Amazing photographer Dave Lewinski asked to shoot me for his “THE EXCEPTIONAL DETROIT” Project. I love the shots and his questions do an awesome job getting me to say things about what I do and why I do them… so I wanted to post them here because I will never answer questions like that on my own… So here it is:
Where were you born?
Doylestown, PA (outside Philadelphia)
Where do you currently live?
Where do you work and how long have you been there?
I work at the Mt Elliott Makerspace and have worked there since the summer of 2010. I teach a wide variety of classes from bike repair and drafting to basic stop-motion at the makerspace. I have also started a Fix-A-Bike and Earn-A-Bike program that we run once a week. In my free time I do a small amount of freelance “fabrication” work, but it is all very odd builds… “Jort” cannons, boom trailers, bike racks, bike repair / building, moped work, ect.
What did you do before “hacking”?
I have always been “hacking”. People did not call it that when I was a little kid, but I have always found it more fun to find new uses and ways to use every day objects. My parents were prop masters in theater so I always had tools and a shop at my disposal. Later I went to tech school for machining, then engineering school, and somehow ended up getting my BFA in Metalsmithing.
Can you explain what Omnicorp is and how it works?
OmniCorpDetroit is the first and only Hackerspace in Detroit. We are a community of makers, hackers, engineers, designers, fabricators, writers, photographers, or in other words, crazy creative people that share a passion for making. We have about 25 members that all pay a monthly fee and with that we get a huge space in Detroit’s Eastern Market that is filled with tools and places to develop amazing ideas.
How do you feel your hacking has affected the Detroit community?
I like to have fun and if I affected the community at all, it is by building crazy contraptions that spread the idea of play. I take the most pride in the creations I make that wind up spawning an impromptu dance party in the middle of a soccer field on Belle Isle or the reactions I get while riding a 15ft long “Frankentrike” down John R. I feel that the things I make grab people’s attention and inspire them to think creatively.
What are your feelings on the hacking community in Metro Detroit?
I love the hacking community in Metro Detroit, it’s full of great people who all share a passion for making cool stuff. I think Detroit is a great hub for makers / hackers because of the great diversity of skills found in every nook and cranny in this city. From auto workers to designers to business owners to trades people, you can always find people with the skills and knowledge you are looking for.
What do you think the future holds for the city of Detroit?
I am amazed by how much has changed in even the short time I have lived here. Every day I see great people doing great things and I always remain extremely optimistic with the direction this city takes, even at the worst of times.
Lastly, you’re really into bikes (since you don’t have a car..) tell me about your most harrowing bike rides in the city…
Well… Between the time the above photos were taken and now, I was hit by a bus and attacked by wild dogs… in the same ride home from work. I would have to say that takes the cake.