By 1996, I had left the agency world once again to freelance. The Internet and the World Wide Web was spreading like wildfire. Everywhere you went, people in the business were talking about websites. Eager to explore new directions and opportunities, I began to teach myself web page coding with HTML. I created and posted numerous sites in the next few years. My own studio website went through many incarnations. As I would learn new techniques and methods, I would just redesign it. As a freelance designer, I was out and about on a weekly basis. I handed out my card, which proudly included my studio’s URL, whenever I had a chance.
My interest and capabilities in website design became known among my clients which at the time, included advertising agencies. I was quite surprised when one day when I was asked to design a website for the agency, Peak Barr Petralia Biety (now Peak Biety). I began to get referrals from other agencies and to direct clients. I was a classically-trained, advertising agency art director who knew web design. That was a rarity. Most people doing web design were technicians or engineers.
But as I was getting work designing sites, a curious thing happened. I began to get requests to train designers and art directors to do web design. This was the beginning of my teaching career. I still got my hourly rate, and all I was doing was sitting next to someone, in front a computer, telling them what to do. It may be quite a leap to go from that, to standing in front of classroom of students but that is exactly what happened. I saw a classified ad for a job opening. It was for “chairperson of the graphic design department” at Florida Metropolitan University. I was intrigued. I called, not to apply for that job, but just to see if they had any teaching positions available. They did. I interviewed, and was given one class to teach as an adjunct professor.
After FMU, I started teaching at the International Academy of Design and Technology, and most recently at the Art Institute, both in Tampa.