was born in Minnesota (USA). My father (a former actor and Guthrie Theatre
prop-maker) was studying to be a Christian pastor. My mother was
a stay-at-home mom. I was the first child in my family,
eventually becoming the oldest of six children -- three boys and
I was four years old, my father accepted a call to serve as pastor
at a Lutheran church in the small farm town of Union Grove, Wisconsin.
It would be there in the country -- surrounded by corn fields, rural
roads, and open sky -- that I would spend most of my childhood.
age five, I started school -- kindergarten to be exact. I was a
student, friendly, talkative and eager to learn. I also had a strong
imagination, and a budding interesting in art.
I was eight, my family became involved in American Civil War
reenacting. We joined a Confederate group in southeastern
Wisconsin. My father portrayed the
unit's military surgeon, my mother portrayed a battlefield nurse, and I
became the "little drummer boy". My siblings participated in costume as
Since realism and authenticity
were an important part of historical reenacting, I soon gained a deep
with American history. I developed an interest in drums, percussion,
and acting. I came to love the
marching, the camping in canvas tents, and the thrill of participating in live-fire battles.
loved living in southeastern Wisconsin, especially when it came to
baseball. Like many young boys, the game became a passion for me. My
father and I would drive north into Milwaukee, and attend Brewers
games at the old Milwaukee County Stadium. I loved each opportunity, and
up every minute of every game.
On September 9, 1992, my childhood
hero, Hall-of-Fame centerfielder Robin
Yount, hit his 3000th career
hit, and I was at the game when it happened. A year later, I wrote
about that experience in a Minnesota Twins team essay contest, and won.
Decades later, I am still a deeply devoted fan of the Milwaukee Brewers.
early January, my family moved from Wisconsin back to Minnesota. My
father had retired
from the ministry, and with no relocation requirements, my parents
chose to move to
Minneapolis. The Twin
became my new home. For a small town country boy like myself, it was a
change that would take some getting used to.
This was also the year that I was in my first movie -- the baseball
Big League". I was 13 years old.
the fall, I enrolled as a freshman at St. Croix Lutheran High School in
St. Paul, Minnesota. While I was an introvert, and I never really
found a place in the social circles, I was starting to bring
my life-long love for art and acting into focus. My professional future
was starting to take shape.
the Spring of 1998, I graduated from high school. I had found the stage during my sophomore year
(giving up JV baseball in the process), I won roles in most of the
productions, and I even had the opportunity to design some of the theatrical
stage sets. I also gained recognition for
my artistic contributions to the school. I won a number of art awards,
and I painted many of the large stage murals used by the theater
When I graduated near the top of my class, an Academic Scholarship led me back to Wisconsin,
where I enrolled as a freshman at Wisconsin Lutheran College in
Lutheran was a small college -- roughly 750 students at that time -- but
it had a great art department, and a promising young theatre
program. I quickly became involved in both departments. A few
later, I had starred in my first collegiate production -- the comedic,
"All in the Timing"
by David Ives, and I was well on my way to two
more roles before the academic year came to a close.
I eagerly buried myself in acting classes, I won first place in a
Southeastern Wisconsin regional art competition, and I worked in the
college Admissions Office, recruiting even more prospective students
into the theater and art departments. I was leaving my mark on the
the summer before my junior year, I returned home to Minneapolis.
During this visit, I once again found myself in the movies. This time,
I was cast in the Hollywood film, "Sugar
& Spice", starring James
When my junior year began, I returned to college and
starred in the Arthur Miller classic, "The Crucible". I
working as the graphic designer for the theater department, designing
all of the promotional materials for each theater production. My
promotional work was distributed around the country, and
without realizing it, my professional career was off and running.
the second half of my junior year, I declared my major in art, while
pursuing a minor in theater and acting. I continued to act on the
stage, and I was cast in yet another film -- this time for
NBC, a made-for-television movie titled, "In the Net", which
across most of the United States in early 2002.
||This year was my final year as an undergrad. I
starred as Police Officer Welch in
my last college show, the Neil Simon comedy, "Rumors".
together the first gallery exhibition of my artwork, I continued
for the theater department, and I worked in the campus library as a
librarian's assistant. By Spring, I had officially earned my
degree: A BA in Art.
graduation, I chose to stay in Milwaukee. I found an apartment, I
settled down, and obtained my first post-college job as a sales
associate for a
local Barnes and Noble book store.
early summer, I left Barnes and
Noble and decided to become self-employed. My passions just weren't
being satisfied in the book business, so I prepared to go the freelance
route instead. As luck would have it, and less than a month after
the store, I was cast in yet another Hollywood movie -- the Bernie Mac
baseball film, "Mr.
