Today we’d like to introduce you to Ace Anderson.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Ace. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I was born in New Jersey to migrant parents from Jamaica. Ya mon! As a first generation American and artist, I was raised with several cultural perspectives to be an aspirational free thinker. Early in my life, we moved to West Palm Beach, Florida where I auditioned to be in Bak Middle School of the Arts where I studied acting from 6th to 8th grade. I later was accepted in the Acting Program at the performing arts high school, Dreyfoos School of the Arts. Needless to say, I was in love with the arts. My senior year, I was hand-picked out of 12,000 applicants to attend YoungArts week with the National YoungArts Foundation where I got to work with Master Teachers like Bill T. Jones and Phylicia Rashad. YoungArts is essentially an art fraternity representing the top 2% of artists in the nation in 10 disciplines. Working around all that talent encouraged me to round out my craft and learn about other disciplines.
When I attended SMU for my Acting BFA, I decided to also take a graphic design class and a piano class. I still have yet to take a dance class. My sophomore year, the Chair of the theater Department ask me to be in my first professional show over the summer; pretty much just handed it to me, and that’s when all my fears about becoming a professional artist were obliterated. Once I graduated, I immediately started working as the Junior Graphic Designer at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, all the while performing professionally nationwide thanks to YoungArts. I quickly rose in the ranks at DSO and became the lead on the design team within two years. I soon realized that the corporate cubicle life was not for me, so I quit my job with no prospects. I just didn’t want to be there anymore. My boss was an awful person to work for. There was no room for creativity. I was miserable, so I left.
However, working full-time gave me the experience and clientele to start my own design company (The Striped Heart). The company has been a huge success and I am so grateful to be able to create for people that trust my vision, it also gives me the flexibility to travel and perform as much as I need to. I’ve studied acting since 2002 and am now happily one of eight members of the Brierley Resident Acting Company at The Regional Tony Award® Winning Dallas Theater Center. I’m also one of three in the country with a 52-week acting contract with Dallas Theater Center. Yes! We get paid year-round to perform. What makes that even sweeter is that all three of us are black: Me, Tiana Kaye Blair, & The world famous, Liz Mikel. As a young black male artist, I couldn’t be more grateful to have this opportunity from DTC.
People have told me that I can’t do it all, but I can proudly say that I am a successful full-time professional Actor, Graphic Designer, and Photographer. I’ve been recognized across the country as a pioneer in the arts and a true Renaissance Man. Google ‘Ace Anderson’ and you’ll find much of my work. In 2014, I won Best Actor in Dallas for my role in August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. I was also handpicked as one of the 100 Top Creatives (No. 36). As a designer and photographer, I love working with movement and exploring the human body as a work of art. I easily adapt to my environment and I am very quick witted. People say I’m not funny…
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I’m a visionary. I have big ideas and I’m not afraid to assert them. I believe that everything in life can be improved, and my perspective can be intimidating for some people. I was born to be a leader, but often I’ve been forced to the sidelines to be a blind supporter of the status quo. That doesn’t work for me and I often clash with people that don’t let me shine attempting to squeeze me in a box. That’s why I left my job at the symphony. For the most part, though, my professional career has been pretty friction-free, but that makes those hardheaded pessimists all the more difficult for me to cooperate with.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about The Striped Heart – what should we know?
The Striped Heart is my creative agency. It’s essentially just Ace getting to do all his favorite Ace projects: Print & digital graphic design, photography, videography, brand development, websites, logos, brochures, movie posters and more. What sets me apart is that I have been involved in ALL parts of the creative process. As a director, I understand brainstorming, sketching, pitching, research, and development. As a designer, I understand balance, shape, line, color, and volume. As a performer, I understand how to communicate with actors, dancers, & singers. As a poet, I understand copywriting and storytelling. As a millennial, I understand social media marketing. Every craft that I have my hands in teaches me how to do another aspect of my job more efficiently and my clients can come to me knowing that they can confidently trust my work.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
You have to be honest with yourself. You have to know yourself. You have to trust yourself. Most importantly, you have to love yourself. If you master that, you can do anything.
Photo Session (Solo) – $250
Photo Session (2-5 People) – $375
Design – $65/hr
I am a professional Actor, Graphic Designer & Photographer. My career started as a full-time designer in 2013. Two years later, I said “hell no” to depression, quit my job and, went full-time freelance with my own design company, The Striped Heart. Shortly after I accepted a company membership with Tony-Award winning Dallas Theater Center’s acting company. My greatest asset is my creative outlook on life. I've been engrossed in the world of the arts since I was very young. They way art moves and inspires people is what keeps me going. I was born to be a connector and a leader. I strongly believe we were put on this earth to create. Therefor it is my ultimate goal to keep art and creativity alive and well for as long as I live. People say I'm not funny...