In the small, upstate New York village of Endicott, I was born. It is a relatively sleepy and non-descript area that has, nevertheless, produced a number of noteworthy individuals. 
One of those notable natives was Johnny Hart, the nationally syndicated cartoonist, known for newspaper strips B.C. and The Wizard of Id. Starting at the age of 14, I was fortunate enough to have studied and apprenticed under Johnny Hart until I graduated high school. 
Mostly I did light labor, cleaning his studio, brushes and tools, and acted as gofer. But in exchange he taught me all about cartooning, paste-up, layout, how to set a photo shoot, how to edit copy on-the-fly, how to trick an editor into letting you do what you want...valuable stuff. 
"A cartoonist is, in his soul," he told me "a newspaperman." And he certainly was that. Hard boiled, rough and tumble...a living example of an age gone by. Needless to say, I thought he was the coolest thing going. Those experiences were more than enough to influence the path my life would take. 
At The Kubert School — through classes taught by AIGA award-winner Judy Matés and McCann-Erickson wunderkind Don Gleason — I found joy and excitement in graphic design and typography. Those classes led me to my first agency gig in Manhattan. 
To this day I have continued rising to new occasions, absorbing new techniques and learning new skills. Sitting in front of my Mac, I can still feel the same vibe I got sitting in Johnny's cigar smoke-filled studio, erasing blue lines, t-squaring page panels, and trimming zipatone while the throaty chops of a jazz trio blared from an old stereo. 
The vibe of fun from a job well done. 
The anticipation of challenges to come.
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