14.)My first painting was a copy of Derek Riggs' Iron Maiden cover for "Somewhere in Time." My brother and I tag-teamed it in Acrylic. We later collaborated on "Stranger in a Strange Land" by the same artist. I'd never listened to Iron Maiden and didn't care for it when we played it while working but, damn, those covers were always awesome.
15.)My first job was selling movies at Suncoast. While working there, the aforementioned Mrs. Lowry showed up as a customer, whom I had not seen in 10 years. She was still lovely. My second job, and the one that got me through college, was as a "highlighter" working for the just-about-to-explode Lightpost Publishing, of Thomas Kinkade fame. This brings no end of laughter and derision from anyone who finds out, so I'm happy to let you in on the fun. I recall spending some days at Tom's house, we'd drive up with entire editions--thousands of prints, and he'd sign them. I'd pull each print from under his hand so we could get through the stacks sometime that year. We watched movies on video while we did this, including a documentary on Rockwell. He was nice to me and supportive, except for the time he ridiculed my car.
16.)Back in those days, Lightpost was quite generous, and each year you worked there they'd give you a signed canvas AP edition print. My now-wife worked there too for awhile (at the corporate office, she told me about the job), so we each got a couple each. We sold them before getting married and they paid for an entire 2 week honeymoon in England and part of our wedding. So suck it.
17.)I couldn't afford to get a degree at CCA, so attended 3 years. After the first Core year, I realized I couldn't do it, and also realized there were some terrible teachers there--I had the mistaken impression going in that all art teachers were in fact good. So I proceeded to write my course requests each semester thereafter in pencil. When my advisor signed off, I'd erase the recommended courses and write in what I wanted and turned that in--all the good studio courses, with good instructors plus some Art History and literature as my interest dictated. 2 years later I'd crammed all the studio coursework from the degree program and left, saving myself, at the time, close to $30k for the remaining 2 years. Then as well as now, CCA was roughly as expensive as your average Ivy-league school (Harvard '08-'09 is $32k/yr. CCA is $31k/yr). Even after grants and scholarships, it was loan-heavy and painful, and remember I was from an "educationally disadvantaged" area.
18.)After Lightpost I did 3d modeling of medical stuff--organs, systems, etc.. I was trained on the job and got pretty good at spline-based modeling. This was so long ago that I was using 3d modeling software that Macromedia published. You didn't know that Macromedia ever made 3d modeling software? We even got to go to the offices and give them feedback on the fledgling product, which was later canceled. There isn't even a Wikipedia page for the product as of this writing.
19.)I worked a year at Nexon Inc. (of Maple Story fame) back during their first attempt to infiltrate the USA market. I did web design, and all sorts of non-3d graphics work, including some UI design, packaging, and advertising. The main product was "Shattered Galaxy" which got good press but dismal sales, releasing days after 9/11 when no one cared about games for a bit. And if you can't sell in your first month, you're toast. I was laid off shortly thereafter, and Nexon Korea disowned the American branch, then a few years later reestablished new offices elsewhere and continued with great success.
20.)In that vein, after being laid off I was among 2-3 candidates being considered for a packaging design position at Nintendo. I was the only out-of-state candidate, and they decided to stay local, all things being equal. In the years before and since, I've worked exclusively on a freelance basis.
21.)I played bass (poorly) and sang (even worse) in a band until about '04. As I was freelancing most of those years, I didn't apply myself to seriously studying music as I should have. Our first gig was also a couple days after 9/11. Everyone was nice enough not to tell me I sucked. However, I think there were more people there than purchased Shattered Galaxy.
22.)I am neurotically self-critical of my artwork. While I know objectively that I have some talent (compared to, you know, people who aren't artists), when I think about the artist I want to be, or that I should've been by now, or consider the greatness of so many others, I am completely deflated, and this is most of the time. Related confession: sometimes, when I am stuck for an idea or stuck on a painting, I ask myself the following question, "What would a good artist do?" And you know what, asking that question often results in finding a solution, as I think about what good artists would do. I am convinced most of my progress over the years is due to this chronic lack of satisfaction in my work.
23.)Generally speaking, I don't drink. My last glass of beer was in 2006 in England, and it was only a half-pint glass, which my British friends didn't know the pub even had. I will, however, ask for a sip of nearly any drink anyone near me has (provided I know them). This is partially because most alcohol tastes like vomit to me, and I'm curious to see what all the fuss is about (the only beer I can stomach is Guinness, which I'm told is not actually beer, but liquid bread). This does mean that getting me drunk is exceedingly simple: I need to be around enough people who keep ordering themselves different drinks. Eventually I'll single-sip my way into oblivion. But it's never happened.
24.)I have never smoked or used any illegal substance. I was always so uncool that to this day I don't think I have ever been asked if I want to buy drugs by anyone. I honestly don't see the point, and especially for artists who make so little money in general, drugs seem like a hugely foolish purchase. But this factor--low wages as an artist--also greatly contributes to why I don't drink alcohol. I see the price tag of a glass of wine at a restaurant, or a mixed drink, and the thought of paying that is actually completely outside consideration.
25.)I think I like Guinness because it is liquid bread. This is because my favorite foods tend to be bread-related. I am also like a bear out of hibernation every morning, and must have breakfast ASAP or I...well, nothing really happens--I have a very steady demeanor--but I do rush to eat breakfast within seconds of leaving bed every morning. And bread-like things always figure into that, be they bagels, toast, waffles, pop-tarts, pancakes, etc.. I can eat breakfast for any meal of the day.
Frosted Strawberry is typical, but I'd be happy with no-frosting and no-filling