Art graduates explore new successes

Graphic Design graduate Winston Scully is currently working in Baton Rouge
and developing his work of type design and lettering. 

Maudie Cusimano (middle) stands next to one of her heroes, artist Alex Katz (right),
while working at her internship at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta.
Cusimano received a second internship at the New Orleans Museum of Art afterwards.

The journey to a successful artistic career does not always result from pure talent alone. Recent graduates from the Department of Fine and Performing Arts in the field of art and design found that hard work and education are important stepping-stones in their artistic futures. The young artists first pursued their degree in order to grow in talent before embarking on new artistic strides after graduation, which they acknowledged as equally important. 

 “Getting my degree in art has definitely helped me be in the position that I am now,” said printmaking and graphic design graduate Rosa-Lee Marino. “While some people say that you don’t need a degree to be an artist, it certainly helps you to get started by having proper training under your belt.”

Marino acknowledged her growth through all the projects she was assigned while in school, but also found that her education did not end once she received her degree. 

“While getting a degree is important, it’s also important to know that learning never stops,” said Marino. “College can only prepare you for so much, and then the rest is up to you. If you want to succeed, then you should never stop learning.”

Marino was able to grow and develop in her art field after graduation through her two employments at Thinka, a graphic design company in New Orleans, and Escape My Room, an interactive environment that tells unique stories of New Orleans while, according to Marino, participants play part in “an ultimate real life game of Clue.”

Fellow graduate in graphic design, Winston Scully, has also made huge strides since graduation through working at BREW, a branding and design agency in Baton Rouge, and building up his own business of lettering and typefaces called wscully. Scully also found hard work and constant learning to be important in success.

“One of the most important things I’ve learned is the only way things will happen is if you work hard to make it happen,” said Scully. “I think I knew this while I was in school, but I hadn’t truly learned it. I remember expecting things to happen when I put in half effort and wondering why it wasn’t working, but now, having full responsibility for what I’m doing, I can see my failures and I’m learning from them every day.” 

While recognizing the importance of a degree, Scully points out that hard work must work hand in hand with one’s diploma.

“Your degree is worth as much as your tenacity,” said Scully. “I’m so thankful for all of the professors I had at Southeastern who invested in me and pushed me to be a better artist and designer, but I think too many people expect the magic of a degree to change things, and it’s not going to. That goes for everything, not just art. If you don’t have the tenacity to work hard and make things happen, it is literally just a piece of paper.”

After graduation, students must choose what to do next; whether it is looking for a job, traveling the world or finding an internship. 

Unlike Marino and Scully, graduate in art history Maudie Cusimano has been pursuing internships at well-known art galleries in order to gain more experience in the museum world.

“I’m furthering my education in a non-traditional way,” said Cusimano. “Most graduate programs want you to have some prior experience at a museum. You have to prove you can do this before they invest in you, and you want to make sure you love it before you invest in that level of education and that cost.”

Cusimano was a student worker at Southeastern Louisiana University’s Contemporary Art Gallery during her years as an undergraduate. That experience has helped Cusimano grow in her knowledge of the museum world.

“I’ve learned so many skills in my two and a half years here,” said Cusimano about her time as a student worker at the CAG. “I already have a lot of training that many have to go to grad school to get. I know how to properly handle artwork, properly pack and ship it.”

While some graduates have chosen to further their education and skill through jobs and internships, graduate in graphic design Delia Perez chose to move across country in order to grow as an artist. Perez is currently working as a barista while illustrating daily.

“Since graduation, I have moved to Portland, Oregon to develop my design and illustration aesthetic and skill, as well as dive into the coffee culture of the Northwest,” said Perez. “I’m forever using art. I draw every day as a hobby and to forever be improving my drawing skills.”

According to aforementioned art graduates, learning does not end after graduation. It continues through hard work, shaping yourself and your work, experiencing new things and more.

“Knowing what you’re good at and knowing what you’re bad at is one of the most crucial aspects to learning,” said Scully. “Too many people try to focus on improving what they’re bad at, but I think the best thing to do is go all in on what you’re good at.” 

Scully is currently trying to do just this. He recently released his own typeface called Davy Crockett, and also was asked to conduct a lettering workshop for CROP, a graphic design conference in Baton Rouge. Through this, Scully has grown in the community as he grows as an artist.

“As I’ve gone along in my life as an artist and a designer, I’ve found how it can create community,” said Scully. “Art is so much more to me than just an expression of something I’m trying to say, it’s a way of life and a way of community.”

To learn more about the department of Fine and Performing Arts call their office at 985-549-2193.