After doing all I could with that little TI, I took a hiatus from computers and did more art things: air brushing, painting, drawing, etc. I did have a little run-in with a Windows 3.11 computer which was an utter nightmare.
My freshman year of high school, I got my hands on my first Mac with Mac Paint and I was hooked. The next year we got Photoshop and there was no turning back. It was the perfect marriage of computers and art. By my senior year, I knew I couldn’t afford college and I had completed all of my required credits to graduate. So, instead of leaving early, I took a four hour block of the graphics class and was able to sit there and “play” all day long. It didn’t take long for faculty and staff to figure out my love for computers and art because I think I was only in the classes I belonged for about 50% of my senior year. I was running around helping annual staff, other kids in graphics, and fixing staff computers.
I just gotta throw out a shout to my great teacher Ersal Williamson – RIP Sir. You are missed!
Fresh out of high school and tired of the fast food gigs, I started searching for a job which related to my interests. I just started banging on doors and Bill Williams from The Loafer allowed me in. I showed him my portfolio and my letter of recommendation from the principal, Max Williams. Bill told me, “That is a strong letter of recommendation!” I said, “Thank you!” He looked over my portfolio and gave me a chance. Within a few months I went from making a few ads, to making all the ads and the cover. I started at The Loafer way back in 1992 and I still do the cover to this day.
Big shoutout to you Bill, for giving me my first job in the field!
The Loafer wasn’t a full-time job, so I started looking for something else to supplement my income and feed my hobby of Hot Rods. Again, I started banging down doors and Philip from Sabre Printers allowed me to show him what all I had accomplished. It was perfect timing. Sabre was growing and needed a person to start a second shift – they chose me!
Shoutout: The entire Blevins family is some of the nicest and best people I have ever worked for.
After 5 years of working The Loafer and Sabre Printers, I decided to stop doing the ads and layout, keep the cover at The Loafer, and start doing my own thing. I started working a very early shift at Sabre (5am-1pm) which allowed me the time to push my own thing in the afternoons. It wasn’t long until I quit the full-time job and was able to make a living doing nothing but Stellar stuff.
It was a tough start here in the mountains of Tennessee; people didn’t really value the Web much around here back then. But as the Web starting gaining momentum and the need to have your place on the Web started growing, so did our business. We started landing larger clients and getting bigger projects which helped us grow. Our biggest burst of momentum was when I met Tony Treadway and he allowed me to give him our “dog and pony show.” We really hit it off and have been partners with him and his staff at Creative Energy on many projects. I truly appreciate the opportunities he gave us then and continues to give us today. We wouldn’t be the great team and business we are today without him.
If it hadn’t been for the support of my family, I wouldn’t have been able to do it or be where I am today.
Owning your own business is tough. Probably one of the toughest things ever – and it doesn’t get any easier. As the company grows, I am required to be more places and away from my family.
Which I hate.
But at least it isn’t often.
I started Stellar to do cool things, make great art, and help support my family. Now that many years have passed and the business has grown at a steady pace, I couldn’t be any happier about the state of things.