This was never my plan…
The mid-1980’s were a time of great change for advertising, marketing, graphic design, and printing. I graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in 1986 with a BFA in ART, which deposited me into the working world smack in the middle of a lot of new technology, marketing challenges, and experimentation. During my senior year, I was fortunate to have been one of a handful of Fine Arts students asked by an entrepreneur named Steve to ”play” with his computer and software and give feedback. His program could make simple pictures by plotting X and Y coordinates. It was like magic to me! I had never used a computer—for anything! However, for an art major, all that plotting took big effort with little payoff. I remember asking for something I could touch to the screen so I didn’t have to plot coordinates. Nevertheless, I was instantly hooked on what computer technology could offer the artist. At that time, a future career working in Marketing and Design was never my plan… but back then I never really had a plan. I suppose I thought I would paint, experiment with printmaking, illustrate, and in time, make my mark on the art scene… Or go to graduate school.
Instead… I took position at a small agency that was beginning to use the then “new” technology. I understood the programs and how they worked. Instinctively, I lead others… and sharing and guiding them through what I knew. In return, they shared their industry knowledge with me. I was a sponge — listening and learning from printers, marketing executives, peers, clients, purchasing staff, etc. I began to not only design but to also understand the purpose for the design and how it effects sales, consumer interest, and corporate growth. I quickly developed an ability to work with strategies, spot trends, creatively achieve marketing goals, and communicate my ideas to executive staff and clients. In addition, I began to enjoy bringing-on and leading support talent to accomplish the best results. As I grew into the marketing and advertising culture, so did my love of it. In 1994, I opened Arachne, a full service marketing and design studio. In 2013, I began to share my knowledge and creativity with other entrepreneurs and their businesses; coaching them discover their core goals, define their brands and develop tangible marketing materials. After a move to Florida in 2017, Arachne is now operating as Mary Carol Sullivan.
I am a hands-on creative director and graphic designer who supports marketing by developing concepts and producing print and digital media solutions. I develop and manage projects to ensure strategy and goals are met. I unlock your messages and stories using whatever it takes to communicated and get the job done. This requires understanding the message, inspiration, the latest technology, and connections — okay yes, sometimes I just need a Sharpie! I know how to use it all — and more importantly what is appropriate when.
I have worked for…
These experiences have made me particularly equipped to formulate creative ideas, purposeful marketing solutions, meet client needs with attention, and respond to deadlines and budgets; as well has made me a better leader and mentor when working with creative staff and peers… I can drive the technology, come up with ideas, do the graphic design, set up the final files for print and other media needs and deliver the final — It’s important to know the tools, to be able to work with them ,and to manage projects to completion – not just talk about ideas.
Technology continues to evolve. I am learning something new every day. My philosophy about art and technology? Technology is a tool. If the technology applies to and will benefit the job — Definitely use it! If you can re-invent the technology to make the job/project better — DO IT! …And then SHARE how you do it. If the latest technology doesn’t work for the project, have enough “tools in your box” (and confidence as an artist) to use something else —or learn something else. Lastly, there is the person sitting next to you can always teach you something, always engage in conversations to find out what that is.
Let it rain!