"The urge for good design is the same as the urge to go on living."
: Harry Bertoia
From an early age everyone "knew" that I would be an artist. Traditional school wasn't really my thing so I found myself drawn to the arts (see what I did there? Pun definitely intended). My elementary school art teacher told me I had talent and I believed her. Getting creditability from an early age from someone you admire about the thing you have a passion for really is powerful and helped drive me to the career in design I have today.
Fast forward a few years to high school and you find me at a vocational program learning how to run a printing press, use Aldus Pagemaker and doing paste up at a local print shop (wax roller and all). Sometimes it surprises me that running a printing press is part of my past, but I am so glad it is because knowing how things are produced makes one a better designer (this of course became true again when I moved to designing software).
Until I learned of this thing called graphic design I hadn't figured out how to turn my love of creating things into a career. I did not have many role models in the arts besides an art director cousin so when I found this program in high school it finally clicked for me. "Oh that's what my cousin does!"
In high school we visited a local design agency for a field trip. They were working on a "website" and showed us a "site map". What?!?!? I was blown away! I wanted to know more! However that was going to have to wait, but in the meantime I did get a Hotmail account that I could access in the school library. How did I manage without my iPhone or a cell phone at all? Oh right! I had a pager and a quarter for the pay phone.
For the kid who hated school I certainly made up for it by hitting my stride in college. No my grades still weren't great, but I didn't care because I was designing! I was being challenged in new and exciting ways. My classmates struggled to learn Photoshop and Quark whereas I had done that in high school. This proved helpful as a student, but also enabled me to work in the school computer lab where I made lifelong friends.
Somehow it got out that I was into this "web thing" and I began seeing myself differently. I no longer thought I would graduate and become a graphic designer. I also wasn't sure being a web designer was the ticket either. There was something else and I couldn't put my finger on it.
I did find an M.F.A. graduate program at Parsons that felt like the right next step. I was crazy enough to think I could get into this program and because its the only place I wanted to go I didn't apply anywhere else! Many people thought I was insane for putting all my eggs in one basket, but from my point of view if I didn't get in I just wouldn't go to graduate school at all. I knew what I wanted and so I went about getting it. I was pretty pleased with my submission which was a website portfolio that ran locally on a CD (I even included an audio clip that told you how to pronounce my last name). Gimmicky maybe, but it worked! I got in! I knew as soon as I saw "The big envelope" come in the mail at my apartment in Allston, MA that I was going to NYC!
Ahh NYC...what a change from Boston! I took my bite of the big apple quite literally (this foodie was in heaven!). Graduate school was amazing and it really opened my eyes to all the possibilities of technology.