3000". I spent a month on the set working with
Bernie and other members of the cast and crew, I met some fascinating people, and even gained
a little media attention.
the Fall, I starred in a stage production of the classic novel, "To
Kill a Mockingbird", produced at Milwaukee's Sunset
Playhouse. After over 20 performances, I officially wrapped production
on my first
post-college professional stage appearance.
2005, I gained three more stage roles: Mr. Carrisford in a
production of the classic story, "A
Little Princess", Florindo, in the 1750s
Comedia del Arte production of "The
Liar", and Edmund Swettenham in the
popular Agatha Christie mystery, "A
Murder Is Announced".
art end of things, I had
designed promotional work for theater/film companies, custom art for
private clients, corporate logos, marketing materials, websites,
detailed graphite portraits, and three pieces of commissioned
art for a company that etched images into mirror and glass surfaces.
This year alone, my artwork was printed, published, distributed, seen,
and sold all over the world. Not bad for a former bookseller!
year, I decided to take things a step further. I
launched Jon Baas designs, an online retail
store featuring my artwork
on a growing catalog of prints, posters, clothing, and housewares. I
also gained the title of "entrpreneur" as I took on other creative
projects along the way.
August, I moved to a new apartment in a suburb
of Milwaukee. I also began dating my future wife --
Kelli. Although we rediscovered each other through mutual friends on
we had previously attended college together (for a short time) many years
January, I proposed to Kelli, and she said yes. We set a wedding date
for July 2010.
May, I starred in another professional stage show, "The Trip To
Bountiful" -- a dramatic play by Pulitzer price-winning
Horton Foote. I played the male lead, Ludie Watts.
married Kelli, and became a husband for
the first time in my life. A few days later, I moved out of my
apartment in Milwaukee, and relocated 100 miles north to the
small city of Brillion, Wisconsin. Kelli was the kindergarten teacher
at the local Christian elementary school. I moved into her apartment, made it my home, and
settled into a new phase in my life -- once again, as a resident of rural Wisconsin.
in the year, I decided to branch out in my acting, and sought to
establish myself in the area of voice-over work. My first success was
as a cast member in the online Star Trek audio series, Starship Excelsior.
I also established a social internet series, "UFP: Starfleet
which was set in the Star Trek universe, and retold the
Dominion War from the perspective of those who worked at Starfleet
Academy. This series gained popularity rather quickly, as it use made
use of the social benefits of Facebook page to tell the story in real
time (i.e., today's
date being the same date in the future year of the story). At it's
height, this Star Trek series had a loyal following of nearly 10,000
the entrepreneur, I refocused the format of my freelance work, and began
offering my unique creative services on the website, Fiverr.com.
By the end of the year, I had found my niche, and was building a brand for myself. I had established a strong
reputation among my peers.
July, Kelli and I bought our first house. And, while this house was
still in Brillion, it belonged to us. We were no longer renters. We had
obtained our own claim to the
I established a second social internet series, "USS Enterprise-D",
once again set in the Star Trek universe. This time, however, the
story follows a slightly alternate re-telling of the adventures of
Captain Picard and his crew of the USS Enterprise-D ("Star Trek: The Next Generation"),
as told from the perspective of the officers who maintain the ship's
Public Affairs office. Unlike the Domnion War story from four years
ago, this series has its own website, and a much deeper collection of
story resources. |
To date, this story entertains over 8,000 fans.
I you would
like to learn more about me, or what I do, please feel free to explore
my blog, or follow me on my social media channels -- facebook/jonbaas
Copyright © 2017 Jon
All rights reserved.