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"Make each day your masterpiece." - John Wooden

Is work getting in the way of your creativity? Are downsizing, right-sizing, and layoffs turning you upside down? Are less talented competition getting the work you should be doing? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions then Welcome Home!

This web site is dedicated to you, the creative individual who knows there is more out there for you. Click on the Support tab to find out about individual career consulting with Tony Luna, or classes offered through the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, or upcoming workshops and lectures. If you need a little creative lift click on the Inspiration tab to read Success Stories from people who have participated in the Tony Luna Creative offerings, or the Artists Gallery to see artwork created by our participants, or to work on a creative Assisgnment to shake things up. And if you are looking to find out about connecting with other talented individuals click on the Networking tab and follow it to the Events section where you will find responses from participants on what they are doing now, as well as find out about events that will delight and inspire you.


The following article appeared in the Art Center College of Design on-line magazine, "The Dotted Line," which featured a conversation with Tony Luna, Creative Career Consultant, on the topic of the classes he teaches through Art Center at Night to mid-career professionals who are looking to take their careers to the next level.

Tony Luna on Crafting a Meaningful Career:

Change naturally occurs as careers evolve. Sometimes change is forced upon us; sometimes we have to make it happen.

Based on the principles laid out in his book,
"How to Grow as a Photographer: Reinventing Your Career," creative consultant, author, and educator Tony Luna created Crafting a Meaningful Career, a series of Art Center at Night courses aimed at helping mid-career professionals revitalize their career perspectives.

We recently took a much-needed break from our day-to-day assignments to ask Luna more about his course.

Dotted Line
: Tell me about Crafting a Meaningful Career.

Tony Luna
: The course is loosely based on my own personal life. Looking back at my career, I realized that every five to seven years, there was some change that had to take place. Sometimes it was caused by the economy, sometimes it was caused by technology, and sometimes it was caused by boredom. I started talking to other people, and virtually everybody I talked to had the same kind of challenges. The basic tenet of the course is that we have to change and we have to grow, so the Crafting a Meaningful Career courses are about taking control and creating a new path for yourself. It could be a small change or it could be a large change. I advocate that people take a serious, mature look at what they've accomplished, give themselves credit for all they've been able to achieve, and then plot out a plan for where they'd like to take their career.

Dotted Line
: You say people need to take credit for what they've accomplished so far. Do people commonly feel like they need to start all over and everything they’ve done up to this point is worthless?

: People acquire skills along the way that they don't even recognize. They pick up organizational or communication skills, learn languages or become computer savvy. And they think that's just what they had to do. We often float through life and don't recognize the impact our personal experiences can have in expanding our business opportunities. I have an assignment in class called “asset matching” where I ask students to examine their skill sets, their unique experiences, their interests and their influences. They write down what they have going for them, and then as a group we try to find new options for how they can turn their career into something that makes them excited about starting each day. That’s the “meaningful” part.

Dotted Line
: So it's not just about landing that next big gig? But rather doing something personally fulfilling?

: We often have preconceived notions about where we think we're supposed to be and those hold us back. We don't know why we feel disenchanted; we just feel like we're treading water. But when you get into situation where other people start to recognize what you have going for you, then you start believing in yourself. And there might be some dramatic options that open up. But even if they're not dramatic, they're valuable options in that they can make you feel like every day is really more exciting than the last.

Dotted Line
: So your classmates can see things in yourself that you can’t see, because you’re too close to it?
: Right. I give another assignment in which each student walks up to the whiteboard and presents a timeline of their life. They can pick up at any point they want to—their birth, graduation from high school, whenever—and bring it all the way to the present. They draw a horizontal line and above the line they list significant events that happened in their personal life and below the line they list significant events in their work life. The outcome of that assignment is that students can see, in a very graphic way, how there are certain times when they have been highly productive and other periods when they’ve settled for mediocrity, because everything is safe and everything is cool. But that always begs the question, what are you going to do when things come to a screeching halt?

Dotted Line
: Who takes your class?

: Usually mid-career professionals, people in their late 30s to mid-50s. But not always. I do get some younger people in their 20s and that amazes me. I wish I had taken a class like this in my 20s, because I would have known what to expect. It helps you be a little more prepared for the future if you recognize that there will be times when you're working hard, and it's wonderful and you think it's going to go on forever, and then there'll be times when nobody returns your phone calls. And what do you do? You can sit there and have a pity party and say the world doesn't love you anymore and that you’re no longer relevant. But once you get past that denial and anger you need to figure out what you're going to do and work your way out of it.

Dotted Line
: These sound like pretty universal problems you’re dealing with.

: These issues are pervasive. They're not only directed towards photographers, graphic artists or illustrators. They’re directed towards the general public. I've had people from all areas of interest take my class.

