21-year-old artist Kara Young’s work instantly catches my eye whenever I come across it. From her photography and personal design projects to her commissioned works, Kara is constantly growing her arsenal. She has become the go-to graphic designer for some of the best music artists and event coordinators in the state. From the looks of her latest work, she’ll continue gaining the attention of many and building on her ever-evolving style.
I had the pleasure of speaking with the Columbus artist about how she got started, her style and inspirations, the future, and more.
Vanice Alexander: What would you consider yourself, a Photographer and a Graphic designer?
Kara Young: In retrospect, I was an artist before anything so I would just use artist as the main title because I’m going to express myself in any way I feel necessary. From graphic design and photography to whatever else.
When did you begin designing?
I officially started making business cards, flyers, etc. back in high school around freshman year. As far as digital art, I started around 12 or 13. I remember being so excited to sign up for MySpace in like 2006 or 2007. The first thing I did was spend days making my page super different and creative by using HTML and lunapic. Finally, after that, I thought to myself “I guess I should add some friends now” even though I didn’t care. Each day I spent hours working on my profile, I know there are so many people that can vouch for me (laughs). Long story short, my reason for signing up was for the visual part so I guess that was my intro. After MySpace got kind of lame, I just made digital art and posted the work on Facebook, Tumblr, and DeviantArt.
Are you self-taught in design?
I’m self-taught for the most part. I owe YouTube everything!
What are some things and people that inspire your work?
Life. My two moods are always either nostalgic or futuristic so that affects my outlook in general. I watch nature and space shows, and social documentaries. I also like creating things that challenge the way we normally perceive things. For an example, humans don’t have green and pink skin, but they will when I create it. Also, women, x-rays, old photos, lighting, science (especially physics and chemistry), and the motion of people and things inspire me to name a few. I’m always trying to think my way to a conclusion or trying to find reasoning for everything so the social sciences play a big part also.
A lot of your recent work includes stars, it feels like your signature at this point and I love it; do you know why are you so drawn that?
Thank you. I learn a lot about myself from reflecting on my work as a whole and it tells me what I was interested in during that specific moment of my life, so I would be lying if I had a specific reasoning for me being drawn to the galactic look right now. One thing I can say is that I go through stages. I could be in this galactic era for one more week or for the next 10 years and then be somewhere completely different after. So I’ll probably be able to analyze the work in this stage and answer this question once I’m done with it, if ever.
What is the best part about being a graphic designer right now?
Creating an everlasting image for something. Each piece is like stamping a moment in history. For an example, when you think of an album, the cover is the first thing you think of. Baduizm by Erykah Badu or Confessions by Usher? I bet you’re thinking of the covers.
If you could give anyone that’s interested in getting into graphic design some advice, what would it be?
I always felt like I was in the gray area between an artist & a designer so I don’t think I have the best advice out there. What I can say is that there are no rules on if it’s done right. Explore and find your own style. Be aware of the current trend, the forthcoming trend, learn it, and then go be innovative and do what feels good. Have fun and use your imagination!
Do you have a favorite design or project that you’ve created thus far?
Not necessarily. I always feel like my next will be my best because I know more and I’ve learned more. That was my political answer, but I do favor v e n u s because it was my very first official project. The concept, name, and the art came to me so naturally. I thought of and executed everything in about 4 days. That process still blows my mind.
What is your ideal client like?
I love having full control but only if the client trusts my vision fully. If they don’t or they already have an idea in mind, just be 100% clear and communicate. I can’t read minds. I love designing cover art because I have an artistic license & there are no limits compared to a flyer where you need actual details.
You’ve grown so much since I began following your work and I can only imagine what you’ll be doing in 5 years or so. What’s next for Kara Young?
I have so many ideas and I have my hand in a lot of other art forms so it’s pretty overwhelming for me to think about. I just take it day by day and make what I can with what I know and what I have right now. I’m just trying to keep up with my mind.
As we grow, we are constantly changing our goals and ideas. But as of today, what is your ultimate life goal?
My ultimate life goal, in general, is to be able to create, travel, write a book, learn and grow, be a good person, and leave my mark on the world. I also need at least one album or movie cover designed by me on a store shelf.