We sat down with our newest production artist, David Jean. “Old Fashioned Dave” has worked many years in the business, but maintains a childlike enthusiasm with each person and project he comes into contact with. He’s sure to be the one to round the corner with a deadline in hand and a smile to brighten your day.
Schaefer: How did you start in your background as a production artist?
David: Well I started as an illustrator, actually. My sister worked at an agency in Arlington for many years, and I always wanted to get a job there. I’ve worked in the “artsy type” business for years. First, I worked in a music store off and on for 10 years, and worked at photo labs in between. My brother owned a photo lab and I would run all the film for him. Finally, he said, “You can come on board to help out more,” so I worked there for a while just to get my foot in the door.
Then I started showing he and his team my illustrations and they started to get me to do them. After a while, I left the lab and went on my own, because I would make more money that way. I networked through my siblings and I soon became a graphic artist for Six Flags. It turned out to be a great job, and I did it for 11 years.
Schaefer: Everyone around the office knows to send all the dogs your way. We know you’ve had both cats and dogs. Which do you prefer?
David: Ah. I love them all equally, but Chim Chim – my kitty – has a special place in my heart. He’s kind of crazy and thinks I’m his momma. He’s the one that wakes me up in the middle of the night standing on my back – he’s also 18 pounds.
Schaefer: Did you have any weird pets growing up?
David: Yeah, when I around 8 or 9, I had a dog named Ginger that bit everyone but me. He was such a mutt. My parents wanted to get rid of him [laughs]. I remember getting him too, because my neighbors just handed him through the fence and said, “Hey do you want our dog?” and we said, “Sure!”
Schaefer: After working in a music store for a while, did you manage to pick anything up yourself?
David: Guitar, piano, and drums. It was a great place to work, because I actually met a few famous people like Doyle Bramhall, the guy who wrote a lot of Stevie Ray Vaughn songs. We ended up becoming really good friends. I was only 18 or 19 years old and Doyle was in his thirties. He would always come up to the shop and I always thought he was just a local musician.
We would go across the street and play pool together and just talk. After I had known him for like 5 years or so, I was with one of my other friends who worked at the shop and we were listening to a Stevie Ray Vaughn song and he goes, “Yeah I can’t believe that Doyle wrote this song.” It completely shocked me. That’s how I found out this guy who I had known for years and hung out with, talked music with and jammed with actually wrote 4 or 5 Grammy award-winning songs for Stevie Ray Vaughn’s album… and he grew up with Stevie. He was a drummer, kind of a guitarist, but mainly a drummer and also sings in the 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s. That shows how humble the guy was.
Schaefer: If you could move anywhere in the world for a month, where would it be?
David: Japan – anyplace in Japan. Tokyo would be cool, because of how fast-paced the culture is.
Schaefer: Which office dog is your favorite?
Schaefer: What has been your favorite project that you have worked on?
David: I would say any of the illustration or 3-D projects. I did some mock-ups for the American Leather logo and also really enjoyed doing the Nuvothera bottles as well.
Schaefer: What is your favorite part about being here?
David: The team. I love everybody here. I was talking to my wife about it not too long ago and she said, “Who’s your favorite up there?” I said, “I don’t think I can pick one, because everybody is so unique.” As many places as I worked, and as many cool jobs that I’ve had, who you work with has become super important. I’m so lucky. I whistle on my way to work and skip when I go to my car in the morning. I’m just always happy coming here.
Schaefer: Any final thoughts?
David: I’m blessed. In the last year, a lot has changed with how I look at things – how I look at life. I’m 53. I remember so clearly turning 30, like it was a year ago. I remember people saying, “You’re going to turn 30!” Then I got worried because I was like, “I’m never going to be 20 again!” But it goes by so fast, and it’s so cliché, but life goes by fast.
There’s so many things I would have done different, but being here at Schaefer made me realize that I don’t think I would change anything, because otherwise I wouldn’t have wound up here.