My former career was in graphic arts; printing and advertising. I
started out in the printing business in the 70's as a shipping receiving
clerk, and worked my way up doing stints as a bindery foreman, prepress
supervisor, pressman, and assistant plant super. I also learned
estimating and production. In the 80's I ran my own small advertising
agency, specializing in direct-mail programs. In the 90's I spent 10
years with RR Donnelley & Sons as a creative director, a sales
representative and as a director. In 2000 I was hired by Leo Burnett
Advertising and spent 5 years there as a VP.
Among my many
mentors in life, there was artist Letterio Calapai. When I was seventeen
I walked into his studio and convinced him I should be his apprentice.
In my time with him, he taught me a lot about art and printmaking, but it
was his wisdom and attitude about life that impressed me the most. This
was 1970, a turbulent and tragic year for America, with the Kent State
shootings, Viet Nam was out of control, and I was a troubled young man
at the time, like many people my age. Letterio took me under his wing
and had me focus on other things, which helped me to find my way. In the
course of this, I learned printmaking from one
of the masters of the craft. He was a renowned artist known for his use
of shape and color. He even made an etching for me
and we printed it together. (see photo) I lost touch with him shortly
after, but he made a major impact on my life and taught me a lot.