I received an email from a stand-up comedian who picked up my book, How to Grow as a Photographer: Reinventing Your Career, and he said, “You know, if you swap out ‘photographer’ for ‘stand-up comedian,’ this is the same stuff I deal with.” Everybody has their ups and downs. Everybody has a time when they need to give themselves credit for what they’re doing. And everybody needs to look forward to doing something different and satisfying and so unique that it’ll set the world on fire. And the very best part about this course is that you get to create a template for how to execute positive effective change for yourself.


Introduction On Change

When you decided to become an artist/designer, whether you thought about it or not, you signed on to a life where change was a central element. The very nature of art is evolution; a constant struggle to improve upon itself. So is it any wonder that your career can’t remain the same year in and year out?

Change comes in various forms and it can come from within and with out. It can be thrown upon us as in being laid off, or being promoted into a job that we don’t like, or as in new technologies, or competitors who undercut our pricing. It can even be as subtle yet unsettling as boredom. But whatever disguise it takes it is stays dormant until you wake up one day and notice things aren’t the same anymore and you realize you have to do something about it because you can’t live with the dissatisfaction any longer.

I know this first hand because I can actually identify the moment I realized that something was the matter in my career. Even though by all outward appearances I was doing well there was something in my soul that needed feeding. That angst was brought on by my feeling that I was supposed to be doing something more meaningful with my life, and that something had to do with my creativity, or lack thereof. 

I was lucky. After much stumbling around I happened to find a mentor who understood what I was going through, and he challenged me to rediscover my passion, and then to get about the business of creating something meaningful. It is in large part because of the encouragement of Dr. David Viscott that I started lecturing on the topic of career reinvention to mid-career creative professionals that I have met so many wonderful and talented people, and that has given me the energy to teach, lecture and now create this web site.

The people showcased at the top of the page are creative people who, when I first met them, knew there was something calling them but they were not sure on how to answer the call. Together we were able to help them find a form or expression that has now taken them to a new level in their careers. Take Craig Barnes for example. Craig awoke one morning to the thought that, even though he had graduated with a degree in photography, he had not made a photograph for himself in over fifteen years because he was caught up in work. Right then and there he started to turn things around for himself and now he is creating stunning portraiture by composing images that are contemporary masterpieces of portraiture.

When we first met Robin Neudorfer she stated that she had, “an ache in her heart” because she was not executing her art. Life had made demands on her and she knew she had to get back to art to balance her life. She vowed that she would declare herself an Artist and have three gallery showings this year. Fortunately with the help of her family and the support of our group she is indeed an Artist and she had her three shows by the early part of this year. Now she is creating wonderful art that is being appreciated by a large audience.

Stet Hindes came to the class as a mechanical engineer with the heart of an artist. He had taken computer generated art classes at various art schools and he wanted to know where he could apply his skills. Since leaving our class he designed a static mockup for the Eclipse Concept Jet which debuted at the Oshkosh EAA Venture air show, and he has created remarkable panoramic photography, and designed executive jet interiors, among other things. He showed us that you don’t have to confine yourself to one thing as long as you stay focused on one thing at a time and do it well. 

Ann Monn had a wide range of interests when we first met, and you could tell that she excelled at all of them whether it was computer created special effects, graphic design, photography, or costume and jewelry design. If you placed something in front of her she would make a thing of beauty out of it. But she wanted to give herself direction and to do that we worked to find the common denominator of her work and she taught herself to bring her many talents in line. By uniting her photography and graphics interests, with her appreciation of space and her technological knowledge she is now creating large size photographic prints for interior designers of exquisite graphic images composed of rust and peeling paint that appear as intricate fine art images.

The thing all four of these artists have in common is that they recognized when change was upon them and they took action. One of the actions they took was to enroll in one of my classes which allowed them to meet other exceptionally talented creative individuals. The classes had exercises designed to help them rediscover their passion and develop a realistic plan for change that would not disrupt their lifestyle, but  would put them in a better space.

I am proud to showcase their work on this site and I hope their work will inspire you to become a part of our virtual community. One thing about people like you and me, we have to change things up from time to time, so why not have a plan to deal with the inevitable? I encourage you to check in to the site from time to time for a shot of inspiration while seeing the work of other people who share your hunger for expression. And I hope you will begin to network with the other artists and take advantage of the classes, lectures, workshops, and seminars as well as find support from like-minded people. As I said in the opening, this is a place for you to be connected with people who understand your desire to reinvent your self from time to time.

You have been given many gifts. Don’t let them atrophy. Part of the creative process is to move beyond what you have been executing and to share your work. We are here to help you get that good feeling back.


Tony Luna

Creative Consultant

Photo by Doug Method


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