Landmark's Visual Arts Department has turned out many talented artists since our founding, some of whom have pursued advanced study and careers in the arts. There are too many to name all at once so we've decided to highlight the talents of a small group that graduated between 2004 and 2007 and recently reconnected with the school. Here we share insights from some of these remarkably talented alumni artists.
Kaitlin McGowan ‘06
Career: Freelance Graphic Designer
Studied at: Pratt Institute
“I create design solutions for clients. Depending on the project, my role will shift. I’m a researcher, strategist, and production artist. I am involved with everything from print and digital to marketing, branding, etc. It’s all about communicating the story in the best possible way.
Everyone learns differently! This is especially true when working with people in different fields, as I have, from politics to fashion. Landmark taught me patience, organization, and advocacy; these are essential for freelance work.
Creative work is all about people and storytelling. Every job is an opportunity to learn something new about yourself, your client, and the world.”
Alanna D’Orlando ‘07
Career: Apparel Product Developer, New Balance, Boston, MA
Studied at: LIM College New York City, NY
“One of the most fulfilling aspects of my craft was finding my niche in the fashion industry. I found a happy balance of being both creative and analytical. I love being part of the creative process in developing apparel, and I also love to see the impact it has not only physically but metrically. I am constantly problem-solving so my creativity pushes boundaries in ways I never sought out.
My advice to students looking to go into an art-related field would be to explore all options and keep pushing the boundaries of your creativity. While I was exploring colleges and potential degrees I felt lost. I developed a list of what I was looking for in the next phase of life and in my education. A few items I listed were: arts, a school with sports—specifically lacrosse, an urban environment, and having a successful career path after college. Where would I find an art school with lacrosse? My wavy, windy path landed me in a field that encompassed all the criteria I wanted.”
Tyler Grenzeback ‘07
Career: Co-owner and tattoo artist, Broken Crow Collective, Portland, ME
Studied at: Maine College of Art, Portland, Maine
“Landmark helped me achieve success in many ways. Having dyslexia is a challenge in everyday life, but Landmark helped give me the tools to work through it. Through their art department I realized that I could go to college for art and could make a career out of it. I had no intention of attending college prior to learning that. Now, 10 years later, I have a BFA and co-own a tattoo shop with some of the best artists around. Landmark helped me develop the confidence to not let my learning differences limit me.
My advice to any student looking to go into a creative field is to never give up. Talk to as many people as you can and show others how serious you are about your passions. I’ve learned from personal experience that confidence and hard work will take you a long way. My last bit of advice, and most important, is to have fun. If you aren’t having fun what’s the point in doing what you love?”
Mark Davidson ‘04
Career: Wedding Photographer specializing in photojournalism, owns and manages photo booth business
Studied at: Brooks Institute of Photography
“I developed my work ethic while at Landmark. Learning to read better was not easy. I recognized early on that to really achieve success in my studies, my work needed to go beyond the school day. That same work ethic helps me in my career today.
For students interested in pursuing the arts professionally, I would suggest that before you go to college try to discover what you feel most passionate about. Find the best person in that field, cold call them, develop a mentoring relationship with them and, if needed, be willing to work for them for free for a period of time. Think of it as an ‘extension’ of your education.”
Sofia Plater ‘07
Career: Master’s Degree candidate the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston
Studied at: Boston College
“I definitely credit Landmark’s art program and wonderful faculty for getting me interested in a career in fine arts. My two amazing teachers, Mrs. Jamieson and Mrs. Dubin, were influential in the way they taught and supported nearly every idea I had. They always allowed me to experiment with unusual materials and pushed me to take my own direction on the projects they assigned.
My advice would be to learn as many media as you can and experiment to find what you love doing. Document your pieces with professional pictures and submit them to every show you can find. Don’t get discouraged when you don’t get accepted to every one; there are many more out there.
My long-term goal is to be an exhibiting artist in galleries and museums, experience great residency programs around the country, and eventually become a teacher in an art program that’s hopefully very similar to Landmark’s!”
Gabriel Mozart Steven Abeyta ‘07
Career: Cinematographer, writer, and director for surrealistic Native American storytelling
Studied at: Chicago Academy of the Arts and Vancouver Film School
“I had many more opportunities than most kids coming out of a reservation. At Landmark, my reading levels went from kindergarten to 8th grade. I learned how to function and became a strong and capable student. Being around other students gave me more confidence.
Despite the fact that I still struggle with reading, writing, and spelling, I wrote a film script seven years ago, called The Beginnings of My Heart, that was recently accepted into the Sundance Film Institute, and I am now making it into a feature film. I can’t tell you how rewarding this has been—and I never used my dyslexia as an excuse.
My advice to students is not to be afraid of being vulnerable. The story of my film is about a young person’s heart exploding from pain and insecurity, and it’s about learning to love yourself. Dyslexia automatically makes you feel different. The rest of the world hasn’t figured out that being dyslexic gives you all kinds of strengths that most people don’t have.”
Vivienne Lowe ‘05
Career: Co-owner and creative force behind Tien 2, a custom clothing and jewelry design shop in Beverly, MA
Studied at: Lasell College
“In addition to running Tien 2, I also design and make costumes for Landmark School’s Performing Arts Department. Next year I am hoping to start an afterschool program where students will learn about the craft of costume design and construction.
One of the most fulfilling aspects of my work is that I am in touch with every facet of the design, the concept, and the execution. I also love the social interaction of working closely with my clients.
My hope is to be working at what I love until I’m 100! I want to always keep myself challenged and learn something new as often as I can.”
Read more Alumni Spotlights.