Kate Miterko is not only an amazing person, she's also an amazing artist. Maybe I'm bias because she's one of my friends as well as my bridesmaid, but I think it's accurate once you see her work.
I decided to help promote her artwork by showcasing our wedding invitations, which she made. I was blown away at her creative abilities and was very pleased with the end result. So, I wanted to chat with her about her background and get to know her a bit more.
Hope: How did you get into graphic design?
Kate: I've honestly wanted to be an artist since I started drawing at a very young age, albeit I think it's one of the most difficult dreams to maintain. I chased that one dream until college, but the years of dissuasion and pressure to find a "viable" career finally overtook me. I spent a few years trying to discover what sort of nine-to-five I could settle for, only to realize I just couldn't settle. Graphic design had originally found me while I was a student at Fort Lewis College in Colorado. I was playing the violin in a band and occasionally creating flyers for our shows. This turned into drawing up some flyers for other bands and bars, as well as designing a few websites and business cards intermittently. I'm not sure why this hadn't been a consideration during my crisis period of career-seeking, perhaps the lack of faith in acquiring any sort of creative position, but eventually I was encouraged to at least see if I was capable.
Why did you want to become a graphic designer?
I think what initially drew me to graphic design was the digital aspect. I caught the technology bug right around middle school, when I discovered video games, torrents, web design, and most importantly, Photoshop. I spent nights teaching myself each tool and layer adjustment, and started editing for my photographer mother. HTML and Flash were kind of just something to learn to give web design more customization - I wasn't a fan of limits, so I taught myself how to push them. If someone had told my younger self that what I was doing for fun after school was actually teaching myself valuable skills, I would have found it hysterical.
What makes you feel passionate about art?
I grew up with art and developed an appreciation and passion almost instinctively. My grandmother is a Bucks County impressionist, and I'm still amazed at how she saw the world when she painted. It's a way to physically look into someone's mind and soul, which is such a personal and vulnerable experience for both the artist and the viewer. I feel so connected to creating artwork as an outlet, an expression, and at times, a savior. I'm moved by visual expression on a higher level than most things come close to. There have been some darker times in my life, and while my work seems fairly reflective of those stages, I was still drawing. If I stop creating, then it's just... emptiness. I can't think of a worse fate.
What is it about graphic design/art that you love THE most?
What I love about graphic design most is the critical thinking that goes into the creative process. A typical client inadvertently gives you this puzzle that you not only have to solve, you have to find multiple solutions to, every one smarter than the last. Clever logo design with a near-hidden meaning attached can be executed so brilliantly.
What I love most about art in general is a lot more difficult for me to define. I suppose if I had to narrow it down, it would refer to that ineffable ability to communicate raw and intimate experiences in our very own languages, that seem to come from an alternate conscious being within us. The way we represent ourselves through art and interpret the art of others is so incredibly unique. It's a staggering part of the human experience.
What's your ideal career goal in life?
I'm currently employed in a position where I'm in Photoshop eight hours a day as a 2D concept, texture mock-up, and post-production artist. While I really enjoy it, I would ideally love to move my work toward video games - namely, I'm after becoming an environment artist. I'm building skills and a portfolio of imaginative landscapes, gaining the right experience, and studying under some of the best in the industry, so all I can do is keep pushing myself further. To be able to use my artwork toward the games I love is an absolute dream, and I think I've taught myself that anything's attainable if you're willing to put everything into it. Hopefully in a few years, I'll have a lot to say about that transition!
Be sure to check out her website here.