Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 July 2012 07:55 Posted by Clash Saturday, 21 July 2012 01:58
Job-title: Artist (I work in various capacities, but this covers it all)
Web/blog site URL: http://www.christinekerrick.com
Give us your job description in 25 words or less. I design, illustrate, write, do facial imaging for forensic projects, and create content which educates people about God and our purpose, and entertain with ‘teaching’ stories.
Describe a typical workday. I don’t know if I have a typical workday. If I am in a graphic design contract job, I arrive usually at 8:30 and design, or modify existing designs, for clients until 5:30 or later. Often, after a contract job, I work on whatever project I have at night. Currently, I am finishing up the book I’ve written: ‘How To Tell A Prince From A Frog: Law enforcement techniques for knowing who you’re dating.’ Many times I work on my art licensing portfolio, which includes illustrations and sayings or quotes for greeting cards, housewares, textiles and other places you would see art and design. When I do forensic art, which is a contract (i.e., not full time) job, I arrive at the Medical Examiner’s office around 4 or 5pm, meet with the investigator on whichever case he may have, get the skull (skeletal remains) prepared and ‘image’ a face onto it so the investigator can find an identity to the remains.
Lots of the work is non-art, such as designing or updating my web sites, blogging, invoicing, planning portfolios, art shows, keeping up with art contacts, planning marketing and promotions, designing printed pieces for giving away, and even going out to openings, shows and other events that may help my business.
What led you to realize that you wanted to do this type of work? It was pretty natural for me to become an artist; I drew all the time. What I didn’t know was how to apply it. In high school I figured I should become an architect, because I thought that was the only art job there was. I had no idea how to design buildings, and didn’t even really want to (I liked faces and the figure and fantasy creatures), but I thought this would be a real ‘job’. When I went to University of the Arts, my foundation year helped me to aim toward illustration. As the market has changed and illustration in this country has changed, I have moved more toward fine art, publishing and art licensing. I heard somewhere that your vocational passion is the thing you’d be doing if you didn’t get paid. Being an artist would be it.
Did you have any heroes or mentors in your industry that you admired? I have several. For painting, my professor, Martha Erlebacher. She was tough on us, but it paid off. Neilson Carlin, though younger than me, is a colleague and came from U of A too. He is an accomplished fine portrait artist and I admire his work tremendously. In comics, I love Alex Ross and Greg Land. Kathleen Denis, a painter in South Florida, has been a great mentor, encouraging me when I needed it.
What type of education or training was required to land your job? I tell people who want to be artists that they need to draw, draw, draw! Too much emphasis has been placed on the tools, like computers, and while they are amazing, new artists need to learn how the great masters created, study them and the classical painters and practice their eye-hand coordination. They need to learn to draw ‘through’ objects. In addition, looking at and sketching designs and compositions in order to get a feel for good design, color sense, proportions, perspective and what makes a successful piece, no matter what kind of artist or designer they will be.
If they want to get into forensic art or medical illustration, they need to study anatomy even before they get to school. Draw family, friends, strangers. Only putting in hours will help them to train their brains and achieve the kind of technical skill that will then allow them to do whatever they want and not rely on photo research or others’ ideas to create their own pieces.
What do you love most about your job? I love how varied my job is. One moment I’m designing, one moment I’m writing, then I’m drawing or imagining. I can’t imagine being anything but an artist. I love that I can create things that make people smile or think...or both.
What one part of your job do you wish you could hire someone else to do? Definitely marketing and web design. Two things I wish I didn’t have to do.
What advice would you give to teenagers wanting to get into your field of work? Again, I would say to expose yourself to as many different artists, illustrators and writers as possible. Don’t settle for the internet, regarding art. Go SEE art at museums and galleries. Paintings and drawings are very different in person than they are online. You will never get the full effect from a computer. Like I said above, draw, draw, draw. Also, try to find a working artist in your town or nearby who could mentor you, who you could spend the day with, or who you could apprentice or intern with. The experience will be valuable. Go to the local universities and see if they have any Saturday classes for high-schoolers or junior high kids. Many do; that’s how I started art classes. Locally, there should be arts organizations who also have classes. Keep creating. This is most important, because each creation is a step in your growth. You can’t grow without it. It’s like building muscle. You can’t have a chiseled body by lifting weights once.
How does your job allow you to use your God-given gifts? I would say I use my gifts more in my personal work, but in my contract job as a graphic designer, I get to complete projects with the composition, type, design and color senses I’ve learned and developed. In my personal work, I like to teach God’s truths and show His creation through paintings, drawings and stories. I believe our culture is ripe for the redeemed arts to come forward and show His glory in each individual’s way. Art is a wonderful way to open the channels of communication about our Creator, which often happens when I do paintings like, say, the Ten Commandments series I’m working on. I used to think, after I got saved and didn’t draw demons or pinup women anymore, that ‘that’s it’...art was over for me. But God showed me such a vast use for the gifts He’s given me, that it’s amazing. And the opportunities keep coming!
Do you have any hobbies or off-hours pursuits that teenagers would find of interest? I love watching movies, finding places out of the house to go draw, going on ‘adventures’ (i.e., going out, not knowing where I’m going, and meeting people, discovering places and seeing things I haven’t seen before). Sometimes I like watching kids at a local skate park/parking lot. I’m on a computer all day, so I try to find something that doesn’t involve the computer. It always ends up to be fun!
Check out Christine's new book, How to Tell a Prince from a Frog here!