, for joining me for my Launch/Lunch party.