Choosing an art school can be difficult. Each has colorful, vivid marketing materials that promise to inspire your creativity and refine your talent. What makes them different? Recent graduate Bailey Knudsen (2015) quickly discovered the answer to this question during her transition from college student to production artist at Rolex Watch USA.
“My illustration background initially got me hired into Rolex at an entry level position,” said Knudsen. “Once my supervisors realized that I also had design skills, I was given more opportunities to diversify my projects. Graduates of other schools wouldn’t be able to do this as easily, since they tend to specialize. I’ve found that it’s more marketable to be able to express yourself effectively across several mediums. CCS prepares you to do that.”
As a production artist, Knudsen works with the team responsible for establishing the Rolex brand in the US. This includes billboards, print ads, newsletters and events. This past year, she designed the company Christmas card.
“Out of all of the projects I’ve worked on so far, I’m most proud of the company Christmas card; it’s probably the piece that has gotten the most views,” Knudsen explained. “My department began the process by going over ideas, then each working on some sketches. Next, we presented them to the company president, who chose mine! After some slight revisions, it was printed. The final design was the Statue of Liberty wearing a Christmas sweater with the iconic Rolex crown sewn on it. It was embossed on gold foil.”
Aside from her full-time position at Rolex, Knudsen works on personal and freelance projects that allow her to flex her creative muscles. Many of these initiatives can be traced back to her experiences as a student.
“Currently, I’m finishing up life-sized magnetic paper dolls for a client back in Michigan,” said Knudsen. “A couple saw the paper doll magnets I was showing at the CCS Student Exhibition Opening and asked if I could create life-sized paper dolls of their children for a magnetized hallway in their home. Eventually, the project grew to include them as well. It’s been an interesting experience!
“I’ve also been working on different jewelry/sculpture pieces and a series of baby bibs with my illustrations sewn onto them. These grew out of projects I started in casting and packaging classes.”
While Knudsen would eventually like to either start a business taking on more freelance work or diversify further into costume/character design, she enjoys her career at Rolex and is proud to be a working artist.
“I’ve been interested in art my whole life, yet I was often discouraged by my teachers not to pursue it as a career,” Knudsen revealed. “Fortunately, my parents believed in me and encouraged me to explore my options after graduation. It was difficult moving to a new city—stepping into the unknown. But the challenges were worth it. I get to come to work and be surrounded by the same kinds of passionate, art loving people I found so inspiring in college. It’s great to be an artist.”
Check out more of Knudsen’s work at http://www.baileyknudsen.com.