I have been working at a graphic and web designer for about 20 years. I actually created my first website for a film I was working on— the director handed me a book on HTML and said, “Here, you’re good with computers. Learn this because we need a website,” And I was hooked. My first love was film, but then I got interested in web design and digital art and eventually got my master’s degree in humanities, with an emphasis on digital media and communications. Since then, I’ve worked in several fields, including non-profit, retail, software, government, art, entertainment, and many more. I’ve created websites for everything from restaurants to art galleries to educational non-profits, so I’m used to working with a variety of clients.
Since 2007, I’ve been working with WordPress and pretty much do all my clients’ websites on that platform. I love the simplicity and accessibility of WordPress — it offers a way for clients to have more control over their own sites as it is easy for them to make changes and add information. WordPress is also supported by an enormous community so the functionality is practically limitless — plugins are available to add most any feature to your site, so this not only save time by not needing to program everything custom, but it saves you money because most of these plugins are either free or relatively inexpensive.
Along with working in the field of design, I also spent several years teaching at CU-Denver, where I earned my master’s degree. I taught classes ranging from design theory and layout to digital painting and film editing. I assisted the department with a complete overhaul of the graphic design program to integrate it with the fine arts department, and was also the advisor for the student newspaper, where I had previously worked as the production editor and briefly as the editor-in-chief.
In addition to working as a graphic/web design artist for an educational nonprofit, I own and run an art gallery, Kanon Collective, on Santa Fe Drive with several local artists, where I also have an art studio. Much of the work I do stems from my love of photography and working with digital art. I love the freedom of digital photography because I no longer have to worry about the cost of film and processing — now I just take pictures of everything that catches my eye, and if I end up with three photos out of a hundred that look good, all I’ve wasted is a bit of hard drive space.
The process of creating many of my pieces involves transferring the photos onto surfaces using a heavy acrylic gel medium. I sometimes create textures and colors on the surface beforehand, that end up showing through the transferred photos. In addition, I also like to add different pigments, inks and found objects to the resin I use to coat the finished pieces. This creates a three-dimensional image that appears to float in the middle, often creating shadows through the crackle texture that happens as a result of the pigment in the photo paper reacting with the water in the acrylic gel. The final images end up not really looking like photographs at all and the image becomes the focus of the piece. I tend to gravitate toward images with bright colors and strong contrast, with subject matter ranging from flowers to graffiti to street signs.
I also have another series of works involving melted candy. These pieces started with a simple Tootsie Pop wrapper — I was amazed at how it hadn’t changed since I was a kid. I decided I wanted to make something out of the wrappers. As I started collecting them and experimenting with them, I realized that I had all these leftover lollipops and I didn’t know what to do with them. Then it dawned on me that they could be used in my art as well. I began experimenting with creating sculptures and eventually came around to melting them together. They look so beautiful and glass-like when you melt them and the surface becomes completely smooth. In addition to Tootsie Pops, I added Dum Dums and Jolly Ranchers to the mix as well — mango Dum Dums smell so good when they’re melted.Â In order to preserve these pieces, I coat them with many layers of resin, which also intensifies the colors. My first pieces were purely abstract, but then I had the idea to create the Twister board for the Modernism show — it seemed like a perfect combination of two things I loved from my childhood. Since then, I have expanded to include video game icons from my childhood as well, such as Pac Man and Space Invaders. As time consuming as these pieces are, I must say — they are made with the best-smelling art supplies ever.
I received a Bachelor of Arts in Film from BYU and a Master’s of Humanities from the University of Colorado at Denver, where I also taught for several years as an adjunct professor in the Multimedia and Fine Arts department.
I currently reside in the Capitol Hill neighborhood in downtown Denver with a tiny dog named Oliver, and a parrot named Casper.