Name: Mike Jette
Title: Owner and designer
Organization/Business: Drive Design
What do you do and how did you get here?
I am the owner of Drive Design – a small boutique graphic design firm in Gastown. I have always had a passion for design. I used to own a skateboard shop called Boardwalk, located in Ottawa and I would do all my own design work, creating original t-shirts, posters and signs. Eventually, I let the shop go and for a short time I did some contract design work for friends. I enjoyed the whole creative process and decided that I wanted to do it fulltime.I moved to Vancouver in 1993 and I moved into my studio on Water Street in 1996.
What inspired the name?
At the time it was inspired partly by the use of computer drives as a necessary component to digital graphic design. Today, it is about driving and pushing design and the motivation to creatively go beyond boundaries and limitations.
If you had 15 minutes only, in Gastown, how would you spend it?
I would walk the streets from start to finish, visiting some of the smaller boutiques and restaurants that I haven’t experienced yet. I have been here for over 20 years and I am still discovering wonderful new places and parts of the neighbourhood.
What do you love about the neighbourhood?
I like how Gastown is laid back and easygoing. The neighbourhood has changed yet it has kept its cool factor and historic charm. It has survived forces of gentrification, maintaining many of the people and business owners who have worked hard to keep the real Gastown alive. The original vibe is here and it still feels the same way it did when I first opened my studio. Gastown is a wonderful place to live and work in.
What’s your most memorable happy moment or experience in Gastown?
I remember when I first came to Vancouver, myself and a friend were cruising around the city in his old Golf GTI. It was a beautiful summer evening and we drove up Water Street. I remember the sound of the cobblestones hitting the tires and the steam clock chiming and bellowing out to mark the hour. Who would have known that 25 years later I would still be here.
What’s your philosophy for a good life?
The city has become quite congested and the need to escape into the mountains or out onto the ocean is vital for me. There is a ton of natural beauty here that can be reached in a short time. From snowboarding on Cypress to surfing out in Tofino, a good life is one where I can leave behind the clamor of technology and return back into the quiet of nature. I try to have a digital detox as often as I can and that gives me a pretty awesome life.