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Designer focuses on art before all else

CARDIFF-BY-THE-SEA — Barry Grimes, co-founder and creative director of Beautiful Machine, has been a working artist most of his life. He remembers starting to draw at the age of 3 while growing up in rural Alabama.
“I would draw birds or anything else I wanted to express,” he said. “I was always the one in school who was the class artist.”
He’d spend summers with his older sister, Gina, who was an art director for ad agencies along the East Coast. At 14, he began making storyboards. When Gina moved to Los Angeles, Grimes continued to join her on summer vacations. At 16, he earned $2,000 designing a storyboard for Atlantic Richfield as part of the company’s newspaper campaign.
“I was lucky,” he said. “I never had to accept a dime from my mom and dad.”
After high school graduation Grimes studied Fine Arts at Troy and Auburn Universities in his native Alabama.
He was 20 when he was recruited as a designer at CBS in Los Angeles. The following year he joined NBC where, for nine years, he worked on special projects for primetime shows, from print media to on-air advertising.
Grimes was working for NBC when he was approached by entrepreneurs Jerry Montiel and John Ashworth and asked to join a business venture.
“They said, ‘we don’t have a name or a logo. All we know is that we are going to make cotton golf shirts. Can you help us out?’”
Grimes said “yes” and found himself moving to North County where he became vice president and chief brand officer at what is now Ashworth Golf.  His iconic “Golfman” design remains one of the most recognizable logos in sports today.
Although he was primarily a brand strategist, Grimes also functioned as a designer, art director and illustrator.
“During the early years we found ourselves without a photographer and this gave me the opportunity to start shooting full-time,” he remembers.
It was at Ashworth that he met textile designer Kristin Alberton who would later become his wife.
Grimes eventually left Ashworth and went out on his own.
“I enjoy working with entrepreneurs from ground zero and existing companies with a fresh, new approach,” he explained. “Everything I create is based on artistic expression.”
Grimes said most of his work involves being a part of a team.
“Kristin says I’m a ‘think tank,’” he said, laughing.
Over the years, his credits have included collaborating on projects from retail marketing to Academy Awards campaigns.
A few years ago he was working on a brand strategy for Punta Brava, a private golf and ocean club community in Ensenada, Mexico, developed by Tiger Woods. There he met marketing consultant Ian Leggat and they formed their newest venture, Beautiful Machine.
“The most important thing that people understand about Barry is that he is a classically-trained artist; not only a draftsman, photographer or a designer,” Leggat explained. “To cultivate these talents is a life’s work, and as such, Barry seeks to reveal truth and meaning in everything he touches.  On a professional level, from Ashworth to Disney/Pixar, this means Barry can take research, data and business plans and translate them into a product that is both strategic and personally relevant, and often inspirational.”
Barry’s advice for young people interested in a career in art and design: “Never forget that this is a business.”