About MeA short history of my career in the wonderful world of graphic design (and opera).
In the Beginning
How did I get involved in this crazy business? I was in high school, looking for a summer job, and came across an ad for a Typesetter in the classifieds. I had no idea what that was, but I figured it had something to do with being able to type. Thanks to years of piano lessons, I was at the head of my class in high school typing and applied for the job. It was pretty awful. Typesetting copy for yearbooks on an IBM Selectric typewriter! After I finished high school, I entered the brave new world of phototypesetting, working on amazing machines (with no memory and 8.5″ floppy discs) manufactured by companies like Compugraphic, Addressograph Multigraph, Quadex, and others!
From Prairie to Coast
With about seven years’ experience in the industry, I decided it was time to leave my hometown of Winnipeg. Ostensibly, this was to pursue a singing career. At 20, I had auditioned and was accepted into the chorus of the Manitoba Opera. I began studying voice privately. After a few years, my teacher advised me that it was time to move on to a larger city and better teachers if I was seriously considering pursuing a career in opera. Montreal or Vancouver seemed to be where the best voice teachers du jour were located, so I took a train from Winnipeg to Vancouver (three days in coach) and stayed with friends I’d grown up with who now lived there. Within a week, I’d found a job as a phototypesetter on Compugraphic equipment, connected with a new voice teacher, and joined Vancouver Opera’s chorus.
From Coast to Rockies
An opportunity came up to study at the Banff Centre in their Music Theatre program (from September through April), so I auditioned and was accepted. My employer gave me their blessing, and I spent eight glorious months studying singing, movement, and performing three operas. When the program at the Banff Centre came to an end, I’d learned a lot about myself: my dramatic personality did not match with my lyric voice so I’d always been frustrated with the roles I’d be offered to sing. A career in opera was not to be, so I returned to Vancouver, rejoined the Vancouver Opera Chorus and resumed my previous position. Now we were all working on Apple computers. Apples have ruled the design industry ever since.
Home at Last
I stopped singing with Vancouver Opera in the early 2000s but have stayed connected with the world of classical music. In fact, my musical background and knowledge of opera led to a ten-year design engagement with Wexford Festival Opera in Ireland. From 2011–2021, I designed and produced all advertising and print elements for each season of the Festival. In 2017, I also took on the role of managing editor for the Festival. Two years ago, I was hired by Opera magazine (the world’s largest opera publication) to do a subtle redesign of their publication, and, at the same time, became their Vancouver/Victoria correspondent, writing reviews for Vancouver Opera and Pacific Opera (Victoria).
I’ve lived in Vancouver for 30 years now and I can’t see myself ever leaving. As a workaholic, I don’t mind the rain and cloudy days as the weather gives me an excuse to stay indoors and work. Occasionally, I’ve been a full-time employee, but I’ve always preferred self-employment and working from my own studio, where I can juggle the challenges of multiple clients and different types of creative work. I prefer to work with designers and advertising agencies, helping translate their ideas into tangible (or digital) reality and have worked with some of Vancouver’s most successful firms including Cossette, Carter Hales Design Lab, Glasfurd & Walker, Hangar 18, Signals Design Group, Toolbox Design, DDB Canada, Rethink, 123 West, LMNO Consulting, Partners & Hawes, and Wasserman. I have some design clients (mostly in opera and the arts), but they are my dessert, not my main course. If you have a project that requires meticulous attention to detail, consistency, speed, and accuracy, please consider contacting me. I love producing annual reports (especially the financials), working on bilingual projects (English and French), designing for projects involving opera or the arts, and packaging.