RIP Clients & Employers

Outlasting echos from the past takes pressure off in the present.

photo of me in 1987

Me in 1987, a year into my career as a full time creative. That digital Timex was affordable cutting edge tech back then.

A lot of my employers and clients no longer exist...

...while most of the pre-digital tools are probably in museums and junkyards. All that intensity going "POOF" is kind of a bummer, but also takes some pressure off current era battles. Today's ulcer inducing crisis will be tomorrow's dimly remembered anecdote.

New England Black Weekly

Freelance Illustrator + Production Artist

RIP 1980 Boston-based newspaper. My first professional gig. While still a freshman at MassArt, I was introduced to the hectic pace of a startup news organization being run on a shoestring budget. This training would prove to be helpful in future editorial assignments (The Boston Edge, Citizen's Group Papers, Urban Beat, Computerworld). Our main competitor was the Bay State Banner. In this crazy time, we swore to bury them.

What Went Wrong?

Okay, so they buried us. There just wasn't enough of a target audience to support two similar publications.

Vision Machine Research

Freelance Storyboard Artist + Production Artist + Graphic Designer

RIP 1983 Startup, cutting-edge video game developer. The major project was creating the 3-D photographic technique used in today's most popular games. Like most startups, the organization was run on a shoestring, the hours were long, and moral was great until checks started bouncing.

What Went Wrong?

By my sketchy memory, the lead programmer bolted for another firm.

The Boston Edge

Freelance Illustrator (Op-Ed)

RIP 1986 A weekly arts and entertainment newspaper. I provided front-page and interior editorial illustrations. Like most startups, the organization was run on a shoestring, the hours were long, and moral was great until checks started bouncing.

What Went Wrong?

Our main competitor was a little mom-and-pop outfit called the Boston Phoenix. 'Nuff Said.

Gregory Fossella Associates

Junior Production Artist + Junior Graphic Designer

RIP 1988 In it's heyday, this industrial design firm was internationally famous. Not bad for my first professional day job. I was Junior Production Artist (a.k.a "Stat Rat") Through hard work and a willingness to learn, I was promoted to Junior Graphic Designer. This was my introduction to real-world fundamental production techniques needed to make professional-level printed work.

What Went Wrong?

Mr. Fossella's old-world philosophy became outdated by the late '80s.

Citizen's Group Papers

Freelance Production Artist + Illustrator

RIP 1990 A group of Boston-based small-town weekly newspapers (Allston-Brighton Citizen's Item, Brookline Citizen's Item, etc). I started off in the Production department, which was still doing traditional paste-up at the time. After seeing my editorial illustration experience (New England Black Weekly, Boston Edge), the editors started using my high-concept Op-Ed illustrations.

What Went Wrong?

General decline of newspaper readership.

The Urban Beat

Freelance Graphic Designer + Illustrator

RIP 1992 Startup, Boston-based newspaper. I obviously didn't learn my lesson from my experience at the New England Black Weekly. I took over the design chores from a burnt-out graphic designer, designing and producing the entire publication from the ground up. Worked closely with the one-man Editor, Publisher and CEO. Converted the digital art from Aldus PageMaker to Quart XPress. Redesigned the logo and provided editorial illustration. This was all done on a Mac Plus, so lots of time was spent hitting the return key and waiting. Our main competitor was the Bay State Banner. In this crazy time, we swore to bury them.

What Went Wrong?

There just wasn't enough of a target audience to support two similar publications. The Editor overextended himself, and ultimately couldn't generate enough content or advertising dollars for the company to survive.

Midnight Oil Studios

Junior Graphic Designer

RIP 1993 Independent design and marketing agency. At the time I was hired, computers (hardware by Apple, software from Adobe and Aldus) were beginning to take the place of traditional creative and production tools (stat cameras, mechanicals). Our clients were major advertising agencies and shopping mall conglomerates.

What Went Wrong?

A disagreement between the principals split Midnight Oil Studios in two independent companies, one in San Francisco and the other New York City.

ITG Department of Merrill Lynch

Web Designer

RIP 2003 My introduction to cutting-edge web development (ASP, CSS, DHTML, dynamic Javscript). Merrill Lynch, based in Hopewell NJ, bought startup company ITG to create web tools for banking and day-trading.

What Went Wrong?

With the internet economy crash, Merrill decided it didn't need to finance a remote office in Cambridge.

Publicom

Freelance Page Designer + Illustrator + Production Artist

RIP 2004 Worked on porting Reader Rabbit content from CD ROM to printed workbooks. Developed page layouts and illustrations from start to finish.

What Went Wrong?

Publicom was experiencing clash flow problems.

Last Dave standing, so far

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