Jaycee Shanholtzer Part 2: Graphic Design & Typography- A medium of pure expression

Whitworth CAS concept, 2021, Procreate, 18×12 inches

When it came to figuring out what field I wanted to study, I had a challenging time determining what spoke to me. While I loved the fine arts and thought I could flourish in it, I never felt fully confident in making it my major. I eventually decided on Graphic design, which surprised many. With graphic design, I had confidence that I could flourish and further improved my skills in illustration and design. After getting admitted to the major, I began building my graphic design career. It felt very overwhelming at first, there was so much to the field and various levels of expertise to learn and put into practice. I wanted to bring something representative of my art style to the Graphic Design field. Specifically, a gestural/illustrative style, that could be incorporated through design. There was a period where I felt lost with graphic design, and it was only recently that I finally became confident about what I was creating. The journey to finally becoming comfortable within the field started with my experience with typography. 

Tell Me Something Deep, 2021, Procreate, 5×5 inches

Typography became a main interest in my art, especially with decorative and calligraphic typestyles. The work of Wes Wilson, Alton Kelley, Bonnie MacLean, and the psychedelic art movement in general became a main source of inspiration for typography. These fluid, gestural typestyles were hypnotic, the more you observed them the more alive they appeared. They communicated more than just the words, but an experience. When it came to finally developing my own typestyle, I started with something simple and bold, done entirely by hand. “Tell Me Something Deep,” was a recreation of a scene from “Diary of a Teenage Girl,” where the main character discusses her sexuality and attraction to women. I wanted to create this scene just for the quote. The way a simple sentence had such a profound impact, especially in the context of the main character and how she discovered herself. It stood out to me, both personally and artistically. The way personal expression, like sexuality and identity, can be seen through the art of language and communication. Typography, like most of my work, became another vessel for personal and creative expression. To express identity, emotion, and personal journey. To me this artwork cemented how typography could be used to express emotional depth. It made me realize how much potential it had, and how I could use it in my own gestural style. 

Kali Uchis, 2021, Procreate, 12×18 inches

Since this newfound appreciation, I continue to implement type into my work, creating my own typeface and using it as an art form. To communicate through art directly allows for profound levels of expression. Graphic design, despite being a constricting medium, has the most room for opportunity. To find something I enjoy in the field, while also allowing for my own personal expression was extremely gratifying. 

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