Taylor Hardman graduated in 2016 with a BFA in Studio Arts-Graphic Design. One of her pieces in the 2016 Senior Exhibition made such an impression that it was chosen to be the cover of the 2016/2017 SOAC season events brochure, which is mailed to thousands of local arts patrons and alumni each fall. Hardman talks about where she landed after her PLU graduation and her now-famous work.
Where are you working now?
Hardman: I am a marketing and design developer for a nonprofit in Lakewood called Centerforce. Centerforce helps individuals with disabilities get job training and placement.
What were you involved in while at PLU?
Hardman: I did my best to be active in the Department of Art & Design while I attended PLU, but working for Campus Safety at the same time left me pretty busy!
Can you talk about your featured work a bit – what was your inspiration?
Hardman: The design is based on a quote from Misha Collins, who has been somewhat of a mentor and friend during my college years and whose encouragement of the arts, philanthropy, and charity work have been a source of inspiration to me. I tried to take inspiration for the design both from the words of the quote itself (like using rope for the word “bound”) and from the feeling that the quote invokes in me when I hear it, that I can accomplish anything. I tried to bring these two things together using a watercolor technique with Adobe Illustrator that I developed and used throughout my capstone project.
How does it feel to have you work be viewed in more than 4000 homes?
Hardman: Daunting, to say the least. It was very cool to have friends who recognized my design text me pictures of it when it arrived at their house. But also incredibly happy. The quote I used has had such a profound effect on my life, that I hope that it can reach out through my work and touch others as well. If seeing the design or hearing the quote helps influence even one person to pick PLU or to take up the arts, that would make my day.
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced since graduation?
Hardman: I think that figuring out the best way to apply my degree to my career has been somewhat of a challenge that I’ve enjoyed facing. I found out very quickly that as much as I loved design, if I tried to do too much of it during the day at work, I was so burnt out on it that when I got home in the evenings, I didn’t really feel like doing any personal design work. Finding a good balance so that I could keep doing it for my job but also come home and feel happy and energized to keep working on personal projects has been something I’ve been working to find a better balance with.
How did PLU contribute to your success?
Hardman: I think the small classes and the feeling of community at PLU really helped me to succeed. I’ve never done well in an atmosphere where I felt like I was just a number. At PLU, I was always able to talk directly with my teachers if I was struggling with something. While out looking for a job, being a Lute was something I had in common with a few of the interviewers that really helped me to connect with them.
Interview by Mandi LeCompte