We live in a visual world of 3-D graphic design and interactive images.
Artist Steve Deitz, 35, of Dallas is one of the innovators creating over-the-top marketing, museum exhibits and video clips like the ones on the Dallas Mavericks’ Jumbotron.
It’s interesting to trace how Deitz’s creative mind evolved.
The son of a U.S. Air Force master sergeant and a Czech mother, Deitz spent the first years of his life in Bitburg, Germany.
“Our grandmother, who often spoke Czech, was very impactful to me. I think she opened my mind to other cultures, too,” Deitz says. Deitz says visiting foreign places is “like jet fuel for creativity.”
Deitz’s grandfather was in the military and was eventually stationed at Carswell Air Force Base in Fort Worth. He was known for his artistic talent and was on a team that created the Strategic Air Command emblem for the Air Force in the 1940s.
Deitz was just a boy when his family moved to Merkel, Texas, to be near Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene.
“Growing up in West Texas was great,” Deitz says. “The people are usually genuine and kind. I think it reinforced values in me, like hard work and honesty.”
What you see is what you get with Deitz. He seems very grounded while in the fast lane.
“A person’s environment can greatly influence them, and our house was a haven for creative energy,” he says.
The Deitz household cranked out some talent. Deitz’s younger brother, James, is a creative writer and educator. Deitz showed signs of being a nonconforming, independent thinker early on.
“In elementary and middle school, I was a troublemaker,” he says. “I didn’t pay attention sometimes, and I didn’t excel in the usual structured style of learning. I was definitely a class clown.”
Deitz remembers that his sketch pad helped his imagination flourish. As a fifth- grader, he created and sold art at school for a nice little profit — until the principal shut him down.
The school didn’t embrace Deitz’s art-brokering efforts, but the House of Representatives in Washington, D.C., did. One of his sketches was selected to hang in a congressional office after Deitz won an art competition in the 10th grade.
Deitz’s drawings are so detailed that they look like photographs. At Texas Tech University, while studying graphic design with a focus on marketing and illustration, Deitz was commissioned by the school to draw pencil portraits for visiting guest speakers.
After graduation, he scraped by to stay true to his art.
“At many points in my life, I was the ultimate minimalist,” he says. “When I first ventured out on my own, I saved as much money as possible. I drove an old, beat-up car, and I lived in a tiny apartment.
“We have to sacrifice to get to where we want to be.”
It paid off, as Deitz figured out how to market his work as a graphic designer. He eventually merged with other team players to build 900lbs of Creative.
“Our name derives from the marketing term, ‘the 800-pound gorilla,’ but we wanted to be more than that because we do big things,” he says. “Plus, 900 pounds was very close to our team’s combined weight.”
Deitz’s troop of creative minds headquarters in a Bishop Arts District office studio, producing creative content for multimedia use.
For the opening of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, the group created an installation that played on one side of the building.
“Technology is our canvas, and it’s always changing,” he says. “We are problem solvers, and we love the creative challenge in that.”
The company designed the content for Interactive Running Wall at the Perot Museum, where kids can try to outrun a Dallas-based pro athlete, a life-size 3-D animated Tyrannosaurus rex or a life-size cheetah.
The 900lbs of Creative group will keep updating content for the installation, and Deitz is working on other projects for the museum.
“Everyone’s definition of success is different,” he says, “and I have my visions for the future, but I want to stay open to inspiration and enjoy the journey.”
Clare Miers is a Dallas freelance writer.
See Deitz’s work
See some of Steve Deitz’s work at 900lbs.com and visit his team’s exhibition in the Sports Hall of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. perotmuseum.org
Photograph by David Woo, courtesy of http://www.dallasnews.com/lifestyles/headlines/20130104-dallas-life-steve-deitz-thinks-in-multimedia-whether-for-museums-or-the-mavericks-jumbotron.ece