This kinda started out as a resumé, which then turned into a sorta-journal … this is what I’ve remembered so far:
My name is Ashley Swanson and I was raised in Kennebunkport, Maine.
I moved to Miami Beach (South Beach – “SoBe”) in the spring of ’97. I’ve been a making a living as a Graphic Designer/Art Director for a while now, long enough to survive at it. I grew up in a small town in Maine called Kennebunkport, in a house called Bonnie Brig across the street from The Colony (“Warm Winter, Cool Summers”, it’s seasonal alternative was the Colony located in Delray Beach, FL.) I attended Consolidated School (Kennebunkport, ME) K-8, then Berwick Academy (Berwick, ME), Tatnic Hill High School (Wells, ME) & finally Kings Park Secondary (Glasgow, Scotland - Mom now lives in Limekilns). I worked all over Kennebunkport; caddy at the Cape Arundel Golf Glub, dishwasher at Alison’s, pool-boy at the Colony, bus-boy at The Shawmut Inn, picked lobster meat, prep-cook at Bartley’s Dockside. Village Cove Inn – Poolboy, Busboy and dishwasher, Riverview, The Lobster Deck (w/ Bob Walsh)
I moved to Boston/Allston late ’83 (?), after returning from my senior year (Kings Park Secondary) in Glasgow and spending the summer in the ‘port living in the fish houses in Turbats Creek, across from Vaughn’s Island. I lived all over the place in Boston – Allston, Cambridge, Roxbury, South End and even Brookline. I did everything from prep-cook, interned at a local paper (South End News layout/production – Thanx Alex Ross!), busboy (Arnies Seafood & Annie B’s), room-service (Lenox Hotel – 12 weeks!), Barback at 29 Newbury, even worked at a liquor store that sold frog legs in Allston. I also did the cover illustration for the Division 16 brunch menu (still in use at Grillfish!) … eventually got an internship at a local club called SPIT (a.k.a. DV8 / 13-Up) on Landsdowne Street (Thanks Kevin & Mike/Pat Lyons!) in the graphics/advertising department. I had a blast, even got a night gig bar-backing between the two big clubs: Spit/DV8 and Metro (where I saw: P.I.L. , Johnny Cash and Skinny Puppy to mention a few). I also managed to put together a (45 rpm) single for TAANG! records – Curtis’ (then) girlfriend Sheena (The Mystery Girls) asked me, so I quickly “designed” the TAANG! 2 Last Rights (early “Boston Hardcore”) 45 rpm … which happens to be worth a pretty penny now. Then I worked at a few smaller ad shops (Platform Studios – Kenmore Sq. and some place on Commonwealth Ave.?) also had a stint in the Sack Theaters Art dept. (Boston theaters – Pi Alley, The Beacon Hill, Paris, etc.). From there I got a start at Cabot Advertising in Charlestown, MA and short walk over the locks behind the Boston Garden. I was there for few years, fun times great “creatives” and crew. Worked in the “studio” where “mechanicals” (using glue/wax) for the ads were prepared for the printer. Old school stuff, pre-computers, we even had a “stat camera” (Agfa 2200), and it was there I first heard the word “Apple” (computers – 88/89?). In there somewhere I was the doorman for the Premier Diner, where a large man would play piano during the day for strawberry milk and at night we would remove all the tables and just leave the booths on the side. It was run by two women from Iceland, Sigga & Inga and a large fellow (and good friend) from Croatia called – Tomislav. It was there Arthur PW (RIP) played Acid house for the first time – goodtimes indeed! (’87/88? – R.I.P. Lenny – fellow doorman) After that I got a gig at a silk-screening shop, Rock & Roll T’s, that made tour t-shirts for bands, everything from UB-40 to Testament. I also had a job making patterns (and installing) neon for Neo-Neon (Carmine Saccardo) on Landsdowne. Fun, but found out I couldn’t blow glass worth a sh*t, great crew, funny stories. I also had a stint at the Middle East (Cambridge) as a Doorman upstairs, I left just before the downstair was built. Wicked fun, Martin had me do the all ages show’s on Sunday too … aye-aye-aye. Never a dull moment and lots of fun, music and dim lights. Did I mention I was in a band too? (We’ll talk about thatlater) Then I went to I,Q & J for a few years (just when they lost the infamous Converse account along with the Creative Directors) then I moved up the street to HoustonEffler (or Houston Effler Herstek Favat, or Houston Herstek Favat – depending on year/month) during the “golden” years of the agency when they had the Anti-tobacco Campaign, Fidelity and Converse to name a few. I left there as the gleam waned, and decided a move to a warmer climate might do me good. I had been to Belize (Placencia / Seine Bight) for 2 weeks, just before Christmas (’96) and the idea of warm weather started to appeal to me.
So in March ’97, I moved down to FL, spent a few weeks with Dad and Patty (RIP) – and eventually found a place down in Miami Beach (1/1 – 16th & Lenox Ave. – $700 w/ parking!) … then got a job at Ryder & Schild (yikes, but thanks Stu & Penny), a two semester run teaching QuarkXPress, Photoshop, Illustrator and various other Adobe programs at The Miami Ad School, then Turkel Schwartz in Coconut Grove, some freelancing stint at Crispin, Porter & Bogusky. Bartending at the Beehive on Lincoln Rd., then on to The Ad Team on Biscayne. Freelanced all over MIA … then, a 3 year run at The Miami Herald (Herald Creative – an “Ad Agency” within the Herald / Knight/Ridder). More freelance (Alonso & company), then a stint at Jacober & Associates. Currently I’m Minister of Propoganda for the Spam Allstars and on a Creative Retainer with Mac’s Club Deuce.