Kristie Erkkila is our as our AIGA Arizona Member of the Month for September. Thank you Kristie for your enthusiasm and all your great contributions to our chapter!
I hail from the great white north of Upper Michigan where I called the tiny Keweenaw Peninsula home; a peninsula so small that it is usually left off of most maps. After tiring of 200-300 inches of snow each winter, my husband and I decided to move near family in Phoenix in 2008. I decided to go back to school down here (I have a previous degree in Creative Writing) so that I could pursue a career in the world of advertising. At The Art Institute of Phoenix, thanks to a few amazing mentors, I fell in love with Graphic Design and never looked back.
Currently, I work at The Fiesta Bowl as a Graphic Design intern. But, not one to sit still, I also keep my nights busy with some freelance work. I’m also trying to teach myself web design and programming, with a strict but knowledgeable tutor, my own programming geek of a husband, Doug. Doing it by hand, I’m slowly picking up some hand coding techniques and I hope to add that to my skills. The fact that I’ve had experience working as a copywriter has already opened a few doors, and I hope that having web in my wheel house will help even more.
The bits of free time I have are spent with Doug and my furry four-legged children, my dogs and cats. They’re rescues, of course, but I always say that they rescued me. They’ve made me a personal advocate of the idea of adopt, don’t shop. I love nothing more than spending a Saturday at the dog park playing with my dogs and like minded pet parents.
AIGA has opened up an amazing world of connections for me, and is actually the reason I have my current job. I was referred by someone I know through AIGA. It also helps me build a sense of community in city that is still brand new to me. I’ve actually reached out through AIGA to other AIGA members in cities I’ve visited or thought of moving to. When I spend most of my day staring at a computer, designing in my little box, it’s nice to get out and talk to other members of the community. Sometimes at the end of the day you just want to go home and shut down that thinking part of your brain, but interacting with AIGA members after work actually gets me excited again about design and creative projects.