Plenty of creative types held down jobs outside of their interests before they made it big; Bob Pollard of Guided By Voices was a high school teacher, Eddie Murphy sold women’s shoes, and the late Phil Hartman was a graphic designer.
Granted, design is at least more in the creative realm than say waiting tables or working a desk job, but it is interesting to note especially because Hartman didn’t gain fame in comedy until his 40s. The man who would eventually become famous for portraying sleazy lawyers from both Springfield and the ice age got a degree in graphic arts at Cal State Northridge in 1974. According to Fast Code Design (which may be wrong), Hartman went on to create record covers for Steely Dan, Poco, and America among others. Arguably, Hartman’s biggest contribution to rock ’n’ roll art is the ubiquitous Celtic-style Crosby, Stills, & Nash logo that the band still uses. Well before helping Paul Reubens create the character of Pee-wee Herman, Hartman’s artwork was lining record store shelves.
Hopefully Hartman’s design beginnings will be touched on in the upcoming Phil Hartman biopic, Nice Guy Phil, directed by Jason Priestley.