Growing up Creative
I grew up in Wisconsin farm country, where small-town life and the bounty of nature drove me indoors. I spent my time on esoteric pastimes such as studying Indian mythology and blood cell science, illustrating graphic novels, and designing oddball games. My parents were in publishing, so I was the rare kid with access to a Mac when most didn’t have computers. I spent my tweens in Sonoma and San Francisco, where creative and business culture made an impression—deepening my interest in art and tech.
Studying design was a natural fit based on my family’s business. I honed my technical skills in a two-year program. Despite a car accident on the way to my portfolio show, I soon landed a plum art director job at American Girl/Mattel. I designed hundreds of books, games, and toys. I was directing illustrators and photo shoots before I could drink. It was incredibly challenging, but it forced me to develop my creative confidence early on.
My next steps weren’t clear; I was in a niche industry in a small city. So I came to Chicago to earn a BFA at the School of the Art Institute. My mind was opened hugely to the possibilities that abound at the intersection of creative technology and human behavior. I entered the world of digital product, and I’ve been hooked ever since.