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Elena Welch–Creative Director + Marketing Professional

I was raised in a small town on the Spoon River, 5 hours southwest of Chicago, Illinois. My father, a fine artist, and my mother, a ballet dancer, visited the city of Chicago often with their 5 children and stayed connected to the city they lived in for most of their lives. My father returned to his hometown in the Illinois Spoon River Valley relocated his studio and captured the dramatic beauty of area in oils and watercolor. I loved this work but found I had a special interest in his earlier career as a commercial artist. He was Creative Director for Paper Poster Products in Chicago and worked on many legendary campaigns including Tony the Tiger for Kellogg’s and creating the characters for Hamm’s Beer to name a few. I was always impressed that he could quickly illustrate my every request with a brilliant command of color and form.


I had a very prolific art teacher, Father Joseph Hyde. My high school had facilities for bronze casting and a full ceramics studio. After graduation, it was expected that I attend the Art Institute of Chicago, like my father and my sister. I rebelled and attended Loyola University and took classic core classes in English, Math, Philosophy, Psychology and… Graphic Design. I found I had a love for business marketing and a knack for writing and storytelling. When the Macintosh Plus was introduced at the Chicago Merchandise Mart, I was excited. I wanted one. I approached a VAR (Value Added Reseller) and offered to sell the Macintosh Computer for commission.
The agency thought I was very spunky but told me selling the computer involved lots of training. I signed on. I specialized in conquering all the design, layout and illustration applications. I beta tested the Adobe Illustrator application. I was one of three people in Chicago who knew the application. Eventually, I was called on to train departments in advertising agencies and design studios. I worked on training manuals for both Microsoft Word and PageMaker. I assisted advertising agencies in planning for for production of large scale projects on a Macintosh network.

Next begins a long venture contracting with Chicago advertising agencies, design firms and publishing companies. Assignments eventually took me to San Francisco. It was in San Francisco while working on catalogs and magazines that I found a special love for this longer form of storytelling. The Bay Area also put me in a perfect position for hopping on to design for the web.All at once, our catalog clients needed online retail stores. We were suddenly tasked to learn how to best take care of them. I designed Starbucks first online store as well as the marketplace for America Online, Hickory Farms, Hallmark and many more. These were my favorite times when partnering with teams and pioneering new platforms.
I also have a colorful chapter with building my own businesses. I first opened an animation shop called Electric Pictures in a storefront on Sheffield Avenue in Chicago and produced work showcased at the Mac World Expo in Boston. I opened my own agency, Welch Creative, in Sonoma County, and handled the everyday marketing needs of a Wall Street brokerage firm. Next, I partnered with a print broker to form a new agency, PowerHouse Creative, and created the sales and merchandising tools for Levi Strauss and Dockers. I moved to the Big Island of Hawaii and was headquartered in an ocean side coach house returning to San Francisco twice a year for client meetings.
I’m back on the mainland and chosen Portland, Oregon because of its beauty, strong manufacturing base, growing innovative tech industry, great schools and friendly affordability. I’m looking to match my skills with a fun creative team, market wonderful products and create beautiful work.