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Bio: I have always been fascinated with art and design dating way back to the days when I was a kid in grade school and used to sell my drawings for some spare change to catch the ice cream truck after school. At age 14, I broke my knee and decided I wanted to learn to airbrush. That one single incident changed the course of my life because if I had never broken my knee, I might not have taken the time to learn to airbrush during my recovery time from my injury. I owe my mother for always encouraging me and supporting me by helping me purchase my first airbrush kit, and I owe my father for giving me a hard time and telling me I wouldn't ever be able to do it. I loved my dad, he was just big on saving money and didn't like the fact that I spent money buying the airbrushes or that fact that mom helped. He later became a big supporter of my artwork.
Later, at about age 15, I began selling airbrush T-shirts on the front steps of Golden's Drugs on Saturdays in Blountstown, my home town. It quickly became the sensation on the weekends to come and see me to get an airbrushed shirt. My mother used to bring me to town, dump all of my equipment out, and let me work the day until picking me up in the afternoon. I later went on to airbrush in Panama City Beach when I was 16 and finally old enough to drive myself to work. I worked for Airbrush Island, now known as Big Island Tees, and Big Willies on the beach for Mark Hess and his family. After leaving the beach I worked for T-shirts Plus in the Panama City Mall for a few years. I also worked for a graphics company on Harrison Avenue in Panama City called Trim Line Design, where I got my first exposure to Vehicle Graphics, and Signs. During that time I also got my own screenprinting equipment and worked with a friend from a garage doing screenprinted shirts for the beach stores. My long time friend, Bronze Rinehart and I printed our first screenprinted t-shirt with no machinery whatsoever. He and I both now own screenprinting companies at this time.
In 1996, I partnered with Tim Cooley in Nashville, TN to open C & C Shirt Works (Cooley and Cloud) in Rivergate Mall where I worked from 1996 to 2002. There I got further into signs and graphics while doing signage and display for Rivergate Mall where our shop was located. In 2002, I decided to get back home to this area where I grew up, and opened Cloud Design. Later to make a more universal name we incorporated to form Lightning Graphics, Inc.
To my mother, Rose Marie Cloud: Thank you for always believing in me and my art and always doing your best to foster and encourage my growth in it.
To my father, Ferrell Cloud: Thank you for kicking my butt, putting the fear of GOD in me, and making me do the right thing. Thank you for teaching me what you knew and being as solid, and steady as a rock for all of us. You are truly missed. (R.I.P. August, 2008)
To my brother Jim: Thanks for all your help in the beginning when this all started.
To my grandmother, Virginia Ruth Figgatt: Thank you for being so proud of my work and volunteering to help buy new equipment to help me grow. We miss you so much! (RIP April, 2008)