A New Beginning

Hello, please let me introduce myself. I’m Rick Stringer. I’ve worked in the creative arts industry since 1984. 

It all started in Los Angeles with the purchase of an airbrush. I fell in love with this amazing tool. At first, I learned on my own how to use it. I took a couple of classes at Otis College Of Art And Design. That was a fantastic experience. I only took two classes there, but those two classes would shape my career. 

My instructor for the airbrush was a graffiti artist, Barry Farr. Sadly, I’ve lost touch with Barry, but his mentoring, and teaching stuck with me all these years.

One day in that class, Barry looked over my shoulder as I was working on a photo-realistic illustration. He said, “I may have a job for you.”

As a young person just starting out my career, this was a pretty exciting offer. Barry had been hired for a project in the Los Angeles area. There was new construction happening along Wilshire Blvd, between L.A. and Beverly Hills. Along the sidewalk, they wanted to put a mural on the temporary wall protecting pedestrians from the construction.

Barry and I painted realistic, life-sized people on 4′ x 8′ panels in his studio. I can’t remember how many there were now. It was a lot, enough to cover one side of a city block. 

It was an amazing project, and launched my career. 

From Los Angeles, I moved to the Chicago area for a while. There, I hooked up with a small advertising and marketing firm, R N Johnson and Associates. Another great stepping stone for my career. This was 1985. Sitting in their office was a Macintosh. This was one year after the Mac had been introduced. I had no idea how that little machine would change my life. I did production artwork for R N Johnson, and learned everything I could about the Mac.

My brother convinced me that there was a market for my skills in Grand Rapids, Michigan. There I got in with another design firm that was also into the Macintosh, Michael VanderWall Design. Once again, this was a great opportunity for me to learn about the graphic arts industry, and more about the Mac.

I loved working with Michael, but there reached a point were it was obvious that the company was struggling for various reasons. I started looking for a new job. That was when I saw an ad in the local paper. It was for a person that fit exactly what my skills were at that time.

That ad was for Corbin Design. Then I saw where Corbin Design was, Traverse City, Michigan. For those of you who don’t know, Traverse City is in the northern portion of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. I hesitated… I had sworn I would never live farther north than Grand Rapids. I talked to a few people in Grand Rapids. They highly recommended Corbin Design. So, I took a chance, and sent my resume and portfolio. 

The next thing I knew, they had invited me to Traverse City, and I had never felt so courted in my life. They offered me the job the same day of my interview. The opportunity was too good, I packed up my wife, and small son, and moved to Traverse City. That was 1992.

In the years since moving to Traverse City, my skills have grown. I’m Vice President and the Technology Director for Corbin Design, do illustration, maps, Filemaker database design, and manage all of Corbin Design’s computers. After having been with Corbin Design for almost 30 years, I’m looking for a new challenge.

That is why I’m telling you about myself. I still work for Corbin Design. My goal is to retire from there in 2022. That really isn’t that far away. However, I don’t want to just sit around the house. I’m a creative person, and I want to continue doing creative things that help others.

If you have a small business that could use some help with artwork, database design, or help with your Macintosh computers, I’m just the guy you are looking for.

Hopefully, I haven’t lost you, and somehow we will be able to work together to create something wonderful.