I’m constantly curious. Inspired by the unknown. Fascinated by the push-and-pull relationship between brands and users. Always asking questions. Who’s the audience? What will they respond to? How can I better connect with them?
Starting in 1993, my career as an art director, designer and creative director has taken me from the deepest parts of the south to the shallowest parts of L.A. I’ve worked with a huge variety of clients, from catfish farms in Mississippi to luxury resorts in Tahiti to multinational electronics conglomerates in Seoul. I’ve won a few awards and partied with a few celebrities. I’ve been a part of huge successes and crushing failures. And I wouldn’t trade a single minute of it. Over the last 20+ years I’ve learned a lot of stuff about a lot of stuff, and I’m grateful for the knowledge gained and the friendships made along the way. At the very least, I’m a good guy to have on your tuesday-night trivia team.
In 2008 I started channeling all that “stuff” in my head into the classroom, first as an adjunct instructor at Texas State University, then as a teaching fellow and MFA candidate at the University of North Texas. In 2014 I accepted a full-time position as Assistant Professor of Practice and Director of FourDesign, a student-run design studio at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA. My academic research has explored things like signs and semiotics, user-centered design, participatory design, design thinking and design for public health. I’ve presented at conferences and universities in the U.S., Italy, Croatia and Iran, and published a book chapter in Signs and Symbols in Workplace and Public. My students have won local, regional and national Addys, Best-of-Shows and Special Judges’ Awards at the National Student Show in Dallas, and have had work from my classes published in Luerzer’s Archive and Graphis.
After 10 years of teaching and five years at Virginia Tech, I feel like I’m starting to figure out a little bit of what it takes to be an effective teacher. Turns out it’s a lot of what I mentioned at the top of this page. And in a nutshell, being willing to learn is a big part of it. Which I’m perfectly happy to do.