My name is Tommy Kane and I have been an advertising art director for the past 25 years, cranking out print ads and commercials for people like IBM, Life magazine, SONY, Liz Claiborne, and blah, blah blah. During this time, I was secretly drawing and painting relentlessly on my own. Recently, I put a website together to showcase what I have been doing. The response has been overwhelming. It has rekindled in me those feelings I had when I first started out all those years ago to become an illustrator. I am now taking the first steps to making it a reality.
When did you first decide to become a graphic designer/ illustrator? Was there a pivotal moment?
In my mind, I decided to be an illustrator at three years old. I had no interest in design. After graduating from art school in Buffalo, I was hired to be an illustrator for The Buffalo Evening News. But my dream was to work and live in Manhattan. Soon after I moved to New York City, I realized it would be very difficult living here because you need lots of dough just to survive. The pivotal moment in my life was getting hired my first day in New York by an advertising agency. My job was to do magic marker drawings all day so the art directors
could show their ideas to the clients. I realized there was more money in the art directing thing than illustrating so I gradually abandoned my dream of being a full time illustrator. After 25 years as a creative director, I am finally going to try to pursue being a full time illustrator. I’m giving myself the gift of a second pivotal moment in my life.
Who or what inspires you?
This may be an odd answer but I would definitely have to say, the internet. I have discovered and met more great artists there than I ever could have in a lifetime of scouring bookstores, magazine stands and museums. There are such brilliant websites like Art Dorks, Drawn, Juxtapoz, Illustration Mundo, 3 Thumbs Up, and the Wooster Collective. I’ve become friends with great artists such as Sauerkids, Danny Gregory, Mattias Adolfsson, John Casey, Vonster, Butch Belair, Brendan Danielsson, James Jean, Lori Early, Tomer Hanuka, and on and on. So I’m very inspired knowing I can wake up in the morning, stroll to the computer in my underwear and with one click discover new artists, musicians and filmmakers whose work will blow my mind. (Design Inspiration)