This is me…
My creative journey began with a single question.
It was my junior year of high school, winter snow had blanketed my hometown of Detroit, Michigan, and I was just finishing up a painting in art class, when my teacher walked over and asked, “Where are you going to art school?”
This wasn’t a thought that had ever crossed my mind--at 16, I still dreamed of being an astronaut or pursuing a lifelong love of ice skating. But Mrs. Petrov's question planted a seed that I would ultimately bring to fruition, going on to earn a BFA in Illustration and Art Education from the College of Creative Studies in Detroit. By the time I graduated, my childhood dreams of a life exploring outer space had transformed into a life dedicated to making and creating art.
But these dreams were not exactly well-timed. I graduated in the heart of the most recent economic collapse, right as every industry in Detroit was also collapsing. It was far from a friendly environment for a creative dreamer fresh out of school.
Unsure of what else to do, I began working in the admissions department of an art school in Chicago, which I deemed a good halfway point between teaching and creating art. But after several years in this position, I realized I was preaching something I wasn’t practicing. I spoke all day with young students who were passionate about pursuing their dreams and doing what they love. I shepherded them into careers in art--a career which I myself was still not pursuing.
At last, I reached a breaking point. I finally built up the courage to leave my comfortable paycheck behind, enrolled online in San Francisco’s Academy of Art University, and started pursuing an MFA in Visual Development. Not long after, my husband and I packed up our car in thirteen inches of snow and headed west to a new future.
From that moment on, I have felt alive and engaged in my own creative journey, no matter the twists and turns it has taken. I’ve always felt it is a privilege to tell stories, so in graduate school, I focused my attention on the animation industry. But while developing my master’s thesis--a story centered around an imaginary, underground world in Turkey--I found that I was less interested in the characters, and more fascinated by the items that made up their world. What objects filled their homes? What did their teapots and backpacks look like?
We populate our lives and homes with objects we are drawn to because of their functionality, but also because of their design and the hidden stories such objects can tell. I have since taken my passion for storytelling and applied it to illustration and pattern design, bringing objects to life that still feel as though they’ve arrived from a far-off and whimsical world.
I’ll always be grateful for the serendipitous question I was asked in high school--for the way it set me on the path to becoming an artist, and for how it inspires me on my journey even today. I now continue to work as a freelance artist and illustrator, working with clients whose products and projects range from women’s apparel to wine labels. I love envisioning how everyday items will be used in people’s lives and finding ways to infuse them with elements of storytelling--even if sometimes I’m the only one who knows the story.