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Self Portrait, 2018
Adobe Illustrator
Thomas Santoriello
I wanted to be an artist ever since I could hold a pencil. I would draw for hours, inspired by the incredible album art of the 1970s & 1980s, especially their logos and lettering. I didn't know it yet, but I was learning the language of design, typography, and branding from a young age on into high school. Then in 1991, I fell in love with software. To this day, most of my time is spent trying to imagine, design, and develop software.
I create unique experiences using design, animation, and technology
This is my story

College Education
I enrolled in Union County College in 1990, and for 2 years I was lucky enough to study under Dr. Anthony Nicoli. This is also where I met my friend Marty, who introduced me to the Mac, and other Mac-minded people. In 1992 I transferred to the School of Visual Arts in NYC. I majored in Illustration, with a love for surrealism, but I could only salvage a few photos of my illustrations. I spent 2 years at SVA, switching majors in 1993 when they became one of the first colleges to offer a degree in Computer Art.

The Suburban News
I started my career in computers at The Suburban News in Clark, NJ. My friend Marty worked there part time, and this is how I got the job. He introduced me to his friends at The Turnaround Team, where he was freelancing. The company created computer presentations using graphics & animation software on the Mac. Interactive Multimedia. This literally changed my life, I fell in love with software. We would hang at their office just to learn new software and talk computers. So when a part-time job opened up at The Suburban News doing Desktop Publishing, I was an easy sell to Marty's boss, Cindy. I learned a lot about QuarkXPress, fonts, and hardware.

Turnaround Team
I started freelancing at The Turnaround Team in about 1992, 2 years later I left the School of Visual Arts to work for the company full time. This is when I learned how to code. I was not in control of my own animations, and I was encouraged to learn. The language was called Lingo, and was built into MacroMind Director. I helped to create and animate the software for AT&T, BASF, Staples, & University Brands. That encouraged me to learn HTML in a weekend and start to build the company's website, this is from 1993. Two years later, I started animating with what would later become the Flash plugin. I will always be grateful to Mr. Most, Mike, Steve, and Jean, but I had no career path there, and I wanted to work in NYC. This is when I met my friend Alex, he just started a recruiting agency there.

Alex set up some interviews, one was with a start-up, and that's how I met my friends Jim & Lenny, I was employee No. 7. I suggested we rebrand the company, known for searching and finding people, to actually include people, digitally placed in front of a giant blue version of Lenny's foot logo. This suggestion was a big success, take a look. Then I met my friend Friskel, he was hired as the head of technology, but decided to invent NeoPlanet instead. I was the first person from Bigfoot to see it, I was blown away. With help from Alex, I was soon building a creative team that would eventually include Marty, and serve 3 lines of business. By now I was living in NYC, the company really felt like a family thanks to Jim & Lenny, and I was watching my Yankees parade down Broadway from my balcony, life was good. NeoPlanet, however, generated so much interest, it was spun out as a separate company, and I had to choose.

This is when I met my friend Drew, he was hired as the CEO of NeoPlanet. I was asked to join the leadership team and relocate to Arizona, to work with a group of top engineers already there. It was not easy to leave New York, but it was the right decision. NeoPlanet was a brandable suite of essential tools for the web, combining a web browser, Internet guides, instant messaging, email client, and search. I was proud of helping NeoPlanet explode from a small group in New York, to our own building in Arizona, with my logo out front. And proud of my creative team that earned the trust of some of the biggest brands in the world (Disney, Playboy, New Line Cinema, MTV, HP, Intel, Sony, CBS, and The Discovery Channel). You can read about me on Wikipedia, and in Wired Magazine, both mention me by name. By mid 2000, many millions of people were using software I designed, for NeoPlanet or our partners. Life was good, then the dot-com crash ruined everything.

Santoriello Studios
After the crash, I bought this domain and built a killer Flash site as my resume, moved close to NYC, and started freelancing. Jim & Lenny found a project for me at Bigfoot, where I met my wife Michelle :) In 2001 I officially created Santoriello Studios and I continue to lead the studio today.

2001 - 2004 : The early years saw many familiar faces. I helped Jim & Friskel start Woodstock. I helped Lenny start Tribeca Tables. And I was recruited to help Munch start their cafe, and Pops explore their concept.

2004 - 2009 : I knew Flash & Actionscript very well by this time. I started to get complex sales training projects because of my coding skills, like this Roche DVD. Then in 2006, Lenny helped me worry less about money.

2009 - 2012 : My wife joined the company in 2009, studied WordPress, taught me, and we built this website. We were always busy, but social media integration was costly and a new expense for clients, Michelle left in 2012.

2012 - 2016 : By 2014 I had a handful of clients on retainer, all of them were using my software to easily create and edit website content (SaaS). It was a small business, but it was profitable, and I was learning.

Our Studio Today
In July of 2016 I was able to start the process of retiring, to work on projects that interest me, and develop my own products.

To everyone that will eventually help me...

Thank you in advance :)