Dave Link

2016-08-08

Current Evolution Sculpture Previous The Asyulum Xperiment Haunted Attraction, WMS pinball, BMT

Education University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


Summary

Being intimately familiar with every aspect of the project life cycle, I know how to handle the demands and pressures of managing multiple projects and campaigns. I am able to deal efficiently and effectively with tight deadlines, creative problem solving, and manufacturing challenges. I also understand how to manage teams of artists and vendors involved in all aspects of a project.


Within the walls of Evolution Studio , I managed an eight person design team, and became the Creative Director. Evolution catered to the premium divisions of McDonalds, Quaker Oats and Kellogg CPG also the premium agencies of MB Sales, Simon Marketing and The Marketing Store. 


My career as Creative Director continued to evolve and began to include work in the Arcade/Redemption and Gaming industry with companies such as IGT, WMS, Bally, and Sega Gaming. I have worked closely with illustrators and industrial designers, mechanical and electrical engineers, as well as sculptors and model makers when designing slot-machines toppers for the Las Vegas gaming industry.. Some of Evolution’s clients include Disney, Lucas Films, Sony Pictures, Sesame Street, Warner Brothers, Quaker Oats, Kellogg’s, and Wilton Industries. 


Most recently, my role as Creative Director evolved to include managing and designing a 40,000 foot haunted attraction, Asylum Xperiment. Under my stewardship, within a short, three-year span, this seasonal attraction has become the number one production out of hundreds in Illinois. In this venue I utilize leadership skills in directing all aspects of the creative process from interviewing and hiring the creative team to production of displays, and effects used throughout this large scale attraction. . In addition, I was responsible for final decisions regarding marketing expenditures and creating brand awareness in the general public. These decisions directly influence sales which increased 25% between the first and second season, and 60% between years two and three.

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Specialties:: Extensive experience in the toy, premium, and gaming industry. Skills extend from starting with illustrated concepts, sculpting, prototype fabrication, mechanism invention to overseeing production engineering. Successful management of many licensed character projects through the entire project lifecycle; including product design, illustration, model making, mechanical design, mold fabrication through prototype castings. Clients include several Fortune 500 and world renowned gaming companies.

Experience


Creative Director / Designer /Inventor /Sculptor

Evolution Sculpture

December 1996 – Present (19 years 9 months)

In my current role, I manage hundreds of diverse design projects with the a team of five internal staff, freelance engineers, designers, sculptors and model makers. I work closely with client’s internal creative, design, electrical and mechanical engineering departments through the entire project lifecycle.

✔ Worked closely with Fortune 500 companies such as The Walt Disney Company, Lucas Films, Sony Pictures, Sesame Street, Warner Brothers, McDonalds, Quaker Oats, Kellogg’s, Wilton Industries as a project manager, art director, licensed character sculptor and model maker to create character designs, premium sculptures, and collectible prototypes within the spectrum of nickel sized to over life-sized creations.

✔ Oversaw and managed all phases of product development and production, creative sessions, concept drawing, 3D sculpture, model making, RTV molding, casting, license approvals, product critiques, patterns, PMS paint color sampling, manufacturing parameters, testing and quality control.

✔ Created unique, detailed jewelry pieces for multiple clients; both assembly and cast techniques were utilized to produce rings, pendants and pin designs. Developed miniature, figurative direct wax sculpts using a Carrera y Carrera style for multiple pieces that were cast in 18k gold.

✔ Conceptualized, sculpted and prototyped themed animated Las Vegas slot-machine toppers for IGT, WMS Gaming, Bally Gaming, Aristocrat Gaming and other arcade gaming companies worldwide.

✔ Fabricated and animated multiple large scale licensed characters for point of purchase store displays and convention shows.

✔ Designed and produced costume designs for use in theater, promotional and wedding events for clients spanning 18th century to futuristic.

✔ Spearheaded the invention, industrial design, and prototype process for multiple private clients; these products were created for the toy, gift, medical and tool industries. Ultimately yielding 2 registered patents.

Creative Director

The Asyulum Xperiment Haunted Attraction

2010 – 2013 (3 years)Villa Park Il

I designed and built this seasonal attraction that became the number one production in the state for consecutive years (out of hundreds), as voted by industry critics and professionals.

I consistently demonstrated excellent communication skills dealing with employees and independent contractors at all levels of the organization.

✔ Spearheaded and led all aspects of the creative process from interviewing and hiring the creative team and cast to overall production of sets, displays, and many one of a kind over life size effects used in this 50,000 sq. ft. attraction.

✔ Made all final decisions regarding marketing expenditures and creating brand awareness. These decisions directly influenced sales which increased 25% from the first to the second season, 60% between years two and three and ultimately 100% between year one and four.

✔ Worked closely with onsite illustrators, graphic designers, carpenters, as well as freelance designers to ensure the entire attraction met both state and city safety requirements and health standards.

