About ArtistUpgrade

Our Mission is to develop the most professional, effective, personalized websites and print materials for creative professionals, entrepreneurs, and small businesses looking to increase exposure and expand career opportunities. We do this by developing websites and graphics that are tailored to each unique client's wants, needs, and career goals.

Get To Know ArtistUpgrade - The Personal Story

Mick and Alison, founders of ArtistUpgrade, are two actors who have been living and working in New York City since 2000. In January 2008, Mick took a touring acting job with TheatreWorksUSA performing in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. After three months of touring, Mick got back, needed another gig, and was determined to hit the ground running by auditioning for anything and everything in sight.

His quest was simple: to get himself known. And so he began submitting to everything on Actors Access, Backstage, Craigslist, Actor’s Equity and any other way he could find to promote himself and expand his career options.

Mick soon found that many casting directors wanted reels. Many theatre companies wanted his headshot and resume. It became a time consuming and daunting task to attach all these files in individual email submissions. And even then, he didn’t even know if the files he was sending were ever being opened or viewed. It occurred to him that it would be more efficient and professional to have an easy-to-navigate website that included all of these elements: elements that would appear with a simple click of a button.

With a website, he could send out infinite submissions in a day, as opposed to 10, without wasting extra time or money. He began looking online for actor website options and quickly found that they were either way too cheap, looked cheap, and didn’t do what he wanted them to do, OR they were way too expensive, still looked cheap, and didn’t do what he wanted them to do. But his trials in searching for options didn't stop there...

A lot of site developers were using Flash™ which frustrated him. He explained, “Flash is cool, but when I send a link, I have 5 seconds to get my audience. When I have a 10 second Flash™ intro, I’ve already lost them before they even see me!” So Mick did what any exasperated actor who knew graphic design would do: he came up with a site that did everything he needed, quickly and professionally. As time went on, he kept submitting, refining, tweaking, and perfecting his model of a personal, professional, effective website that could showcase his talents and promote his career. It wasn’t long after that when Alison, his wife and fellow actor, realized that Mick’s design not only had the potential to further his own career, but had the universal capacity to promote the careers of artists everywhere.

And so, with the dream of transforming the way artists are seen and get seen, on June 4, 2008, Mick and Alison gave birth to one of their most glorious creative endeavors to date: ArtistUpgrade.

 

To Sum It All Up

Since that very first website was developed so many years ago, our clients and services have expanded to include voiceover talent, singers, models, educators, theatre companies, small businesses, and entrepreneurs. Our services have also evolved to include exceptional graphic design for business cards, postcards, cd cases & labels, brochures, email signatures, letterheads and more.

We’re a small company that prides itself on dedicating our resources towards developing quality products, exceptional customer service, and innovative ideas for every client. Whether you’re an actor or small business, voiceover talent or entrepreneur, we invite you to explore our website, browse through our design portfolio, and explore the world of ArtistUpgrade.

We bring to the table our knowledge, experience, and loads of creativity to ensure that every project meets your needs and exceeds your expectations. Our services are continually evolving with every project to ensure you get a design that not only looks great, but also meets your specific wants, needs, and goals. Should you need something you can’t find on our website, please contact us and just ask!

Thanks for visiting ArtistUpgrade.com!


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  • Alex Rain

    Texas Voice Talent

    "ArtistUpgrade nails it. The created a logo and design that perfectly captured the essence of my brand identity, and the whole process from consultation to launch was super easy. Having ArtistUpgrade build my voiceover website was one of the best investments I’ve ever made; I’ve definitely seen an increase in bookings since it went live. Plus, I have peace of mind knowing my website is competitive, professional, and functions as great as it looks. I went back to Mick and Allison to design my postcards, and again, the finished product was excellent. I can’t recommend them enough!"

    Visit www.AlexRain.com

  • Mara Junot

    New Orleans Voice Talent

    "Alison & Mick at ArtistUpgrade are two of the most amazing people I’ve ever worked with. They are friendly, professional, with thorough attention to detail and a creative style that just makes websites pop. My website was custom-tailored to my needs and branding goals, and I couldn’t be more satisfied! Phenomenal work!!! I recommend the team at ArtistUpgrade for any professional in the acting industry who wants a clean, professional site designed specifically for the needs of artists in the media."

