By Ashley Mott
When breaking into the design world, there is a set of expectations and stipulations that come along with the title “artist,” or in this case, Graphic Designer. The idea of being an artist can be very scary, especially in a time where people don’t consider art to be a top-earning job field. For Abigail Pasca, a graphic design major at Cleveland State University, this rings true. The life of an artist means putting your art on show for the world to judge, and it can be scary, intimidating, and exposing.
“It makes you vulnerable,” Pasca said.
Pasca has entered her work in a few art shows over the years including an Art Jam at a coffee shop called ‘Coffee Coffee Coffee.’ Her friend, Taylor Hannah, is a barista there and hosts the Art Jam on occasion, always encouraging Pasca to bring her work. “So far, I’ve showed a series of paintings and a set of prints there,” Pasca said. From the time that she was a young
girl, Pasca has always loved the arts. Living near the Cleveland Museum of Art has fostered that love since the young age of 12. The museum is tied to her first art-inspired memory of her aunt coming to visit and taking her there. Monet’s Water Lilies painting stands out to her the most during that trip and is dear to her heart. However, that is not the only thing that caught her eye on that auspicious day. “I was mesmerized by it all — the building itself, the size of the museum, and all the artwork,” Pasca said. While the Cleveland Museum of Art had been on her radar since then,
Cleveland State had not always been. But for her, it didn’t matter because once she was here she knew she had found her home. Always knowing that she wanted to study art and pursue a career in it, Pasca wanted that to happen more than anything. However, she never imagined that Cleveland State would be the way that could happen.
Pasca found her community in the students at the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) student Cleveland State organization. Since the first moment she saw the posters hanging in the Middough Building, she was attracted to the organization. While she was unable to join her first semester of college due to her schedule, she immediately jumped at the opportunity to join in her second semester. According to Pasca, she is incredibly happy that she was able to join.
AIGA is an organization that not only made Pasca grow as an artist but also as a person. Going toe-to-toe with other artists forces the mind to expand and look at problems in new ways. While members are always up and ready for a challenge to find a design solution, they are also quick to give advice and help with designs whenever someone asks. “I just like that people are honest in critiquing works,” Pasca said.
According to Pasca, before she joined AIGA at Cleveland State she was very introverted and socially awkward, but the people in it quickly helped break her out of her shell. While she was very content with being just a general member of the organization that wasn’t what AIGA had in plan for her at all. After just one semester in the organization she was asked to run for secretary as a freshman. While it was an odd thing for a freshman to climb the ranks so quickly Pasca is glad that she did.
“I was the only one who wasn’t [graduating] from that group of officers,” Pasca said. Her time as secretary inspired her and she decided to go out for the position of Vice President of AIGA at Cleveland State. Obviously there were others in support of this decision because now Pasca has stepped into the role of Vice President for the fall 2018-2019 academic year at Cleveland State.
“I’m glad I decided to step out of my comfort zone to be VP,” Pasca said. Moving forward with the year Pasca is looking forward to taking a designcentered trip with the other members of AIGA in the spring of 2019. While she has never gone on a trip with them before, many before her have come back enriched with new art techniques and advice. This role as VP has allowed Pasca to take on more than she ever thought she could and grow as a person. Occasionally, she has to talk in front of a big group of people and try to keep her cool, so she is constantly improving on her public speaking skills even though it may be scary sometimes. “I realized that I’m just as human as everyone else in that room. We all have our weird quirks, and that’s okay,” Pasca said.
Pasca strongly believes that aspiring young graphic artists should check out AIGA even if they aren’t sure it’s for them or not. “AIGA is and always will be an organization that warmly welcomes any graphic artists — regardless of age, skill level, and identity,” Pasca said.
In addition to her professors in the design program and other designers out there, AIGA has proven to help Pasca immensely. She once asked a professional designer for advice on how to become a better designer, and she has decided that those are words to live by, and decided to them share with others. “Make. Then make more. Then keep making. Then, Make More,” Pasca said.
The life of an artist means making mistakes and trying things over and over again until you find the perfect combination, a lesson that Pasca has learned over her past couple of years at Cleveland State. Now, as a junior in her program, she is leading the next generation of designers and setting an example for those who may wish to follow in her footsteps as VP.
Originally Published on The Cauldron.