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I am Kittitas County born and raised – living in Ellensburg for most of my life. While growing up, I enjoyed “small town life” being involved in 4-H, Girls Scouts, and numerous church activities. I didn’t technically live on a farm, but I raised and showed rabbits, pigs and sheep for a number of years. I also loved drawing and arts & crafts. It was at an early age that I knew I either wanted to work with animals or become an artist. I graduated from Ellensburg High School and received a degree in Graphic Design from Central Washington University. I completed my graphic design internship at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater (it’s the famous house that sits over a waterfall) in Pennsylvania. After working in Pennsylvania for about a year and a half, I returned to Ellensburg to be near my family. I also spent three months in Japan doing some graphic design work for some American missionaries. In September of 2002, I began working as a graphic artist at the NKC Tribune. It was a good fit as I could still be near family and friends, stay in a small town, and work at a place that incorporates “creativity and art” into just about everything we do. I am part of a graphics team that designs ads and builds pages for the newspaper, but we can also design and print business cards, flyers, posters, brochures, carbonless forms, magnetics, banners and more!
The art bug bit me very early in life. Teachers and parents must have seen some promise in those fingerpaint and crayon scrawlings, as they encouraged me to pursue more art classes. Maybe it was the extensive doodling on my Pee-Chees and even in the margins of my math and chemistry homework assignments that tipped them off to my passion for graphic design. But I was equally interested in studying animal science and geology. A WSU bachelor’s degree in Animal Science with a geology class for one of my science electives later, I launched my first career as an animal caretaker as a veterinary assistant, zookeeper, and eventually handler of some of the world famous Budweiser Clydesdales as they “vacationed” at Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay, Florida.
Fast forward to a boss there who also noticed me doodling on everything from log book entries, to marker board memos to decorations for the barn (or “hamlet” as it is known). Don Castagnasso, who had semi-retired from driving the East Coast Hitch, practically cracked the whip for me to go back to college, this time in Graphic Arts, through the employee improvement program which let me work and go to school. And thus began my second career, with a diploma from the Florida Metropolitan University in hand, and a brand new opportunity at a weekly newspaper close to my family back in Washington. I moved to Cle Elum in August of 1999 and have been building ads, laying out Tribune pages and designing print work like business cards, posters and brochures ever since.
Over the years, as my experience has grown, my responsibilities have expanded to include co-publishing the Tribune with Jana Stoner, as well as building and maintaining our website and web services.
My favorite part of my job still goes back to those early roots, although now computer graphics programs like Photoshop, Quark Xpress and Adobe Illustrator have replaced my crayons and fingerpaints. I truly enjoy my work doing something that I have always loved, and am grateful to everyone who brings in projects for me to put my creative best work into making them, and their organization, look THEIR very best. If you’re wondering how best to market your product or service, come talk it over with me and see what we can come up with together.