In 2003, Corey didn’t have a computer at home or a cellphone. By the end of his first year, he was specializing in digital and animation.
One memorable Christmas, Corey’s grandfather gave him a box of plain paper.
“I made use of that,” says Corey, who from kindergarten through high school was either in art class, building something (think Lego or Styrofoam robots) or enjoying comic books (think Ninja Turtles).
He liked Donatello. “He created stuff and was the scientific one—the problem-solver.”
Corey wasn’t sure how to bridge from high school to the work world.
“I was always in art class, drawing and painting,” he says. “But I also knew it was very difficult to make a living as an artist.” His only practical, post-high school plan was to do autobody work, airbrushing fancy images on vans.
After high school, Corey worked the late-night shift at the Burger King drive through, installed sprinkler systems on 16-foot ceilings, pumped gas, sold security systems door to door, and finished cabinet doors at a cabinetry company.
After several years in the workforce, Corey was feeling unfulfilled and felt the need to explore career options. He remembered a presentation he saw in high school by the Visual Communications and Design Program at MacEwan. After visiting a program open house, he decided this was the new path.
Corey entered Design and Visual Communications just as design became digital.
“It was 2003,” he says, “I didn’t have a computer at home or a cellphone.” By the end of his first year, Corey was specializing in digital and animation.
He chose an internship at Ignition Media, which at the time primarily worked with hospitality clients, like nightclubs and restaurants. Corey would work on various materials, such as flyers, posters, websites, and videos to promote everything from celebrity appearances by Jersey Shore cast members to Mother’s Day Brunch specials.
“When I started, it was two other designers, me and the boss,” says Corey. “That was it. We were in a tiny little office with four desks, three in one cubicle and one against the wall. The boss had turned the closet into his office.”
Corey’s two-week internship turned into nine years of steady experience. Ignition Media grew to become Habit, and Corey advanced from student to senior designer and animator.
In 2016, Corey joined Focus Communications as an animator and designer.
He doesn’t regret anything.
“I just want to enjoy what I do and do good work,” he says, admitting that some of his project management skills and attention to detail stem from long days doing unskilled labour.