From the release of Quark Xpress 4 in 1997 to stumbling across my work in Mass Moca at the end of 2018.
For the past 22 years, I have been a commercial design and imaging professional as both an employee and freelance talent. Very early on I learned type and design from a typography master. This mentor introduced me to a vast world of technologies and tools for creation that I had never experienced. After years of apprenticeship, I transitioned into a position of prepress for a grand format printing company. Fixing the files of other designers for the press was the most valuable and intimate design education. By working on the files of hundreds of designers I mastered these tools and cultivated a mind and vision for design. It was here that I learned how to control chaos and reverse engineer deadlines based on everything that happened after the art left my hands for output.
There was a project that came in with photographs lacking the proper resolution for printing. To solve this issue, we purchased a camera and re-captured the images for the target resolution. Although photography had been a hobby since I was a child, it was at this moment that it became part of my profession. During my time at Post Graphics, I began taking on freelance design clients and started honing my photographic abilities.
As an automotive enthusiast I turned my lens toward a car and within a month I was working on a national editorial story for Modified Magazine. For the next several years I traveled the country photographing feature stories, automotive events, and races for a number of automotive magazines all while running a successful freelance design business.
My time as an automotive editorial photographer ended with the sale of the publishing company to another firm. They closed most of the titles and settled all accounts. I was contracted to photograph a full-line clothing catalog for an up-and-coming brand, Mainline Nation Clothing. Mainline changed everything. It’s shifted my passion from cars to fashion, and it occurred to me that a move to New York City would ultimately force me to focus on fashion. Shortly after relocating, I became infatuated with the idea of going back to school with some of the nation’s best educators.
From 2010 to 2012 I attended the Fashion Institute of Technology graduating with honors (3.94) and from 2012 to 2014 I attended Parsons the New School of Design under their incoming Art Star program completing a BFA (3.78). While in school I continued working as a freelance fashion and commercial photographer with the help of my publicist, Victor Cipolla. I was able to shoot numerous fashion campaigns, editorial, and New York Fashion Week shows.
After almost six years in Manhattan, I took a position outside of the city with a helicopter flight school as Marketing Director. One flight rekindled childhood dreams of flying, and I decided to actively pursue pilot certifications while I was in charge of the company’s re-branding. This project included every facet of the brand as it existed from the logo and brand guidelines to website and print materials. I branched out on my own and became the owner of fixed-wing flight school in Saratoga Springs, NY.
Shortly after leaving the role of Marketing Director, I was contracted to work as Director of Photography on a few innovative automotive video projects for Elevation Ten Thousand; a marketing and advertising firm in New York’s capital district. Elevation knew of my previous automotive work and brought me in on the project. My aviation career continued to progress as did my relationship with Elevation. As I continued to work as a flight instructor I also was hired to work at Elevation full time. I have since progressed from Flight Instructor to part-time commercial pilot for FlyNyon.
In the early Fall of 2019, I was called in to direct an exhibit at The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA). I had previously served as the project’s director of photography in 2013. This was not the first time a project I have worked on a museum project. The Hermitage State Museum in Russia, and the Milk Gallery in New York were two of my museum project, but the Mass MoCA project was my favorite.
As Creative Director at Elevation Ten Thousand we have taken in 21 awards for projects I have overseen, and many more awards for projects led by other team members. Management has always been part of my life. Working through the years with a multitude of freelance clients has taught me about humanity and efficiency. All of my career I have been working with vendors and streamlining cash flow to optimize spending and minimize fiscal waste. Working on large photoshoots taught me how to manage people and teams long before taking on a role as marketing or creative director.
As a manager I first am always keeping an open mind to my team, and to how I can be a better director. Although I do not leave a lot of room for excuses or cutting corners, transparency, honesty, compassion, integrity, and energy are all part of my distinct project and people management style.
With careful planning and tremendous amounts of dedication the Elevation team not only survived the pandemic, but flourished and grew. Currently, I continue to work as Creative Director at Elevation Ten Thousand, and as a part-time line pilot flying Bell 206B Long Rangers over New York City without doors for FlyNyon.