Brendan has always been a creative guy. It all started at age 7 in Park Ridge, Illinois, when he sketched cartoon characters with his pals and his big dream was to become a Disney illustrator. He took many turns creatively, then got serious and started painting saltwater fish and beach landscapes around age 30. Always a fan of midcentury illustration, he then started painting in the style of that lost art and got hooked. Now he’s one of a handful of contemporary artists using the techniques of pinup masters whose all-American girls graced covers of magazines, calendars and advertisements in the 30s, 40s and 50s. When not painting or designing, he’s fishing, writing, playing the ukulele, traveling with his favorite gal (that would be Nicole), and enjoying every day.
After 20 years in corporate HR management across many industries, Nicole decided to leave it all behind to work with her husband. When a friend asked if she had ever read the book “The Joy of Working With Your Spouse” Nicole said “no” then her friend said, “Of course not, because it hasn’t been written!” That said, their partnership works, even though their work styles don’t always align. Nicole is the “Creative Operations Officer” (aka “Gal in Charge”) responsible for behind-the-scenes stuff like paying bills, scheduling meetings, shipping, maintaining the website/social media and keeping the cats away from wet paintings. When not entrenched in Ballyhoo Designs, her creative juices flow when she’s cooking, photographing dishes and writing My Delicious Blog. She also keeps busy gardening, hosting dinner parties, walking the beach with pals, traveling with her special guy (that would be Brendan), and doing anything else that creates beauty in her world. Sounds like a pretty sweet gig, right?!
Max & Phoebe
Even though they’re almost silent partners, Max & Phoebe have proven to be invaluable at Ballyhoo Designs. They are regularly called upon to soothe the ego of a sensitive artist, to provide hugs when the artist is creatively stuck or when Nicole wants to throw QuickBooks for Mac out the window, to sit on a keyboard while someone is typing, to pose for a drawing, to catch lizards who sneak into the studio, and to even help with shipping.