Commercial Illustrator & Graphic designer
I have worked as a (mostly) free lance graphic designer, illustrator and art director in book publishing and advertising since 1976, when I was 17. In 1998, when I turned 40, I quit commercial art to concentrate on painting and writing and other creative projects.
Web & Print Designer, Photographer, Software Developer, Painter & Writer
Yes. All of those.
My Curious Career History
From I were about 5-6 till I were about 14, I wanted to be an inventor or scientist of some kind — Thomas Edison was my big hero. I used to have a laboratory in the basement with lots of foul-smelling chemicals, exploding powders and electric gadgets. At school, chemistry and physics were my favorite subjects and I hated art classes, music and other "soft" subjects! So I started out early with a very technical and creative outlook — but certainly not as an artist.
Then, at 13, I fell in love with Marvel Comics superheroes! Instead of sketching blueprints for inventions I now started drawing superheroes everywhere, like a madman. That discovery drastically changed my scientific career plans, forever rerouting it towards an artistic one. School quickly became a meaningless torture for a would-be comic book artist and at the age of 17, during Xmas 1975, I finally worked up the nerve to drop out of high school. (My parents took it surprisingly well, bless them.) Then, based on my father's business connections and the strength of my art portfolio, I managed to talk my way into a (very!) low-paid apprenticeship with an advertising agency in a city (Drammen) quite some commuting distance from Oslo. But it was freedom at last!
I loved all I could learn at the ad agency, about typography and design and photography and color and all sorts of arcane reproduction and printing technologies (my early love for technology has never died) — and then I discovered the airbrush! It was love at first sight in the spring of '76! Having long struggled to make felt tip markers, crayons, poster paints, etc. do my bidding, the airbrush was a revelation for me as an illustration tool, with its ability to create smooth, even tones and color gradations. I quickly acquired an airbrush of my own (quite expensive, on my meager apprentice salary) and started working with that in my spare time, practicing illustration and photo retouching techniques.
Finally, after a 9 month wonderful gestation period at the ad agency, my revered art director and mentor quit to start working in Oslo and I, tired of the 3 hour daily commute with trains and buses, also quit — and went into business as a free lance commercial artist. I was 18, I still lived at home, I worked in my bedroom and business was slow the first few months, but then, through my mentor, I started to get more work from ad agencies in Oslo. My hourly rates climbed and climbed and when I turned 19 I was making pretty good money — and becoming known in the ad business as an all-round whiz kid. (So yes, I were once "young and promising" — and I still am, I like to think!) Most of this money I plowed into expensive back issues of my still-beloved Marvel Comics (I still have them all, now worth countless thousands of dollars) — and photographic equipment, both cameras and darkroom stuff. I started to photograph a lot and also began incorporating some photo-techniques into my commercial art work.
At 22, with my illustration skills ripening, I branched out into doing book covers for Norway's publishing houses, doing design, photography and illustration and I quickly got a lot of work in that field too.
(More coming . . . sometime when I feel like it.)