Homebound - Artist finds freedom, success without leaving house
By: COBEY HITCHCOCK, Staff Writer for The Mountain Press January 15, 2001
GATLINBURG - It's not often that a 3-year-old's career choice ends up being the lasting decision of a lifetime, but Tim Elsaesser is making a living out of his childhood dream - drawing.

"It's fun, and I'm glad to do it," said Elsaesser. "It's like I'm not even working. If you're happy, you never have to work another day in your life.

"When I was 3 years old, I started drawing and never wanted to quit."

Elsaesser, 34, is the owner and single employee of Spur of the Moment Concepts.

In his business, Elsaesser designs logos, signs, cartoons, portraits, murals, flyers, news ads, kids' coloring books, pamphlets, brochures, and about anything else you can think of for various local, state, national and international companies. And he does it all from a small room in his home.

"I rarely ever have to leave my home, which is cool," said Elsaesser. "You can work all day in your jammies.

"I used to leave my home 80 percent of the time and only worked 20 percent, so that just didn't work. I found that if I can stay home 80 percent and leave 20 percent, then I can do a lot more work."

Elsaesser has also recently been doing some design work for Rosie O'Donnell and Oprah Winfrey for a possible new sitcom they may produce. However he couldn't give many details about the new show, because it is still in its very preliminary stages.

Elsaesser attended the Art Advertising Academy in Cincinnati to train for his career and later went on to teach computerized graphic animation at his alma mater.

"It's funny because they always said I would never make it because I always did cartoons and stuff," he said. "But it turns out I'm the only one in my class to actually go into (this career)."

Elsaesser moved to Gatlinburg about 11 years ago but ended up moving away for a few years before coming back to town about four years ago.

"I moved away and wished I didn't," he said. "A lot of people have moved from Gatlinburg and ended up coming back because they missed it."

Elsaesser said he began his career doing part-time free lance work, but the past few years have brought more and more demand.

"Now I'm way over full-time," he said. "I work at least 60 hours each week. But I love it, and if I worked every minute of the day I'd be happy."

Elsaesser said determination and confidence are the keys to his successful life and business.

"It's always been a dream of mine, I always wanted to do it and I just kept going for it," he said. "I think as long as anyone has confidence at anything, they'll be better."

He also credits his wife, Jenny Elsaesser, for her patient support as his clientele gradually grew.

"We never knew what money was coming in each month, so it was kind of iffy," he said. "But now I'm doing all right. For the first time in my life, right now, I'm not even worried about money.

"All my life, I've been worried. Finally, I'm just relaxed."