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The Founder Speaks Out...

The Founder, John M. Faber speaks out about the first 5 years of JMF Studios, the Coronavirus, and the future...

It has been over 5 years since the concept and logo of JMF Studios was first created with the intention of serving as an 'umbrella brand identity' for the wide array of creative things that I do as an artist and a self-proclaimed "madman". It came about at a time in my life when I was at a split in the road ahead of me. It was a time that I had to make a decision right before a big move to a new city I had never even been to before and wasn't even sure where this city was on a map yet. The road ahead of me was splitting my future in two possible directions; I had to decide whether to quit my job and find a way to finish my college degree, or to quit college and find a way to transfer my job to this new city. Either way, I still had to figure out how I was going to support my wife and two children during this transitionary time.

By this point, my wife and I had traveled an unconventional path, or rather carved our own path through the wild in many senses, and I suppose we still do. We had a short dating period in our early 20's before we decided to get married and move off to college together with our 1 year old son, and with our second son on the way. As we look back on nearly 10 years of marriage at the time of writing this blog post, those early years are still blurry in our minds, but at least we took a lot of photos that help declutter our memories. Somehow we managed to hold down a nice two bedroom apartment while I struggled through my labor-intensive shipping job, mostly for the insurance, and my wife graduated with her Bachelors and Masters degrees, all while we did our best to raise our two children. For several years our lives were regimented by 15 minute increments, sometimes handing off our newborn child in between college classes. My wife would be coming home from class while I was on my way to my first class of the day, and I specifically remember a moment that I handed her our son and the diaper bag in the middle of the school's open foyer outside the student center. It wasn't until 2 or 3 years into my degree plan that I came to realize the program I was in would take 6 total years to complete, and this realization showed us the incompatibility of such a degree plan with the years of planning my wife and I had worked through already. This brings us to the aforementioned fork in the road.

After having a bit of a nervous breakdown, and open-heartedly consulting with my college professors, who at this point were all professional graphic designers and visual artists I was learning from in a high rise building in downtown Dallas, my two possible paths became clearer. Do I try to finish college, or do I find a way to transfer my labor-intensive job to this new city?

Fortunately, I chose the latter. I quit college and navigated the tricky field of job transferring with a company that was very stingy about transfers at that time. The HR department at my company had already botched my prior two transfers during my time in college, taking several months to get the paperwork, logistics, and payroll sorted out, and this third transfer didn't look any more promising. Either way, it had to be done, and my family was counting on it. So there I was, quitting college, trying to transfer and stay with the company I had already served for a brutal 7 years, all while my wife and children were already moving to our new house in a new city, and I was trying to figure out what to do with everything I learned in college without having a college degree to show for it. The decision was driven largely by a discussion I had with the Visual Communication program director in downtown Dallas, or VisCom for short. I went to her office one day, mentally and emotionally frazzled, physically run-down between work, college, and providing for my family to the point that I was averaging 3-4 hours of sleep every week, and was on worker's compensation at the age of 25. The physical demands after several years had finally taken their toll.

It was at this moment I broke down crying in the directors office not knowing what to do anymore. She closed her door and handed me a tissue as I cried, sitting in front of her desk in that awesome corner office, with windows overlooking Elm street, next-door to the Majestic Theater that I passed every day on the way to class. After I gathered myself and was able to speak clearly again, I explained what I had been through for several years, and how my journey had brought me to such a fork in the road. It was a huge relief when she explained that an artist's career is not about the degree, it's about the portfolio. For an artist, the question really is: What can I show for all the years of work I've put in? For me, it was more a question of: How do I show all the years of work I've put in? From High School, to my final years of College, and now looking into the foreseeable future, how do I summarize all of this into something I can easily share with others?

Thus, JMF Studios was born.

While it took a lot of thought, it didn't take me too long to decide on a logo. I wanted something bold and noticeable, but also vague and unspecific that could encompass a wide variety of creativity. After all, I'm a complicated artist who started their journey as a guitar player in 8th grade and was a signed musical artist by the time I was 18 years old, but by the time I was creating this logo I had become a well-versed visual artist who could draw photorealistically, had become a photographer, designer, a 3D animator, and even minored in Astronomy of all things. How does one summarize all of this into a simple identity? I told myself, just go with your initials because that's the only way to summarize who you are.

So there I was, moving to a new town, trying to summarize my budding career as a multifaceted artist without a college degree, and somehow I had to make this work for my family as much as for my career. It's had many ups and downs to say the very least. For the 5+ years I've been working under the JMF Studios banner, I've had several dozen clients and projects come and go. I've met a lot of people and had a variety of surprises and learning experiences. I've had 4 different iterations of the studio space itself, one of which was renting a professional 10' X 20' room from the local baseball team and partnering with a few local hip-hop groups, artists, and producers that have since come and gone. The most significant moment during the past 5+ years of JMF Studios was the completion of my College Degree in 2018, only made possible by switching my degree plan and completing two semesters of college education online in the middle of one of the most hectic years at JMF Studios to-date.

While the above paragraph is skipping over a great amount of details and history that consists of the bulk of the work that JMF has accomplished in the past 5+ years, that can all be discussed another time. I had fortunately cut ties with my former studio partners around the time I graduated in 2018, and moved the studio back into my house to cut unnecessary costs and focus on honing my skills for the future of my career, rather than struggling to build a team with incompatible and unprofessional studio partnerships.

This was when I converted our otherwise unused dining room into a fully-functioning, multi-operational, sound-treated studio space where I could conduct business straight from home. It has certainly proved itself as the longest lasting and most productive studio space I've had yet, and I've had a fairly steady flow of clientele, from recording artists to budding new companies, come through my humble space seeking my help and talent in one way or another. Little did I know that this move would make my studio completely prepared for the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic and the influx of work-from-home situations to come. This brings me to now: the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021.Over 5 and a half years later, it hasn't been easy, but I continue into the unknown. I've been glad to simply break even on my studio expenses versus my studio income for a few years now. 2020 has brought a whole new wave of projects and headaches, including providing tech support and rescuing a local church through the pandemic for a regular income for the studio. I also built a new computer over the summer of 2020 to meet the demands of video editing, visual effects, animation, and music video production that was stifled by the limits of my old computer. Another surprise that 2020 has brought is a solid studio partnership with my longtime friend and musical brother Adam "the Alkemyst" Winslett who I've helped bring Alchemy Studios to life over the course of 2020.

Despite the pandemic and because of it, the future looks a lot different for JMF Studios. Thankfully, the future now holds many more options and opportunities for me and the studio. As I write this, I've been regularly producing videos and providing tech support in the studio every week, and I still hold down my brutal job in shipping for the same company that I've been with for 12 and half years, but this will hopefully be the last year now as I update my portfolio and my resume in search of a better job with a better company, doing the work of a versatile artist with new skills and new outlook while supporting my family as I've always intended.

Now, it's time to get busy again as I forge the future...

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