It's Just the Beginning

What's the calling of my life? The question that excites me - yet haunts me. Is what I want to do with my life ultimately God's will? I've been busting my head for the past months trying to figure out who I am as an artist, but most of all figure out my worth as an artist.

Coming straight out of college was such an accomplishment!  I walked out feeling 4 years smarter, wiser, and stronger. I walked out "ready to face the world" - until reality struck and sat me back down. Sure, I grew during these past 4 years, but my mistake was setting myself an unrealistic high standard when walking out. When in reality, walking out of college is just the beginning. 

As the job hunting began, interviews rolled in as well. However, my problem has been stepping into these past interviews without really knowing who I am as an artist and what "I'm worth" -- or at least I thought I knew.  Unconsciously, I was walking into the interviews expecting for people to tell me what they saw my worth as. And THAT,  my friends, has been the worst move on my part. NO ONE should tell you what your worth is because, YOU and ONLY YOU know what you're actually capable of. However, when speaking about your financial worth, you can't expect to make $30 an hour right off of college either -- that's just unreal. In order to land a job, you must also understand, companies want proof (that's what your portfolio is for).  You have to put yourself in their shoes. If you were hiring a designer for your copmany, how much are you willing to invest for their creativity and talent? Interviews are an open gate to help sell yourself. What makes you RIGHT for this job/company? How will you be helping themIt's just a matter of walking in and proving that to people.

So, what should you do to know "how much you're worth or how much you should be getting paid?" Here are a few key factors that I've learned so far that might help you figure it out: 


1. WHO YOU ARE. Take some time to jot down what qualities you have as an artist. What can you do? What can you contribute to a world full of creative people?  

2. WHO YOU WANT TO BE. Now, compare who you are to who you want to be as an artist. By doing this, you will be able to re-align yourself. Like me, if you enjoy creating with different subjects/mediums, this will help you focus on your MAIN goal as an artist. 

 3. RELEVANT JOB. Then, look for a job that is related to what it is you want to become! For example, my dream is to be creative director of my own magazine one day. Therefore, I need to find something related to that. (publishing, print design, etc.)

 4. RESEARCH. Do your own research. Look up the average salary on how much you should be making in your city. Click Here to open one of many links that helped me get an accurate estimate of how much I should be getting paid at my level. 

 5. ASK AWAY. Take advantage of other artist's experiences. Ask how they got to where they are now, what challenges did they face getting there, how much they were paid when first starting off, etc. The more info, the better! You'll start discovering a pattern along the way. But again, don't ask expecting for them to tell you what you're worth either. They can only speak from their own experience.


Therefore, to answer my previous question: "What's God's will for my life?" I'm still figuring that out, but I've learned to accept that that's ok! During this job hunt journey, the fear of "making the wrong choice" grew as the days went by, to a point where I became paralyzed. Fear of looking like a fool, fear of not fighting for what I want, all froze me! Until I realized I was only psyching myself out. 

If you stumble upon this same fear, my encouragement for you would be to know that there IS  room to make mistakes. God is a God of grace and the cool part is, if you screw up and fall flat on your face, He can heal you and pick you up. After all, we all learn from trial and error. 

So please my fellow graduates, don't expect that the journey of discovering yourself (as an artist) has ended! If anything, it's just the beginning. 


Artist Interview: Stephen Kamifuji

During my sophomore year at Biola, I had the great honor of interning for the creative director of a fashion magazine called Genlux Magazine, located in Beverly Hills CA. Stephen is the most sweetest, talented, and humble artist I've ever met, literally! I loved getting the opportunity to work with him and just getting a glimpse of all the hard work he puts into this awesome magazine. He's been such a huge inspiration in my life and someone I admire and have huge respect for, which is why I thought he'd be perfect to interview as my second artist. Not to mention, he does exactly what I dream of doing one day, which is to design my own magazine/publication! On this interview he talks about what makes a good designer, how Genlux came about, and what steps he had to take in order to be where he is today! So go on, keep on reading, it only gets better! ;)

1.     What is your current job (that including side jobs)

“My current job as creative director of Genlux Magazine is to design the publication, to oversee the photo-shoots, which include the profiles of the featured celebrities, artists or designers as well as the photo-shoots of the current season’s fashion and models. For the publication I also design each of the pages, so that means putting together all the photography with typography, making and maintaining aesthetic nice, looking, cohesive pages.

I also help design advertisements for the people who don’t have Ads, so I can help facilitate that! I also design some logo designs and corporate identy systems for people”

2.     What were the steps you had to take in order to be where you are today?

I went to Art Center College of Design. I started to design on behalf of other companies. Shortly after, I started my own design firm, having little jobs and not making much money.  The single greatest asset of my initial growth was my education that I received and on the job training. Being a good designer you have to be pretty well versed in all subjects because the graphic designer has to take into consideration what is called a zeitgeisg and that’s kind of like what’s happening in the culture at the time because you have to shape your designs around what it is the culture is expecting or wants at the time. Being a good graphic designer is also knowing what has been done in the past so that you have a foundation—because everything always comes back. Having an understanding of past designs, studying other graphic designers at the time, then trying to create my own voice in design."

- School

- Immersing myself in Graphic Design both present and past 


How did Genlux come about?

"Creating Genlux came about having a love and passion for magazines, photography, design, typography, fashion, and philanthropy. Magazines are an embodiment of all those four basic disciplines. It was perfect for me because it met my passion.

