Bob is no average Bob.
In fact, he’s far from it.
A writer, designer, musician, teacher, father - while I was interviewing him I kept thinking “my goodness is there anything he can’t do??”
I think Bob’s story will be inspiring to us all. It’s got a great origin story, solid character development, and a cliffhanger ending.
You ready for story time?
Written by Anna Hetzel, conversion copywriter and avid fireside story teller.
Tell me about your creative journey.
Creating has always been a part of who I am. Even as a young kid I was creating things - things like covers to albums that didn’t exist or fun songs I made up.
When I went to college I decided to go into photography and cinema, but eventually settled down outside of the creative field as a 4-5th grade teacher and a father.
Fun story - shortly before my first daughter was born I actually wrote my first album! It was a lo-fi 4 track cassette album that had all kinds of different things on it...it was pretty eclectic. I’ve eventually settled into more classic rock with overtones of different things like jazz or funk.
Did you keep creating and exploring as a full-time teacher and a dad?
For the 16 years I was a 4-5th grade teacher I would always try and flex my creative muscles as best I could!
I wrote along the way, which is what kept me going creatively. Even when the kids were still at home I could still manage to do a regular blog. The blog was really about writing my own story, things that actually happened, and the odd piece of fiction.
Now as an empty nester and a retired teacher I’m really focusing in on developing my creative career. It feels like full circle from the kid who was designing album covers to a full-time creative.
What inspires you?
There’s nothing quite like Rise & Design and CSCA. Being among a creative community is very inspiring. I love talking to people about their work - some really amazing stuff is created by actual people!
It all inspires me and makes [the creative career] seem more possible.
Beyond that I have a riot of influences - whether it’s watching a movie or reading a book - it’s always sparking ideas.
Some people prefer their entertainment to be a relaxing space.
I want my entertainment to provoke thought as well. If I go to a movie and am still thinking about it 2 days later I think that was time well spent.
Is there an artist you look up to?
I’ve always been entranced by Salvador Dalí. In fact I was able to go to St. Petersburg to see the Dalí Museum with my father.
My father has never been a fan of surrealism, but when he saw what a craftsman Dalí was and some of his enormous format paintings he did...I mean you can’t stand in front of one of those and not be impressed. It really changed his opinion.
Dalí seems to be the ultimate artist with no restraints and no fear, just ruthlessly exposing whatever it is he’s thinking about.
What’s your most recent favorite book?
Right now I’m reading a book about the Great Migration called “The Warmth of Other Suns.”
I was a little intimidated when I first picked it up because it’s a 500-page book and thought it would be dry and academic. It’s not at all.
It does a marvelous job of really capturing the humanity of that time in history. It’s so moving, devastating, and inspiring at the same time because you’re reading the story of people who faced odds that I can’t even imagine facing.
I would have folded in an instant and yet these are people who endured a lot of tragedy and persevered to make a better life for themselves.
Do you have a pro tip you want to share?
Sergio Aragones has been creating cartoons for Mad Magazine for decades.
I was at an exhibit at the Cartoon Museum at OSU when he was visiting and someone asked him, “What do you do when you feel creatively stuck?”
He said, “Well, then you just work on another job that’s different from what you’re doing.”
It’s such an elementary piece of advice but it’s absolutely true.
If I’m stuck on writing I’ll go to create music or work in Illustrator.
His advice was to keep a lot of creative projects going so when you’re burnt out on one you can go to another, and then get back to the original project refreshed.
Going back and forth keeps things from becoming stale.