Junior Designer at Spring Agency for Change in Southwold
Graphic Design graduate of University of Suffolk, Ipswich.
Ex-apprentice gondola builder and boat painter.
Maker of one mean New York Cheesecake.
And always up for a chat or a pint so drop me a line!
I’m originally from New York and I’ve got the cheesecake skills to prove it. However, it’d be a lie to let you think I was born in the middle of Times Square and had birthday parties at the top of the Empire State Building. I grew up just north of the city in the suburbia known as Westchester County, which a real New Yorker might call ‘upstate’. I would attend university in the proper version of upstate where just a short ride meant you could play Pooh Sticks over Niagara Falls.
With my degree in English Literature and Language from the State University of Geneseo in hand, I decided the next logical move was Italy. It’s a tricky one to explain but I had set my eyes on becoming an apprentice gondola builder in Venice. I had spent my summers at uni as a carpenter and knew a fair bit more than ‘fuggetaboutit’ when it came to my Italian. I waited about two years for the Italian bureaucracy to reply with a “No” to funding my endeavour. In that time I managed to secure dual citizenship to the EU through my Irish heritage and enough savings for a one way ticket. Undeterred, I packed one big bag and just went.
It was worth it. I got to build gondolas, work with amazing people and experience the Venetian way of life. During my time at the Squero (boat yard) I met some guys who had won an island. The commune of Venice was offering the lease of this island (that was once one a monastery centuries ago and later used as a military base during WW2) to whoever had the best proposition. These fellas created Vento di Venezia, where all things boats from moorings to construction would take place. They needed a painter, I needed paid work and I also had a brush.
With an airplane hanger for a paint room, I put my hands to all forms of Venetian craft. While I was there, James Bond Casino Royale was filmed in Venice and the boat used in the final scene was moored up at the island. Over a cup of tea (which I probably made really poorly) I got to know the English crew. Not long after, I met an English girl who was studying abroad and we began a long distance relationship.
Some might say I cracked. I like to say the stars aligned. Either way, I had packed my bags once more, this time for an English rose. As it happens, her home town was also home to the crew of the James Bond boat, a Sprit Yacht, and they welcomed me to their team with a hearty handshake. I started straight away painting and varnishing luxury custom wooden sailing yachts. I stayed with them for the next seven years, occasionally dipping back home to see family. Oh, and the girl and I got married!
During one visit back home I took up seasonal work in NYC, building the Christmas window displays for Macy’s and Sak’s Fifth Avenue. Working with designers, this is where I was introduced to the Adobe creative suite. Every Tuesday after work, I attended a graphic design taster course at the NYC School of Visual Arts and began to learn about design.
When I came back and permanently settled in Ipswich, I came across an Open Day event at the university located on the marina. I was absolutely floored by what I saw and it was clear to me where I needed to be. I was incredibly fortunate that the course leader was able to arrange a last minute portfolio review. I was even more fortunate to be offered a place on the course and find myself in class by the end of the week.
My design journey began in earnest and I made sure to make the most of every opportunity. In my first year I found myself at the gates of Pentagram for a two week paid internship. I later had another placement, with Spring Agency in Southwold, as well as being a course representative, chairman of Union Council, winner of the Earth Overshoot Campaign, Student of the Year each year at uni and also the project lead for summer initiatives I set up for my year group. I also had two children and survived my dissertation. Please feel free to have a peak at my LinkedIN profile for a fuller picture of my professional experience and skills.
My degree has been fantastic and prepared me for entering a professional design studio. Upon graduating an opportunity arose to join Spring as a junior designer. It’s a privilege to call myself a Springer, contributing to a team of fantastic designers and creatives who work to the highest standard possible.
So that’s me, in long, and if you took the time to read it all, I owe you a pint. Collect by dropping me a line!