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Meet Amy Sekins

Today we’d like to introduce you to Amy Sekins.

Amy, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I knew from a very young age that I wanted to do something creative. I was diagnosed with High-Functioning Autism when I was about three years old, and I felt that the only way I could successfully learn new things was through visuals. Art rapidly became a great outlet for me based on my visual learning style.

When I was 11 years old, I began to show an interest in Graphic Design because I had family members who had experience in the field and I grew a huge fascination for what they created: cards, greetings, announcements, you name it. I decided that Graphic Design was the career I wanted to pursue. I was told that I lived near a school with a very prestigious Graphic Design program, called California State University, Long Beach.

When the time came for me to apply to colleges, Cal State Long Beach was the one and only school I applied to; it was Cal State Long Beach or Bust for me. Fortunately enough, I was accepted into the Pre-Graphic Design track and my journey official began. However, I was unfortunately not accepted into the BFA program and I thought it was all over for me, like all of those years of working hard and preparing myself for this one moment was all for nothing. I soon realized that just because things did not go exactly to plan in my journey, it did not mean that I would never be successful in what I wanted to do. Upon this realization, I picked myself back up and worked hard to prove that I was just as a good as the people who got into the BFA. One huge opportunity that I was given on my newly found path was getting to experience a whole range of mediums, from fibers to painting to metals. It was so significant to me because I felt like I could apply my Graphic Design mindset to any given medium and vice versa and it gave me artistic insight that can elevate my personal style of art.

I am now proud to say that I graduated with honors with a Graphic Design Minor, I have had some experience in the ad agency world, and I am an accomplished Freelance Designer. My philosophy in life is to never let your dreams just be dreams and anyone can do anything they set their minds and hearts to.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I would say yes and no. To my surprise, my family was very supportive of my decision to pursue a career in art because they knew that all things visual came naturally to me. Despite the unanimous support, I felt that having a disability meant that I had a lot to prove to the people in my life. This gave me a lot of determination to work hard, but I think it also put some pressure on me because I felt that if I did not accomplish what I wanted to do, I would let everyone in my life down. However, when I start to feel that anxiety in me, the loved ones in my life are always there to remind me that I am doing a great job and I can’t give up.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
My artistic specialty is product branding/rebranding, packaging design, and advertising. My work is designed to transform an ordinary subject into something marketable by taking common associations and forcing viewers to make unexpected connections. For example, I designed a rebrand for a salon called Thairapy, where I combined a high-end salon experience with therapeutic practices, like the Rorschach Ink Blot Test. Combining two unlikely concepts helped promote the idea that hair care can be beneficial physically and mentally for the head. I feel that making these unexpected connections with my projects is what entertains my audience and what makes my art stand apart from others.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
A very big part of my childhood was going to Disneyland. On days when I got to go to Disneyland, it was not like any other day. Experiencing Disney days felt like the burdens of everyday life where all are secondary for just one whole day. Whether I was worried about a quiz, an issue in the family, or anything in between, I could simply forget about all of that for a day and become enveloped in a magical new world.

Disney also reminds me of very special family memories. I did not necessarily have the smoothest childhood and I experienced quite a bit of adversity throughout, but one of my fondest childhood memories that I still remember vividly was building a pillow fort with my brother and my father, making popcorn, and popping in a VHS tape of Peter Pan. I also shared a deep love of Disney with my grandma; I can still hear her voice singing “Cinderelly” repeatedly all throughout the house on days when she would babysit me. I felt like life made sense to me when I would share these moments with my family members and I continue to create great memories through the magic of Disney even as an adult.

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