Hi. I am Maura Houston. I am a digital artist. I grew up in LA, but couldn’t wait to get out! I graduated from Cal State LA, and I’ve often said that the best thing I got out of the school is my husband, JJ. While in college I worked for Esportia Int. as a textile designer. I stayed there for 6 years while looking for a way out of LA. JJ grew up in northern California and always wanted to move back, even if that meant that he would be farther away from his beloved Dodgers, and into enemy territory, the Giants....
My freedom from LA came when I got a job in Concord CA. for JDFine and company, as a textile designer. I can make a repeat out of anything now! And I can do it blindfolded.
Three years later, I took the plunge into freelance. Eek! talk about jumping in with both feet and not have a clue as to what I was doing! I work hard, I work efficient, and I work REALLY fast. But I never thought about the business side of it. I figured if I just worked hard, they would give me lots and lots of money and then everyone would be happy, right? Well, after a couple of years of that, and scraping by, now with two small kids, and the economy tanking, I admitted defeat (for now) and got a “real” job in San Francisco. Or, as everyone calls it up here “The City.”
Started working at Slide Inc. on the Facebook game, Super Poke Pets, I was excited about the new job but a little depressed about my failed freelance attempt. But Slide turned about to be an incredible opportunity. The commute on Bart was horrible, and I was used to always being the baby at work, and all of the sudden I was the old fart with kids.... That was a bit of a culture shock... But the work was fun and my co-workers were awesome. Any hangups about suddenly being the oldest one in my department, were all in my head. But the commute on Bart still sucked, so after a whole 6 months, I found a job at Turpitude, and the commute was about 10 minutes!! Heaven! And I was the senior artist, I was working on “Wedding Street” for Facebook, and did I mention my commute was 10 minutes? But all good things must come to an end. The economy still sucked and after 7 months, I was laid off.
But with social gaming, there are always more companies. So, back to The City to K Factor Media, and games such as My City Life, Farm Country, and Farm Defense. Another fantastic company....but the economy still sucks!!! Laid off again.... Ugg!!! And with my kids starting school, I wanted to stay closer to home. So, back to freelance!!!
Within a month of not so much work, I got an awesome new freelance client, Blue Shell, a social gaming company. Steady freelance work. Yay!! I worked on Tiny Town and Lucky Slots. I had a few other clients here and there. Some good, some bad, one very very bad, but I wont name names. Let's just say that going to Small Claims court is not so much fun.
After a year of freelance, I was back to full time employment! It's was best of both worlds since I was hired by Blue Shell and they were good with me working remotely for a good portion of the time. Which means I got to work in my jammies, can't get any closer to home than home, and I get a steady paycheck. Oh! and I didn't have to save for estimated tax payments anymore!! Woohoo!! ... Alas, it was not meant to be. After a quick four years with Blueshell, laid off again..... sigh.
Now I am playing with lasers!! Seriously! I've gotten access to a laser engraver, that can also cut various materials. I googled a little bit about what else this laser could do. And Oh my! (read in the voice of George Takei) The laser runs on vectors!! At this point, my brain in going a million miles an hour. I had spent nearly the last two decades working in vector illustration. I know adobe illustrator (vector based illustration program) better than anyone I have ever met. And now I have access to a laser that can turn my digital art into something tangible. I swear, this is just play time now. Check out my Etsy Shop to see what craziness I have ben up to.
I am also still freelancing and chasing my kids around.
Now time to get back to work. Who's got my coffee?