Editor’s note: Katie Matteo is a former employee of the Collegian.
In 2005, art major Katie Matteo never knew that going to compete in the state Future Business Leaders of America competition for desktop publishing would be just the start to a life-long affiliation with art. This fall, however, the 21-year-old graduates from CSU with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts with a concentration in graphic design.
The job market can be daunting for any student graduating with the hopes of getting into a career to put their newly learned skills to use. But, for Matteo the future looks bright.
Like any other art student at CSU, Matteo has taken the core curriculum required of a fine art major, but what puts her above many other job-seeking graduates in her field is her time spent out of the classroom and willingness to go above and beyond what is expected.
Matteo has participated in Ad Infinitum and Art Director’s Club of Denver in addition to working at the student run ad agency on campus.
“In general she has taken advantage of any opportunity offered to her,” Assistant Professor of Electronic Art Cyane Tornatzky said of Matteo. “It shows in her professional demeanor, her confidence and the polished way she presents her portfolio.”
Matteo said that she feels that CSU has really prepared her for the world outside of a college campus.
“I have gotten really close to the graphic design grad students who have worked with me one-on-one and helped me build a portfolio and resume,” Matteo said.
Although she graduates with an already stacked resume, the art major still has encountered obstacles through her journey. She said between her class schedule and involvement with organizations, it was hard for her to devote the time she wanted toward projects.
I really like to put effort and time into things so they can be the best they can be and really represent me,” Matteo said. “I spent my life in the studio.”
That time Matteo has spent in the studio however will pay off after she graduates this fall. She plans to stay at CSU after graduation to complete a master’s through the business college focusing on a degree in management to add to her minor in business administration.
Matteo hopes to get into the advertising field and pursue a career as an art director. With her added work in business, graduate student Nikki Arnell believes that Matteo will be able to do great things.
“She can do the more fine arts side and bring it into the business strategy,” Arnell said. “Her further study in business will only add to what she has already learned.”
Arnell, who has been a part of the art industry for 10 years, believes that the course of the economy will always be what drives the art field, especially the business side of it, but the great thing about designers is that they can freelance.
“The freelance aspect is kind of our best friend,” Arnell said. “You just have to be able to sell your skills and go and find the work.”
In recent job market studies, there has been an emphasis placed on individuals who can produce beautiful visual objects because we, as Americans, are becoming a more visual culture, Tornatzky said.
“While many jobs are being shipped overseas, art and design are very specific to the culture that produces them,” Tornatzky said. “An employer can’t ask an artist in another country to capture all the nuances that an American audience might enjoy.”
Tornatzky adds that in Matteo’s case, in addition to her traditional design skills she knows how to create Web sites, which will only help her chances at finding a career.
The future is very bright for Matteo. She has not only put the time into her courses at CSU but has built an outstanding resumé, portfolio and network that will only help in her pursuance of her dreams.
“Katie has so much focus and an amazing ability to absorb information,” Arnell said. “She is going to do great things.”
Staff writer Kate Frasure can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.