Down the Rabbit Hole

Whew! How did I get here?

Some people know what they want to do when they grow up from an early age. Others kind of fall into it. I consider myself a mixture of both. You see, what I do for a living wasn’t invented when I began my career. So the trail is like “Alice in Wonderland”. In essence, I fell into a rabbit hole which led me here.

Everything I do today is built on what I did yesterday

I am often asked how I went from being a kid in high school to a television graphic artist to becoming a software developer. Believe me, I did not wake up one day and decide I wanted to write software. It fell into my lap so to speak as more of a necessity.

This timeline simplifies the crazy ride my career has taken. It appears quite linear but the lines weren’t always so straight. You can click on a date if you want to skip ahead and read more. Otherwise, I will explain how these pieces fit together in one continuous (and hopefully entertaining story). 

WMC-TV (1984)


The day my career began

My ID badge from WMC-TV (1986)

I earned the rank of Eagle Scout from the Boy Scouts of America in 1984 when I was a Junior in high school. The Boy Scouts had a program for those who earned the rank to identify what career they wanted to pursue. They arranged for scouts to spend the day with a mentor in their chosen field to see what the job was like.

I chose television and was invited to spend the day at WMC-TV, the NBC affiliate in Memphis, TN with my sponsor, Dick Hawley.

Dick Hawley was a gracious host and asked me to appear on the noon news that day. Appearing in my Boy Scout uniform with a baby face, I was awestruck. When Dick informed me the tour was over a while later, I asked a question that would forever change the trajectory of my life.

"How do graphics appear over the shoulder of newscasters during a story?"

Mr. Hawley laughed at the curious question and told me he normally did not visit the art department during tours but he would take me there. We took a staircase behind the back of the studio to a loft full of chaos that was the art department. That is where I met Art Director, Tom Foster and his assistant, Jim Blake.

I had been a photographer since I was 13 years old and volunteered for a cable access station. I had my own darkroom and worked on my school newspaper and annual staff. For the next two hours I peppered Tom and Jim with questions about how things were done. As I was about to leave, Tom told me they had been looking for someone to join the art department to help them clean and organize the place. It was at that moment, Tom Foster asked me if I wanted a job? Words could not explain my excitement when I said I did and that is how it all began.

No such thing as computer graphics in 1984

The television graphics I was so curious about how it was done turned out to be real artwork created on black 11″ x 17″ cards. The illustrations were made from colorful cut paper with X-ACTO knives and spray glue. The type was stamped on acetate sheets with a hot press, a large, heavy machine I became an expert at operating. I felt like a printer’s apprentice as I laid out lead letters on a hot steal plate.

A lot of sales marketing materials were created by the art department too. Again, these were done by hand too. We would select type from large books and send the copy off to a typesetter who would send us in return, large sheets of the printed text in the fonts we selected. It was up to us to cut up the text and lay out the pages with photos, text and our trusty spray glue. Those would be photographed on a large stat machine (a high-end camera and printer the size of a compact car). That is how I learned page layout design and things such as leading and kerning that I still use today.

 

My first televised graphic was a hubcap

I spent the summer learning new things from Tom and Jim and genuinely enjoyed my job and their company. Thinking I had paid enough dues and put up with their constant teasing, Tom asked if I wanted to create a graphic for the news? It was for a story about Hubcap Annie, a lady who had every kind of hubcap anyone could possibly need.

I found photo references from an auto magazine and proceeded to draw and color the worst hubcap you have ever seen. If the word Hubcap wasn’t on the graphic, I am certain viewers would have thought it was a news story about a UFO sighting. But as bad as my illustration was, I beamed with pride when I saw something I made with my own hands appear on the news.

You may wonder why I mentioned that story? It is because it taught me several valuable lessons I carry with today such as giving young people an opportunity, let them make their own mistakes and encouraging them along the way.

 

Club DJ (1988)

Anthony and friends at Etcetera (1989)
What has moonlighting as a club dj have to do with anything, you might ask? Besides being a very fun way to make extra money, you will see how it fits into the puzzle of my career later.

3D Animator (1988)

What has moonlighting as a club dj have to do with anything, you might ask? Besides being a very fun way to make extra money, you will see how it fits into the puzzle of my career later.

Radio Producer (1989)

What has moonlighting as a club dj have to do with anything, you might ask? Besides being a very fun way to make extra money, you will see how it fits into the puzzle of my career later.

GrafxLab (1992)

Anthony Anthamatten at GrafxLab (1994)

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GL2 (1992)

What has moonlighting as a club dj have to do with anything, you might ask? Besides being a very fun way to make extra money, you will see how it fits into the puzzle of my career later.

Sincerity Media Group (2019)

What has moonlighting as a club dj have to do with anything, you might ask? Besides being a very fun way to make extra money, you will see how it fits into the puzzle of my career later.

Novel: Double Crossed (2020)

What has moonlighting as a club dj have to do with anything, you might ask? Besides being a very fun way to make extra money, you will see how it fits into the puzzle of my career later.

Novel: Vengeance (2022)

What has moonlighting as a club dj have to do with anything, you might ask? Besides being a very fun way to make extra money, you will see how it fits into the puzzle of my career later.