For as long as I can remember I have always had this mixture of passions. I love creativity and growing up I would channel this into my artwork. However, I also had this passionate interest in the world of business. I channeled that starting in middle school when I started working at Oregon Stationery in Prineville, Oregon.
By the time I enrolled at the University of Oregon in 1983 I wasn’t sure what career path I would wander along in my life. Since I already had a couple of college-level drawing classes under my belt, I decided to enroll in the School of Arts. And with a dad who was a high school shop teacher, I figured that I would use my talent to become an art teacher.
That was until the life drawing class that changed my life forever. There I was with my charcoal stick in hand, drawing the model as perfectly as I could. The teacher was wandering the room, looking over everyone’s shoulders. He then came to me and watched me for quite some time. The longer he stayed, the more nervous I became. After what seemed like an eternity he finally spoke. “You’re in the wrong school,” he said. I was stunned.
“Let me explain,” he continued. “Your drawing is great. It looks exactly like the model. You are trying to replicate what you see, not interpret it. Artists interpret. That’s what makes it art. You might be more suited for commercial or graphic art. Or advertising.” As we continued to talk, I explained that I didn’t know anything about these fields. So he took his own time to schedule an appointment with me and an advisor at the UO School of Journalism and Communication. The advisor explained the world of advertising and I instantly saw that it was a field that blended both of my passions: creativity and business. I was hooked. And that one decision led me to a career I have enjoyed for over thirty years now in advertising, marketing and brand work for hundreds of clients.
The University of Oregon is one of those special communities where we all ask the “what if?” questions and help to make each other better individuals. We create the space for teachers like this one in my story (I wish I could remember his name) to step outside the traditional boundary and