    Visit www.marajunot.com

  • David Finch

    Voice Talent & Professor

    "You know the word "Awesome" was invented for you guys at ArtistUpgrade! You don't know how this really made my day! I can't thank you enough for all the help you always give whenever I need it. In all of my 40 years of working in the business world as a corporate executive and businessman I have never seen such a well organized, efficient and professional organization! I know one thing is for sure, we will always do businesss together. Many thanks!"

    Visit www.davidfinchvo.com

  • Donna Ross

    Actor & Singer

    "For anyone who's considering going with ArtistUpgrade..this is what I would say..If you are looking to work with people who truly care about making you happy, giving you a product that represents you as an artist and capturing who you uniquely are then don't consider going anywhere else or with anyone other than ArtistUpgrade. It was a wonderful collaborative effort every step of the way. Thanks again Mick, Alison and Chelsea. It was amazing working with you."

    Visit www.donna-ross.com

  • Bob Luzum

    President of Accurate Component Sales, Inc.

    "...ArtistUpgrade exceeded my expectations! To be sure it required a quite a bit of effort on my part to ‘paint the picture’ of what I thought I wanted. However, there lies the true reason I am giving this testimonial. Alison and Mick were able to envision what I thought I wanted into what I really needed to get across to existing and potential customers. In the end, they listened, envisioned & responded – and I couldn’t be happier with the end results! And, since launching our new site sales are up 20‰."

    Visit www.accuratecomp.com

  • Randye Kaye

    Connecticut Voice Talent

    "If you ask me, I could write a book...about ArtistUpgrade. They designed my logo, business card,and brand-new website - all while helping me with branding concepts, SEO, site navigation, and more. The whole team is creative, fun, efficient - and boy do they know their stuff! And, oh yeah - very patient and responsive with me, my multiple business facets, and my endless questions. Love them!!"

    Visit www.vo.randyekaye.com

  • Larry Zeug

    East Coast Voice Talent

    "Can't say enough good things about you guys. You did a great job, you were fun to work with and your response/turn around time was excellent. Thank You."

    Visit www.larryzeug.com

  • Pat Patterson

    Actor & Producer

    "Mick was able to translate my "you knows" as I attempted to describe my needs ad wants into tangible, stunningly creative answers to my desires for my website. Alison was always available to answer my questiosn and explain the process. I couldn't be more impressed."

    Visit www.patpatterson.biz

  • Beth Mensinger

    D.C. Voice Talent

    "I loved working with ArtistUpgrade. It helps to have true professionals who can collaborate, take a rough idea and run with it to develop a strong brand -- all without being offended or 'bothered' by suggestions or edit requests. Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of the suggestions, support and encouragement!"

    Visit www.voicesbybeth.com

  • B.P. Smyth

    Tennessee Voice Talent

    "It has been an absolute pleasure working with you ... The website design exceeds my expectations. I am absolutely thrilled with it, and I can't wait to show all my current clients and include it, of course, in my marketing attempts. I am looking forward to working with you and Mick in the years to come."

    Visit www.bpsmythvoice.com

  • John Jacobs

    NYC Voice Talent

    "To adapt Winston Churchill: "Never in the field of websites and print materials was so much owed by so many to so few". I could not imagine working with a more creative and professional team than Alison and Mick."

    Visit www.johnjacobsvoice.com

  • Simone Schmitz

    Actor & Model

    "I love how easy you make it to have a website that truly reflects who I am and what I do.I've shown my new website to all kinds of different industry folks (photographers, make-up artists, other models and actors and producers) and they all loved it!"

    Visit www.simoneschmitz.net

  • Roxanna Brunell representative

    Composer

    "ArtistUpgrade provides clients exceptional service, on-target suggestions, a sharp and quick understanding of what you need as a client, they're a very professional and competent team, no question is too small therefore the process is a pleasure."

    Visit www.alexanderstixbrunell.com

  • Lisa Junco

    Actor & Voice Talent

    "Thank you Alison and Mick for your creativity and professionalism. It was a pleasure working with you. I received excellent marketing materials at an exceptional value on a very timely basis. I have already referred you to my 140 something Facebook friends!"

