I remember as a young child all the fun I used to have cutting and gluing empty toothpaste boxes into fantastic little spaceships for my action figures. They had fins and wings and a kitschy charm that could only be found in something truly hand made and original. As I grew up my creative desires grew with me and I learned to sketch and draw and work with models and computers. No matter what else I was doing in life, somewhere in the background there was always something being built or sewn or crafted. I reveled in the creative problem-solving process, whether I was making something tangible or tapping away for hours at my little Commodore 64 “computer” to create the code to “bounce” a ball across the screen.
In college I dove into a double major of Civil Engineering and Art History, planning to be a consulting engineer on historic restoration projects. After a few years, my love of art overwhelmed my interest in crunching numbers, and although I eventually left the physics, chemistry, and advanced mathematics behind me, I discovered that there were aspects of them that brought my design to a new level. It was in college that I also developed a love of history, and an understanding of classical styles and timeless design. I also learned through my studies in engineering to make things that could be practical and functional as well as beautiful. People around me began to take notice of what I was doing and I was able to earn my way through college creating costuming and props for Renaissance Faires, re-enactors, and Live Action Roleplayers.
After college, trying to make my way into a tough economy, I began to work with children. I ran a before and after-school program with 75 kids, and my creative desires were fueled creating craft projects and elaborate “theme days” to introduce the children to my world of activity. That position was a stepping stone into the museum world, where I worked as a Park Ranger in Lowell National Historical Park. Located in the heart of one of New England's largest mill towns, Lowell was revitalizing itself by bringing its past to life and sharing it with the world. I joined the effort by assisting the curatorial department in the creation of exciting exhibits and shows. I designed and laid out display panels and fliers, helped create the supporting graphics for temporary and permanent exhibits, and dabbled in costuming with the Park's “Living History” program.
I left the museum world to take on my greatest challenge—being a stay at home dad. I gave up exhibit design and guiding tours for diapers and playdates, but even then I was unable to set aside my creative desires. I turned to freelancing, working during naptimes and at night to create costuming, leatherwork, and graphic designs. I continued my work with re-enactors and roleplayers and expanded it into stage and film, working with independent filmmakers and the Boston Ballet.
As my children grew I began to see a pattern. Everywhere my life took me, design and craft followed along. I decided that I was going to make what I loved to do be what I was paid to do. I updated my skills at Boston University's Center for Digital Imaging Arts and set off to do what I do best, make ideas into tangible things.
Now I work to bring that lifetime of creative drive to my clients. I pour my passion, diverse knowledge and broad technical skill base into every project I do. To me there is no such thing as “standard corporate”, or “sorta artsy”, or “eco-friendly looking”. I start with universal themes like “clean and efficient ” and ideas like “who is the audience that we wish to speak to?”, and work closely with each of my clients to create a unique object or design that is crafted to meet their specific needs and personality. In the end I am a translator, an interpreter. I take words, ideas and thoughts and translate them into the language of art and design.
—Matthew J Almeida