Very rarely at A.I. are we truly inspired by an individual, or creative for that matter. As per usual, with a lot of "so-called" creatives there's a lot of talk with nothing to show, or no "real" grind to get the individual to the place they claim they deserve to be. However, graphic designer - Kathryn Adkins, is not the former. After moving from the Lone Star State to the Golden State, and finally the Big Apple, she exemplifies the word "grind" with a number of cool projects to back it up. Currently working on a big initiative with Rent The Runaway (the place you can rent all the fly-ish you can't afford), Kathryn managed to give us a few hours to chop it up and take cool pictures of her. Read on for some gems:
AI: Gives us a quick run down of: who you are, where you're from (originally), what you do, and why you chose this form of creativity.
Kathryn: Ugh I hate questions like this...sorry. I just never know how to answer them. I guess the basics are: my name is Kathryn Adkins, a graphic designer currently living in Brooklyn, originally from Houston, TX, lived in San Francisco for a few years, and now I'm here in New York.
I know it may sound kind of lame but growing up I always wanted to be some kind of artist. I've always been adamant about making it at the core of my career, because I figured my job is how I'm going to spend most of my days. That's definitely been tested over the years but no matter the challenges, I've never been able to let it go. It's the way I learn and interact with the world. Graphic design eventually just made sense because its purpose is to communicate with people.
A.I: So you're here in NYC, was this the goal from day one?
Kathryn: I never really thought of like that, but I suppose in some way it kind of was. Growing up in Houston all I wanted was to get the hell out of there. I had dreamed about one day moving to New York and being an actress/artist. Sounds gross when I think about it now but I guess that's not that different to being a graphic designer in New York these days. Lols.
A.I: From what we know, it wasn't like straight to NYC, give us an idea of your path here:
Kathryn: When I was 18 I moved to Boston to go to art school, but I hated Boston. I romanticized the east coast growing up because it was so different from Texas. But Boston sucks. Or at least it did for me at that time. After a year there I pretty much said fuck Boston, fuck New York, fuck the east coast, I'm going west. I went to San Francisco for a weekend and decided that was where I needed to be. When I lived there I was working and going to community college but after a few years I started feeling like I needed a change. I started thinking about New York again, but it was very much an idea for something I'd do in the future. I just felt like I needed a good reason to make a move like that, something that could make me justify giving up the life I had built in SF. Weirdly enough that ended up happening when I got into school at Parsons, which I only applied to because an instructor at CCSF told me I should. I ended up getting a scholarship and realized that I had my reason. Within about a month of finding out I ended up moving to Brooklyn. Now I feel like if I ever move anywhere else it'll be kind of the same thing, because I have a damn good reason.
A.I: How do you feel moving away from Texas and California fed your creativity?
Kathryn: Every place I move to provides me with new insight. I get to experience another culture or maybe subculture is more appropriate since I've only ever lived in the states. Ha. Regardless, when I move to another city or state I see how other people live and how significantly our environments affect our lifestyles, interests, and work ethics. When I moved to New York I was exposed to things people were doing within graphic design that I had no idea existed. I learned about so many independent studios that focus on doing cultural work or self initiated projects, which really helped me redefine my relationship with design. Being here has significantly shaped how I choose to develop my practice as a designer and thinker. I love Texas and California but New York has definitely been the most creatively enriching place I've lived yet. (For now at least.)
A.I: Why keep creating, what does it mean to you?
Kathryn: It means everything to me. Design is a way of seeing, understanding, and communicating with people. It's a way to problem solve and learn. To challenge myself to think in new ways.
A.I: Where can we see your work?
Kathryn: Sadly I have a terribly outdated website www.kathryna.com which will one day be less terrible and slightly less outdated. But for now you can see some personal projects I've done on there.
A.I: Anything else you care to share?