You have a past with Bend, Oregon … tell us about that?
I moved to Bend in August of 1993 to snowboard at Mt. Bachelor. We picked it because it wasn’t the “cool” place. That’s a cyclical thing in the ski/snowboard world. People flock to one resort for a couple of years, and that phases out. Mt. Bachelor was mysterious, and the perfect fit for a bunch of ragtag shredders from Traverse City, Michigan. I spent five winters there, eventually leaving for art school back in Minneapolis in the spring of 1998.
Tell us a bit about yourself?
I am 42 years old. Raised in Michigan. Earned as Associates Degree from Northwestern Michigan Community College right out of high school in graphic design. Hit the road at 19 with all my buddies to move out west to snowboard. Did that for five winters in Bend. Start going up to Alaska in the summers to wash dishes on a sightseeing train to make money to bring back down for the winter. Did that for four summers. Earned my Bachelor’s Degree in graphic design from the Minneapolis College of Art + Design. Took my first job in Orange County for Snowboarder Magazine in 2000. Did that for two years and moved back to Portland to work for Cinco Design Office. I was a Senior Designer there until 2004 when I went out on my own. That’s when @#$% took off for me! It’s been twelve amazing years on my own. Each year gets better and better and wilder.
What motivates you?
Rent’s always due! And, a ferocious desire to live a productive life where I get to make things I love, for people I love. I’ve been lucky to love this stuff for a long time. And in the beginning, I took some punches on the chin. That @#$% sticks with you. I’ve had some @#$%y jobs. I know what it’s like to go without. Or have some manager push you around. I designed myself out of that@#$%, and I’m NEVER going back!
Tell us about your keynote?
We got a book deal! We got the call-up to the big leagues! Go behind the scenes with the DDC and the harrowing account of making our first book. From the contracts to the scheming, from the pagination to the design, from the tears to the nightmares…let us tell you what it’s like to cram your whole half-wit career into 256 pages. The entire presentation is dipped in Pantone Orange 021!
Tell us about your book? Why should people buy it?
Now, I’m a little biased, but people should buy it because it’s a book—that frankly—shouldn’t have happened. It defies the odds, much like my half-ass career! I’ve been an underdog my whole life, so chalk one up for the scrubs!
How do you feed your creativity?
With a large, wooden spoon. I kid, I kid. How do I feed it? So much of what gets me fired up is from the weirdest of sources. One day of hitting estate sales and getting a little dirty, and I’ll have wind in my sails. Mainly because I’ll see things that surprise me. I’ve been in this game a long time, and the cycles of inspiration can become a little redundant. One morning in some old-timers garage? Filled with dead stuff and ghosts? Absolutely beautiful.
What’s your favorite way to spend a day off?
As weird as it sounds, it usually ends up with me working in the shop. We’ll get up all excited and ready to slay the day, hit a breakfast joint and then a couple estates sales and I’ll get all fired up and want to get back to the shop to make stuff. Welcome to my sickness! It’s hard to cut this stuff off. Day off? What about when you don’t feel like what you do is a job? Hence, my very part of all of this: I love what I do. What I get to do.
What are you into reading lately — online and/or offline?
The last book I read was “The Trouble Boys: The Story of the Replacements.” Cover to cover in a couple days. It was incredible. As a longtime fan, it was amazing to have the curtains pulled back. When I moved to Minneapolis 1998 and would bring up the ‘Mats, people would scoff. It was like people wanted to forget about them, or something. And that made them that much more mythic. Reading the book, it was nice to see they were just a bunch of punks, but with such a magic to them.
What are you most excited about for your upcoming visit to Swivel in Bend, Oregon?
Being able to share my story with my hometown. It’s been a long time since I lived in Bend, but I still feel close to it. I’m so proud to share my story anywhere they’ll have me, but Bend’s going to be extra fun. I spent five great winters there.
Tell us something (anything!) you think we would love to know
Right this very second, the universe is expanding…in every direction…infinitely? What’s it expanding into? Is there a boundary? Is there an edge? Can you go in a straight line forever? Will we ever know? The junior astrophysicist in me wants to know. But I know this much: The universe is BIG, and we have no idea what the hell is going on. That reality alone is amazing enough for me.