"I realized right after finishing design school
that the real education had only just begun."
Matthew Weston Mann
Hometown: Falmouth, MA
Current Residence: Tucson, AZ
Formal Education: BA from Mary Washington College, and Associates Degree from Art Institute of Tucson
Favorites Include: Road trips, writing, photography, fishing, hockey, politics, reading, and his dog Bruce
A Brief History
I grew up on Cape Cod and graduated from Mary Washington College with a degree in English in 1999. After a brief stint in California I moved back east to Boston and went to work at Harvard University Press. After a couple of years I found myself with an chance to work in the field of historic preservation, giving me an opportunity to travel, learn about fine craftsmanship, and work on such historic sites as The Old North Church and MIT while writing in my spare time.
After a few years I found a new outlet for my creativity when helping a friend on a tile job. I realized the potential for carving the tiles into different shapes and the designs that could result, and I spent the next several years teaching myself a new craft and building a name as a custom craftsman. During this time I also began taking classes for graphic design to expand my skillset, and signed on to a start-up shingle company for design work. But the real education there was a fuller understanding of the demands surrounding the running of a small business.
In 2014 I moved to Tucson to attend design school, graduated with honors and won a national award for one of my campaign concepts. I've worked for a number of local advertising agencies on a full time and freelance capacity, and today work out of my own studio, offering my skillset and the lessons I've learned along the way to organizations and individuals who need them.
Mixing creativity with craftsmanship was the driving force behind a unique business and an adventure in custom designs.
Some of the many lessons about being self-taught in the field of custom tile designs include helping a client develop their vision, and never being done with a project until it's done right.
To see a more extended gallery of the tile projects please hit the button below.
Although there was satisfaction in the design aspect of the shingle work, the real education was in the trials of running a small business.
A Move West
Tucson is a very eclectic and unique place, and I'm happy to call this city my new home. There is a warmth and magic here that is hard to find anywhere else in the country. I've crisscrossed the country numerous times and have fallen in love with many parts of it, but it is hard to think of a place I'd rather settle down.
It is not always easy to start a new career in a whole new city, but I'm grateful for the opportunities I've been given and the people who I've met along the way, and with the benefit of hindsight I consider myself very fortunate to have followed my path out west. My priorities now are to keep developing my skills as a designer and marketer, and continue to build a career that uses the lessons I've learned and helps others overcome the obstacles I've had already had to face along the way.