The first step to get Genlux “up and going” was doing kind of an enterprise where I was a designer but I hadn’t really  designed anything to do with editorial or publication design until this man named John Palmer asked me if I would design this magazine called “Privilege Magazine” and so I said  ‘Yeah I’ll do it!’ so I started there for about 1 year. There was no creative freedom which is why Cecilia and I decided to start our own magazine in 2005 because we both were working at “privilege” at the same time and we both wanted creative freedom and really our own publication. We started Genlux raising a little bit of capital, which is very important—you need to raise some funding to get the first printing done.  Equal to the design is the business side of the magazine and getting advertisers in."


3.     Is there anything you don’t like about your job?

“No, I think  that I love all the aspects. Although, in my end, I think the challenging part of any publication now-a-days is that the advertising aspect is kind of dying out because people are going more online, so it’s a very challenging field to kind of be in. I think THAT is one part that I don’t like, we have a diminishing category of what we do.”


4.     If you could go back in time, are there any changes you would make in your career path, in other words, what do you think you could have done better?

“Started the magazine much earlier. Because my passion was always in publications but I never worked in it for some reason—which is weird. I’ve always been lead in my career path by the design aspect that brought the most amount of money so I kind of went in that direction.” 


5.     Before I enter the “real world” and leave my Biola bubble, what’s one thing you would want to let me to know?

“For me which was a successful part, that in what we do, the 'on the job' actual training or emmer cement is much more important than the school aspect.  So you’re going to find that there are tools you have been given and that 90% of what is going to help you in your career, comes from actually working and doing and building your portfolio. “


6.     What’s one thing you don’t get asked, that you wish you could get asked on an interview?

“If you could do anything tomorrow, without any restrictions, meaning not being held by finances or family, or any circumstances what would you do? Like okay—tomorrow is the last day of your life, what would you go and do? And my answer to that, I would want to be in Italy that day and walk on one of the hilltop village Assisi. Yeah so it has nothing to do with design…But for design I would like to be the creative director of Chanel, but more on the advertising side.”  


And that completes the interview! I hope this interview serves as an inspiration for you as much as it did for me. Stephen decided to pursue after the things he was passionate for and enjoys all aspects of his career. This should motivate us to strive after our dreams, because just like Stephen, if you work hard, you can reach them! 

Artist Interview: Ruthi Auda

Ok so for one of my class assignments, I had the opportunity of interviewing a local artist. I  decided to interview artist, Ruthi Auda, who currently lives in Long Beach. She actually came to share her artistic/career journey with us in class, and well let's just say...She's a BEAST! I highly suggest you take a look at some of her work (just click the link on her name). She's such a talented woman who has various gifts and does a phenomenal job in everything she does. Usually, when being an artist who is interested in various subjects, people will recommend you only stick to one, so you can fully "perfect" that subject or at least specialize in it...but that's what caught my attention about Ruthi, she does so many things and she's able to handle it well and in a professional way. I loved that she totally went against what others usually say and just chased after the things she dreams!  Her interview was very helpful, giving me an insight on what it's like "out in the real world" and hopefully it can inspire you as well!

1. What is your current job (that including side jobs)?

 "I own and run a design company, Camp Design Group. I function as the Creative Director over all of our projects which include the design and build of specialty interiors like retail stores, tradeshow booths, and creative offices.  We also do branding, logos, and print design for a variety of clients."

2. What were the steps you had to take in order to be where you are today?

 "I had lots of art training and experience with building before I went to college.  I got my BFA in Design and went on to work at a design firm and eventually worked at two major retailers doing retail display and merchandising. All of those different jobs and experiences clearly led me to where I am today and gave me the skills to do what I do."

3. Do you love what you do? If so, why is that?

 "I do!  I absolutely love love love it. I get to be creative in a variety of mediums.  I switch from designing letterpress cards to designing the space for a boutique health food shop. The ability to switch back and forth keeps things interesting.  Also, our clients come to us with a fair amount of trust, so we get to be highly creative and try new things."

4. As a believer, did you feel called to do what you’re doing today?

"Yes, I felt like my passions aligned with my skills and I am confidant that I was made to be doing the things I am doing."

5. If you could go back in time, are there any changes you would make in your career path, in other words, what do you think you could have done better?

 "I wish I would've stood up for myself more at one job in particular.  It was a toxic work environment and I wish I would've had the courage to do something about it or remove myself from the situation earlier than I did." 

6. Before I enter the “real world” and leave my Biola bubble, what’s one thing you would want to let me to know?

"Creative work is hard work but it's worth it.  Or at least it has been for me.  Keep pushing, keep working, keep growing but, at the same time, maintain your personal life boundaries so you don't get exhausted and depleted." 

7. What’s one thing you don’t get asked, that you wish you could get asked on an interview?

 "What's one dream project that you would love to work on? Designing a boutique hotel is a dream of mine."

Time To Grow Up

As most of you may already know, this is my last semester attending Biola University. I can't believe that in a matter of 71 days I'll be graduating with a BFA in Drawing/Design! So many years (technically 3 1/2) of hard work! I'm amazed on how much I've changed as a person and as an artist over these years. So blessed that with the help of God I was able to make it this far.  

Well, with that being said, reality has officially kicked in and as much as I wish this semester was more of a "kick back" season then my previous semesters, I'm afraid it's one of my busiest! With my Senior show to plan, completing my last 12 units, and finishing other side projects, I'm trying not to go insane here! I've decided to finally start my own [portfolio] website and get to blogging!  I look forward to the plans God has for me and I hope to share my experiences and creative ideas in order to motivate you, inspire you, or simply relate on the midst of this graduation/career journey!