I was born and raised in Upstate New York and now live in the middle of Iowa in an awesome place called Grinnell with my wife and cat. I started a design company about eight years ago called Bells Design, and I'm still paying the bills designing identities and websites for clients all around the world. I picked the company name because I've worn 50 bells around my ankles every day for about 14 years. It’s amazing how many strangers approach me and ask about the bells. On a nice day, typically 10 to 15 people will start a conversation with me after hearing the jingling. These conversations have led to friendships, unique collaborations, and smiling faces.
I'm always working on some type of art project. I have a creative hunger that I just need to continue to feed. Most of these artistic endeavors I do for free to support my community or a good cause. It's special how art can bring people together and strengthen a community's bond. I make art to share a part of my imagination with the world. Most of my creations are whimsical and are made simply to make people happy. It's hard not to smile when you see a yellow and purple polka-dotted monster truck with goofy eye and a mouth driving down the street :)
I'm a self-proclaimed anti-procrastinator, and I'm always excited and willing to try something new, especially when it comes to making art. The more I do, the more I can do.
Why do you make art?
I've been making art for as long as I can remember. I enjoy creating things that don't regularly exist in the world. It's exciting to see how people respond to my creations and when the feedback is positive I get motivated to make more art. I have lots of ideas and many times these creative pursuits don't always match up with my abilities. The good news is that I'm never deterred by not knowing how to do something. I'm willing to try and fail as many times as I have to until I'm able to turn my idea into art. I love experimenting with new and different mediums. The challenge of working with foreign materials and processes is half the fun.
Are you professionally trained?
No, I'm a self-taught artist, designer, photographer, and coder. Sometimes I think my art projects would be easier if I had some professional training, but it's possible that by not already knowing the proven and tested approach of creating art has allowed me the creative freedom to break the rules and make some truly unique monstrosities.
Who are some of your favorite artists?
One of my all-time favorites is the brilliant Alan Fletcher. His bold, bright and witty work can always get my creative juices flowing. Alan was more than just technically gifted; he was extremely creative, and had a seemingly-natural ability to create truly inspiring work time and time again.
I’m also a lifelong Andy Warhol fan. His work has resonated with me since childhood. I’m drawn to repetition in art, so Andy’s work is like visual crack. It’s big, colorful, simple and fun, I just can’t get enough of it.
Have any advice for aspiring artists?
#1) Try everything you have interest in at least once, and don’t be afraid to quit if you don’t like it. Learning how to quit well will free up time for the things you love, or the new things you want to try. You don’t quit because it’s hard, you quit when there is no benefit to your well-being.
#2) Don’t make art you have no passion or interest in just for the money. Money will come in due time, but before you can be paid well for your work, you need to hone your skills and prove your worth. The only way to become an artistic superstar is by creating with passion, pushing your perceived limits, and by making art that you love.
Can I hire you?
Do bears crap in the woods? I'm available for private commission work and community beautification projects. If the opportunity is for a good cause or extra exciting, I'll likely do it for free. I enjoy experiences more than money. Send me an email or call me at (607) 222-5013 so we can chat.
How do you make money?
I sell some of my artwork, but my primary income comes from my graphic and website design business (Bells Design). I work with amazing companies from around the world that appreciate my outside-the-box approach to business, marketing, and design. It's fun to be able to channel my creative energy to help others be more successful.
Will you mail me a free sticker?
For you? Definitely! All I need is for you to email me your mailing address and I'll drop one of my infamous bunny stickers in the mail for you. Stickers are awesome, but free stickers are right up there with love, sex, gold, and Jello!
How do I join your top secret mailing list?
You can join my mailing list here. This is where I share new project updates, collaboration opportunities, tutorials, top secret creative newsflashes, and sticker giveaways.