Tag Archives: craft

Alumni Update: Crystal Bretschger Johansson (’05)


We recently received an email from Crystal Bretschger Johansson (’05) updating us on what she’s been up to after graduation.  She writes:

I currently live and work in Toronto and was just interviewed by an organization here called Toronto Craft Alert.  I wanted to share it with you and the office.  They are featuring an interview with me since I just re-designed their e-newsletter.

Here’s an excerpt from that very interview!

Can you tell me about how you started your work as an illustrator? Had you always been doing illustration, and when did you decide to make it your “work”?

Well, I guess I started to think of myself as an “Illustrator” when I graduated from the Illustration Department at Parsons. I had gotten all of the tools that I needed from school and after graduation it was really about taking all I learned and applying it to real life. We were constantly told during school that you have to pound the pavement, get your work out there, get it seen and get it seen regularly. I try to send out emails or postcards every six months that showcase new work. I contact design studios just as frequently to find freelance graphic design work.

The funny thing about being an illustrator, and this was the case with the majority of my professors, was that it was not their full-time job or their main source of income. Rather it was a supplement to a balanced creative lifestyle. My professors taught classes as well as holding full-time positions as graphic designers, animators, exhibiting artists, and even a few mothers.

I learned quickly after graduation that it was all up to me to find my own creative balance. I loved school for the support and freedom that it allowed me, but it was like living in a bubble. Life after graduation has been a lot of work but I’m beginning to find my groove…4 years later. I work as a graphic designer during the day. I do my illustrations/digital work in the evenings. I also love to take printmaking classes when time allows. And eventually, I would love to go back to Parsons and teach a course.

Make sure you read the rest of the interview here.  You can also check out Crystal’s website and her blog for more of her super-rad work (which is seen above!).

Thanks for keeping us in the loop, Crystal!