Skye McNeill

Skye lives in Portland, OR where she runs her own surface design and illustration studio. At the time of applying to school, she was living in Seattle working as an artist/boat deckhand.

Making art has always been the biggest part of my life. I have a vast interest in the world beyond that of art and have often wondered ‘how do they relate?’ I started to evaluate my creative desires and identify the issues and passions that were really important to me. My daily life was saturated with self-education on global food politics and environmentalism, local agriculture, and community subcultures. It quickly became apparent to me how important design elements are in communicating ideas and facilitating understanding at a pre-logical level, and the tremendous societal and environmental impacts of design through consumer choice. I came to realize that with a better understanding of design I could move my personal interests and beliefs from separate compartments of my life into a more integrated and inclusive expression of my ideas. Design became more than a clever way of presenting information; it had the potential to be a framework joining everything in my life.

My paintings and drawings have always been very personal, addressing relationships and emotional experiences through portraits and character-driven narratives. My photography has become a medium for daily art practice and conversation; documenting my day-to-day life makes it easier to identify problems and demonstrate how much beauty there is in the world. A more thorough understanding of design will allow me to more effectively engage viewers. For example, a photograph that may not stand alone as an image has the potential for greater visual impact as a poster or book cover, becoming a representation an idea.

I have organized my views on design into three domains: lifestyle/ contemporary culture, conscious compassion/sustainability, and visual effect/aesthetic pleasure. My goal is to find the balance between these elements in a way that is accessible to my audience while maintaining my distinct style. Graduate study will provide the skills and understanding to turn ideas and passions into actual works. I want to learn greater technical skills, but do so in an academic environment where I will be challenged with high expectations and expert critiques. I welcome the opportunity for collaborations and discourse that will push me creatively, but I also believe it will be important for me to acquire a practical understanding of responsible materials and techniques, as well as business practices. My intent is to begin with graphic design, as it is most representative of my current art practices, but eventually I hope to expand to design of three dimensional objects, lifestyle, and community. While I may not become an architect or engineer, I hope that through consideration of how we view dwellings, landscapes, clothing, communications, and the material stuff of our lives, I can help others have a more positive impact on our culture—in design I see the opportunity for challenges, solutions, responsibility, and hope.

I have a strong visual acuity but at this time my technical skills need further development. I need more training in design theory, fundamental concepts, and in the software necessary to be a working graphic designer. My desire to find an educational experience balancing art, design, environmental compassion, and social responsibility has led me to MICA. I am particularly impressed by the emphasis placed on hands-on work methods in learning new skills, as well as the blending of practical approaches futurist ambitions. I believe MICA would significantly aid my goal of developing a creative and engaged life and in turn I greatly look forward to contributing to a company of artists and educators constructing a sustainable future.

Thank you for your consideration in the opportunity to grow with your community!