Heavy music always inspires me. It would probably frighten some clients to know that I have designed their sites fueled by late nights, caffeine, and Marilyn Manson.

Please give us a brief bio of yourself.

I am Jason Kirtley. I was born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1974 and shortly moved to Kentucky where I was raised and have lived all my life. I was introduced to computers early on in my life thanks to my dad always being interested in technology.

I was around 8 years old when I first started using computers. It was a commodore Vic-20. My online home is known as arteye. I started in the early 90s doing multimedia CD-ROMS and when the web came along, a whole new world opened up for me.

What do you do for inspiration?

I generally never look directly for inspiration, it finds me when I least expect it. Inspiration is random. Usually inspiration strikes when exploring things unrelated to the subject I am working on.

Inspiration can work in funny ways. Sometimes getting away from the computer and doing something else can be inspiring. Some of the most inspiring things for setting up interfaces are things I remember from my childhood such as simple toys.

Heavy music always inspires me. It would probably frighten some clients to know that I have designed their sites fueled by late nights, caffeine, and Marilyn Manson.

Please list 3 of your favourite sites.

Shop Composition - One of the cleanest and boldest designs ever done for online shopping, which makes it a joy for browsing every product.

Ultrashock - If I am ever in a jam for a technical issue dealing with flash, I go to Ultrashock. If it can not be answered from the flash savvy Ultrashock crew, then it simply can't be answered!

FWA - For the obvious reason that the best quality sites around are listed daily and over the last year it has expanded in so many great areas such as showing top end advertising ideas and providing an ever growing list of great features.

What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?

Being able to work everyday doing something I love to do.

What software couldn't you live without?

To me software is just the tools that ideas drive. Software is just the means to an end, born from a well executed idea. Photoshop and iTunes are strong contenders in my arsenal of tools.

What projects do you have in the pipeline?

Well I just finished launching a brand new version of my portfolio site which had been dormant for around 3 and a half years.

This was a pretty major accomplishment for me because client work always comes first and finding time for self marketing is almost non existent!

I am working on some cool new educational projects that are very rewarding to work on. I have some upcoming projects as well that should make 2007 a busy and interesting year.

Who do you rate as being the top 3 design companies?

It is a tall order to name just 3 because there is so much top notch work being produced, but the 3 that quickly come to mind are:

2advanced - Those guys have proven themselves over time and have moved past being associated with only "techno" style design that they where so heavily pigeonholed with in the early part of 2000. They produce intelligent and beautiful work.

Big Spaceship - I understand that it is tough work to do sites for movies because of extremely insane deadlines and sometimes unavailability of immediate materials to produce the work, but these guys deliver every single time.

Group94 - They do such great work. Every site they produce is a masterpiece of technology and aesthetics.

What effect on traffic do your new designs have?

I think it all depends on the interest of the site and how it is being marketed. I have seen the anticipation of a new site launch double or triple traffic.

Who is your target audience?

I think the target audience for every site is always going to be ever changing. I've worked on all types of sites from manufactures that sell guitars that cater to the heavy metal music types, to a company that sells baby products.

I think when ever relationship with a project is developed that it is just as important to get inside the head of the type of visitor that is going to be coming to the site as it is to know the product or service that you are helping to market.

What area of web design lacks the most?

I think web design is evolving more and more all the time. The idea behind how you promote the product you are doing the site for is the most important. If the idea of execution is lacking, your design will be lacking.

What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?

Oh wow. My first site hit online around 1995 and I can promise you it used lots of bevels and gaudy goodness. It's not online anymore but I bet it would be a real kick to see it again.

Have you written any books, if not do you plan to?

I've never written a book but the idea sounds interesting and challenging. I had a client project featured one time as a chapter case study in a book called "Redesign websites" and it was about how projects are approached when redesigning to take them to the next level.

What was the toughest thing you ever did with Flash? How long did you spend on it? Is it still online?

To me I see and approach flash as it being a problem solving tool. For every project I have worked on there are always new challenges to embrace and learning curves that arise.

There is a ton of different ways you can do one thing in flash and you have to plan ahead and figure out the best way to tame the dragon.

Do you think Flash is here to stay?

Oh absolutely. With every release of flash it opens more doors with its capability. With the continuing adoption of flash to new mobile devices such as PDA's and cellphones, I don't see an end in sight.

The sky is the limit for what will happen next with flash and I think the path that has led up till now has shown that.

What are your views on design/graphic school. Do you think someone can get into the field without educational experience in a school environment?

I am living proof that you don't need a degree to do what you love. I am 100% self taught with no formal educational background other than the art classes I took in high school.

If you have the design chops, the desire to always take your work to the next level, and the portfolio to back yourself - no degree is ever going to outshine your real world experience.

When your company was just getting started, what did you find was most effective for getting new clients?

I think in any case of getting new clients, the most effective thing is to learn their product or service inside and out and help them know that you understand them inside and out.

Nothing is more frustrating to a client than them having to constantly explain again and again their business and 0bjectives.

How have you learned so many Flash/design skills and techniques and can you offer any advice for newbies?

I believe it is important to learn the basics for how flash functions but to really get under the hood and see how it ticks is to do a full project.

Even if it is a site for your cousin Jed, the best learning experience is to do a real world project. You can sit around and go through doing tutorials all day long but you won't learn how to apply them unless you put them in motion and push yourself to figure out the best solutions.

What is the most expensive thing you've bought in the last week?

It would probably be filling my gas tank up in my car. I am not a big spender.

What type of overcoat do you wear when Flashing, basically are you a labels man?

Brand named clothing mean nothing to me. I wear jeans and a t-shirt everyday.

Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?

Never let anyone tell you something can't be done.

It's been a privilege, thanks very much.

The pleasure is all mine! Thanks so much for the opportunity.

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