About Michael Ware

Working collaboratively requires chemistry and complementary talents. If you are undertaking a serious web project, you don’t have to work with big egos, slugs or amateurs. Your time is more valuable than that. To make sure I’m none of the above, check out my work and indulge me by reading how Partisan Pixel came to be.

Mom

Nancy Ware painted professionally for 33 years before Alzheimer’s made that too difficult. She dragged the whole family to countless galleries, shows and classes, planting a seed in me that would grow into an interest in color, typography and design. I started toying with graphic design in high school, and eventually bought a used PC loaded with QuarkXpress from a fellow waiter named Martin at Cucina, an Italian restaurant in Park Slope, Brooklyn. I started making political flyers and later taking courses in Photoshop and Illustrator at the School for the Visual Arts.

After 11 years and 4 career changes, I had grown tired of the daily assault that is life in New York City. After a long weekend in Burlington visiting friends, my partner Tristin and I sold our co-op in Jackson Heights and moved to Vermont with daughters Amandine and Tula in February 2006. Neither parent had a job waiting. Which was stupid.

Vermont & the Web

By 2006, the viability of a graphic design career was already in doubt. The web had taken over. I made a hard shift, bought a copy of Dreamweaver and produced my first and only tables-based layout for LouisesGardens.com, launched in April of that year. I made a few more sites for friends Tina and Ann while pursuing a Web Production certificate at Champlain College before graduating in 2007, already having found a job as a front end developer at Media Solutions International. I learned a ton about CSS and the web that year+ at MSI.

After the Financial Crisis of 2008, I wanted to find less precarious employment that would allow me to design. In 2009 I began at Independent Brewers United, owners of Magic Hat and Pyramid Breweries. I dove into Drupal and designing beer websites (but not the Magic Hat site design) for nearly four years, working with a fun crew of talented people. I jumped ship to work for Vermont Energy Investment Corporation, partly out of a passion for environmental issues. After a year, I had grow restless. I began researching on how to go freelance, talking with Corey Machanic about the pros and cons of supplying your own steam. With his encouragement and occasional endorsement, I lept out of the plane and became Partisan Pixel LLC on June 22, 2014.

Freelance

I soon learned that I preferred development to design because of the objectivity of development… and the greater need. People wanted front end developers with design abilities and WordPress experience. I dove further into WordPress, PHP, Javascript and Angular, as well as a billion other things because practicing web development is like drinking from a fire hose. To stay current I train and/or read for 1-2 hours every weekday. Ain’t no other way.

Freelancing has been wonderful but hard. I like calling my own shots, but I wouldn’t recommend it to the timid. I had to become more outgoing, more ready to defend my work and myself against scope creep and clients who demand but don’t pay. I don’t have colleagues to help me debug PHP errors but I also don’t have many meetings. And I’ve worked with great people on interesting projects. I’ve never learned so much, so fast. I’m exploiting myself by cutting out the middleman, but controlling that makes all the difference.

I would hope that I’ve been successful because of integrity. People who hire me often come back for another round. There may be better programmers or designers, but I combine both reasonably well. I work hard, communicate well and stay organized. I strive for transparency in everything I do because bullshitting is stressful. Honesty is far easier and more likely to come in return.

What’s behind the Partisan moniker you might ask? Yes, I’m a bit left of center, and in the age of Trump, I don’t mind people knowing.

Contact me

Are you convinced? If so, head over to the contact page and get in touch. I’d love to hear from you.

Michael