I am so excited to share today's installment of Personality Prints, an interview series about artists/entrepreneurs/creatives and their pets. Val Head is one of the coolest people I know. She hired me last fall to create a headshot, and when I found out that she has a dog, I asked if she would participate in Personality Prints. I knew that she is a designer who teaches CSS animations and rocks web animations, but had trouble wrapping my head around what that all entailed. When she then shared a year in review post on her blog it blew me away. I still get goosebumps when I see the laser light show that she created as a collaboration for a conference in Oxford. I hope that you will enjoy getting to know Val and her dog Tucker as much as I have.
Tell me a little bit about your business. I run Northmaple Studio, a web design studio, with my husband Jason. We team up with other web pros around the country to work on projects ranging from work for big brands to sites for mid-sized local companies.
We also run a well known conference called Web Design Day. Our next one is coming up in June and this is our 6th year running the conference here in Pittsburgh.
On top of all that, I also teach workshops on interface animation for the web and travel around speaking at conferences around the world on the same topic.
Tell me about your pets. How did they come into your life? We found Tucker on Petfinder when she was a puppy. Her and her two brothers were born at the Fayette Friends of Animals shelter. We picked her up one Saturday morning in April after our application was approved and she slept in my lap the whole ride home. It's hard to believe that was almost 7 years ago!
Tucker is an experienced office dog who has "worked" in a three different Pittsburgh agencies in her 7 years. She even modeled Frosty Paws dog ice cream during her time at Smith Brothers agency. I like to joke that the dog is better connected around Pittsburgh than I am. But sometimes I think it's really true!
We also have a cat named Cyril, although he's usually always hiding. Cyril was rescued or cat-napped from a barn he was living in by a friend of ours. (We're not really sure which.) Our friend couldn't keep him so she convinced Jason he needed a cat. Cyril is 14 now and still going strong. We're pretty sure he's immortal.
Do you and your dogs (pets) share personality traits that has helped you in life/business? Both of us are more night owls than morning people. Tucker loves sleeping in and doesn't mind at all if breakfast or her morning walk are a little late if it means she gets some extra sleep. 11pm is prime playtime for her. A game of tug and a sprint or two around the apartment are her favorite late night activities.
How do your pets support you and or inspire you and your business? I work from home and Tucker comes to the office with me every day. She sleeps on the office futon while we're working and keeps an eye on Butler St. out the window. I've been working from home for the last two years and I can't imagine doing it without the pets around.
I call Tucker my office manager because she keeps me on a schedule. I never have to worry about accidentally working through lunch because she'll always remind me when it's time for a walk. If I take too long, she starts pacing and sighing dramatically behind my desk chair. She's very good at reminding me to take breaks and not work too much :)