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 and fostering the community around us.
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 13 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 favorite 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 else 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 in Peru and seeing the “other side”.
All of these profound 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 wanted to create and to be challenged, but not just for myself. This time for my family, for the community and for those less fortunate. I wanted to create something that would live on beyond my lifetime.
After almost two amazing decades in film and VFX, I left the industry to start the next chapter of my life.
Together with my wife, we started Go51. A design lab headquartered in Wellington, New Zealand. Go51 is a social enterprise with a simple mission: give 51% of our profit to environmental, wildlife & ocean conservation. The remainder funds the development of our new technologies aimed at energy independence and ecological sustainability.
We hope you can join us on this adventure. Together making positive impact, not only for ourselves and the planet, but for the community and those who can use a helping hand.
Many thanks, love, and respect,