(WACO, Texas) – A Texas State Technical College graduate recently placed first in the Wacotown Chalk + Walk arts event sponsored by Creative Waco.
Shay MacMorran, of Waco, graduated in 2003 with an associate degree in Commercial Art and Advertising. She is currently a graphic designer at Winstar Marketing in Austin but works remotely from her home. The company specializes in apparel, promotional items, social media and web design.
What took place during the competition?
A bunch of artists and businesses paired together, but businesses could pay for a certain artist. They worked together to make a design for the street or a wall.
I teamed up with LaSalle Shoppes to create a chalk design on Austin Avenue. They do antiques, so we decided to do an “I Love Lucy” crossover with “I Love LaSalle Shoppes.” There is specific street chalk we can use, and also spray paint chalk. You just get into a zone and just go. It’s big, but you have to spend several hours working on it.
Creative Waco and some other groups are working very hard to make the arts scene in Waco more visible. Artists are solitary creatures. You don’t really get out there and see other artists because you are working at home doing your thing. This is a way to bring everyone together.
I was confident, but there are about 50 other artists there. It was based on voting, so you do not know how people will vote. I chose a spot in the LuluBelle’s Market at Magnolia’s Silobration in October in Waco.
What is your job like?
It’s a little different every day. Most of the time, it is laying out uniforms, but I also do a lot of T-shirt and logo designs.
We usually do a lot of things by Zoom, mostly because of the pandemic. We have quarterly team meetings where we have lunch and folks can come out and talk. It’s a small group, so we are all tight-knit. We talk by email.
Because I work from home, I can home-school my son, work on personal art projects when I have extra time, and spend time with our dog. It is just a lot more freeing than working in an office.
What factored into your decision to attend TSTC?
I wanted to do something with art, and it just seemed like the best fit for me at the time. We didn’t have a lot of money for a huge school. TSTC gave me everything I needed to get started. I went in not knowing how to use Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator. I was just a traditional artist. I would always draw or paint. I use Adobe products every single day now.
What advice do you have for people interested in pursuing the design field?
I think it would help to have a creative eye. Otherwise, it is going to be more difficult if you do not have one. Having the ability to take criticism without taking it personally is good.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s CareerOneStop website, graphic designers in Texas make a yearly median salary of more than $49,000. The state is projected to need more than 20,000 graphic designers by 2028, the third-highest number in the country.
TSTC offers an online associate degree in Visual Communication Technology. Students can gain hands-on experience in art direction, digital publishing and graphic design, and do a required commercial art and advertising internship.
Registration is underway for the fall, and scholarships are available. For more information, go to tstc.edu.