From Fine Artist To Graphic Artist to Marketing Manager
My first business was as a professional artist in my 20s, which quickly led to graphic arts and traditional print marketing as I tried to figure out how to find new business while painting at home..
Always An Artist
I've always had a measure of creative visual skill, since an early age. I sold my first commissioned Disney knockoff drawing in Jr. High for $20 to my homeroom teacher for his new nursery. So not surprisingly, twice in my career as a bartender, my artistic talents led to new career paths.
The first time as mentioned, it led to my first buisness as a freelance fine artist working from home. The managers at the restaurant I had been bartending at encouraged my artistic pursuits and fully supported me by commissioning several works of art from me. When Brinker International (the Chili's people) bought out our restaurant concept I was given the opportunity to provide paintings for the 17 new stores being built in the next year.
The freelance artist thing lasted a couple of years and then came my first born, which led me back to bartending for a more consistent income. At first, oddly enough I went to Chili's and quickly became a bar manager there. Then I moved on to open the first Outback in Alabama as their bar manager. Being the hot new restaurant meant a lot of attention from beer distributors. A lot of that attention was from the Budweiser guys that were located just around the corner from Outback and conveniently on the way home for them.
I came to find out from the marketing manager, Ken, that their sign artist had quit and they were looking for a replacement. I spent a year as a sign artist and then slipped into Ken's Marketing Manager position when he decided to go after a commission based position. Over the next couple of years my department included a new state of the art computerized sign cutting system, Shelfset support, computer network systems tech support as well as the POS signs and event marketing support.