LAKERS TOGETHER: Grand Valley is preparing for successful learning experiences when classes resume on Aug. 31. Learn more about the plan for fall in this handbook.
1. Why did you choose to attend Grand Valley?
The short answer is my sisters - first Shilin and then a few years later Amber. When I went to visit the campus —I believe I was in 7th or 8th grade at the time— I was absolutely blown away! It was like a magical art kingdom, where there was amazing oil paintings, sculptures and all sorts of design were happening.
2. How or why did you choose your major or main emphasis area?
Growing up in an artistic family environment, I knew I was some sort of creative career was the only thing I was a viable option. Drawing and making things that had some sort of real-world implementation were what I natural gravitated towards. Graphic design seemed to be the most commercially feasible option.
3. What advice do you have for current students thinking about careers?
My advice would be to develop real-world skills, like how to meet new people, how to be personable, and how to have fun working really, really hard.
4. What did you do after graduating?
Early on during school, at a Grand Valley State University, I started doing a ton of freelance design and illustration and was able to build connections and work for large companies; from the likes of Mountain Dew, Bubblicious and Warner Bros to large agencies like Ogilvy & Mather, Y&R and Leo Burnett. When graduation came, I already had a huge jumpstart to my creative career and have continued that momentum doing design, illustration, and for the past 5 years TONS of mural work. Upon building my creative studio MAKE, I already had a solid client roster and experience, which was a giant part of being able to continue to grow as a creative company.
5. What are you doing now?
I am a dad and designer, I run MAKE & Co. — an artful creative company that specializes in branding, creative direction, and mural design — and have been 'an up and coming gallery artist' for over a decade ;)
6. What is the best advice you got from an instructor at Grand Valley?
It would have to 'don't wear f*cking pajamas in public,' from the legendary Michelle Bowers. This bit of advice has many layers and yet is so simple. Control what you can control, you want to move through the world with some sort of respect so don't shoot yourself in the foot before you leave the house
7. What is your favorite memory of being a student at Grand Valley?
It has to be meeting my wife —and business partner—Abigail Wynne. We first met in Drawing 101 freshman year and it has been fireworks ever since. Love you, babe.
8. Anything else you would like to share with our Visual and Media Arts Community?
VOTE!!! Seriously, get out there.