Seeing Double

Karen Kurycki is a successful freelance designer, blogger and current President of AIGA’s Jacksonville chapter. Varick Rosete, is Kurycki’s good friend, fellow designer, and former AIGA member.
For Karen Kurycki and Varick Rosete, work is a constant interplay between design structure and creative freedom. Kurycki is a successful freelance designer, blogger and current President of AIGA’s Jacksonville chapter. Together with Rosete, her good friend and fellow designer as well as the former AIGA President, she is exploring the creative side of their work by curating an upcoming art exhibition. The exhibition, titled Rewind: An Illustrative Look at Jacksonville’s History, will open at Florida Mining Gallery on Friday, June 22. The pair have enlisted 12 Jacksonville designers to create original art for the exhibit, art that explores Jacksonville’s rich history via an illustrative perspective.
Both Kurycki and Rosete have been covered in these pages before. They are talented and driven and they, along with AIGA, are doing great things to support and activate Jacksonville’s design community. The duo joined me to discuss the upcoming show, as well as their thoughts on career tests and getting messy.

EU: We’d like to get your take on the intersection of art and design because I think that’s the interesting thing that’s happening with this show. So it looks like you both have a fine arts background?
Karen Kurycki: I took art classes in high school. But I was in such a small, all-girl Catholic school. I didn’t find my niche until college, really, and that was through design and illustration classes. I can’t say I’ve had fine art training since fifth grade like some of the artists and designers I know. I actually had a music background.

EU: So what led you to design?
KK: I decided I wanted to be a designer in the eighth grade. We took this career test, and that had been one of my options. From the time I was five years old I would carry around a bunch of pencils and crayons. They called me the bag lady because I had so many art supplies.
VR: I actually didn’t think about being a designer until I got to college. I had been drawing all my life, drawing on desks, getting into trouble and having to wipe down lunch tables. In college, I jumped on a computer to draw. It’s fun to go back to it though. If I’ve got some free time, I’d love to get some paint on canvas, get back to that side.

EU: Has it been daunting, working on something that isn’t coming purely from a design perspective?
VR: It’s a little daunting. I need to throw some stuff, get messy.
KK: It’s such a fine line; I guess you could consider some of the stuff I do fine art. But it is such a weird line for us—and for all the designers and illustrators we know. They could create a piece and put it up in a gallery, or it could be branding or packaging. But that’s, I think, the beauty of illustration. It combines both design and art.