A few weeks ago, the CSS Zen Garden burst on the design scene and opened a few people’s eyes, including mine. I had lunch today with its author, and he’s an interesting story.
When I first noticed the garden, via Zeldman I think, I assumed that its author was some distinguished veteran of the web design wars, even though I’d never heard of him. His name is Dave Shea and he sent me an email out of the blue a few weeks ago commenting on one of my CSS rants, saying intelligent things and remarking that he was in Vancouver as well. I was kind of surprised to find out that there was a famous Web designer here in town that I hadn’t even heard of, so we set up a lunch.
So it turns out that Dave is a guy from Kamloops, a small town five hours inland from Vancouver, has been here in the big city for a couple of years, is working for a little design firm that you’ve never heard of, and they don’t even know about the Garden, and he’s never taken a course in any of this technology, he just picked it up. He stays up late at night fiddling with things like the Garden, for their own sake.
I’d say that this is kind of like running across a kid with a 96mph fastball and a wicked slider pitching AA ball in Topeka. If the design profession weren’t in such a crappy state I imagine there’d be recruiters lined up outside his door.
Dave’s got a job as I said, but reading between the lines of our conversation, I’d say he’d be inclined to listen to any interesting opportunities. He’s got a blog which is worth a look for its own sake.
But don’t pester him for the next couple of weeks; he’s off to get married and won’t be back till the second week in July.