The digital (online) renaissance of the late 90s and early 2000s is something many of us veteran creatives hope to witness again given our current "static" state of the web.

Your name, plus your original "web name/handle"
Alfredo Silva

Your first web encounter, year etc.
It was 1995. I was in college and was introduced to chat rooms. 

The moment was something transformative for me. I felt like we had instantly progressed by leaps and bounds as humans- to think we devised how to press a combination of plastic keys on a keyboard, hit return and instantly engage in dialog with someone realtime in the absence of sound blew my mind. 

I was very intrigued but it wasn't enough. My creative being needed inspiration.

At the same time, Pixar's first commercial work started airing on television.  I was mesmerized- so fluid, so different, so good.

It was then that I found my digital calling. It wasn't long until I ended up in one of the few art schools offering courses in 3d modeling and animation. 

I guess the multitude of textbooks from grade school desecrated into animated flipbooks were a sign of things to come.

3d animation and modeling became my obsession... until I hit a wall. 

Half way through the curriculum I learned of a new frontier called multimedia beginning to take shape... and I wanted to be a part of it. 

Witnessing my first flash animation online rekindled old warm feelings from my grade-school flipbook past. Introduced to Macromedia Flash and Director, I had to go all in on Multimedia.

What our readers might recognise you most for, when you first hit the web.
Creative Director/founder of Who's We Studios. 

(FWA: archived version of the SOTM winner Who's We Studios)

During my final year in school I was offered a job as a junior designer with Lycos, an internet company attempting to make a business out of web search and other ventures.  While I was there, Flash became the new shiny object. 

Websites like Egomedia, Gabocorp and Eye4u were all the rage so I became determined to learn it on my own. 

With the demand rising for this capability, I started landing freelance flash gigs on the side.  This led me to meet an individual by the named of Phree Betancourt who would later change my life.  He had ran a small print shop and was looking to expand his offerings with multimedia services.  The timing was right.  So I immediately left my job and partnered with him as CD to build a team from my limited network of animators, a sound designer and AE designers.

We became a fraternity of sorts, working out of enormously conjoined apartments living together trying to figure it all out yet seeking that mutual passion: a life getting paid for what we loved...and nothing else mattered! 

This passion was the catalyst that drove us to endless days and nights working to develop our skills.  18-hour shifts with intermittent Xbox Fifa were part of the lifestyle.  Having a sense and orientation to a clock and calendar just wasn't part of our job descriptions.

To make matters more interesting, my partner ran in celebrity circles of sorts.  His father was a famous performing artist out of Cuba. His Godmother, Celia Cruz, the queen of Salsa music. Plus, he helped manage UFC fighters on the side negotiating fighting contracts for them. 

This odd network mix only made our days more and more surreal.  At one point we had UFC champion (at the time) Pete Williams living with us while he trained at his team's TX dojo and later found ourselves going out with people like Joe Rogan and Ken Shamrock. 

Everything was happening to fast and we felt like creative rock stars.

At one point, before reality TV was even a thing, we had a vision to produce and showcase behind-the-scenes footage of our daily adventures int our own reality TV show.  The inspiration was truly something we were never short of.

During those days, I'm really not sure which substance inspired the 3d metallic orb.  It wasn't until experimenting with texture mapping on a basic 3d sphere, that our company's true identity would emerge.  Many test renders, animatics, and proof of concepts later, we figured out the whole 3d thing. 

Soon after, May 1st reboot, one of the web's first creative social events, would become our platform for launching our new brand.  The launch was a success and the rest was history.

Your digital journey since.

Who's We has since moved to Hawaii.  The fear of island fever dissuaded my interest in moving out far west so we parted ways. 

Since those glory days in Texas, I moved to the East Coast eager to discover a burgeoning creative industry full of new opportunities.

Born to immigrant, lower-mid class Mexican parents and being raised in a small tumbleweed town called Midland, TX (of Friday Night Lights fame), I grew up dreaming of New York culture. It had always appealed to me as the creative mecca of the world.

So I gave New York a go working with several well known shops discovering a new side of the business.  My work at Who's We certainly opened doors for me in NY, but I would soon seek living at a slower pace not too far away, in Philly. 

As we all know, Flash has since then, taken a back seat to other technologies. 

We've all had to evolve in a digital world fragmented by desktop, tablet, set-top box, gaming and mobile channels trying to converge. 

The demand in work is there, but the glory days are certainly a thing of the past. 

The digital (online) renaissance of the late 90s and early 2000s is something many of us veteran creatives hope to witness again given our current "static" state of the web.

What are you up to now.

I'm currently in Philadelphia, PA.

I started a small outfit with my partner and good friend Gabo Mendoza of Gabocorp.com fame. 

It's called Pretty Ugly: PrettyUg.ly  We've kept it small, working on a variety of local and international brands always seeking out new opportunities with emerging technologies.

We don't know where this will take us but we'll certainly be ready for the next advancement that once lit our creative fire. Everything seems to be going "virtual".

A final thank you to the Who's We team that helped make it all happen: Carlos Ruiz, Yun Kim, Micah Massman, Jeremiah Bailey, Danny Rodriguez and the Sang Brothers.
Alfredo Silva, Then and Now
Alfredo Silva, Then and Now

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