PROFILE 2023 – From tradesman to artist
Published 12:00 am Friday, April 21, 2023
Sean Daniel took a sideways route to starting Oops, I Shirt Myself
Sean Daniel took a sideways route that ended up with him starting his own businesses, Sean Daniel Media Oops, I Shirt Myself.
He started off in the trade industry, rather than the creative field.
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“I was in engineering. I traveled all over the place for a company, doing plastic pipe,” Daniel explained. “I came back to this area and I was teaching industrial maintenance and electrical at Collins Career Technical Center and Scioto County Vocational School. I was training people in CPR too.”
He applied for work at a local factory and was turned down, but then the same company asked him a week later to teach millwright safety and CPR/AED training.
With that came a realization…
“I figured this was no longer the field for me,” Daniel said with a laugh.
Then he had dinner with his friend, Brad Bear who, was at Ohio University and making TV shows and movies.
“I thought that sounded a lot better than what I was going through at the time, so, the next week, I enrolled and ended up working at OU as a special projects producer for a couple years after going to school there,” Daniel explained.
Then he got an offer he couldn’t pass up.
“I got a pretty sweet deal with Harley-Davidson, filming all their stuff. I got to travel a lot, I got to produce a lot of nice footage that people used in commercials and things like that. I was producing five or six commercials while sitting in my house in Ironton.”
In 2018, outside market forces led to Harley-Davidson cutting back and one of the first things that was cut was advertising. Daniel looked to get into other businesses to supplement his income, which lead him to starting Oops, I Shirt Myself.
The business is essentially Daniel creating graphics and putting them on things like signs, T-shirts, hats, hoodies and even making large-scale vinyl graphics, which are put on walls. He recently started making wooden signs with graphics on them.
He admits that it was a big step to go from industrial work to what he does now, but he said it has been a great transition.
“One big thing that I’ve found is that in engineering, the work is exact. In art, it is opinion,” Daniel said. “Art is very fluid, even to the same person, it can hit them different depending on their mood. I like that. There is a bit of confidence that has to build from doing this. In industrial settings, it is either yes or no.”
He said he feels schools in this area need to push art more.
“Because I’m not saying that, I regret any of the time I spent in the industrial world, but I feel like I could have gotten a lot more out of life if I would have done art first,” Daniel said, admitting that it is hard to make art your job. “That is why you have to expand. I started out with just shirts. Now I can do anything from massive billboards to hats.”
And his art has gone from making one-off custom shirts to corporate work.
One of his biggest projects was done last fall for Children’s Hospital in Columbus.
“I did a 120-foot mural that goes up the wall to the ceiling. It was thousands of butterflies and flying things,” he said. He has also designed other murals for a pediatric doctor’s office and a Huntington hospital. “It has been fun. I find myself exploring the Internet for new ideas. You have to keep trying new projects. I never know what I can do until someone asks me to.”
He points out that, on his desk, there are two metal cylinders marked “Flex Seal.”
“One is the real thing, the other is a cup,” he said.
Daniel said the constant change is a bonus for him.
“You change to what the public wants or needs or what makes you happy,” he said. “I’m getting there.”