I am a guy from a tiny town in the hills of Virginia. When I say tiny, I mean tiny. It is smaller than most shopping malls in the inhabited portions of the world. At the moment I live in Hong Kong. The closest shopping mall to me is called “IFC” and I believe I could easily fit about 8 or 9 of home towns in it.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
When I was a kid I loved 2 things: comic books, and groove oriented music.
In high school I got more attention as a musician than as an artist, so I focused. I didn’t really go to college, but when I was 21 I won a full scholarship to the Atlanta Institute of Music, where I completed their 1-year program in a little over 6 months. About 9 months after graduation they asked me to teach there, and I stayed for a long time.
But eventually I felt like I hadn’t finished a LOT of stuff I wanted to do. Teaching at AIM I basically wasn’t finishing music degrees of art degrees or actually putting out any music or comics.
Truth is, I was scared to put out any music. I spent all my time telling guys what was wrong with their playing. I knew they could also tell me what was wrong with mine pretty easily. Not to mention, I had no training in composing or arranging. Those were skills for which I knew I had talent, but no development. By the time I was 28 I should have been MUCH better than I was. My arranging still sounded like I was a talented 18-year-old.
So, I went to music school, and put out a few recordings. Much critical success, but I never really played any shows or developed a fan base. Turns out that the stuff I thought was important: writing and executing music, wasn’t nearly as important as just getting in front of people. Unfortunately, the music I made was so complicated, I couldn’t get anyone to play it with me, and it wasn’t designed to be executed by me, solo.
Realizing (in my mid-30s) that I didn’t really have any skills as a performer, I picked up my pencil and started to hack away at becoming the comic book artist I always knew was in there.
(BTW, by this point I had a Masters degree in Music Composition, and I was teaching at the Art Institute…but that’s another story). I was the skill level of a talented 14-year-old comic artist…because that’s where I left off.
So I applied to a college-level sequential art program and started trying to figure it out.
Meanwhile, life was getting tough. I was balancing my jobs at Ai and a big church (I did music and graphic stuff for both), I got married, we had a child, and I was growing as an artist, both sonically and visually…but I wasn’t making anything significant (I mean art…money was getting pretty good).
An opportunity arose to really do something with music. It would allow me resources, and a platform, and I thought it was my calling!
But I was wrong.
As soon as I put all my eggs in that basket, “they” took the basket away. Even worse, the job I found myself in once the “good” job was no longer an option used zero creative skills. It was all plug-and-play, sound-a-like music, not to mention it was the most boring music ever created.
My wife was having a rough time with her career as well.
So we made a decision to change everything.
My wife got a job offer on the other side of the world, and it seemed like a good opportunity for me to simply go somewhere quite and become who I’ve always wanted to be: A Musician and Sequential Artist.
I think the Sequential Art part is the important bit from a career perspective. I think making books is a good idea for someone with my personality. I’m an introvert, and a creative. I’ve always hated the “performance” part of music…I like the creative parts. I think the music needs to be an advertisement for what I’m selling: the stories.
Anyway, that’s where I am. In a tiny flat in Hong Kong trying to become.