Eleni Alafoginis (Art Direction, 2023)
You always hear about people who love their jobs, who wake up every day and love what they do. I never got it. Until I started school for advertising.
My journey up until this point has been an interesting one. I never thought I would go back to school and I never thought I would work in advertising. And, yet, here I am, 34-years-old, about to enter the advertising industry as an art director.
What can I say? It’s been a wild ride.
After graduating from college with a BFA in Printmaking, I moved to New York. I thought that was it, and I would ride off into the sunset. I was wrong. At this point, I wasn’t sure about a lot. I knew that I was creative and that I loved art and design, but I did not know what to do with that.
Unsure of what I was going to do with my life, I left New York, moved home to Washington DC, and started working for my family in food wholesale. A far departure from my beginning in art and fashion.
The hope of finding a creative career was always on my mind, and when the pandemic hit (and the stress that came with it), I could no longer ignore it. It was time. I needed to figure out how I could turn my passion for art, design, and creativity into a career.
And, then, I found it.
Hello, Art Direction
In a chat with one of my friends who had attended the Creative Circus, Art Direction came up as something I should look into. And, in a real lightbulb-goes-off moment, I remembered that one of the professors in my study-abroad program many years ago had mentioned Art Direction. Why didn’t 19-year-old Eleni pay attention at the time? I decided to apply to the Creative Circus.
The Creative Circus
It was at the Circus where I really learned about Art Direction and discovered that everything I loved doing fit right into Art Direction. It’s where I regained my creative confidence, met some of my best friends, and started to learn how to think and create like an Art Director. It’s where I, for the first time in my life, believed that I was actually going to be one of those people who love their jobs. For all of this, I will always have a special place in my heart and be grateful for the Circus and my time in Atlanta.
When the Circus announced it was closing, I was obviously heartbroken and a little unsure about the future. When I was given the opportunity to transfer to the Brandcenter to finish my path toward becoming an Art Director there, I knew that it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be part of both programs, and I trusted that it was the right thing to do.
The transition to the Brandcenter was a good lesson in resilience. There was a lot to do in such a short amount of time to prepare for a new school, new city, and a new set of creative peers to collaborate with.
As I reflect on my time here, I realize that the Brandcenter has challenged me in the best ways. I have pushed myself as a creative to do things I always thought about but never did.
The collaborative process at the Brandcenter has given me the opportunity to get to know, work alongside, and learn from so many new people across the different concentrations. It’s my favorite part. Starting a project without knowing what it will look or sound like and getting to know your team members better through silly ideas and late nights are the best. It’s in these moments, I’ve realized, that you really grow as a creative person.
At the end of the day, we are all working toward the same goal—to create the best work we possibly can. The energy inside this building is incredible, and it’s a great community to be part of. I would like to thank the Brandcenter for believing in me, letting me be myself, and welcoming me with open arms.
Connecting the dots
When I look back at my journey and the different chapters, I realize that neither would be able to exist without the other. The Creative Circus was the first chapter—the beginning of something incredible, the start. The Brandcenter is the next chapter in my story—where I am able to continue to learn and work with the most talented people and from where I’ll launch the next chapter.
It’s been wild and crazy. More has happened in the past two years than I could have ever imagined. But I am proud of myself for taking the leap two years ago and excited for what is to come.
If you are anything like me, I want you to know that it doesn’t matter where you are from, how old you are, or what your major was in college. It’s never too late to go after what you want.
Let’s all be the kind of people who love their jobs.