    Visit www.lisajunco.com

  • Sharon Maguire

    Actor

    "You guys are the shit!"

    Visit www.sharonmaguireactor.com

  • Stuart Stone

    Casting Director

    "Your work is AMAZING AND SO CREATIVE! BEST work I have seen in a long time."

    Visit www.commercialacting.net

  • Shashone Lambert

    Actor

    "The whole process was great, even for those who aren't computer literate! I love my website. It's professional and yet it still captures my personal style. I truly believe it's something that puts me one step ahead."

    Visit www.shashonelambert.com

  • Jeigh Duran

    Voice Talent

    "I am very happy with the experience I had with ArtistUpgrade, and would recommend it to anyone who doesn't have a gazillion dollars to blow on a website. Both Mick and Alison were professional, kind and patient, very responsive and efficient. If you don't know much, no problem, they are glad to help you through the process."

    Visit www.jeighduran.com

  • Suzanne Obolsky

    NYC Voice Talent

    "Is it possible to marry a website design company? If so, it's time to choose a china pattern! ArtistUpgrade not only provides exceptional quality work, but also exemplary customer service, truck-loads of personality and a keen sense of what makes you look your best. If you want to make your product memorable, I would highly recommend ArtistUpgrade's services. Branding has never looked or felt so good."

    Visit www.suzanneobolskyspeaks.com

  • Simon Cregan

    Singer

    "I'm not being dramatic here, but the site is sensational. I'm estatic about it. It's better than I imagined it would be, what else can i say? It's wonderful! And believe me I don't get excited by much at all! A Big thank you to [Mick] and Alison for the parts you both played in the building of it."

    Visit www.simoncregan.com

  • Laura Butler

    Actor & Singer

    "ArtistUpgrade exceeded my expectations. This truly is a wonderful company. All artists should have this kind of experience when building their website!!!"

    Visit www.laurabutlernyc.com

  • Brooke Baumer

    Actor & Comedian

    "ArtistUpgrade is a team of fantastic designers. Not only are their ideas fresh, but they are top-notch professionals when it comes to customer service. They work efficiently and quickly to guarantee you get the product you want. Highly recommend them!"

    Visit www.brookebaumer.com

  • Diana Rodriguez

    Actor & Singer

    "I love my website, and have already seen results! I can't believe the difference in response between sending a generic myspace link and sending potential clients/collaborators to my artistupgrade page. I have spoken to people at all levels of the music business who felt frustrated at how much they pay for websites they aren't happy with. Alison and Mick consistently listened to what I wanted in the process and then showed me something better than what I asked for. I feel confident that I am sending out a professional image that represents who I am as an artist, and I know I can trust this team to help my website grow with me!"

    Visit www.tiadianarodriguez.com

  • Mike Markham

    Voice Talent & Ring Announcer

    "The team at ArtistUpgrade is extremely knowledgable and great to work with. They really take care of you. They aren't just about hooking you up with a website. They'll help you keep things updated and fresh throughout your career. Whatever you need from marketing materials to web design, they've got you covered. They really care about their clients and they know exactly what you need as an entertainer/actor/VO talent. Lots of people can design websites but Artist Upgrade can help you build an image to form and further your career."

    Visit www.ring-announcer.com

  • Cynthia Shaw

    Actor+Singer+Voice Talent+Musical Director

    "I booked a independent film, and the producer said I had an 'excellent' website that made it so easy for him to find out about me. He loved that my reel was so easily accessible. He was just lavish in his praise of the website. Congrats and thanks!"

    Visit www.cynthiashaw.us

  • Elizabeth Holmes

    California Voice Talent

    "I am SO impressed with ArtistUpgrade! Their skill, their taste, their professionalism, and their rates are all exceptional. They exceeded my expectations every step of the way. I'm thrilled with the results! Highly recommended."

    Visit www.holmesvoice.com

  • Patty Aicher

    Actor & Voice Talent

    "ArtistUpgrade is by far the most professional company I have ever worked with. I am proud and excited to launch my site and have gotten 100% positive feedback. I feel very lucky. Thank you for all of your hard work!"

