I am a resident of Tampa Bay and a native Floridian (yes, they exist!) I share my home with my mom, and a menagerie of small pets who are convinced (and also utterly wrong) that they are large and intimidating. Our tiny zoo consists of a Maltese, a lutino cockatiel and a canary.
I have always had an interest in art, design and communication. I find the process of graphic design to be incredibly engaging and satisfying.
I first attended The University of Tampa and majored in Mass Communication. UT is a scenic school with wonderful grounds. In addition, there are small classes and the teachers really build individual relationships with the students. While I was there, I spent lots of time not only editing film and video, but sinking lots of time in the school's radio station, WUTZ. I was involved in the radio station for my entire stay there and spent a year as the music director. In addition to Mass Communication classes, I also really became attached to image editing and photo manipulation.
My interest in Japanese Animation really flourished during my time at UT and I established the Japanese Animation Club. An organization that I am happy to say is still active on campus. While other college kids were out drinking or partying, it was highly likely that I was in the Mass Comm. building or in my dorm shooting, editing, recording, writing or designing something.
After UT, I spent some time working as a Technical Writer. This was an important experience because in addition to tech. writing, it taught me to have no fear with new software. All software has similarities, no matter what the ultimate purpose it was programmed for. Thus, it's all accessible if you just spend enough time with it. I also spent time in retail, something I think everyone should do. It's good to see business from both sides of the register.
I love learning and came back to school at St. Petersburg College. There, I studied Graphic Design. I learned an incredible amount of information and learned how to focus my eye for design. I strengthened my knowledge and use of graphic design software. I was shown how to display work in a group and accept and appreciate criticism. I was extended an invitation to Phi Theta Kappa (the International Honor Society of the Two Year College) which I accepted and joined.While at SPC, I had two of my computer illustrations displayed on campus at the Crossroads Gallery. Approximately 100 pieces were entered to be displayed at a student show and 50 were chosen. In addition to being displayed at the gallery, the school purchased one of my pieces and displayed it in the administration building.
Some of the more traditional artists that I am specifically drawn to are Alphonse Mucha, and Georgia O'Keefe. It may be passe, but I love Art Nouveau style. The thick, black outline likely added to my love of comic book style art. More modern artists and Illustrators I admire are Yoshitaka Amano (character designer for the Final Fantasy game series) Terry Dodson (Illustrator and comic book artist), & Steven Sanchez (illustrator & comic book artist). Japanese manga (comic book) creators on the top of my list are Mine Yoshizaki (Sgt Frog), Ai Yazawa (Paradise Kiss, Nana) and Rumkio Takahashi (Ranma 1/2, Inu Yasha).
I think that good typography is incredibly important to good design and should never be an afterthought. Additionally, I think that Comic Sans, while still useful in a few (very few) cases - is a horrible font and that the world would be just fine if it ceased to exist.
I love stopping to look at the design and labels of things. Seeing good and/or clever design can be a real joy. That being said, I am sure it's a pain to walk around in the grocery store with me sometimes. "Is this font really necessary on this pizza box?" and "I love this gum's packaging." probably gets old fast.
I believe that criticism should always be constructive. There is always room for growth and improvement, but tearing someones work down just to do so is a waste of time and energy. Moving forward in a positive, constructive manner is the only way to proceed.
I have abandoned my operating system preferences and work with both PC and Mac platforms.
On a personal level, some of the things I enjoy outside of design are reading fiction novels, & comic books. I have giant a giant mass of comic book trivia in my head, I'm sure it will come in handy some day. I also watch anime (Japanese animation), read manga (Japanese comic books) and play copious amounts of video games. Guitar Hero, Street Fighter, Tetris, - I enjoy them all. My gaming tastes are quite varied. I am the vice president of a local anime club and participate in various club activities from regular meetings to representing the club at yearly anime conventions.