Here I am again, doing the same thing at the same time from last year: writing my year-in review. And although this has become tradition for me, this year has been anything but the standard. Everything from the highs of the Chicago CUBS finally winning the World Series, to the lows of losing some of our biggest heroes, (RIP Carrie Fisher, George Michael, Mohammad Ali, Prince and David Bowie), to Brexit, and as impossible as it is to believe, Donald Trump becoming the new leader of the free world.
If you've been keeping up with this blog, then you might remember that last year I moved back to Chicago and started my own business. It's been a challenging learning experience, but I hear that no hard work goes unrewarded. I'll be honest, things haven't quite gone as planned. This transition from LA to Chicago hasn't been the smoothest of landings, but instead of going into those details, lets look back on all the fun stuff.
Let's start with last spring, when the Themed Entertainment Association awarded my team, Beaudry Interactive our first industry award for our Inspector Training Course game exhibit at Discovery Cube, Los Angeles. It was pretty exciting to get to go back to LA to attend the TEA Summit and THEA Award Ceremony. I got to hob-nob with some amazing industry pros, get all gussied up in a fancy suit, and visit some good friends back in California.
And it doesn't stop there. To add to winning our first industry award, we also won our second. Not only were we recognized by the themed entertainment industry, we also won big with the museum industry when we got a Silver MUSE Award from the American Alliance of Museums! It feels pretty incredible to have been recognized by both the themed entertainment industry AND the museum industry.
On other fronts, I also had the privalege of working with The Disney Company again and was commissioned by D23 to be the cover artist for D23 Magazine's 2016 fall issue celebrating the 25th anniversary of Disney's Beauty & The Beast. I can't even tell you what an honor and a dream come true it was to work this project. Not only did I get to draw some of my favorite childhood characters, but during the approval process, my work got to be reviewed by some of major industry artists, like Belle's original character designer (and designer of most of your favorite Disney princesses), Mark Henn and character animator, Glen Keane. Pictures don't do D23 Magazine's beautiful print quality justice but here's a look-see at my wraparound cover art:
But wait, there's more! D23 also commissioned me to help them celebrate Hawaii's Disney Aulani hotel's 5th anniversary by creating a special set of limited edition enamel pins. Only 75 sets were created.
And to add to that craziness, I also did something else unexpected: I joined the amazing team at LUCI Creative/Ravenswood Studio and now get to focus on my environmental design skills. With Luci/RSI, I get to immerse myself in learning all about the process of design and fabrication for museum exhibits, theater, opera and....nuts! My very first exhibit with the company was for JB Sanfilippo, creator and producer of the famous and delicious Fisher Nuts. I've only been with the company for about 8 months now, but I'm learning a lot and doing some pretty fun work.
I'm not sure where this new endeavor is gonna take me, but I'm in for the ride. Like I said earlier, this year has been all about changes and I find myself feeling pretty introspective. Moving and adjusting to life back in Chicago, missing Los Angeles, wondering where life takes us, it's a lot to process at times. All in all, I just hope for the best. In this instance, I think about my parents. Mom and Dad have been through a lot throughout the years and have had their own year of life-changing events. This year, they made their dream of moving to Hawaii a reality. I' was kind of sad when they left, and I'll miss them, but they've been wanting this forever, and I've never seen them happier. I look up to them, and their strong bond with each other and try to remind myself that whatever life's challenges, it'll all work out to be something just as awesome and just as strong.
So bring it on 2017! Let's see whatchoo got.