    Visit www.pattyaicher.com

  • Leslie Becker

    Actor+Singer+Writer+Coach

    "ArtistUpgrade delivers the most sophisticated, customized website service around. From the process for uploading your content to the final result, these guys are at the top of their game! I would and DO recommend ArtistUpgrade to everyone in the creative arts! You won't find a better way to be seen, showcased and presented to the world! Artist-Upgrade rocks!"

    Visit www.lesliebecker.net

  • David Bridel

    Actor+Writer+Director+
    Choreographer+Clown

    "ArtistUpgrade made the experience of building the site easy and fun. I'm delighted with the result and I intend to recommend you to all my friends and colleagues."

    Visit www.davidbridel.org

  • Lee Gundersheimer

    NYU Drama Faculty

    "Actor websites are the wave of the future. We (NYU Drama) have just developed our own Tisch Online Portfolio program for just this reason. ArtistUpgrade, founded and run by two of our alums, creates websites that are clean, thorough, and professional."

    Visit Lee's Tisch profile

  • Chelsea D'Aprile

    Actor

    "ArtistUpgrade creates completely unique websites for each client - the personal attention given to the website is incredible, and each visual design is specially created for the client. I think every artist, actor, model, voice-over talent, musician, and performer should know about ArtistUpgrade. Having a website is crucial for marketing, and ArtistUpgrade is the best at creating a unique, visually elegant, and professionally built website. And all at an affordable price! 5 stars!"

    Visit www.chelseadaprile.com

  • Sarah Tancer

    Actor+Singer+Voice Talent

    "ArtistUpgrade rocks! Alison and Mick are quick, responsive, friendly, patient (it took me forever to upload all of my materials-but the minute they got them they were super quick to put them together). They also are super quick with edits when you have them. The design work is stylish, clean and professional and I've received tons of positive feedback from everyone who has viewed it. I love my website. I feel super confident sending potential clients there and most importantly I've booked jobs from it. So hooray for ArtistUpgrade!"

    Visit www.sarahtancer.com

  • Bob Fraser

    Actor+Writer+Director+Producer

    "Your site is terrific and the product looks superb."

    Visit www.www.showbizhowto.com

  • Kari Nicolle

    Actor

    "Before I had an OK website. Now, it's FANTASTIC!"

    Visit www.karinicolle.com

  • Craig Young

    Abu Dhabi Voice Talent

    "Where to begin? Alison (and her husband/business partner Mick) have given me the best balance of personal service, value for money and excellent results. ArtistUpgrade 'gets' me as a voiceover artist and I totally trusted them to design the site to reflect me and my business. I was not disappointed. My website exceeded my expectations and the process was methodical, transparent and customer-centric. I'm going back for more!"

    Visit www.theaudioanimator.com

  • Robert Kim

    NYC Headshot Photographer

    "ArtistUpgrade provides artists with professional websites that are both completely thorough and extremely easy to navigate. They give you everything you need! The entire industry is shifting towards the internet, no artist can afford not to get on board with this great company."

    Visit www.robertkim.com

  • Robin Carus

    Actor & Model

    "I'm always having to look at headshots, resumes, and websites. ArtistUpgrade is a rare service that caringly caters to the professional artist's pocket while beautifully creating a site around personality and individual style."

    Visit Robin's Massify profile

  • Dawna Perez

    Massachusetts Voice Talent

    "If any music/VO actors/creative types are looking for a GREAT, professional company to work with, I recommend www.ArtistUpgrade.com. Everyone at ArtistUpgrade is wonderful, and a pleasure to work with!"

    Visit www.geminivoice.com

  • Dionne Audain

    Actor & Voice Talent

    "I greatly appreciate you all sticking by me, not giving up, taking a chance on me, and breaking the mold as well. It has been absoulutely wonderful working with you...You guys are awesome and have an awesome company, too."

    Visit www.dionneaudain.com

  • Valerie Menzel

    Voice Talent & Producer

    "The AU team is so smart, talented and truly professional. I've gotten nothing but rave reviews on my website...The team at Artist Upgrade are consummate professionals, incredibly talented and a true pleasure to do business with. I highly recommend their services as working with them has been an absolutely wonderful experience."

