Why did you first get online?
1985 on a Hayes Smartmodem. Soon after, I joined an Amiga Users Group at Yale University and became a frequent contributor to their BBS. My passion for computing drove me to create digital animation and video art, MIDI music recordings and live performances, and to publish a series of communications as well as mouse-drawn illustrations and cartoons. I published my first zine in New Haven, called “Squid Florentine at Large” on the Amiga. Computing was the first thing I did each morning, and the last thing each night, often into the wee hours of the next day.
When did you first get involved with digital and why?
Although I had spent my youth pouring over my father’s design annuals and books on graphic design, and writing and illustrating my own stories, I still felt like I was a fine artist at heart. When I realized that supporting myself this way was not a route I wanted to take, I veered toward graphic design as a career but found myself extremely frustrated with old school techniques. Computers gave me the toolbox I craved while Internet access provided the opportunity to expand my communication. I started my career on an Amiga computer in the early 80s, and then moved on to Macs, and PCs when I had to.
How would you describe your work and professional interests in the 1990’s (or 80’s etc).
After attending college in Boston, spending time in New York, then living in Los Angeles and San Francisco, I settled in New Haven, CT in the mid-80s. I met Mark Levinson, the pioneer of “high end audio” in a gallery where I worked part-time. He offered me a job at his start-up company, Cello. I was immediately hooked on the technology and tradeshows like CES, where we showcased Cello products.
Later, I got my first job in advertising by pitching the principals of a small New Haven agency. They hired me, I recommended and installed desktop computers and scanners and trained their staff — in exchange for knowledge on working in the agency world. I’ve been using computers to make a living in design and advertising ever since.
Over the years I ran a service bureau and worked at two different type houses just making the switch to personal computers over old school equipment. In 1991, I was Creative Director at Microtech International where I produced international ad campaigns, designed trade show booths and promotions, collateral and packaging. At Microtech, I was surrounded by a large team of highly technical folks whom I adored. One of them turned me on to Mondo 2000 magazine, a Cyberpunk publication and precursor to WIRED magazine, that I began to illustrate for. I was invited by Davy Jones of The Monkees to create illustrations for the book Mutant Monkees and the MultiMedia Manipulation Machine. I also met, and worked with Paul Haslinger, formerly of Tangerine Dream, on a CD promotion and MacWorld party for Microtech. I found my passion was in anything highly creative and digital.
In 1994, Microtech founder and CEO, Cliff Wildes, asked me to join him in a software publishing partnership. We launched six consumer titles into the marketplace in a year, and our software Personal Backup shipped with every Iomega Zip drive for the Mac during the first year of their launch.
I began to spend a lot of time at events in New York’s Silicon Alley. I was a guest and sometimes host on several shows at Pseudo, I produced “The kHyal Show” at the New York Film Academy, and I began to get hired as a digital photo journalist to cover events for the Canadian Consulate’s New Media Division, the MIT Enterprise Forum of New York City of which I was a member of the Marketing Committee, WWWAC events, Internet World and more. I also published my own editorial content on kHyal.com, taking hours to create custom html layouts for each page, which now of course with blogging software takes only minutes.
In 1996, I cofounded blowtorch studios, an interactive agency and software development firm with Jackie Lightfield. Jackie was another partner at our software publishing company and prior to that, my colleague at Microtech.
Later, I worked in the touch screen kiosk development industry as Creative Director for Allied Systems, a large Sun Microsystems VAR, then Netkey, formerly Lexitech, which was founded at Yale University’s Science Park technology incubator. In the late 90s I was Creative Director at circle.com, an all-digital agency now doing business as Euro RSCG Discovery.
After 9/11 and the dotcom crash, I worked in educational publishing, not exactly a cutting-edge technology field. However, my passion was in setting up workflows within digital publishing systems with our clients, including McGraw-Hill and Harcourt using k$ and Woodwing.
In 2007 — I founded fiZz agency, a digital marketing communications firm. I also cofounded PUSH workshops with my husband Karl Heine, who is a designer and has owned and operated a creative recruitment firm, creativeplaement.com, for 22 years. We produce events and workshops for creative professionals, speak at art and design schools and are working on a book called Getting Noticed, a career guide for creative professionals, which highlights effective social marketing tactics.
Parallel to my career in digital design, marketing, PR and advertising — I have experimented with technology to make and show art and music. I had a band in the mid-80s called The Ultra Violet Rakes that was all MIDI, and accompanied with digital video. I was in a technology/art show at the first wired building in New York, 55 Broad Street, then at Ricco/Maresca Gallery in SoHo in an exhibition called CODE also featuring artist Char Davies from Softimage and an array of artists from R/GA.
What do think the future will hold internet/digital?
I think the technological advances will expand by leaps and bounds in tandem with improvements that allow more inclusion of the natural world in look and feel. You can see the backlash of too much computer-generated content in the youth culture now, including the return to vinyl records and organic Etsy-style and MakerBot DIY design trends. I believe that humans will be humans, a species that is driven to have the things we want. And, we want better, faster technologies that improve our lives superficially, intellectually, financially and physically.
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