My artistic inspiration: Shelby Kirk

Category:  The Arts
Wednesday, November 8th, 2017 at 3:20 PM

“If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” 

It sounds like a cliche, but it’s what my dad has always told me since I was little. When the time came to choose what I wanted to pursue in college, and where I wanted to pursue it, those words were constantly running through my head. I had always been good at science and biology, it came easy to me; but my passion was in art. 

I had a dorm room reserved at my state university with my two childhood best friends, and was ready to pursue a degree in biology, but something wasn't right. It wasn't what I loved. I made the decision to step outside of my comfort zone of familiarity and come to Edinboro University, live with strangers, and pursue an art degree I wasn’t sure I was good enough to do. 

My family and my friends gave me the push to be bold and to chose my passions over comfort. My first year at Edinboro was filled with uncertainly. 

I didn't even fully understand what graphic designers did. I sat through class after class with Shelle Barron and Francis Demaske listening to them list off names of famous designers and examples of their work, frantically writing them down to do research later. I watched hours of Ted talks, hoping for clarity about whether or not this path was meant for me. 

One night, I had watched an interview with Jessica Walsh and Stefan Sagmeister. They were everything I could ever hope to be: passionate, talented, successful and bold. They followed their passions and now that’s what they get to do every day of their lives; that’s what my dad had always been talking about, that's what I wanted to do. 

From there, I learned about designers such as Jessica Hische, and Annie Atkins, who had made entire careers for themselves doing things I didn't even realize would be someone’s job to do. My heart was hooked. I was inspired and I was ready to buckle down and work as hard as they did. 

My time at Edinboro is coming to an end, and I have never in my life worked harder, cared more, and slept less than I have in these last four years, but I now know I am in the right place. 

I am passionately pursing a career that I love and, thanks to my professors, I feel talented enough to chase after. I hope to one day soon be successful in the career I have chosen for myself, and I look forward to it not feeling like work. 

Shelby Kirk can be reached at

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