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November 11, 2020 3 min read 2 Comments

Finding a Porpoise in Life (Part 3)

Taking the plunge and starting my own company wasn’t something I planned. It came about by trying to turn a career setback into a new opportunity.

I was working at Morning Star Screen Print and New Wave Designs still but I felt I was starting to hit a glass ceiling in terms of creativity. I started looking for other opportunities. In 2000, a friend from school - Jason - asked me if I wanted to start working for the internet company that he was a part of. The site we worked on was called “Meta Tiki” and it was all about becoming a local in a city you were visiting. They had these “Tiki Masters” in different cities and they would be the local guide in the town you were visiting. This was internet 1.0 - long before social media and I knew Meta Tiki was a great idea.

 Meta Tiki - Internet 1.0

My job there was to design the art and cartoons on this site for these humorous blogs. It was great because I was able to get so much experience using flash animation and working on websites. I had to create all these funny cartoon characters that went along with the blogs. This was also my first experience going to fairs and events for promotions like we do now at boat shows.

Two thumbs up: Promoting Meta Tiki

The company kept growing – we were right on the cusp of the internet bubble… and then that bubble burst. Almost overnight the company cut the task force. We went from 40 employees to 20 then just after that to 4. I didn’t make the second cut.

It was a punch in the gut to lose such a great job, but that disappointment soon turned to excitement. I had already taken on a couple of freelance gigs on the side and I decided this was my chance to see if I could make it as a freelancer. I’ve been working for myself ever since.

My rule at the start was that I would never say no to a job. I took every opportunity that came my way; Airbrushing surfboards, designing t-shirts, building websites, flash animation, photoshop. The hard work I had put into learning all of these skills was definitely paying off.  I was working for anybody and everybody. I was always working on everybody else’s ideas but I had a lot of ideas of my own that I wanted to get out there. I started wondering what it would take to make a living creating my own artwork. 

In 2009, I had the idea for an edgy t-shirt brand that was ultimately called Hooked Carpe Diem. I was wary of getting into t-shirts because I knew how crowded that market was but we had a great little team together and a rep who got us into 40 or 50 stores within a few months. Hooked Carpe Diem was inspired by the tattoo-style art of brands like Affliction, but it reflected the Florida coastal lifestyle. I was really proud of the brand and what was achieved, but it was a different dynamic working with partners and I felt like I wasn’t using my humorous art style enough - that wasn’t really what Hooked Carpe Diem was about. In 2010 I moved on from H.C.D. and haven't had any affiliation with the brand since then but it was an important experience in my career and what I learned from it definitely helped me start my next venture.

I knew I had these crazy ideas for marine art. I wanted to start something more expressive – something I was inspired by and that used my creativity more. That’s when I first came up with the name “Ofishulz” – the company that is now called “Steve Diossy Marine Artist”. I thought it could just be a simple boat wrap graphics company but it ended up being a lot more than that…

2 Responses

Bob Lanfier
Bob Lanfier

February 05, 2022

Love your work.Will be stopping in middle of March In Vero Beach.

Janice A Wilson
Janice A Wilson

November 27, 2020

And we are glad your company became more! Love all of your merchandise.

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