    Visit www.valeriemenzel.com

  • David Noyes

    NYC Voice Talent

    "The entire process, from design to implementation was smooth and professional. I was extremely pleased with the result."

    Visit www.davidnoyesvoiceover.com

  • Bill Brennan

    Billy B Productions

    "Can a website really be beautiful? Apparently so, because, this week, I have heard that comment three times in response to the site you created for me. For me, the real "beauty" has been working with you. You are really good at what you do and you are very easy to work with. Thanks again for the great job and service."

    Read Billy B's Full Testimonial

    Visit www.billybproductions.com

  • Angelica Brooks

    Actor+Singer+Voice Talent

    "They recently completed my website and I love it. They are professional and proficient. I highly recommend them to any professional."

    Visit www.angelicabrooks.com

  • Kamran R. Khan

    Trilingual Camera & Voice Actor

    "Fantastic design skills and service! Artist Upgrade didn't "push back" on anything I requested and made every effort to accommodate my every request or provide an alternative!"

    Visit www.kamranrkhan.com

  • Dorothy Faux representative

    Actor

    "Thank you very much for all your efforts on Rawson's behalf in building his website. You were both thoughtful, helpful, professional, fast and a pleasure to work with. Mick, you did great design work, working with photos that had lots of personality but lacking great quality and your idea to use them as polaroids was brilliant. I think the site reflects Rawson's personality and look, is stylish and easy to navigate. We look forward to continuing to work with you."

    Visit www.rawsonfaux.com

  • David Goldberg

    Edge Studio Director

    "Trust ArtistUpgrade! We did and now we totally rely on them for our graphics, our website, and all things creative. Its not just that they're creative and meticulous artists: They are smart how they approach things: Everything is considered - branding and effectiveness are paramount, and their execution is simply terrific (and exciting!) to watch. You will not be disappointed. We encourage anyone to use them."

    Visit www.edgestudio.com


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All About Awesome ArtistUpgrade Designer: Mick Lauer

Just about everything you see on this site was designed by one man - this man, to be exact. But Mick's design skills started long before ArtistUpgrade. Mick's one of those "if it can be done, I can do it" sort of guys. Lots of time is spent innovating and creating for the sole purpose of making the ArtistUpgrade family of clients happy, but he does other cool stuff, too. Here you can check out some of his recent non-ArtistUpgrade creative endeavors and get to know more about Mick.

 

Something Fun

One night, while I couldn't sleep, and I made this video. It went viral and in under a month, garnered over 1.5 million views and was featured on various forums including CNN.com and BoingBoing.net.

The Preface

In an age where the anonymous reviewer is held to no general standard of grammar or spelling, an intelligible trolling rant is a common and often eye-rolling occurrence. And when a game is meant as a parody of its genre, and a player playing it doesn't quite get the joke ... well, magic happens.

But the real triumph, is when an epic voice actor decides to perform a run-of-the-mill game review rant ... committing to all its grammatical belligerence.

I present to you, Dot Dot Dot — Animated. I hop uyo enjo it.

 

The original Newgrounds review:

"...i reley dont wan to say this, but i have to now. this game is so esey. i mean, all you do is hit the spacebar. thats it! how is this an RPG anyway? you cant contrail anything but what it says on the screen! what if i didnt want to buy the potion? what apout quests? all you can upgrade is stranth? there is no way you can lose to the boss at the end! this game is crap! its not even an RPG at all! i mean look at it! in what way is this supposed to be an RPG if you can do quests and stuff? all you do is press one butten the entier time! explain to me! the athore coments al totol lies! is it supposed to be stick dudes? i dont even know how this damn game got the daily 3rd prize, or a rating of 4.26!

pepole think this review is worthles.

go ahead! say it! i dont care! im just trying to make a point here!

blam this piece of crap!!!!

P.S the only reson im giving this a 1 is beacuase the voices where pretty good. but thats it!"


