Hello, my name is Mike. Over the years, I have learned that being creative needs to be a big part of my life. Whether it is creating a lesson plan, cropping a photo or coming up with games for my daughter, when I think creatively I thrive. I grew up in Spokane, WA, and really started to get invested in Art and Design while in a marketing club in high school. With this club, I got the chance to travel to New York, Seattle, Nashville, and Orlando, where I got to see hat makers, magazine editors, concerts, plays, and different ways of life. After receiving my undergraduate degree in Graphic Design from Northwest Nazarene University, I worked at Carhartt for five years designing buttons, graphic t’s, hats, patterns, posters, and a lot more. It was a fantastic experience. Currently, I am back at my alma mater teaching Design and running the art galleries on campus.
Divided up among the Spring and Fall Semesters, I teach Introduction to Web Design, Advanced Typography, Design 1, Illustration, Integrated Media Campaigns, and Senior Exhibition. Running the Friesen Galleries involves booking and setting up six shows a year, promoting, purchasing new artwork, and setting up Art Council meetings throughout the year to manage our funds and meet with donors. My school schedule gives me a great balance of teaching, working with the gallery, doing my graduate work, and making time for family. Teaching at NNU is what pushed me to pursue my masters degree. Not only has this degree help me teach classes today but it will greatly expand my teaching and professional bounds down the road.
Before I get into what roads might be available in the future, let me tell you a little more about me as a person. I am happy to teach and to work, but the most important things to me are my relationship with God and my family. A few years ago, through the StrengthsFinder test, I found that belief was in my top five strengths, and as soon as I saw that word and read through the meaning, I completely agreed. I have to believe in something to be following it. I believe people need time to rest. That’s why I like to go biking, hiking, and fishing as often as I can. Clearing your head and slowing down helps me gain perspective. I believe family is important. The reason I work is to provide for and spend time with my family. I believe in a good education. After looking at other MFA programs, it was evident to see AAU’s program was head and shoulders above the rest. Now halfway through the program, I have experienced an amazing education, and I absolutely believe it is going to be incredibly impactful for my future.
Five years down the road, I want to be teaching at NNU, co-leading a small outdoors brand, and spending three months in the summer traveling around the country with my family. As much as that can be my plan, I know that things change. This is an ideal scenario. I can see myself teaching for a long time, because it is a fantastic way to give back to the next generation. That being said, I have always had a lot of interests, so a friend and I have been in the midst of starting an outdoors company over the last year. We will start by selling water bottles and move on from there. We think that we can source and create products that will tell a different story in the market today.
Someone once told me that if your dreams seem reachable, then they aren’t big enough. There is a lot more to my dreams than is in the paragraphs above. Hopefully they will continue to expand and grow in the future. As I look a the future, I can’t help but very much appreciate the past that has so well equipped me for this journey.