It was about three years later, while they were working on different segments of a broad-ranging project for Furman University, that Brian met George Leventis. They bonded over a love of Star Wars, 90’s punk, and their shared DIY ethic. They both loved running into novel problems that forced them to learn new ways to think about solving them. This easy rapport became a wonderfully effective collaborative process.
We’ve been lucky enough to share orbits with several other committed creatives—writers, designers, illustrators—that, from time-to-time contribute to the cause. This turned out to be an exceptionally nimble, efficient, and just fun way to operate. So, Southpaw Press became The Southpaw Collective—the multi-tool of design shops (the cool kind with the flashlight and the fire-starter).
When he was 10 years old, Brian wanted to be Evel Kneivel, and draw comics. Along the way, he took what some would consider detours. His story is really just your standard “get a biology degree, teach high-school science for a while, then move across the state to work for engineering firms while pursuing an engineering degree. Next, you figure out that you really don’t fit into the world of engineers, so you go back to school to pursue the thing you wanted to do at the beginning of all of this.”
You know…tale as old as time…
But, that’s Brian. He firmly believes that—usually—the only thing between you and a solution is a learning curve. And, anyway, it’s clear his design work has benefitted from the path he took to get here. He’s had over 15 years as a Designer/Art Director. The breadth of experience in such a wide range of industries has given him adaptability that allows him to look at projects from many different angles—bringing clarity and power to messaging.
Honestly, at the end of the day, Brian gets to learn about new enterprises and people, tinker with all kinds of projects, and draw pictures all day—for his job. Even though the Evel Knievel part is still TBD — 10-year-old Brian would be pleased.
Outside of the work, Brian has a wife, a son, and a daughter whom he loves very much…and a dog that he tolerates.
George has nearly 20 years experience in application programming, front and backend web development, data integration, project management, e-commerce, and business process analysis. And believe it when I say…we could spend a solid day finishing this list…BUT…
And he is pretty tight-lipped about the whole situation, but he may ACTUALLY be a wizard. There hasn’t been anything —A. SINGLE. THING.—Southpaw has needed to accomplish digitally that has stumped George. If he didn’t already have a solution on deck, he could figure one out in an astonishingly short time. He is creative, fast, funny, entrepreneurial, and (along with his wife) has managed to have three, teenage, children who are each wonderful AND interesting people….so…
If/when it ever comes to light that he is, in fact, a wizard—we knew it the whole time.
Back in 2006, just as I was starting my first contract design position, I wanted to do something to mark my newfound direction/stability in life. That something ended up being getting a dog. This pup and I bonded instantly. He was easily the smartest dog I’d ever had.
I spent about 3 afternoons with him in the yard, and he had SIT, STAY, and COME down. He didn’t pull his leash on walks, and he decided the best thing to do was to sit when we stopped at the corners.
This genius’s name was Jack, and he is the reason I fell in love with boxers. As time went on, I built a website to backstop my freelance efforts. On this site, Jack was listed as a partner/creative director.
It was his image on that site that brought the phone call from Furman University. After starting at Furman, the freelance became a side-hustle. It allowed me to curate my clients, which in turn led to more inquiries from more quality clients. All because of my genius, muse of a dog.
Outside of his, clearly gifted, mind, there was always something else that was odd about Jack. He used his left paw for everything. Boxers are pretty handsy anyway (its how they got the name), but it was impossible not to notice that he steadied his food bowl (Don’t judge. The boy ate with GUSTO!), reached under the fence for his ball, and most other things with that left paw. After some extensive research on the matter, I found out that dogs can have dominant sides like us. So it turns out this brown-and-white, ride-or-die, bro of a dog…was a LEFT-HANDED BOXER. Jack has long since passed away, but he was there from day one, and he’ll be on the masthead for as long as there is a Southpaw Collective.