When Ben Hummel (IL ’98) and Cherish Flieder (IL ’02) enrolled at RMCAD they discovered more than just a love of art and design – they discovered a love for one another. Both natives of Colorado, Ben and Cherish met at a student event held on campus. They married in June 2002 and shortly after started working on professional projects together.
Ben and Cherish stress the key to working together and being married is to try not to take things too seriously and to remember to forgive each other. “Where one has a weakness, the other has strength – we complement each other,” said Ben. Cherish sees ideas more in terms of color and composition, whereas Ben focuses on drawing and storytelling. Working together allows them the opportunity to bounce ideas off each other.
As a team, Cherish and Ben have worked as freelance illustrators on five books including the 2005 publication What Would You Like to Do Today?, which can be found in national bookstores and on Amazon.com. Both illustrators also spend time on a number of individual projects. Cherish is currently doing the illustration and design for a book by Larry Grizzell called The Star, which is due out in 2006. She also recently worked on the illustrations for a book titled Christmas: The Birth of Jesus published by the Tim & Beverly La Haye Collection. Ben has been doing freelance illustration work for Embassy Suites creating advertising pieces.
They’ve also recently started their own business called “Painting for Life”. This new business will tap into all their passions and enable them to share their paintings and designs with a larger audience though the avenues of art licensing with the intent “to paint to overcome the struggles of everyday life by depicting imagery that encourages others to life more fully.”
For Ben and Cherish, RMCAD was a powerful experience. “I learned to never settle for second best, and to strive to do the best you can even if you have constraints,” said Ben. For Cherish she learned about putting together a professional presentation, how to take criticism, and to never quit. Cherish and Ben are active members of the RMCAD Alumni Association and have played an active role in shaping the organization.
Ben’s & Cherish’s Advice to Graduates
Don’t settle for any job and be careful what jobs you take. Make sure the job is for a cause and value yourself,” says Ben. Cherish encourages students and alumni to make sure and sign a contract before they start a project. “Don’t be afraid to turn down jobs, especially if you see warning flags – protect your rights.” Cherish and Ben both agree the field of illustration can be challenging. “You have to find your niche. You always have to pick yourself up and find another way to do what you are passionate about. Don’t ever give up.”