Greg Eckler's Vicious CircusA Menagerie of Design Marvels and Typographic Acrobatics

me me me me me

The Long & The Short

So what is my story? Is it a long and twisted tale of intrigue and suspense? Not so much but I often have a thing or two about myself that surprises people (it keeps me interesting). I started down my current path, as a college dropout (technically I was expelled for failing EVERY class for a year). I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do with my life with the exception of art. It however didn't help very much that most people I knew only thought of artists as people who don’t make any money. My parents were supportive but didn’t go to college, so they couldn’t help much with what it takes to actually, you know, go to college. After failing out of college I worked a long line of what many people consider shitty jobs (let’s see, there was: watch and jewelry repair, auto parts delivery, shipping dept. for a skateboard mail-order catalog, pizza delivery (twice), watch repair, skate shop…).

I realized that if I wanted to make something of myself I would need to get back into college so I saved up and went back to community college. I attended community college for several years while working, alternating between full-time and part-time shifts for a bookstore. After graduating I was accepted into the Maryland Institute College of Art (after applying a second time as a general fine arts major). I went gung-ho when I got into art school. I switched to graphic design, a field I had been introduced to by my younger brother while he was attending MICA and realized it was exactly the field of art I was interested in. I have been interested in calligraphy since I was in elementary school, I couldn’t draw mecha like many of my friends but for some reason drawing letters just spoke to me.

I graduated with my BFA in graphic design and went into the “real world.” I worked for a small print shop for a year and then went to a large advertising agency where I started to get a small taste for teaching (training the staff to start using InDesign). I decided to take the plunge and go to grad school and applied to the Savannah College of Art and Design. I was accepted and awarded the Artistic Honors Fellowship that paid for my tuition and fees for the two years I was there. I went into shock when SCAD called me and told me the news while I was at work. I headed off to SCAD for two years and won the Monotype Type Design Scholarship while I was there.

I received my MFA in graphic design and came back to the Washington, DC area because this is where my friends and family are. After six months of searching I was hired as a designer for a non-profit and as a part-time professor for a local art school. The work load, not to mention the commute, wore me down and I decided it was time to take another plunge and follow my career as an educator. I spent years juggling schedules with three different institutions while doing freelance and personal projects in what can only be called my “free time.”

In summer of 2013 I was hired as full-time professor of communication design at the Northern Virginia Community College. I still run my own studio, sharing studio space with my wonderful wife Sako (we had a Star Wars themed wedding) from our home in northern Virginia. Outside of a life long love of letterforms I’m an enormous Star Wars nerd (my left arm sleeve tattoo is the battle of Yavin 4 before the destruction of the Death Star illustrated by me, and executed by Matt Lauter who works at Tattoo Charlie's Baltimore. I collect LEGO and have an on-going instagram series taking pictures of a mini-fig of Admiral Ackbar that I call: #theadmiral. Halloween is my favorite holiday of the year and I have a tendency to go out of my way in the construction of my outfits with a running theme of full-face masked characters, mainly because I don’t like to shave off my chops.

Not too shabby for a guy that was originally expelled from college. That is also another reason I teach because I KNOW the power of having the kind of teachers who are patient, caring, motivating and inspiring. If you have any questions feel free to drop me a line at greckler@theviciouscircus.com.

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