Our Torchliters are vetted freelance digital marketing experts that power the Torchlite Marketplace. They come from a variety of backgrounds and are experts in all areas of digital marketing – from SEO and copywriting to web design and development. Most recently, you met one of the newest additions to our Torchlite Marketplace, Chris Keller.
This week, we’d like to introduce you to self-taught web developer, Aric Harris.
What’s your role as a Torchliter and which clients do you work with?
I am a Front-End web developer specializing in WordPress development, PHP, UI/UX design, and visual design.
I have recently worked with Levementum, TF Fulfillment, and I have a couple new Torchlite projects in the works.
Where do you live and what’s your favorite part about your hometown?
I was born on Oahu, grew up in Fremont, CA, and now live in Indianapolis. I’ve really found Indianapolis to be a city that I can relax in, and it’s growing. There is nightlife, art, theater, and a lot more. I’ve found a niche here, and have a place where I can hang with my kids while making Indy my home.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I’m a big fan of Tiki Pop and Polynesian culture. A lot of my spare time revolves around collecting, carving, or drawing tikis and visions of tropical shores. I also do my own artwork as a means to keep myself active mentally.
The remaining time you can find me in my kitchen. I started my professional life cooking in restaurants and find myself going back to the stove when I am stumped. I find cooking up dinner helps me to solve problems on the computer. It forces me to do something else, which gives my brain a chance rethink my approach.
What was the last trip you took?
I went all the way to Dayton, OH. Nothing exciting. My last big trip was to New Orleans where I spent most of my time at Latitude 29 and Cafe Du Monde.
What was the last book you read?
I really like YA literature. Pretty much anything by Rick Riordan. His work is just fun and imaginative, and I love how he mixes old myths into a modern narrative. I am also reading Hollow City by Ransom Riggs as well as the new Magnus Chase novel by Riordan.
I also like to read books on cooking techniques and styles.
If you could have dinner with anyone (alive or dead) who would it be and why?
This is a hard one. I think I would much rather have a dinner party with Bob Ross, the Dalai Lama, Nina Simone, Shirley Bassey, Vincent Price, and Mr. Rogers. I think it would a wild night.
What’s one interesting fact about you that most people don’t know?
I never had formal training. I started in Radio, TV, and Film studies when the Internet was really starting to take off. I was actually trying to teach myself animation through learning Macromedia Flash. In the meantime, I was working as a cook in restaurants to pay my way through school. The interesting fact here is that my original goal was to go into cooking professionally. I turned in my application for grad school and a culinary program, and I promised myself that I would go to whichever program accepted my application. I got the letter that I was accepted to Marquette, and said, “Well, that does it.” The next day I got the letter from culinary school. I think it turned out okay.
How did you get into freelancing?
To be honest, I was laid off. I had a UI/UX position with an Indy-based health tech startup and was let go. I had been doing small jobs off and on as a thing to do on the side, but I started taking on more clients when I realized that unemployment would take longer than I could afford.
What is your typical day like?
Much like anybody’s really. To be honest, I am fairly boring. I wake up, get the family going, exercise when I can, do my office work, pick up the kids, make dinner, make art, watch TV, wash, rinse, repeat. Sometimes I go out, but most of the time I am at home taking care of projects.
I am a creature of routine, and I find that maintaining routines strengthens my work. It also allows me to manage my time better.
How do you stay up-to-date on the latest digital marketing trends?
Being in the design and development realm of digital marketing, it’s really easy to see how trends are going. There are the online publications like Smashing Magazine and A List Apart and other sites that focus on UI/UX. I also subscribe to Communication Arts, and I try to keep in touch with other developers and professionals in the field.
I think that’s one of the keys to keeping up on what’s new is creating a network of colleagues that you trust. The web dev/design community can be very helpful, and open to questions and sharing knowledge.
What’s your favorite part about working with Torchlite?
I’ve done a couple of projects with a couple more on the way. I think the thing I like the best is the flexibility and collaborative nature of Torchlite. I think it’s important to understand what your strengths and weaknesses are, and Torchliters are great at asking good questions and giving feedback in a collaborative, non-competitive environment.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Aric! Are you a freelancer who is interested in becoming a Torchliter? Learn more and apply today!
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