Duration: Four years.
Location: Holland, Michigan.
Education: BFA in illustration from Massachusetts College of Art and Design.
Artistic influences: I’m really inspired by Impressionist artists—from their movement and color to how they make the mundane extraordinary. Vincent van Gogh and Claude Monet were the first artists that I learned about in elementary school, and their work has stuck in my heart ever since.
Career path: Growing up, I wanted to become a veterinarian, but the process of creating and drawing always intrigued me. I still remember when I was five: My mother showed me how to draw a star without lines running through its middle—I was completely floored! I had no idea that was possible. I always kept art, specifically creating characters and comics, as a hobby until my sophomore year of high school when one of my art teachers suggested that I enroll in the advanced portfolio class. After I started gaining recognition and winning awards, I began to seriously consider art as a career. By the end of my junior year, I decided to drop vet school and pursue a degree in illustration.
Out of all the creative disciplines, I chose illustration because I love telling stories. I initially wanted to create comics, but once I started getting into children’s books and editorial illustration, which is more conceptual and symbolic, I felt that was where I thrived the most.
Work environment: I keep a very clean work environment—I don’t work well in clutter or a lot of noise as they’re terrible distractions. Whenever I work, I like to be as close to nature as possible. Holland, Michigan, is nice because it’s a smaller—therefore, quieter—town. Although I miss city life on occasion, it’s incredibly refreshing to spend some time relaxing on the beaches of Lake Michigan.
Aspirations: I hope to revive my love for comics and begin publishing books for adults and children, but I also see myself getting involved with various graphic design disciplines, such as product design and branding.
Philosophy: Making the world a more beautiful place with my work and find ways to use my gifts to serve and inspire coming generations. Art is a very powerful tool of communication, and I look forward to the day when our society learns how to better appreciate visual arts.