(Your first site)... It was a hyper text "choose your own adventure" style story staring a taxidermied woodchuck named Ned. I hope it's not still online.
Please give us a brief bio of yourself.
I was born in 1979 in San Diego Ca. I bounced around a little before ending up in the land of casinos - Ledyard Connecticut.
At thirteen I got hooked on comic books. I set up a little studio in my room and drew every day after I came home from class.
I created an over-muscled super hero pair called "Fire" and "Ice", can you guess their powers? I put together a sample and sent it off to Marvel. They were not interested, but the submission editor sent back a very nice letter. So I kept drawing.
While my figure work left a lot to be desired, my landscape drawings were decent enough to get me into RISD
I majored in Illustration since it allowed me the greatest freedom to take classes in other departments.
RISD had a handful of interactive design classes at the time, so I took what I could and was hooked on the way different mediums could be folded into one package.
I went to a portfolio day Senior year, I created a CD ROM of my work with Flash and tried to meet
I graduated just as the Dot com crash was gathering momentum and couldn't find immediate work. So I re-branded myself, put together a package of work and sent it off to the companies I met with before and got a call from Firstborn.
Firstborn was a terrific environment to learn in. I couldn't have hoped for a better mentor than Vas Sloutchevsky. As time went on I started designing larger and larger projects for clients like; MOMA, Fila, Bacardi, NBC Universal, USA Networks, Ralph Lauren Fragrances and others.
In 2005 I joined Freedom Interactive Design as an Art Director.
What do you do for inspiration?
Design inspiration comes in fits and starts, so I always keep a sketchbook on me. I go through a lot of sketches in the initial phase of any design project. Sometimes there's an idea that doesn't work for the current project, but might work in a future one.
Please list 3 of your favourite sites.
Simple. Clever. Great examples of creative problem solving.
The best illustration portal out there, new stuff every day.
I love Flickr, millions of different ways to see the world and a community for every niche. There are some discussions going on. Feels like being back in school.
What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?
I like to feel that I'm always working towards the next big thing.
What software couldn't you live without?
I certainly couldn't work without Photoshop, Illustrator, In Design and Flash. It would be hard to live without my D200 and ipod.
What projects do you have in the pipeline?
Freedom has a bunch of things in shop right now. I've been spending most of my time on a casino website.
Who do you rate as being the top 3 design companies?
Group 94 has consistently well thought out clever navigation.
R/GA great design, consistently.
Big Spaceship pushing the edge of broadband.
Who is your target audience?
It's relative to the project, each audience has their own needs. I've found that the most successful sites communicate their client's message in a unique and interesting way.
What area of web design lacks the most?
Thought out concepts executed well. I had an Illustration professor that used to ask, "Are you doing this because it looks cool or because it makes sense?"
What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?
It was a hyper text "choose your own adventure" style story staring a taxidermied woodchuck named Ned. I hope it's not still online.
Have you written any books, if not do you plan to?
I'm working on a graphic novel, hopefully I'll have it finished someday.
What was the toughest thing you ever did with Flash? How long did you spend on it? Is it still online?
The toughest, and last thing I did in Flash was a site for a multi-million dollar hedge fund. My condolences go out to the developer that has to update it.
Do you think Flash is here to stay?
I would like to think so, but It's hard to know with how fast the online medium is growing.
What are your views on design/graphic school. Do you think someone can get into the field without educational experience in a school environment?
Design school is there to give you a solid foundation in materials, methods and problem solving.
It also makes it easier to get your first job, but I think your real success or failure as a designer depends on how much you learn and grow on the job.
I think it may have been easier in the past, when everyone was new to interactive design and very few schools taught it. Having said that though, if you're talented and passionate about what you do, there will be a way in.
When your company was just getting started, what did you find was most effective for getting new clients?
Solid work is the best foundation to build upon.
How have you learned so many Flash/design skills and techniques and can you offer any advice for newbies?
Ask questions. Keep a sketchbook.
What is the most expensive thing you've bought in the last week?
Usually it's books, but last week it was a pre-order for the Onyx DS Lite.
What type of overcoat do you wear when Flashing, basically are you a labels man?
Ringer-T, Jeans and shoes I can walk comfortably for miles in. I'm not a fan of labels.
Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?
Look for inspiration everywhere.
It's been a privilege, thanks very much.
Thank you, it was my pleasure.