Alumni Spotlight

Jan Guarino

Jan Guarino

Class Of 1975 …Wow, can’t believe how time has flown by

Why FIT?

Once I decided to go for Fashion Illustration and Advertising there was no other place I would want to be!

Major? 

Fashion Illustration and Advertising

After FIT?

Took all my experience and went straight to work -  stayed in my field all of these years

You’ve been in the industry for 40 years, what experiences led you to who you are today?

I can pull out specific experiences before FIT, working at an Ad Agency learning paste up mechanicals before setting foot in FIT, to applying that all to my studies at FIT, working closely with the teachers to enhance my skills, to post FIT, working in various pieces of the advertising and marketing fields, like learning to set my own type, doing my own illustrations, using my sense of composition and art in all the graphics for clients work.

You mentioned blending the art of water colors with your graphic design; could you please explain how and the relationship between the two and how you describe it as The Art of Graphic Design?

The simplest way to explain it is the simple fact that art is art. I can’t design a logo without interjecting my sense of color, value, composition into it. Same with a brochure, ad, direct mail piece. It is that as and artist, I see art in everything around me and that translates into everything I design.

And now you teach, where?

Art League of Long Island AND recently was asked to teach at CWPost, LI Univeristy starting this summer

Could you please describe the class course?

I call my class Fearless Watercolors – and here is the description of what a student can expect to experience: Are you an artist that has anxiety around painting with watercolors? This class will show you techniques that will allow you to feel free while holding onto detail, gain control, make corrections and have fun. Learn to trust your instincts with color and add contrast and allow blossoms, drips and splatters to work for you. You will also learn what makes a good photo to paint from to get the very best painting possible.

I will give weekly demos, give individual help and constructive critiques. Each week, the class will decide what they want the following weeks project to be (landscape, pet portrait, floral, still life or people). This is an inspiring and engaging class to see all of my techniques to lose your fear!

Daily routine?

Email is my life-line to clients, colleagues and prospects. That is where I see work clients need me to do, leads may come in from there and colleagues may make a virtual introduction. That is where a lot of networking happens and my work flow comes from. So I have 2 computer screens split, I do my work on one and have email on the other. I respond instantly except of course when I am teaching. Then I am 1000% present for my students. Non painting/teaching days I am doing graphic design, logos, brochures, ads, book jackets, websites, anything they need me to execute.

Where are you from? And how did this shape the person you are today?

I’m actually a Jersey Girl. I left so long ago, going into my second year of FIT I am now an Island Girl which allows me to have more of what I loved about Jersey which was the shore. Only on Long Island we call it the beach. Having the water surrounding us and with quaint seaport towns, wetland landscapes, lighthouses, beach dunes, all within short driving distances from my home.

If you could translate your style into a person, place or thing what would it be?

I never really thought about that but perhaps a chameleon because I always love learning and changing, exploring and evolving?

What do you find that sparks creativity?

I call it finding the “sweet spot” in a scene, looking all around and finding what speaks to me and exploring it through my filter and design sense.

What three things you can’t live without?

My husband, eyeliner & my art supplies

Future projects you are working on?

I have so many paintings I long to paint, but the newest exploration is a concept I thought of … teaching Plein Air aka painting outside. BUT I want to teach it inside so I call it “Faux Plein Air” where we simulate being on location – anywhere in the world – and imaging sitting with a blank sheet of paper…where do we begin? Having that experience in a controlled way so that when we do go outside to paint, it is not so scary. The Art League is adding this to their workshops! SO excited.

Holiday Cards?

Funny you should ask…Just created 2 new designs from paintings we did in class, added quotes and offering them now to my clients!

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