Before the Oyster Hotel
Honestly, if you really rewound the story it started out as both of us being super entrepreneurial kids. Erin sold flowers to the neighbors door to door at 9 years old to save up for a bicycle (note from Erin: It was a purple and green 18 speed and I was way proud of it. The first round of flowers I sold were stealthily picked from the neighbor’s rose garden before my efforts were kindly redirected to selling fairly acquired flower bulbs... ) Elijah put on a huge talent show in high school that drew over 1,000 attendees. Hundreds of miles apart, we both put on our own backyard Circus events as kids. It was probably really merciful on our parents sanity that we didn’t meet each other until we were adults.
When we did finally meet, it was while we were both working as art directors at an ad agency in Detroit. It started out as really aggressive competition (like full blown office psychological warfare) but somewhere along the lines, we realized what we can achieve together if we’re on the same team. We’ve had some pretty grand adventures together since then.
Before creating the Oyster Hotel, we worked together in an eclectic assortment of endeavors including stints as graphic designers and movie poster illustrators. There was even a slow winter where we did janitorial work together cleaning daycares and listening to audiobook after audiobook. The vast majority of our work together has been centered around storytelling and visual arts, be it filmmaking or digital artwork. We came up with the rough concept for plot of The Oyster Hotel during our honeymoon and once we’d built the concept out into a full story, we knew we needed to put total focus on developing The Oyster Hotel.
Creating The Oyster Hotel required an eclectic collection of skills that we’ve developed over years of pushing our creativity, self-directed learning, and physical fitness beyond our preconceived limits. We spent years learning 3D modelling and texturing to use in creating our digital artwork and dedicated an equal amount of time expanding on our coding skills. Erin has a long background in music and Elijah’s work in film garnered him the Whale Tale award, presented by Jon Landau, producer of Titanic, on behalf of Fidelity with Mofilm. Our poster work and independent projects have garnered over 7 million hits worldwide and include Black Superheroes Reimagined, Gilmore Girls We Can Do It, NBA Knights and FIERCE.