Skills and Abilities

A paper resume doesn’t do much to tell you about who I am or what it is I can do. It’s going to tell you I’ve worked in manufacturing and logistics for 20 years with a brief stint in real estate and substitute teaching. There’s so much more to my skills and abilities than that. The examples below will go into more detail, but there are pieces beyond what is shown here.


Silkscreen Printing

For five years my home has housed my own screen printing studio. My washout booth, exposure unit, and vacuum table were all built by myself. I print my own positive films using modified inkjet printers. My hope was to get into the business of printing gig posters for bands, but mostly I just churn out my own original artwork and hope someone will buy it.

Washed out silkscreen
An exposed and rinsed screen in the washout booth for an upcoming print.

One of my first prints was an ambitious 6-color piece using hand drawn films. It’s called “The Silo” and you can see the making of it (and all my handmade fixtures) in the video below:

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Illustrations, Painting, Etc.

Pencil, pen, watercolors, acrylics. I’ll make illustrations and paintings with whatever materials I have on hand. Favorite subjects include robots, guitars, and motorcycles.

Lego Musician
Watercolor Lego musician in costume. Watercolor pencils and ink. 9 x 12 inches.

There was a brief time where I thought I’d be a painter. I do miss it and occasionally revisit it. The piece below is about 36 x 48 inches. It is named The Lovers of Valdaro after two skeletons that were found in Italy and thought to have died 6000 years ago. In order to stay within a budget on this piece, I used a variety of water based materials I already had. I started with a gray surface and added in the bones, covered them with an experimental wash, and blocked in the black.

The Lovers of Valdaro. Approx 36 x 48 inches. Acrylic paint and ink on gessoed masonite.

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Book Binding

While prototyping a different kind of notebook ruling, I began to learn how to assemble handmade books. In contrast to my other artistic pursuits, book binding involves more cutting, glueing, sewing, and folding. I’ve made a variety of journals and notebooks, often involving silkscreen printed covers. Skills I’ve acquired in bookbinding have transferred over to making custom business cards and playing cards.

Handmade Notebooks
A collection of handmade notebooks featuring screen printed covers.

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Although it’s rare that I get to bring out my guitar as a means of making money, I have been playing and writing music for over twenty years.

“Intro/Stop Sign” by John Everett Morton

In addition to numerous open mic situations, I’ve played at weddings, funerals, house parties, and a handful of legit gigs at coffee houses and breweries. This video also showcases some of my audio and video production work. All the lighting, sound editing, and video was done by myself.

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Interior Design

While I’ve never been bold enough to advertise my home decorating skills, there’s a lot of overlap in the arts. When I bought my home in DeKalb I lived in the basement the whole first year while I rehabilitated the rest of thee house.

Custom Bedroom
Bedroom with custom nightstands and ambient lighting

My bedroom has become one of the highlights in my house. Although it seemed scary at the time, the walls are a super dark blue, bordering on black. The two nightstands were old wood ladders that have been cut down to size and had shelves added. The hanging lights provide enough illumination to read by and can be turned on and off with a remote. Instead of removing the weird window (which used to look out onto the porch) I turned it into a fixed headboard using an old cellar door found in the loft of my garage. I pressure washed it, dried it out, and sealed it with polyurethane. The whole room was done for less than $200 in materials.

Updated Kitchen
The kitchen was updated with new paint on the cabinets and doors. The ceiling was also updated.

The kitchen is one of the most recent success stories in my house. By painting the existing cabinets and walls, I was able to change the whole look.

Original kitchen
The original kitchen had golden oak cabinets, green walls, and primer gray doors.

The most interesting new aspect of the kitchen is the ceiling. I ripped all the boards from quarter-inch plywood, gave them different treatments with a paint roller, and nailed them to the existing ceiling using an 18 gauge brad nailer.

Updated kitchen ceiling
A new ceiling fan and light was added when the ceiling was replaced.

The existing ceiling was plaster, which was intact, but the paint on it was peeling in some spots and stuck solid in others. I could try to strip paint, remove plaster and replace it with drywall, or use the opportunity to do something creative.

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Computer Skills

Adobe Creative Suite

I’m reluctant to brag about my skills with Photoshop and Illustrator because it’s been a slow process becoming more proficient with these tools. I’m also familiar with InDesign and gaining more knowledge of Premiere all the time. The video in the post How To Make The Perfect Hot Chocolate features some of my most extensive video shooting and editing (the music in the background is my original writing, playing and recording as well).

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My first taste of programming was with BASIC. I used to make “Choose Your Own Adventure” style games and get my mother to play them. Since then I’ve dabbled in C/C++ and JavaScript, but mostly HTML, CSS, and PHP for use online.

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WordPress is an open source Content Management System (CMS) commonly used for blogs and similar websites. In fact, it is the platform that is powering this webpage right now. I’m not a WP expert, but have used plugins that aid with eCommerce, SEO, and reducing spam. Most importantly, I’ve made custom WordPress themes for myself. The custom theme running now is “Neat & Keen 2012” and is based on the free Twenty-Twelve WordPress theme. My programming skills make building a custom WordPress theme possible.

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My personal computer is something known as a Hackintosh. It is a custom built PC made from readily available components that runs Apple’s Macintosh Operating System. Why? A Mac with specs similar to my computer would have cost upwards of $3000. I spent less than half that to build a machine that will run both Mac OS and Windows.

Custom Hackintosh
The glowing insides of my custom Hackintosh

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Most people have a basic understanding of Microsoft Office these days. My experience with programming gives me a little bit of an edge in Excel over the average user. Some examples of workbooks I’ve put together:

  • Personal Budget: This is a good project for everyone to tackle and the formulas involved are pretty simple.
  • Mortgage, Tax, and PMI Combination Calculator: When I bought my home I didn’t want to be caught off guard by any unaccounted expenses. I had seen too many people get in over their head with a house they couldn’t afford. Basic online calculators at the time didn’t take taxes, PMI, and insurance into account.
  • Logistical Analytics: Efficiency reports are a common sight in a distribution center and often the combination of reports are used to make new reports and graphs. After seeing many reports still printed on paper, I created a report that kept track of pallets move through the warehouse on a daily and running monthly average. The efficiency of moves was tracked on an individual, department, and shift basis. This allowed managers to identify where there were gaps of time that needed to be addressed. The data was all pulled from Comma Separated Values generated on site, negating the need to enter data by hand from previously printed reports.

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I’ve been a babysitter, a substitute teacher, and a licensed Realtor. In 2008 I wrote a first draft of a short novel called “The Mourner’s Guide to the Death of Charlie Edison” as part of National Novel Writing Month. The first time I took the ACT test resulted in a perfect score on the math section. Right brain/left brain tests often place me dead center; a blessing and a curse, caught between the creative and the analytical. My most recent Myers-Briggs type is INFP-T, the Turbulent Mediator (I’ve also tested out as INTJ and INFJ; all three among the most rare types). I dream of one day running an art co-op and having a space to throw clay pots on a wheel. Careers I have considered include math teacher, art teacher, and architect.