MODERN DAY RENAISSANCE MAN
(SOUNDS KIND OF STUPID)
But it might be true. Jaimie Muehlhausen is a graphic designer, a fine artist, a musician, an author, a songwriter, and probably a few other things. Why limit yourself when it's all part of the creative world? It all ties together and influences each other and brings out the best in what you do. Why put boundaries on creating?
• • • • • • • • • • • • •
From the time Jaimie was in first grade growing up in Oklahoma, he always filled out the "What I Want to Be When I Grow Up" section of his Skool Daze book with "baseball player" and "artist." Sometimes you just know. During his senior year, Jaimie received one of the 12 prestigious "Young Talent in Oklahoma" art scholarships for the best high school artists in the state, and also got the opportunity to play baseball at Oklahoma State University. Seems like a dream come true. Oklahoma State was ranked in the NCAA's Top 5 (and even went to the finals of the College World Series his sophomore year), and studying art was something he'd always wanted to do. But OSU didn't have the greatest art department at the time, and Business Law 101 was not cutting it on the report card. After a couple of years of playing ball and flunking out, Jaimie got wise and moved on to Phillips University, where the art department would prepare him for the rest of his life.
After school and a couple of years of working in the "cool record store," Jaimie made his way to California to finally get the design career going and see what could happen in the world of music. An acquaintance from a dinner party in Oklahoma set him up with a job interview at a brand new shoe company, just starting to make waves in the action sports world. The company was Airwalk Footwear, and it would quickly become a worldwide leader in the skateboard, surf and snowboard worlds, as well as an all-around lifestyle brand. They built the company into a $250 million brand in just a few short years, based on fun designs, color and functionality, and with endorsements by some of the top athletes in the world, famous musicians and actors. You couldn't ask for a better opportunity to start a design career.
Next stop for Jaimie on the design front was taking over as Art Director at Snowboarder Magazine, at the time an "also-ran" in the market. With new art direction and an extremely talented young staff of writers and photographers, Snowboarder became the top selling snowboard magazine in the world. Jaimie also art directed the resurgence of the long dormant Skateboarder Magazine while he was there, as well as a handful of issues of Bike Magazine.
Along about this time, the dot com explosion was beginning and Jaimie was offered what seemed like a dream job for the future. Unfortunately, Swell.com was years ahead of its time, trying to do what is now taken for granted at many editorial sites. Broadband was in its infancy, and the types of things Swell was attempting just weren't viable at the time. Throw in some questionable business decisions and the original vision of Swell as "an e-commerce site for the entire surf industry mixed with the best multi-media editorial from the top writers, photographers and designers in the sport," and it was nothing short of a disaster. However, it did win multiple Webby Awards and an AIGA design award for the stellar creativity of the sites. So, there's that.
As Swell was in a downward spiral, Tony Hawk came calling. Thank you Tony. Not long after Tony Hawk had famously completed the sport of skateboarding's first 900 on live TV on ESPN, and then launched his mega-successful video game, he knew it was time to gear up and build his business from the ground up. Jaimie came on board as Brand Manager and Creative Director, overseeing the development and branding of all Tony Hawk products and licensing. Over the course of the last 16 years, Tony's career has seen many phases, as well as the building of the Tony Hawk Foundation, the resurgence of Birdhouse Skateboards, and the creation of new endeavors such as The Ride Channel. Jaimie has been the consistent design factor through it all, helping guide the brand and maintain authenticity from start to finish.
Through all of the years recounted above, Jaimie also designed many projects on a freelance basis, working with companies such as Airstream Travel Trailers, Slim Jim, Playboy Enterprises, Vans, ESPN, Wiley Publishing, Chronicle Books, Roland Sands Designs, Rossignol, The Fretboard Journal, Calton Cases, and on and on. And he's been a guest speaker at Art Director's Clubs, universities and trade schools, telling his story in the world of design.
Aaaaaand...while all this other stuff has been going on, Jaimie has also been a professional musician, performing, touring, creating music for TV commercials, and recording music. He has been the opening act for such legendary acts as Rock'N'Roll Hall of Famers Cheap Trick and Leon Russell. He's played gigs with The Plimsouls, Joe Bonamassa, The Spencer Davis Group, the legendary Beat Farmers, Steve Pryor, and played songwriter showcases with Jack Tempchin (many of The Eagles' big hits) and Steve Poltz (Jewel and The Rugburns). Jaimie continues to play live music regularly, both solo and with his band, The Murderers of Love. His latest album, Murderers of Love, was released at the end of 2017.
Of course, Jaimie's creativity doesn't stop with graphic design and music. In 2013, Jaimie had his first art show in many years, featuring 55 new paintings (and selling 53 of them). In 2000, when the internet was still somewhat new and just starting to branch out into humor and weirdness, Jaimie created a website called MenWhoLookLikeKennyRogers.com. It quickly caught on and became one of the "must see" websites on the 'net. During that time, Harry Shearer (The Simpsons, SNL, etc.) called it the funniest thing he'd seen on the internet, and just a few years ago, YAHOO! named it one of the Top 100 Websites in the History of the Internet. It was featured in magazines like TIME, People, The National Enquirer, Playboy, Esquire and InStyle. It was even the answer to a question in Trivial Pursuit. True story. After the success of the "Kenny" site, Jaimie created a new site called RedneckWordsofWisdom.com, which featured all the funny sayings your redneck relatives use to describe normal, everyday things. It was quickly picked up by Chronicle Books and turned into a book, which Jaimie also designed and then promoted around the country on a book tour. Jaimie has authored magazine articles and copy edited as a freelancer. His guitar blog, The Ones That Got Away, is a popular online destination in the guitar world and has been featured in Premier Guitar, Guitar Edge, and Guitar Player magazines.
Whew, I think that's probably enough really. Did I say this was the short version?