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Meet Torrance Creative Entrepreneur: Chris Porter

Today we’d like to introduce you to Chris Porter.

Chris, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’m originally from Cleveland, OH. I attended the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and received my Bachelors of Science in Interactive Media Design. Art always just got me, if that makes sense. I was always into art and it started at a very early age. I remember getting into trouble all the time for designing NBA logos in class when I was supposed to be completing classwork. Besides my love for the NBA and doodling the logos, I was also into drawing maps of Cleveland, skyscrapers, and superheroes.

Around the age of 12, I got into digital art, crafting Pokemon in Microsoft Paint. One day, I was at the library and the computer lab assistant asked if I knew how to make websites. This was 1999, so I was like, “that sounds difficult.” He walked out the lab and came back with an HTML book. That was the moment I fell in love with web design. Fast forward to 2005, I’m in college and I felt stuck and unmotivated. The classes I was taking to be in the design industry didn’t challenge me enough and I started to feel out of place at school. To counter that, I decided to find a design job that would give me the challenges and thrills I was looking for. That’s when I found Buzzhoney, a well-known agency in Pittsburgh, during my sophomore year in school.

Around 2009, I was looking for more challenges. I loved Buzzhoney but I wanted more and that’s when I woke up one day with the thought, “oh, what the hell”, and I moved out to Los Angeles almost 7 years ago with only one contact and a dream to make it big in LA. The reason why I wanted to move was because I was hungry to be in a fast-paced city, so I bought a one-way ticket here to start my solo career. I bounced around from different agencies and I learned a ton from my experiences there, but I wanted to start my own company so I turned to freelancing. A friend and I started That’s Genius back in 2010. We wanted to create this great collaboration based agency, with top-level and mid-level talent. It didn’t work out and I had to dissolve the company in 2013. After that, I’ve started Made By Porter and I’ve learned a ton as a solo entrepreneur, and creative. I have the creative freedom to work on my passion projects and meet a lot of different types of people.

Has it been a smooth road?
Being an entrepreneur is a tough and lonely road and it’s not meant for everyone. For me, it’s different. I love the challenge and I thrive off the adrenaline of working on complex projects. I came out to LA with nothing and couch surfed for a few months before landing a gig. I used to bike to work, which took 2 hours each way, just to get to my job because I was hungry for that opportunity. Even now, I’m still learning more about myself and figuring out my next moves.

Have you ever wanted to stop doing what you do and just start over?
Being an entrepreneur is a lonely but rewarding road to take. There were definitely moments in my career that I felt like calling it quits. I take the saying, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” very seriously. The moment that changed my life was my last year at BuzzHoney, a marketing agency in Pittsburgh, in 2010. I was fed up with the state of my life, my job situation, and was crippled by student loans. I was stagnant, unhappy, uninspired, and at one point, contemplated suicide.

I love the agency environment because you’re constantly working on a new project which gives you the ability to perfect your design work. However, I knew at that point, I was ready to work for smaller companies that needed creative direction and I wanted to be the one to make it happen. As for my personal life, it wasn’t going as planned. I was working way too many hours and the stress of work spilled into other areas of my life. Student loans were crippling me financially, emotionally, and mentally, which prohibited me from moving forward with my life and career.

Suicide thoughts crossed my mind and that was the breaking point for me. I checked myself into a rehab facility and decided to make a change. I read the book, “The Secret,” during this dark period of my life and started thinking more positively. I decided to move to LA and look for bigger opportunities there. I also learned deep breathing techniques to help me when I was reaching my mental limit and sought out productive people to be around. I was motivated and I knew leaving Pittsburgh was the solution to help me get me out of the toxic environment.

Let’s change gears – is there any advice you’d like to give?
For anyone starting out in design, it can be tough to persevere through tough periods. Some things I kept in mind when breaking into the design industry was to learn the rules, then break the rules. I found my favorite creatives, learned the fundamentals of design from them, and made it my own. Another thing I do often is to write everything down. Instead of keeping everything in your head, write it down. I keep a journal to jot ideas down and revisit them. Sometimes it’s nice to go through my notes again because you never know when you’ll get inspired.

What are you looking forward to?
For 2017-2018, I’m excited to announce that I’ll be part of Remote Year and will be a digital nomad. It’s been my dream to see more of the world and surrounding myself with other creatives is going to be exciting.

My goal is to explore the Web 3.0 scene, such as IOT (Internet of Things), AR (Augmented Reality), VR (Virtual Reality), and Automation/Artificial Intelligence. I want to explore new problems in this specific forum and work on solving complex problems.

Contact Info:

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2 Comments

  1. Art Schultz

    December 15, 2016 at 18:11

    Great talent! Thanks for sharing your story, it is inspiring to hear about the ups and downs in obtaining a dream, it is obvious that Mr. Porter has earned his lifestyle. Congratulations and best of luck!

    • Chris Porter

      March 21, 2017 at 20:03

      Thanks sir, I appreciate it!

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