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Student Entrepreneur: Anthony Tomaino

By Chloé Margulis
Staff Writer

Anthony Tomaino, a senior Marketing major, began his career in art at a very young age. He won his first county art contest in third grade, and since then has been featured in numerous galleries, including the Katonah Art Show and Pace University’s gallery. Once he began college at LIU Post, he transitioned from fine arts to graphic design, and has worked with companies to create and rebrand their logos.

Photo courtesy of Anthony Tomaino
Photo courtesy of Anthony Tomaino

In 2011, Tomaino began his business, Exit Seventy, which started as printing his artwork on clothing and selling it to friends and family. After launching a Kickstarter that was a few hundred dollars short, Tomaino decided to transform this into a business that would help start- ups afford quality logos and marketing. Among those he has designed are Solar Vivant, Lets Entertainment, and Pied Piper Pre-School.

Since the creation of Exit Seventy, strangers around the country have purchased his shirts on Etsy and tattooed his designs on their bodies. He was also on the first board to brand and personally design LIU’s “Student Body Boutique.”

How did you come up with the name Exit Seventy?

Growing up, I spent every summer visiting Montauk. On my long rides to Long Island from Westchester, I associated exit 70 off the LIE with the final stretch of the trip. Since then, I have signed all my artwork as Exit Seventy.

How did you get involved in designing company logos and rebranding them?

I transitioned from painting to digital artwork in my senior year of high school. When I started college, local DJs and musicians began to ask me to draw up their logos and flyers. Word started to spread and I began receiving many friend requests and messages on Facebook from other people that were referred to me. After a few months, I went from working for DJs to creating the face and image of businesses nationwide.

How did you market yourself in this business?

I didn’t plan on doing marketing and logos when I started Exit Seventy, it sort of just happened. I just wanted to make art and share my story with other people. After I decided to take freelancing more seriously, I began to target a different demographic than most people. Instead of going after big jobs with big payouts, I offered cheap services to small companies and local kids who had an idea and no way to put it down on paper.

What inspires you to make the designs for businesses you work for and your company Exit Seventy?
Life! Everyday experiences, memories, old friends, new friends, and even places inspire me every day. When I make designs for other people, I want to express my own feelings as well as theirs in every design. Logos are not just images you see on products and websites; they are also works of art. You have to move the viewer emotionally and make them relate to it themselves in order to portray your message.

Why did you choose to be a marketing major?

I wanted to have a career in business without sacrificing my creativity and artistic abilities. I found an interest in advertising after my sophomore year and never looked back.

What do you plan on doing upon graduation?

As of right now, I work in sales and marketing for a local import/export business. In the future, I would love to focus on marketing and keep growing Exit Seventy.

What do you like to carry in your man purse?

I carry light, having only the necessities such as my wallet and phone. Other than that, I only have a picture of my mom and my sister from when I was growing up tucked away in my wallet. Today’s phones offer you everything else that you need to record and recall the moment.

If you are into traveling, does your traveling inspire your designs for Exit Seventy and rebranding businesses? If so, can you provide an example or two?
Traveling was and is the biggest inspiration behind my art and designs. The name came from traveling to Montauk every summer and the idea of putting my designs on clothing came to me on the eighteen-hour drive to my annual trip to Mardi Gras with my two best friends.

If you went on a quest, what would it be?

My favorite movie of all time is Into the Wild. Ever since I saw the movie I’ve wanted to visit the bus that Christopher McCandless lived in during his time in Alaska. I’m also fascinated by the landscapes and glaciers Alaska has to offer. I think it is every artist’s dream to see the beauty of Mother Nature.

What is your favorite artwork you have created? And what is your favorite business you have rebranded?

My favorite artwork I have created was a piece I did of a pocket watch. I made an agreement with myself not to get up from the computer until the piece was done. I stared at the screen for 22 hours with no extended breaks. A stranger from California stumbled upon it on Instagram through a hashtag and had it tattooed on her forearm. Just knowing someone was that inspired by the design made the effort worth it to me. My favorite business I have worked with is Post’s student-run Student Body Boutique. I designed the logo and promotional flyers for the boutique when it first opened. The boutique gave me the experience to help take Exit Seventy further.

What’s your favorite museum, and why?

I wouldn’t consider this a museum, but there is a gallery in my hometown that features local artists. The gallery was built in an old hat factory that gives it a very industrial feel, which also foreshadows its name (The Hat Factory).

What artist/designer inspires you the most?

I find inspiration in artists such as Andy Warhol, Shepard Fairey, and Banksy. However, my favorite artist is a South African painter named Ryan Hewitt. He only uses odd painting tools and techniques for his portraits to achieve an abstract look that is still recognizable.

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