This is my story. Screw formats and objectives, these are my hopes and my dreams, my life.
A very long time ago, when I was all innocence and dreams, I fell head over heels in love with the world of art. To the best of my recollection my love affair started with the wonderful Marvel empire. Spiderman, Daredevil and Captain America were my introduction to the expansive and ever evolving universe of art. As I grew my tastes and appreciations grew along, maturing and expanding to include remarkable artists like Frank Frazetta, John Singer Sargent and J.C. Leyendecker. My favorite, at least back then, was Frank Frazetta. His beautifully painted characters and their dark, mysterious worlds laid the groundwork for my desire to become an artist.
As passionate as I was for the tactile beauty of painting and illustration, I was equally in love with the storytelling and the dark, inviting experience of the movies. Films like Jaws, Animal House and Star Wars were breaking box office records and blowing my mind, expanding my world and artistic views. Because of this dueling love affair, I was truly conflicted as to which art form would become my career. Many factors, most importantly my financial reality, drove me toward the American Academy of Art in 1982. Three years later equipped with a “look out world here I come” attitude, a rather average portfolio and a totally bitchin’ Associates Degree, I was on my path to fame and fortune.
Well, not so much. Things did not work out the way I envisioned them, not even close. Good jobs were very rare for a student right out of art school. The best job I found was doing extra work for movies like “About Last Night”, “The Color of Money” and an ongoing stint on the forgettable TV series “Lady Blue”. Since I wasn’t getting the comic book or movie poster jobs that I desired, I jumped on the opportunity in 1987 when the call came in to do marker comps at McCann HealthCare, a medical advertising agency in downtown Chicago. Having never done a marker comp I quickly produced a few samples for my interview the next day. With my hastily composed samples in tow I entered the advertising stratosphere. I had absolutely no idea what to expect and was so pleasantly surprised by the people and the money that I stayed until 1997. Working freelance in advertising introduced me to some wonderful people, paid my bills and allowed me to pursue the illustration work that I had wanted all along.
With my bills covered I was able to concentrate on honing my skills as an illustrator. As I improved, I picked up a few substantial jobs from real clients. At first it was low paying editorial stuff for clients like the Chicago Tribune and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and a pretty regular gig with Crain’s Chicago Business. Shortly after that I got my foot in the door of the comic world that first inspired me to draw. I was fortunate to do some really fun stuff for Wizards of the Coast and White Wolf Publishing. I even did a few pages in a Spiderman book. While not as much fun as comics, my most lucrative job was doing the artwork for three new packs of Camel cigarettes.
Somewhere in the mid to late nineties McCann became Torre Lazur. The company was no longer the energetic, creative environment that it once was. The fun people were long gone and I too, was finally on my way. The year, 1997, was spent looking for a new home, finding work sporadically at Hamilton Communication Group and Corbett HealthConnect.
By 1998 I had found my new home away from home at Abelson Taylor, another medical advertising agency. Many of the people I worked with at McCann had found new homes there. It was great place to be at the time, work was plentiful and consistent and like before the people were great. It was also around this time that my passion for film reemerged and I started my first screenplay.
While learning the art of screenwriting, I discovered a passion within me more fulfilling than I had ever experienced in the past with illustration. I realized that I loved telling stories. So I put away my brushes and paint and started writing full time. I continued doing advertising work to pay the bills but my real passion was now concentrated solely on expressing myself through my writing. Two screenplays followed and then a book.
During this new creative period of mine, Abelson doubled in size and success. Policies changed and I was advised that I should go full-time if I wished to continue working there. I had just gotten married, my first child was on the way, so I leapt at the chance. It was at this point that I began my digital education, learning Photoshop, Illustrator and AfterEffects, skills that I am thrilled to have today.
The next eight years were spent raising three beautiful children and learning the skills necessary to become a good writer. Based on some excellent advice I recently created a blog to keep working at my craft.
Last month AbelsonTaylor eliminated the illustration department, effectively dismissing me. It was time to move on once again
I am currently seeking a career in writing but would love some advertising work to pay the bills until that magical day should arrive. And that’s where you enter the story. I can draw, paint, marker, work in Photoshop and Illustrator and do a little bit of AfterEffects
I also wrote the story for the 2013 Chicago 48HR Film Project that won best picture in Chicago. I’m currently writing my third screenplay, American Revolution, having just finished my book, Why Men Cheat.
I’m also a Libra, I love animals and work very well with every kind of personality you can throw at me. I’ve been told I’m extremely charming and very modest at the same time, not an easy feat. I have recommendations out the wazoo upon request. I look forward to all new experiences and adventures.