Well, I was not borned a coal miner’s daughter but silly songs come to mind when I think of how to best express myself in a ‘bio’. I had a great childhood. It was just my mom and me for a long time, but we had the support of my grandmothers. Needless to say I was quite spoiled. I remember summers at the swimming hole and the aroma of fresh baked cobbler and angel flake biscuits. As for my creativity, I’ve joked that I’ve been designing since I was old enough to eat crayons, but all joking aside that’s how I remember it. My mom has saved drawings from my early years. I’m no Akiane, but I could doodle my way out of a paper bag!
I didn’t take art in high-school. I was too busy pretending to be smart with honors classes and getting into the University of Tulsa, which I did do, but never attended. I pretended to be a good student at college too. I attempted a degree in accounting until I took college accounting. Yikes! Let’s just say all the grids and perfectly aligned boxes made me crazy (pronounced: ka-RAY-zee.) Don’t get me wrong, I carried a high grade point average, tested well and still believe in getting a solid education but all that over-achieving was taking a toll on my creative spirit.
I was introduced to commercial art by my stepdad, Ed Hulsey. He had worked in Pre-Press printing for decades and had predicted where I’d end up and what I’d be doing. I fought it for a while, being the all-knowing, all-powerful teenager that I was! However, I did eventually earn an Associates Degree in Visual Communications from Oklahoma State University in Okmulgee. I’m very confident in the skills I acquired at OSU and compete in the job market with other designers with four-year degrees. Grads from the Okmulgee branch studied under instructors who pushed, prodded and challenged until good design oozed from under their mortarboards.
I spent some time in Kansas at the onset of my career but found that being far from family was just too challenging. My first few jobs out of college were great experiences and I miss the friends I made back then. I spent six years at Oklahoma Publishing Company, umbrella to The Oklahoman and The Oklahoman Direct. After The Oklahoman, I made a move to Mardel and I loved it! I floundered for a while after my time at Mardel, but I learned some great life lessons, met some great people and grew creatively as a designer. I’ve worked at marketing firms, print shops, storage facilities and another newspaper, Tulsa World. No matter where I work or earn my living, I will always love the process of seeing a project from concept through to completion.
I enrolled at OU a few years ago and completed a BA in Liberal Arts, with a focus on the humanities. The learning approach was interdisciplinary and taught students to think across boundaries to make connections and solve problems. It was an academic parallel to designing with intention. I enjoyed every minute. Well, maybe not the classes on criminal justice, but almost every minute.
Every task, job or life situation will come straddled with some amount of stress, but I truly enjoy what I do. Whether I am writing patterns for crochet beanies, learning to use a Cricut, or designing a new brand, I love being a creating-thinking, problem-solving, intentionality-driven graphic designer.