Michael Vash

Make money being a wise ass

Please excuse typos or grammatical errors. I didn't like school very much nor was I a good student. The only subject I took comfort in was Art. My typical report card included comments like "Michael seems to be a bright yet doesn't apply himself", "Michael needs to listen more and to stop acting out", "Michael is often disruptive in class", etc. I spent a lot of it in the hallway or the principals office reflecting on my inappropriate comments. Who knew what ADD, ADHD was back then? I am sure I had it, probably still do. Where was Ritalin in those days?  Art class was the one class I actually enjoyed, I was a little more "Special" than the next kid, and loved the special attention I received from the teachers. It was my way to escape, crawling inside my little world where I would draw Dinosaurs, Football players, WWII battle scenes. I was a Jewish kid that liked drawing Swastikas, they were fun to draw, it's a great graphic shape that dates back over 3000 years that the Nazi'z had to go and ruin. Anyway, that's besides the point and I was in 2nd grade I wasn't thinking any further than the fact that they are fun to draw.  From there, it went to drawing motorcycles, sharks and dicks ( I related to the end of Superbad). I went through a phase where everybody was getting mutilated. My sister didn't appreciate the Birthday card I gave her, that showed a lot of dismemberment, she thought I may be a future serial killer. 

Somewhere along the way I stopped creating art, because it wasn't a "realistic" career path and tried to fit in with the masses. I attended Northeastern University. As I said, I was a shit student, so although Northeastern isn't a bad school, they'll pretty much take anyone. I lasted a year and a half there and transferred to Arizona State University, a University with an even higher acceptance rates. I lasted a only a semester there and continued west to visit my sister in LA who told me about this place called the Art Center College of Design.

Upon walking into the gallery of the Art Center, I immediately knew that this is where I wanted to be. It was intimidating yet exciting at the same time. I eventually managed to get accepted, starting as a Product Design major and later transferring to Illustration. For the first time I had the feeling that I was where I was supposed to be, and no longer just going through the motions. I also learned very quickly that I was no longer "Special", actually quite average.

Eventually graduating with a BA in Illustration, I started my artistic career at Walt Disney Feature Animation, another place where I was quite average, even below, yet I was able to contribute on Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and a Roger Rabbit. This was great, I was getting paid to draw. I last about three and a half years before my wandering spirit kicked in and realized that I was not cutout to have a conventional job, at least in the sense of showing up at the same place everyday. I left the Maus House and moved up to San Francisco for the life of a freelance Illustrator.

In the Bay Area I mostly found work within advertising and the plethora of multimedia companies that were the rage during the dot.com era. It was really fun to be at ground zero for that first initial tech bubble, yet I wanted to punch every schmuck in the face that said they were either day trading, launching an IPO, or would trade equity for work.

Eventually when the dotbomb bubble burst, I found myself out of work. I didn't know it at the time, but my wise-ass skills that I had so carefully crafted in my youth, would soon come into play. I began my own irreverent greeting card company called Vash Designs, combining art and smart-assness. In 2002 vashdesigns launched at the National Staionery Show in NY and now I make my money from being a wise ass, not a bad gig all and all. A gig that is always changing.

That's all folks, for now.

Michael