For me, it all began in fifth-grade, where, as a student at Francis W. Parker School in Chicago, I would sketch intricately complex geometric doodles while my teacher read aloud to the class. With only a pencil, a sheet of paper, and a ruler, I discovered that I could draw richly detailed sketches that created the illusion of three dimensions on a flat surface. Before long, I had an easel in the basement and a collection of professional airbrushing tools and had begun honing my craft on canvases and apparel.
On the occasion of my eighth-grade graduation, I received a Nikon D5100, which immediately became the object of my obsession. Soon, I began holding “photoshoots” for my friends and family. I enjoyed being behind the camera and experimenting with aperture, light, and shadow and manipulating the images in Photoshop. In a short time, I developed a working facility with Adobe and spent hours tinkering with different effects as I explored the world of possibilities made available in the age of digital photography.
Just as my passion for the visual arts began to mature, I began to appreciate the world of music. The change was by no means gradual. I started with only a rudimentary knowledge of music, but within weeks became almost completely conversant in musical language. I devoured everything from Louis Armstrong’s 1928 recording of “West End Blues” to J Dilla’s 2006 recording of “Donuts.” Seated at the throne of a used Roland electronic drum kit, I devoted countless hours trying to replicate the complex patterns and sounds associated with virtually all forms of western music. Without the benefit of lessons, I taught myself how to play rudimentary piano and developed the ability to comp along to a growing repertoire of American standards.
But my interest in the visual arts never waned, and at the age of 16 I began working with a professional photographer who graciously offered me a gig as a studio assistant where I set up cameras, softboxes, and speedlites and refined my knowledge of photography. This included, but was not limited to: editing, workflow, printing and framing, working with models, and better understanding composition. Typically, aspiring artists learn the basic skills in the classroom and apply that knowledge in the real world. In my case, I learned my skills in the real world and dispensed my knowledge in the classroom. As an upperclassman, I would rehearse with the school jazz band, then hurry home to grab my cameras and lenses and shoot live music around Chicago.
At the University of Wisconsin, nothing much changed. I spent the better part of my first two years rehearsing as a percussionist with the wind ensemble or concert band before returning home to gather my equipment and race back out to capture the scene in Madison. I attended the weekly jazz master classes and jam sessions, but, because I lacked sufficient confidence in my ability to “hang,” I respectfully declined invitations to sit in. Instead, I would express my musical inspiration through pencil and paper. During my junior year, I was pursuing a program in fine arts in Florence, Italy, at the Santa Reparata International School of Art, immersing myself in photography, Renaissance art, and graphic design, before the COVID-19 pandemic abruptly interneved.
During my time abroad, I began creating content for emerging musicians with whom I'd established connections throughout the years. Late in the evenings, while my housemates were sleeping, I could be found in my room designing posters and album covers for my clients back home.
Having solidified my photography skills, forged a unique style of graphic design, and connected with many of the world’s greatest artists and musicians, I am now offering my talents to anyone seeking a dedicated and creative artist and imaginative thinker who can produce album art, design posters, shoot photographs, create, maintain, and administer websites, assist with branding, or generate other promotional items and merchandise.
Although I’ve been profoundly influenced by a diverse range of artists from Kandinsky to Basquiat, I especially admire the classic designs of Blue Note album art conceived by Francis Wolff and Reid Miles, whose lethal combination of photography and graphic design gave us the greatest record covers the world has known. This dynamic duo produced eternally hip album art compelling for the simplicity of its design, its juxtaposition of color, and its ability to capture the essence of the sounds on the vinyl. The photographs were perfect. Whether they be close ups of the musicians in action (Art Blakey, “The Big Beat”), or ordinary objects (Eric Dolphy, “Out To Lunch” or Sonny Clark “Cool Struttin’”), they always possessed a certain appeal.
Feel free to browse my expansive portfolio and find out how I can help you with your creative needs.