OK… A Little About Me

Snapshot…

What can I say. I am lucky and thankful. I have a great career, a great life and as my husband likes to say, a great manager [unofficially speaking… in reality, he is a gifted and amazing English Arts teacher at a small, rural middle-high school]. I design all kinds of things for a living. Websites and blogs. Logos and branding. Print materials. Diversity ArtWorks! I am a solopreneur working out of my own home — in a room of my own. I’ve been freelancing since 1992. I have fantastic clients. My work is fun, it’s challenging, it’s creative. The backdrop of my life is art and always has been. Yep, all is very, very good.

Early on I had jobs where practicing art was only slightly peripheral to my real job duties and I had to figure out a way to create… then where it was of the arts & crafts persuasion on an Army base at Bleidorn Kaserne, Germany teaching woodworking, leather crafts, pottery and painting… and finally where it was a pretty natural fit in the Children’s Department of the Gainesville Public Library creating room decorations, full-blown puppet show productions and storytelling props. What I wanted, though, was a real career in art.

I love design

Gettin’ Schooled…

I received my A.A. in Fine Arts at Okaloosa Jr. College in the Florida Panhandle, relocating to Ansbach, Germany right after graduation. There I worked at a library on one Army base and then operated the arts & crafts shop on another. I was able to travel Europe extensively while saving up money to finish college after returning stateside. Back in Florida, I completed my two bachelor’s degrees at the University of Florida — a Fine Arts B.A. with a major in pottery and minor in printmaking, and a Graphic Design B.A. from UF’s portfolio-selected program. I am proud to say that I worked and paid my own way through college.

Enter Stage Left…

YES. My degrees were going to pay off. I was hired as a full-fledged graphic artist / designer at a printing company in Central Florida. In the end, not a great experience from the perspective of creative experimentation and growth, but hey, it provided a firm indoctrination into the ‘due-yesterday / print-now / looks-good’ ideology of graphic arts. Let’s just say it was a soul-crushing eight years, but I did learn how to successfully move a project from concept to printed piece. Art often looks great in theory, but is impossible to print without solid pre-production skills. Theory is great, but execution of theory is even better. The print shop experience built up my graphic design chops.

And Exit Stage Right…

I had to get my mojo and my love of art back, so I started freelancing part-time… full days at the print shop, often working on freelance projects through the night until 2 or 3 in the morning, off to bed bleary-eyed, and then up again for work. It was a difficult time doing a lot of not-so-interesting projects. Paying my dues.

With a serendipitous push, I dove head first into full-time freelancing four years later and I’ve never looked back. It’s still a great ride.

A New Act…

2004 served up a whole new, fascinating world to me. At the encouragement of a great friend and client, I started designing websites. Revamping my friend’s site was my golden guinea pig. So much to know, and I learn something new and different every day. It’s impossible not to. Thank you, my friend 😉

Diversity and the Creative Sideline…

One of my passions is creating art that supports a message of diversity, respect, inclusion, teamwork, and acceptance. I began designing a line of art, again with the encouragement and support of my friend, called Diversity ArtWorks! The designs are dedicated to communicating diversity and inclusion efforts with high-quality and customizable artwork.

Wrapping Things up with a KISS

I’ve had the good fortune of discovering a wide circle of wonderful clients… a few local, but mostly long distance. I LOVE what I do and find so much satisfaction in helping others put together art they like, art they relate to … and art that is creatively, intelligently, and strategically effective.

I practice the KISS business model… keep it simple sweetie. Good, solid, creative design with no drama, no trauma. I have fun designing and I want my clients to have the same positive, enjoyable, and completely satisfying experience. I really hope we have the opportunity to design together.

And there you have it.

Education

  • Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design | University of Florida [UF], Gainesville, FL | Graduated Magna Cum Laude [great honors]
  • Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts [major in pottery and minor in printmaking] | University of Florida [UF], Gainesville, FL | Graduated Summa Cum Laude [highest honors]
  • Marilyn Simpson’s Academy of Fine Art | Ft. Walton Beach, FL | Oil, pastel, charcoal, and acrylic still-life and figure painting / sketching
  • Life-Long Learning | Winter Park Tech | Orlando, FL | Courses in: Adobe Photoshop I-II-Adv. — Advanced Quark XPress — Adobe Illustrator I-II-Adv. — Microsoft PowerPoint — Internet — HTML — Dreamweaver — FileMaker Pro — Quicken — GraphicConverter
  • Lynda.com Online Tutorials

Work

  • Freelance Graphic Designer | Web Design and Print Design | Central FL
  • Graphic Designer and Co-Founder | Diversity ArtWorks! Line of Designs
  • Graphic Designer / Pre-Press Artist | Printing Shop | Central FL
  • Library Assistant II [aka Resident Artist in Children’s Department] | Alachua County Library District | Gainesville, FL
  • Recreation Specialist [Arts & Crafts] | U.S. Army Base | Ansbach, West Germany

Skills

  • I listen.
  • I’m curious and I love to learn.
  • I like helping people.
  • Well-balanced perfectionist, just shy of obsessive-compulsive, with strong attention to detail and possessing the ability to work well, and calmly, under pressure.
  • Versed in many software programs and platforms including: WordPress CMS; Adobe GoLive; Dreamweaver; QuarkXPress; Adobe InDesign; Adobe PhotoShop; Adobe Illustrator; Adobe Acrobat; ImageReady; Microsoft PowerPoint; Microsoft Word; Quicktime Pro; FileMaker Pro; iMovie; HandBrake; Fetch; Transmit; Xilisoft Video Conversion; and more.
  • Ancillary skills: Equally important in my opinion, I know how to spell [and use spell-checker], conjugate, punctuate, and make my verbs play well with their objects and subjects — and if I don’t know something off-hand, I know how to look it up and do so.