Fat Eyes Web Development Is 20 Years Strong

20 year celebration fat eyes web development

Everything Starts Sometime

It’s not like we didn’t see it coming, but it’s still a startling realization. One that lands packed with countless details and memories along with every reason in the world not to be taken by surprise. We’ve been in business for twenty years this month and of course, we know that, but there’s something about hearing yourself say, “two decades” that just has a certain kind of ring to it.  Fat Eyes Web Development began in July, 1998 as a small idea, an experiment that took hold.

Our Company Anniversary. The Beginning.

Back then, we sat together in the room where we’d spent days, weeks, months that had accumulated into years experimenting and exploring and talked about putting what we’d learned to use in a commercial endeavor. We’d spent the first part of our professional careers as fine artists, making paintings mostly and then mixed media installations in collaboration with other artists and had gradually transitioned away from it, swapped out visual arts and the art world thing, the galleries, collectors, curators, museums, art critics, in favor of  something new and different. We became fascinated with digital media.

By 1998, it occurred to us that we could use our long-developed visual craft and related skills to support businesses and organizations by being their eyes and hands. We could even, perhaps, encourage them to think more deeply than they might have otherwise about how they could communicate their identities and messages. Think with more precision, empathy and curiosity about who they were trying to reach. What was actually needed and sought after.

This was stuff we could really dig our teeth into. It excited us. It would be a new kind of making of things that would allow us to collaborate with each other and with clients. A direction that would engage our intellect. That would enable us to be creative, continue learning, stretch ourselves in directions that led us away from the elitism of the art world.

Now we could put our energy into the realm of useful, practical communication forms, design, business and non-profit.

It became a commitment that hasn’t let up.

Our sense was that with our backgrounds as visual artists we might have something unusual, distinct and valuable to contribute. Simply put, the web was ugly in 1998. It had limitations and intriguing design was scarce.

We’d spent decades honing our craft, thoughtfully investigating ideas and translating them into a visual vocabulary that would communicate what we were thinking and questioning about the world in a way that could be understood. The concepts of intent and execution were roadmaps we’d traversed. We figured that if we could transform our own ideas into tangible objects of meaning and communication we could transfer that knowledge and experience to ideas and uses other than our own. It was refreshing. We were ready to leave our artistic egos behind and begin collaborating with and for the purpose of others.

We chose a business name from an old list of unused painting titles. I executed a clever but low-cost, simple marketing campaign. The calls came in. We bought suits. We dressed up and had meetings. We had a few lucky breaks, got started and have pretty much forgotten to look back.

Making Art And A Transfer of Knowledge

Making art was analogous to living the life of an explorer. Asking questions and pursuing trains of thought, being curious, interrogating, probing and pursuing schemata, perceptions, interpretation, advancing inklings to their endpoints. Perseverance and doggedness. Production. Prolific exploration.

It was a natural conversion. Transferring our knowledge from years of art-making and the discourse it demanded and applying it in our new circumstances working with clients made total sense. Share on X

The Web And Putting What We Knew To Work For Others.

Formally entering into a world that was ever-changing like the internet and the world wide web we knew we’d need to change along with it over time. We were used to challenges coming from decades in the art world, essentially growing up there. Pressure, deadlines, competition, strict requirements for being able to produce and creativity on demand. The shifts in trends, taste and fashion. These were familiar. That familiarity also lent comfort and confidence to what was ahead. In the beginning, making websites was fairly straightforward. At least on the surface. It’s become a lot more complicated and complex and layered over the years that have ensued. Agility is vital in a business like ours. Luckily, that’s part of what makes it never become boring.

Principles and Values. Identity. Self-identity.

This is how we have always done it. Even with all the changes in technology and resulting changes in design and content philosophies, there are constants in the years that have gone by. Commitment to an ethos, patterns of stability. Our approach to relationships and the respect we can bestow on the people who trust us to work for them. Listening skills. The concept of teamwork. These are things that matter deeply. Over years, we grow and gain insights. We learn and not only take comfort in that but strive to never slow the learning.

Each and every individual and entity we come in contact with has something to teach us. Share on X

We know that.

We bring ourselves wherever we go and we don’t make any useless attempts at wearing different hats that cause us to change our essence or character. Who we are is who we’ve always been at core only better, matured and with more wisdom. We’re interested in being true and being truthful.

These values we treasure help us to build a reputation for being who we say we are. We believe this is part of the secret to that staying power that makes twenty years not only possible but also just a snapshot of a longer timespan. We are in it for the long haul.

Along the way, we’ve had the honor of working with amazing companies and non-profits, individuals and large groups. Dedicated people who have recruited us to assist in their success. There are people we never would have met or had the opportunity to get to know, collaborate with. Fat Eyes has accomplished one of our most dear hopes. To broaden not only our life experience but our exposure to different worlds of industry, business, and most meaningfully, the non-profits, the people who have dedicated their lives to making a difference in the world. We got to participate and will continue to.

Thank you to each and every one of you. All of our clients, colleagues, vendors, partners and sub-contractors. We are in this together.

Note: We stopped wearing suits a very long time ago.


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  • author's avatar

    By: Gina Fiedel

    Gina Fiedel is the co-founder/owner of Fat Eyes Web Development. After a successful career as an artist and transitioning into electronic media in the early 90’s, she then founded Fat Eyes in 1998 to bring those skills to the web with her husband, Doug Anderson. Being engaged in business has created gratifying opportunities for communication and new inroads towards making a contribution that counts. You can learn more about Gina on the Fat Eyes Who Are We? page and Gina Fiedel Story.

  • author's avatar

2 replies
    • Gina Fiedel
      Gina Fiedel says:

      It’s really kind of you to say that, Doc. I especially appreciate your recognition because I have a lot of respect for you.


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