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Graphic Design

Chesley Annis
Assistant Traffic Coordinator
ESPN Regional Television

Chesley Annis graduated in December 2002with a degree in Graphic Design from the Art Institute of Charlotte. Chesley was hired in January 1999 as a Traffic/Clearance Assistant with ESPN Regional Television. She has been promoted to Assistant Traffic Coordinator. In this position, she works in creating graphics for advertisements and logos while maintaining relationships among advertising clients, university agents, internal sales and traffic departments. Her position did not originally include designing graphics until she presented her talents to a colleague and was persistent in speaking with co-workers. Since then, she has been called upon for graphic assignments and has had several pieces printed for ESPN through advertisements promoting Pepsi Classic. She also has worked on various other campaigns designing Bowl Game logos, and advertisements for various ESPN clients and has provided design consultation.

Chesley decided to pursue graphic design as a career so that she could use her creative and designing skills to support herself financially and follow her passion. She chose The Art Institute of Charlotte for the length of the program and the strong faculty and staff connections within the graphic design community. The instructor who was most influential in Chesley’s education was Kathleen Brockman. Chesley said Ms. Brockman was supportive, “real,” and a mentor in balancing work and school. Chesley’s philosophy is to be firm in your creations. Be open to other opinions. Enhance your work when agreeable suggestions are made. If you do not agree with the suggestion, leave it as you designed it. The biggest challenge in her career is being patient. Since she had to help create her position, she had to be patient. In the sports industry, graphics tend to be flashy and bold. She listens to the people in the industry, asks questions, and gets motivated. Her greatest accomplishment is seeing her creations in print.

Chesley’s job seeking advice - “Make it happen and stay confident. Meet everyone you can and make small personal connections. Also, keep up with your contacts. Update them with your profile once a month or every six weeks. You never know when you can help them or when they will help you.”

Gabriel Sheridan
Place of Employment: Summit Design

“Everything I learned at The Art Institute is now coming to the surface,” said Summer 2003 graduate Gabriel Sheridan. Gabriel knows first-hand that the road to an Associate Degree at AiCH isn’t always easy. But he’s glad he stuck it out, and he urges other students to do the same.

Gabriel is employed by Summit Design, a small graphics shop whose biggest client is the University of Florida athletic department for which they do a lot of publications. Summit Design also handles logos, ads and other graphics for a variety of clients. In a smaller shop, they ignore titles, said Gabriel. The boss is the “dishwasher, and I’m the junior dishwasher.” Gabriel also credits Mr. Currie for teaching him how to deal with clients by stressing the need to be prepared, be professional, and be enthusiastic.

Gabriel’s advice to students: Ask every question you can possibly think of because, once you’ve got your degree and you’re out there, you’re expected to know. Also, he added, learn Quark Express – you need to know it.

Matt Alvarez & Neill Pollock 
Graphic Design
Place of Employment: SMI Properties

Winter ’05 Classmates Neill Pollock and Matt Alvarez landed jobs together through the good relationship The Art Institute enjoys with their boss, Jay Hare, graphics director for SMI Properties, a full-service design, manufacturing, apparel, licensing and merchandising company. Hare comes to every Portfolio Review to assess the latest talent, and Matt and Neill say it was their “exceptional presentation skill at Portfolio review” as well as their persistence while here that got them hired. They said that all the basics were covered in the studies, but it was the hands-on training that provided them with the skills to get the job done.

As graphic artists, Matt and Neill are routinely asked “to create multi-color, high-end simulated process prints for a wide variety of corporate sponsors, primarily the SMI speedways. Our focus is trackside merchandise providing race team, driver and corporate sponsor clients with their own custom Tee-shirt design and paraphernalia at every NASCAR race. This entails digitally illustrating the cars, clever use of type, and creating a cohesive background to generate sales in the retail rigs you find at every race.”

Their advice to AiCH students: Envelope yourself in the programs and the tools. Don’t get caught up in what you think your area of expertise is because all of the disciplines can come into play such as illustration, marketing and, especially, type.

Graphic Design
Place of Employment: skirt!

It took Sarah Fickel exactly a week to turn a free-lance job into a full-time position with Charlotte’s last addition to the publications world, skirt!, a bright new fun and trendy magazine for women. The September 2003 AiCH grad was doing freelance design work when she heard from Career Services about the new magazine. Sarah was hired to do a free-lance project, and a week later she became a full-time graphic artist. With another AiCH graphic arts graduate, Julie Brooks (December ‘03), Sarah designs ads. She loves her job, and she has a window-seat view of life in Charlotte’s SouthEnd design town. Although Sarah’s new job required her to learn a new design software program, her experience with different programs at AiCH made the transition an easy one, she said.

Sarah’s advice to students: Don’t be scared to push the limits!

Tina Robinson
Place of Employment: Glass Unlimited

Tina designs patterns that are then etched on glass doors – storm, bifold or various other kinds of doors such as are sold at Lowe’s and elsewhere. It’s not at all what she thought she’d be doing when she graduated from AiCH in June 2003, but it’s a job she loves.

Tina left Catawba College to pursue a career in graphic arts which was her passion. She learned about the job at Glass Unlimited through Ms. Beattie in Career Services. The High Point, NC, company was looking for someone with “a new flair.”  After interviewing Tina, they didn’t need to talk with anyone else. The people are wonderful, and she’s learning to use all kinds of programs such as CAD-based software that she didn’t use at AiCH, as well as those she did learn here. She believes the education she got here as well as what she’s getting on the job will “give me a leg up in the industry.”

Tina’s advice for AiCH students: Set your goals and decide what you want to gain from your education at AiCH. What you make of it is what you’ll take away with you. She also strongly recommends that graduates stay in close touch with Career Services because of their up-to-the-minute understanding of the job market.

Wesna K. Joseph
HiRez Graphix, LLC

Wesna K. Joseph entered the Graphic Design program at the Art Institute of Charlotte, while working as a Customer Service Representative with EDS, AAA, and Sprint in 1998. In December 2002, Joseph received his degree, left his Customer Service position and began his job exploration. While searching for employment opportunities and researching self-starter companies, Joseph and his partner were motivated to start their own company. Consequently, HiRez Graphix, LLC was founded in May 2003.

Joseph relies heavily on his experiences at AiCH. “AiCH gave me the confidence to go out and perform.” Deadline requirements, skills, techniques and senses of color were helpful to Joseph in preparing for his career. His philosophy is to stick to your dream and find your passion. In doing so, he also emphasizes the importance of showing initiative, research, and being resourceful. “Think out of the box and have a plan.” Joseph’s plan began the second week he was in school.

Joseph’s job seeking advice - “You can’t wait for someone to GIVE you a job. If you have your own computer and AiCH behind you, you can do it yourself. Nothing comes easy. The people I remember the most are hardworking and creative.”

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