When Christina enrolled in Marywood University’s “Get Your Master’s With The Masters” MFA program for Graphic Design and Illustration, little did she know that in two short years she’d be writing and illustrating children’s books and showing her artwork around the world! Read more to discover how this Marywood alumni’s career has blossomed.
Current Occupation: Designer, artist / adjunct professor
How long at current job: 15 yrs / 8 yrs (adjunct)
Where can we find you online?
What was your favorite part about studying art at Marywood?
I loved having the opportunity to study with an artistically diverse group of world-renowned professors, designers and illustrators. I also thoroughly enjoyed the study tours; experiencing everyone’s studio environment, and the opportunity to discuss project inspiration was an invaluable resource—one of the best attributes of this MFA curriculum.
How did your art education at Marywood help your career?
The program is structured so that you are encouraged to evolve your existing creative acumen to a “higher” level— to which I did; not only in my design endeavors, but most importantly with my collage art/illustration, refining the process and conceptual elements of my aesthetic. As a result I’ve had the opportunity to show my artwork in-group shows in PA and NYC, most recently at Clio Art Fair; and was also invited to list in (UK’s) Aesthetica Magazine artist directory. I also never envisioned pursuing illustration, specifically children’s book; to-date, I’ve written and illustrated two stories that I am currently pitching, and am working on other ideas as well; all because of the children’s book class experience.
Did your career path match your vision of a career path? What’s different?
Yes and no. When I was an undergrad I realized that I wanted to teach design at the college level, and attaining my MFA allows me to do that; and I always knew I would be doing design throughout my career, but to echo my statement above, I never imagined pursuing new disciplines prior to my MFA matriculation.
What is your favorite thing about your job?
I love the wide-range of projects and subjects I get to work on in my freelance design studio. I also enjoy the flexibility to control my schedule, which allows me to teach college classes and pursue my art/illustration endeavors. As for teaching—it’s the “high five’s” after an “a-ha” moment, notes at the end of the semester that thank you for challenging them, or those who simply tell you how much they enjoyed class—knowing that I am making an impact is the most rewarding feeling in this world.
What is your favorite software program for design and why?
Sketchbook: use ANY technology/software only after ideas are developed organically.
Anything else you’d like to share?
For graphic design audiences/clients: a kind reminder that graphic design is not just creating work on a computer, it is first and foremost IDEA, and what separates the mundane from the masterpieces.
For art/design educators: we must constantly remind students of this in order to preserve the profession.
For any visual artist/designer: creating great ideas means a willingness to study and immerse yourself in art/design history, and to use this as inspiration to innovate and develop your own ideas—which is becoming more of a challenge is this digital age.
For students: a quick “Google” search should not replace the Library—get yourself to one!
Any advice for current art students at Marywood?
Undergrads: When you have your first challenging critique, don’t get frustrated—learn from it, grow; be thankful for the experience.
Graduate students: it may be a challenge after being in the industry for awhile, but be open to experimentation; approach your work differently than you’ve done thus far—especially with the amazing faculty you’ll be studying with—you’ll leave with a renewed perspective and a fresh body of work for this next chapter of your career.
Thank you for sharing your alumni success story with us Christina!
Are you interested in studying GRAPHIC DESIGN?
Undergraduate Program: Our graphic design program at Marywood will introduce you to a variety of design disciplines. Conceptual development, technical skills and professionalism are emphasized. Students have the opportunity to work independently, with partners, in small groups, with professionals in the field and real clients. Regular class critiques and portfolio reviews are stressed throughout the program.
Graduate Program: Low Residency MFAs in Graphic Design and Illustration are offered through our “Get Your Masters with the Masters” MFA for Working Professionals and Educators in Graphic Design & Illustration. This 60-credit Master of Fine Arts degree is specifically designed for working art directors, designers, illustrators, new media artists and art educators who have to budget their time and resources carefully, while continuing with their full-time occupations. While production and technical skills are stressed, the thrust of our program is on creativity and concept.