Bio- The Casual Chat

Hi! I’m Kat.
Katie to my mom.
Catherine J Connors on the dotted line.

Some call me a nerd or a geek. I prefer “technologically erudite pop culture enthusiast”.

I’m a freelance designer, visual artist and gallery manager based out of Las Vegas, Nevada. But in reality,

I wear a lot of different hats

I wear a lot of different hats and am good at a lot of different stuff. Weird stuff. Stuff people generally aren’t good at. Like for instance, did you know that I have a preternatural ability to cut exact 1oz portions of any kind of cheese you put in front of me? True story.

But I digress.

I like to try a lot of new things and, I’m not gonna lie, I can tend to get a little wrapped up in new and exciting creative projects of all shapes and sorts. I practice and explore and research until the new thing seeps out my pores. Some people call it “obsessive”. I like to think of it as “a light hobby”.  My Excel sheets are the stuff of legends. Ask anyone.

But at the end of the day,

it turns out i’m pretty good at being creative.

I think the first computer program I ever fell in love with (besides Oregon Trail, hello.) was called The Print Shop on the Apple II. My mom was an elementary school teacher whose administration let her check out school computers over the summer. I would spend hours designing flyers nobody needed and banners for made-up parties. Don’t even get me started on Kid Pix later down the road.

Fast forward to 1999 when I got my first copy of Paint Shop Pro and began teaching myself the basics through tutorial blog posts. What started as basic 100x100px cropped images with blurry text for blogging avatars eventually developed into blog themes, banners, headers, animated gifs and way, way cooler Live Journal icons. Some even won some awards. But, doing that as a creative hobby while hating my non-creative job wasn’t enough, so of course

I up and went to culinary school.

You know, as you do. But, lemme tell you. I rocked it. HARD. I did everything from wash dishes in the restaurant and supervise the stock room to captain our American Culinary Federation competition team. I even volunteered at a local high school, coaching their ProStart culinary competition team there. I graduated with a 3.85 GPA in Culinary Arts and topped off my Associate’s by using my existing graphic design skills to secure my Best in Show award at my graduate portfolio show. Like a boss.

I was (and still am) an amazing cook with a chef’s degree under her belt, but, it turned out that restaurant life wasn’t in the cards for me after all. Back-of-house life became too stressful both physically and mentally.  I have never met so many abusive people under one profession in my life. Life is too short to have to suffer through something you love, so it looked like it was

back to the drawing board for me. Literally.

While working an unrelated job a few years back, I became involved with a local collective of artists. The Artistic Armory style took all that is considered “good fine art” and rocked it to its knees. This group was not for the pretentious. With their rowdy music shows, stencil art, bold pop art, subversive political art and whimsical First Friday installations, I fell in love with the group.  After several months of displaying my art in the gallery at their monthly art events, I joined the studio in April of 2014.

I rose the ranks and have worn ALL the hats. As a part of the Armory, I was not just an artist. I was an event planner, calendar-guru, secretary, personal assistant, group organizer, gallery curator, community liason, promoter, bartender, marketer, graphic designer, webmaster and about 50 million other things. And I loved it. We were business partners and family and having my own studio space allowed me to start pursuing

that graphic design degree I’m working on.

In 2014 I also decided to return to school. I decided to take my self-taught graphic design experience and put it towards gaining a legitimate degree. Since then, I have been working tirelessly on bettering myself as a designer. I consistently made the honor roll and got great feedback from my instructors and other students, though I was probably the hardest on myself.

Through an illustration and rendering class, I rediscovered my love of watercolor and that has been such a major part of my life over the last 4 years or so. I learned so much about graphic design and web design in my program, but I know I’ve barely scratched the surface. As of now, I have only a handful of classes left to complete my Associate’s degree; mostly pre-press related courses and a few general ed requirements, but am on hiatus because of financial aid issues. But yeah, that’s pretty much brings me to where we I am today,

which is graphic design freelancing, independent contractor-ing and generally being artsy.

Unfortunately, The Armory shuttered its doors in January 2015. Since then I have have struck out on my own, taking on commissioned projects and spending the rest of the time creating art and educating myself in new design styles and techniques. I curate tutorials, learn them, practice them and publish my own here on my art and design blog, along with some free design resources.  My art was most recently featured every First Friday at Bona Fide Art Studio and Gallery, at Union House in downtown Las Vegas,  right in the heart of the 18b Arts District.

I was even in a featured interview on the awesome Nerdlocker.com . I discuss being a woman in a man-centric geek world, Star Wars vs. Star Trek, and tantric nerding. Warning, contains salty language and unpopular opinions. (But my mom liked it anyway.)

Currently I work for a family of informational and creative websites as an Imaging Specialist. I add photos, templates and printables to articles ranging on everything from Hank Aaron to ZZ Top….. So yeah. That pretty much brings us up to speed.

🙂

 

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