Monday, July 11, 2005

I'll Show You Mine, If...

When I lived in New Jersey, I spent most of my years in the restaurant business. I had been doing freelance art and design work for a few years because I really enjoyed art. I dabbled in oils, pastels, pen & ink, charcoal and pencil work. I did mostly landscapes, portraits, technical renderings and I just loved designing ads for newspapers and magazines.

I decided to move to the Orlando, Florida area since my folks lived there. I was tired of the restaurant trade and I figured since I had no real experience in the advertising design world, It would be easier to get a job at an ad agency down there than in New York. Then, after a year or so, I'd go back and set New York City on fire with my mega ideas and talent. It never did work out that way.

I answered an ad in the Orlando Sentinel soon after I moved. This place was looking for a hardline and layout artist. It was for a department store chain. My portfolio consisted of mainly portraits, landscapes, technical drawings and ads I had designed for restaurants and other businesses.

During the interview, the woman who questioned me said, "This is really nice stuff, but, it doesn't have anything to do with what we do here."

I had to think fast. I said, "Give me something. Let me show you what I can do."

She said, "Alrighty, then," and proceeded to set me up with a project. No art, but, I had to do a fictitious ad layout that would appear in the local paper. I told her I'd be back the next day with it. I took my work home and scanned the Yellow Pages for a nearby printer with access to a copy machine. I measured the various ad sizes in the newspaper. I formulated a design and set about to put it all together. Back then, glue sticks sure did come in handy. Computers were still years away. It was all cut & paste.

The next day, I went back. Of course, I called first. They liked what I had done and said, "We'll get back to you." And sure enough, they did. The following week they called me in for a second interview. They said that even though my credentials didn't quite fit what they did there, they liked my attitude and the design I did. Most importantly though, they told me that out of the thirty some people they interviewed, I was the only one who said, "Let me show you what I can do." They hired me right then and there, and there I remained for the next eleven years.

The reason why I never made it back to New Jersey? Soon after I got that job, I started dating a really pretty blonde with a tan. I was very happy right where I was. Welcome to Florida.

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