✔ Delivered inspirational presentations to the entire 100+ cast and crew to illustrate the vision of the organization from current goals, new product ideas, marketing plans, and long-term vision.

Sculptor

WMS pinball

1994 – 1997 (3 years)

Designer/Sculptor/modelmaker/Inventor

BMT

July 1986 – September 1992 (6 years 3 months)

I was highly involved in many points throughout the design lifecycle of prototype to production projects; from brainstorming ideas, generating 3D prototypes, to finally developing them into marketable products.

✔ In charge of a four person team in the sculpture studio department on various projects ranging from meticulous modeling of miniature licensed figurines to the development of multi-media casts from life size RTV core molds.

✔ Developed products, mechanization, and new technologies involved in toy animation and radio controlled vehicles.

✔ Accomplished several unique assignments including final production models, trade show displays, and commercial prototypes; created Mattel & Ertl Toys point of purchase props for the New York Toy Fair.

Designer /Sculptor

Marvin Glass and Assoc. Design

1986 – 1989 (3 years)

Dreamed up ,made and presented unique toys and games for Toy industry leaders to produce.

Languages German

Education


University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts (BFA), Sculpture/Industrial Design

Activities and Societies: Many late nights in Art and Design Studios

Additional Info


Interests

Family, Personal development, Physical fitness, Theatre, Arts

Personal Details

Birthday March 19

Volunteer Experience & Causes


Set up ,Prepare and serve food. Clean up

PADS

Poverty Alleviation

Boy Scouts of AmericaParent leader

Boy Scouts of America

Children

Creative director

Briar Glen School

Arts and Culture

Causes Dave cares about:

Animal Welfare

Arts and Culture

Civil Rights and Social Action

Education

Environment

Human Rights

Social Services

Recommendations

Creative Director / Designer /Inventor /Sculptor

Evolution Sculpture

George Gomez

Executive Vice President of Game Development at STERN Pinball

I've worked with Dave over the course of 27 years on numerous creative projects including consumer toys, games and pinball machines. He has a great eye and having him on a project is like having an extra designer in addition to a sculptor. He is quick to grasp design intent and is able to contribute in problem solving relative to function, material selection, process...more

January 28, 2012, George was Dave's client

Chuck Ernst

Chuck Ernst

Sr. Character Artist WB Games Chicago

I have produced dozens of projects for Dave Link at Evolution Studio in the capacity of a 3D modeler for many years. His ability to Art direct and project manage, while always monitoring the pulse of all the other components that comprise a product, is amazing. His extensive background in design/invention, sculpture/model making, production and materials makes him a guru...more

January 30, 2012, Chuck reported to Dave at Evolution Sculpture

John McDavitt

President, McDavitt Design Studio, Inc

Dave is a master sculptor, product engineer and artist of highest regard. I've worked and learned from him over the years as he tackled miniature (and I mean minute) sculptures, complicated mechanisms seemingly impossible to fit within the necessary parameters and gorgeous slot machine topper prototypes. From licensed work to likenesses Dave is the best! 


The highest...more

January 20, 2012, John was a consultant or contractor to Dave at Evolution Sculpture

Angela Abshier

Producing, developing and licensing entertaining and educational digital media for kids.

LinkedIn forces us to choose 3 attributes that best describe Dave, but they all fit him and none fit better than another. Dave offers great results, is extremely personable, an absolutely expert in his field, gives incredible value, is always on time, exhibits the highest integrity and is off the charts creative. Toys, toppers, merchandise… thank goodness everything hasn't...more

January 29, 2012, Angela was Dave's client

Steve Johnson

Production Manager, Forde Windows and Remodeling

I have known Dave for more then 25 years, and I have never met anyone that is more reliable, dedicated, creative, and talented as Dave. His work is meticulous, impeccable and he has the eye for detail no matter how small. He is a hard worker and puts everything he has into his craft until it meets his high standards of perfection. I have had the pleasure of working with...more

January 21, 2012, Steve worked directly with Dave at Evolution Sculpture

Craig Clark Williamson

Industrial Designer, Inventor, Developer...Specializing in Toys & Games

Dave is a bigger than life individual. Through the roof talent, work ethic, integrity, & attention to detail. Dave is extremely professional, and a great communicator. He puts great effort into understanding his clients needs & desires, before putting his own artistic heart & soul into everything he does! ....A genuine friend.

January 20, 2012, Craig Clark was Dave's client

Joel S.

