My whole life changed when I moved to Houston, TX in 1997. I was from a small town in Southeast Texas called Port Arthur. I was actually from Port Neches-Groves, Nederland and Port Arthur, basically the Golden Triangle. I moved a lot, met a lot of different people, and made friends in each town. Since we are in the epicenter of the oil industry, refinery jobs were the primary source of work there. My mother, father, and grandfather all worked in the oil refineries. It was the business to be in, even though there was a high risk of being blown up or developing cancer from hazardous chemicals they might be breathing. Even then, the business was lucrative.
I had big dreams back then. I always wanted to be a professional skateboarder. Realistically, I didn’t think the skateboarding career was really what my family had in mind for me. So as life started to squeeze me for answers, I found myself having to make career decisions. What was it that I was going to be when I grew up? I really enjoyed art, and I use to draw all the time when I was a kid. I would draw pictures for my mom and she would reward me with her compliments. She would tell me that I was the best artist in the world. I was in almost every art class from 6th grade through 12th grade. I figured that if I could paint all day, make money, and be famous when I die, what could be better? So, when graduation came around and my senior year of high school was almost over, it was time to begin my search for a good art college. I almost enrolled into Lamar University, a community college in Beaumont, TX. I thought that this school should satisfy my education, I would still live close to home, and I wouldn’t have to work in a oil refinery. Then, one day a Art Institute of Houston representative came and introduced me to my future. He informed me about creating graphics and utilizing art to make money sounded like a dream come true. This was the answer to all my dreams. I was getting out of the Golden Triangle and moving to Houston.
So the day came for my interview at the Art Institute, and we made a road trip out of it. It was my friend Jason, my mother, and my twin brother, Joshua. I decided that I would wear my new kaki pants and white Tommy Hilfiger shirt. It was a special day and I wanted to look my best. On the way we stopped at a McDonalds in Baytown, but they don’t sell Mountain Dew. We all drank Mountain Dew, it was something we did back in the days when we skated. On our way back from the store, which was right next door to the McDonalds, there was a fence. We all decided to jump this fence, wasn’t anything new. As I propelled myself over this fence, I misjudged my landing spot. I was leaning forward a little too much and slipped in some mud. I managed to save the Mountain Dew, but the kaki pants saw their last day. Well, the day wasn’t quite over, I still had my interview at the Art Institute that day.
Finally, I was accepted to the Art Institute in June of 1997 and completed my two-year degree. I graduated with an Associates of Applied Science degree in Graphic Design and Visual Communications, and began my journey into life. I had worked a few internships before graduating from AIH. The Internet was just evolving at that time, so a job in web design was pretty rare to come by. AIH provided me with some assistance to find my first job. They had called me with a job opportunity with a web design company, ComSpace.com. I was thrilled, even though I knew nothing about the web. I interviewed at ComSpace and got the job. Things were great and I was making the big bucks. Twenty-Eight Thousand dollars a year was good for us. So, my brother, mother, and her boyfriend all moved to Houston to live with me in our 750 sq ft. apartment in Houston, TX. It was tough at times, but we managed. Every year had its ups and downs, but we kept moving forward.
Even after ten years of pursing my dreams and stepping out on faith, there are still obstacles everyday to overcome. My mother passed away from cancer in 2004. My brother lives with his wife and two beautiful kids in Austin, TX. I’ve met some great people and have experienced some things that not very many people can say they’ve experienced. My first client whom I met in 1998, is now my business partner and friend. I have started three businesses, moved nine different times, and even lived in a hotel. I had the privilege of meeting very talented musicians and worked with major Ad Agencies in Houston. If the changes and experiences are like the first ten years, then who knows where we will be. Taking chances and venturing out of your comfort zone is the only real way you will know what true life has to offer.