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All About Awesome ArtistUpgrade Designer: Katie Willis

Katie joined the ArtistUpgrade team in 2011 and is on board to meet the needs of our clients: voiceover, actor, small business and beyond! She's well versed in WordPress design, logo creation, and of course our one-of-a-kind ArtistUpgrade One Page Voiceover Websites and Signature Actor Sites. Get a quick glimpse of her portfolio below and please don't hesitate to email her with any questions you might have at katie@artistupgrade.com

 

Get Adobe Flash player

All About Katie the Creative Connoisseur

Originally from Richmond, Virginia, I am a graphic and web designer by day and an actor-singer-songwriter by night. I am always a super artsy-fartsy nerd. When I’m not tinkering with graphic design, I’m usually in rehearsal, at auditions, at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, playing scrabble, or walking my uber-cool dog, Tony.

At the University of Virginia, I studied Urban Planning and Drama (for my real and dream jobs respectively). In the School of Architecture, I got my Photoshop on. In the Drama Department, I got my funny on. Life was good. Once during a rehearsal for Brighton Beach Memoirs, I designed a poster for the production and everyone thought it was pretty neat. I thought, "Hey now, this is funzies!" So I kept at it. I designed more and more posters for student productions. Then I started designing t-shirts. Then I made my first actor website for myself… and Katie Willis as the freelance graphic and web designer was born!

I moved to the Big Apple in September of 2009 to pursue my acting career and had approximately every part-time job ever. By late 2010, I had left every part-time job ever and was designing for a living. I began wooing ArtistUpgrade because of their very professional and personable websites. In February 2011 we had our first date and it was magical. Bringing a different design perspective to the squad, I hope to round out and diversify the design team.

Under Mick’s guidance, I am continually refining my craft and design skills. I strongly believe in the importance of a web presence for artists. More importantly, I strongly believe in the product and service that ArtistUpgrade provides. I'm very happy to be working with such a talented and passionate group of people!!

Learn more about Katie the actor! www.Actor.KatieWillisNYC.com

Learn more about Katie the graphic designer! www.Design.KatieWillisNYC.com

 


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Alison Moehnke From Past To Present

Sometimes it’s hard for me to remember how I ended up as the proud owner of this little company. I suppose, to quote the great Bard, "One man, in his time, plays many parts."

Originally from Minnesota, in 2000, I migrated to NYC to study theatre and performance at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. After receiving my BFA, I headed out into the big old world to pursue an acting career. For the next three years, I spent my time appearing in 5 international tours, 6 national tours, and a handful of local and regional productions. When I wasn’t on stage, I would spend my summers teaching theatre and dance workshops to children ages 8-12 at Northern Stage in Vermont where I also had the opportunity to spearhead the development for a week-long Shakespeare Residency for high school students. In 2007, I joined the Creative Arts Team at CUNY to develop educational interactive issue-based drama for New York Public Schools. It wasn’t until 2008, when I took on the role of company manager for Star Quest International (a touring dance competition company), that I became inspired to start a venture of my own.

Tired of consistently looking for new day jobs to support my acting habit, I wanted something more consistent. I just didn’t know what. As fate would have it, my husband had, at the time, recently finished a tour of ROMEO and JULIET and was working on a website for his acting career. I, of course, wanted one, too. And what started out an idea for building websites for actors, soon blossomed into the company, products, and services you see today.

My wide range of experiences in various industries continues to influence the ideas and innovation that fuels the growth of our company every single day. I'm delighted to bring my energy, creativity, experience, and innovation to every project and client as we continue to grow onward and upward.

Mick Lauer A Man of Many Talents

After graduating from High School and being accepted to UCLA, USC, UCSD, University of Washington, Northwestern, and NYU, I moved to New York City, where I attended NYU's Tisch School of the Arts for three years. Before leaving the world of academia, I moved to London and attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. Upon returning to New York City, I completed my acting training with the Atlantic Theatre company and became a founding member of The 7th Sign Theatre Compnay. While pursuing my acting career, I started a free-lance graphic design business doing print designs for a wide variety of clients.

In 2005, I traveled to Kuala Lampur where I taught accent reduction to Malaysian Professors. This international trip was followed by a short stay to Shanghai where I taught children English comprehension using theatrial techniques. Arriving back in New York (yet again) in 2006, I continued my work with The 7th Sign and honed my web and graphic design skills. It was during this time that I toured America with the Traveling Lantern Theatre Company performing in eight plays with just two actors, traveling over 30,000 miles, in 3 years. This long tour was followed by a shorter tour of Romeo & Juliet for TheaterWorks USA.

