Launching My First Product on Kickstarter

Design, Manufacturing, The Bag Idea

The past few months have been hectic.

I lost my apartment in late April and then was hopping between hotels for about a month and a half until the school year ended and I relocated to Nansha, in southern Guangzhou… closer to Shenzhen, Macau, and Hong Kong. So now, manufacture, roulette wheels, and dim sum are closer than ever. And I have some proper space and quiet to work, rest, and adjust the derailleurs on my mountain bikes… as well as design.

IMG_4163

Studio

The new home studio

In these past months I’ve spent many a late night up working on three independent bag-related designs for manufacture. Now that my summer break has begun, I have more free time which actually means more work! But I’m not complaining. I really love it and I know I will look back at this period in the future with some special kind of fondness.

I will launch my first Kickstarter campaign within one or two weeks. I’m pretty excited about finally putting this first little product out there to a wider audience after so many months of work and secrecy. I think I’ve had every emotion in the range between elated self-confidence and crushing self-doubt in the process.

There was at least one thing Teddy Roosevelt got right when he said:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

As a bit of a teaser, here are three related images that together describe the form of and purpose for the product. See if you can guess what it might be!

Jeans_pocket_back

factory tour

Manufacturing a Plastic Hydroponic Planter in China

Design, Hydroponic Planter, Manufacturing

I’m currently on a week-long break from school for the Qingming (“Tomb Sweeping”) holiday, and have been using a good portion of that time to design. Yesterday, I hopped a train out to Dongguan to meet with my business partners Swen and Kelvin to discuss a new product for manufacture that I redesigned just this past weekend.

Zhangmutou station

Zhangmutou train station in Dongguan

Retro schoolbag color scheme

What’s the Bag Idea?

Design, Manufacturing, The Bag Idea

I’ve had this idea for a bag for about five or six years now.

Back in Sydney I started to research an essential element to the design and found I would need to work around an existing patent or wait for it to expire, which it did this past year. So, I’m taking the opportunity here in China to get this thing going.

Here’s what I’ve been up to.

This Year of Passion

Design, My Year Without Violence

Well, my year without violence is not the big news I thought it might be. Life got bigger instead.

I was planning on giving an update on MYWV within a week of committing to it– instead I got caught up in some inspiring design projects that might go better under the title “This Year of Passion”, so here’s my preface.

A World Without Servers

Artwork, Comics, Commercial, Design, Illustration, Three Post

A few years back, I was working on a project with Three Post and my buddy Carlos, now with Greater Than, for Lenovo. Lenovo was just about to acquire IBM’s low-end server business, and we were working on some advertising content for the transition.

In the end, Lenovo didn’t go through with it for some reasons other than our work, but I had alot of design sketches done, and Carlos had converted the finished drawings into flash animation.

The idea behind the series is that there’s this character named Walt (who seems to be channelling a bit of Milton from Office Space) who does everything in an old-school manner.  He lives in a “world without servers”. We were toying with the idea of what things might be like without servers… which kind of means everything collapses.

I don’t think we’d gotten the series to the point of elegance yet, but I like some of the ideas that were emerging.

Below are links to some of the initial sketches I did. I’ll see if I can find some of the more developed ideas as well.

 

Cloud Storage

Twitter

Internet Dating

Hard Drive Crash

Website Functionality

Email

Internet Search

Uno

Countdown

Bollards FC Crest

Artwork, Design

EasterBollards

This past Easter, a buddy of mine from college sent me a pic of him wearing the t-shirt from our intramural soccer team “back in the day”. I had designed the crest for it.

bollards_scan_final

Newly inspired, I decided to redesign the crest for kicks and send out to our team.

Bollards FC 2014Referring to a important events in our collegiate life, the soccer ball and frisbee represented our intramural teams, the hexagon behind the frisbee referred to a large hexagonal piece of furniture* we had alleypicked and filled with ice and drinks for a party… it resided thereafter in the basement of our townhouse and was referred to as “the hex”. The grey alien was a nod to our love of the X-Files, and the bomb was what we were going to drop on our opponents. Bollards had been recently installed around campus (and had been stolen as pranks on various occasions and relocated around the school), and were chosen as our team name. Our motto was “$150 Fine For Passing A Bollard”.

Classic.

* We were never really sure what the thing was. It had no top surface, but rather a deep inset halfway down with a hexagonal mirror for a surface at that point. The inset allowed us to fill the thing like a container with ice and drinks. It was probably some strange department store furnishing.

In the Waning Days of Raleigh

Artwork, Design, Three Post

I’m headed to Guangzhou, China in about two weeks having signed a two-year contract developing the Drama program at a new international school there. Teaching affords the great opportunity of a stable job plus (in the right cases) time to continue working on side projects, as well as travel during breaks. I’ve been a professional teacher for five years now, and the structure works well for my current goals.

I left my position as Head Teacher of Creative Arts in Sydney last December, mountain biked around SE Asia and traveled to India for three months, then spent just under six months here in North Carolina, brushing up on my design and illustration skills, studying game design and developing a text adventure, playing soccer and watching the World Cup, and getting in dragon boating.

During this past half-year, I’ve been freelancing on Teachers Pay Teachers and People Per Hour as well as with Three Post in Raleigh. In these final weeks, I’ve been burning the midnight oil working on two projects with them: one for the Raleigh Convention Center and the other for Lenovo’s acquisition of IBM’s low-end server unit.

Final products to be seen within the month of August!

IMG_20140729_122850744

IMG_20140728_115318889

IMG_20140727_205235129

IMG_20140727_232557787_HDR

IMG_20140728_200704546_HDR

A Chinese-Inspired Playhouse

Artwork, Design, Theatre

Playhouse-1

I graduated from Wheaton College in 1999 with a BA in Studio Arts and immediately began grad school for Acting at the University of Missouri – Kansas City. After half a year, I realized I wasn’t ready for school quite yet and left, returning to the Chicago area and working as the Technical Director at my undergraduate theatre among other things.

During that time, I also built a playhouse for my first director and his wife, who had just adopted their first daughter from China.

Playhouse-3

Playhouse-2