Animator

I have known and worked with Dave for many years. His attention to detail both artistically and professionally is extraordinary. He has vision, drive, and all-encompassing talent. Dave is open and welcoming to peers and apprentices alike and has the ability to communicate ideas clearly across the board. His knowledge of art and mechanical design and his ability to make...more

February 14, 2012, Joel was with another company when working with Dave at Evolution Sculpture

Leonard Pickel

leonardpickel@gmail.com Themed Attraction Designer, Consultant, Innovator, Teacher, Event Start-up expert 972-951-5100

Dave is one of the most creative and imaginative designers in the industry. I highly recommend him for any project that requires creative thinking outside the box.

February 7, 2012, Leonard worked with Dave at Evolution Sculpture

Mark Roberts

Owner Terrortown Haunted Attraction

Dave is a very talented artist. He is a honest hard working guy who is great to work with.

February 6, 2012, Mark was with another company when working with Dave at Evolution Sculpture

Mark Villegas

Owner, Eager Polymers

Dave Link has been a loyal customer of Eager Polymers for well over a decade. It has been a joy to experience first hand his creativity and skills when it has come to sculpture and mold making/casting. Dave has a vast wealth of knowledge when it comes to these things.

February 6, 2012, Mark was a consultant or contractor to Dave at Evolution Sculpture

Seum-Lim Gan

DMTS at Nokia

Dave is a hardworking person with great creativity and resourcefulness. 

I had an opportunity to work with him for a brief period on his Haunted House props where there is a need for automation. He is skillful in what he does, very approachable and friendly.

February 6, 2012, Seum-Lim was with another company when working with Dave at Evolution Sculpture

Eddy Hicks

Director of Mechanical Engineering

I have always enjoyed working with Dave Link and recommend him wholeheartedly. He brings a fresh level of excitement and expertise to every project. He is an extremely talented sculptor and artist who understands the business realities of schedule, cost, and requirements.

February 6, 2012, Eddy was with another company when working with Dave at Evolution Sculpture

Ken Budka

Voice Talent & Narrator

I have known Dave for most of my life and had the pleasure of working with him for close to 15 years. He is one of the most talented designers and project managers I have ever met. 


As a sculptor, his precision and eye for detail puts him in an elite group of artists who can deliver an amazing finished piece from scratch or built to spec, on every project, every...more

January 22, 2012, Ken worked with Dave at Evolution Sculpture

Thomas Most

Finishing Supervisor at Midwest Prototyping LLC

Dave and Evolution Sculpture provided insight, expertise, and on time delivery of multiple projects. He listens carefully to what's needed, and offers recommendations/alternatives to make it better/faster/stronger. I highly recommend him and the work his studio produces.

January 21, 2012, Thomas was a consultant or contractor to Dave at Evolution Sculpture

Len Stubenfoll

FSD Group L.L.C.

I first worked with David over 20 years ago. I have always known him to be a highly motivated & an extremely creative individual. 

I would highly recommend David, he does outstanding work.

January 20, 2012, Len worked directly with Dave at Evolution Sculpture

Marc H. Schoenberg

Marc Schoenberg Art + Design

I worked with Dave many times during my 12-year tenure as Director of Art and Licensing for Stern Pinball, Inc. Dave created sculptures for original toys to be used on the playfields of our pinball machines. Dave is first and foremost an incredible artist. He has a masterful attention to detail, and always gets the likeness of the subject down perfectly and quickly. Dave...more

January 20, 2012, Marc H. was Dave's client

John Fertig

Co Owner at Lund 2.0, L.L.C.

Dave is one of the most dedicated & gifted sculpter / designer / model makers that I personally know. I have worked with Dave & known Dave for a very long time. His attention to detail is amazing as well as his outstanding work ethic. His work is superior. I can not recommend Dave enough, both personally and as a worker.

January 20, 2012, John worked directly with Dave at Evolution Sculpture

Mary Lenehan

Award Winning Design & Development

I have known Dave Link for many years and consider him an extremely talented sculptor and one of the most powerfully energetic people I have had the pleasure to work with. His creativity, drive and focus on results combine to produce works of the highest caliber. 


From tiny detailed sculpture to larger than life productions, Dave's flexibility is tremendous. His...more

January 20, 2012, Mary worked with Dave at Evolution Sculpture

Peter Dorn

Subject Matter Expert at Entropy USA

I have been using Dave as my primary sculptor for the last 17 years in the game and gaming industry. Dave's ability to conceptualize and then bring the concept to reality in clay and other mediums as absolutely second to none. 

Dave also has a unique skill in that he can take his clay sculpture and turn it into a moldable product. 

Even though Dave is extremely talented...more

January 20, 2012, Peter was Dave's client

Steve Ritchie

The "King Of Pinball"

Dave Link did a bang up job on a model train and bell model for my AC/DC pinball machine designed for Stern Pinball. He has a great eye for detail and lots of talent when it comes to visualizing, and then creating magnificent sculpture on which to base our toys. Dave is great to work with and followed through all the way to the manufacturer for us. The AC/DC licensing...more

January 20, 2012, Steve was Dave's client

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