It was around my time with TheaterWorks USA that I had the idea to build myself a website – a good website. Using my knowledge of the acting industry and talents in graphic design, I created a site that soon became the inspiration for our company and many of the artist websites you see today. I am continuously researching new technologies and reinventing the wheel to stay true to our mission of providing the most professional, effective, personalized websites for artists.

Katie Willis Creative Connoisseur

Originally from Richmond, Virginia, I am a graphic and web designer by day and an actor-singer-songwriter by night. I am always a super artsy-fartsy nerd. When I’m not tinkering with graphic design, I’m usually in rehearsal, at auditions, at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, playing scrabble, or walking my uber-cool dog, Tony.

At the University of Virginia, I studied Urban Planning and Drama (for my real and dream jobs respectively). In the School of Architecture, I got my Photoshop on. In the Drama Department, I got my funny on. Life was good. Once during a rehearsal for Brighton Beach Memoirs, I designed a poster for the production and everyone thought it was pretty neat. I thought, "Hey now, this is funzies!" So I kept at it. I designed more and more posters for student productions. Then I started designing t-shirts. Then I made my first actor website for myself… and Katie Willis as the freelance graphic and web designer was born!

I moved to the Big Apple in September of 2009 to pursue my acting career and had approximately every part-time job ever. By late 2010, I had left every part-time job ever and was designing for a living. I began wooing ArtistUpgrade because of their very professional and personable websites. In February 2011 we had our first date and it was magical. Bringing a different design perspective to the squad, I hope to round out and diversify the design team.

Chelsea D'Aprile Small-Town to the Big City

A small-town girl from Vermont, I attended Hamilton College, a liberal arts school in upstate New York. As a theatre major, I squeezed in as much theatre as possible, and often found myself running (literally) from one rehearsal to the next, as I often performed in two or three productions at the same time. I am also quite fond of academia, and spent much of my time studying color-coded notes (yes, I was one of those students), writing long essays (including my 100 page thesis!), and researching for said essays (I found that sitting on the floor amidst tall stacks of books in the library was quite comfy).

After a successful four years of academics, including a semester abroad at the London Dramatic Academy, I moved to New York City in the fall of 2009 to pursue my love for theatre. After working on a show for the New York Fringe Festival, I immediately found a niche at Columbia University, where I worked with MFA directing students on various in-class performances, for which I had the privilege of performing for Anne Bogart and Brian Kulick.

In May of 2010, I realized that having a website would be crucial for marketing myself as an actress, so I contacted Alison (whom I have known since I was sixteen, when I worked as her assistant teacher at Northern Stage). ArtistUpgrade designed my website, www.ChelseaDAprile.com, in June, and I was hired in September! Working at ArtistUpgrade isn’t just any other day job to me, it’s a job that I deeply care about and thoroughly enjoy.

Can a website really be beautiful? Apparently so, because, this week, I have heard that comment three times in response to the site you created for me. I also have read, in emails, "amazing", "awesome" and "really impressive", and I haven't even advertised it yet. These comments are from folks I know well. The same folks who would love to point out, if it were true, I had lettuce stuck between my teeth. And perhaps more importantly in regards to the practical application of the site, I have noticed an uptick in inquiries from paying customers. Have I mentioned I haven't advertised it yet?

I have heard from actors who have worked with you, Mick, that you are a very talented actor who brings a lot of energy to the productions you are involved in, but what I know directly is that you are a very talented visual artist which a great sense of graphic design. Also, the structure you created for the site is, I'm sure, an important part of what elicits the "beautiful" comments. And I have no doubt, that it is you Alison, who keeps that office focused.

But for me, at this early stage when I am still, under your tutelage, entering content into the site, the real "beauty" has been working with you two and Chelsea. You always respond to my questions immediately, you always pick up the phone, you are patient when again explaining a procedure you had explained two days earlier; in a nutshell, you are really good at what you do and you are very easy to work with. And again, perhaps more importantly, your rates are really, really reasonable.

Oh, and, for the third time, when you make a thumb nail photo in photoshop for a video clip for the site, what size should it be? Oh, and when you ................

Thanks again for the great job and service,

Billy B Brennan