My life, since childhood, has been all about the act of creation. Art, design, engineering and animation have been my passions for many, many years.
But it is not just the creation of “things” that interests me, but rather the creation of our best selves.
Understanding why and how we create, and solving complex problems is important for not only understanding and bettering our world, but it is key in understanding ourselves. I want to share this with my family- with my kids, and also, with you.
“Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up.” - Pablo Picasso
I was raised in the heart of Silicon Valley during a computer revolution that changed the world. My father was an engineer for one of the largest defense contractors in the world. He was also an inventor, holding over 30 patents to his name.
I would help him build his prototypes in the family garage and of course, tinker with my own inventions. This was my early exposure into the world of creation.
But my father was so much more than an engineer. He was also an illustrator, a painter and an accomplished photographer. The synergies of art and engineering were clear to me, even at a young age. Rather than being separate disciplines, they were inextricably linked.
As the youngest of 3 kids and a typical “latch key kid” of the 80’s, I was largely left to my own devices. My intense loneliness was quelled by creation. I would build things, draw comics, make cartoon flip books with stick figure animations, and even made flick action switchblades out of popsicle sticks, elmers glue and rubber bands (don't try this at home!).
“You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club.” - Jack London
In 1993, my world changed forever. I saw “Jurassic Park”, and found a passion in computer animation. After attending the Academy of Art University, I began working in animation. First in video games, for companies like Capcom, and later for VFX companies like ILM, Digital Domain and Weta, working on huge Hollywood blockbusters.
As a kid I always enjoyed movies like Blade Runner, Terminator, Alien, and of course, Star Wars. Now I had the opportunity to work on movies just like these, with some of my favourite directors.
I worked in VFX for 18 amazing years, winning a VES award, awards for several short films and being featured on CBS, io9, Gizmodo, Buzzfeed, Huffington Post and more.
All of this culminated with me working on James Cameron’s film, “Avatar” as well as with Peter Jackson on “King Kong”, “The Hobbit”, and Steven Spielberg on “The Adventures of Tintin”.
It was an awesome experience and I truly cherished it, but something was calling me. I had an itch I could not scratch. As amazing as these films were to work on, the work was becoming stifling. I began to miss the act of creation I had experienced as a child those many years ago.
Eventually, after working overtime for many months, hardly seeing my family, and missing that pure act of creation, I fell into a deep depression. The idyllic dream life of a career in VFX had turned into a nightmare I could not wake up from. I realized it wasn't the hours, the work, the people, or the industry itself. It was deeper than that.
From the depths of my depression, I thought back to another time where I had found peace and inspiration. Walking along the Napali Coast of Kauai, in Hawaii, spearfishing, surfing, bow hunting, and unplugging from “the grid”, I had never felt so alive. I lived off the land. I reconnected with nature in a way I had never felt before.
After that trip, further adventures followed. From taking a boat up the Amazon river through a conflict zone, where I contracted dengue fever and malaria to drinking Ayahuasca and seeing the “other side”.
All of these experiences left their indelible mark and all of these experiences brought me back from the darkness.
“Creativity is a drug I cannot live without.” - Cecil B. DeMille
I realized I wanted to go back to my roots. I really wanted to create and to be challenged. I wanted to experience that purity yet again, not just in creation, but encompassing my entire life.
After almost two amazing decades in VFX, I left the industry.
I now run VOXclip. A design firm dedicated to making content creation simpler, easier and more fun. I also started up the "State of the Artist” podcast and web-series. A weekly dose of inspiration for content creators.
I am now doing what I love all day, unencumbered by bureaucracy and details. I simply create and I am completely immersed in the act of creation itself.
However now it’s no longer just for me. Now I am creating for all of you.
I hope you will join me on this adventure!