2011 NVA Winner: Kim Dulaney

By the Print staff

Title/Type of Work: Designer, Illustrator, Art Director
From: Seattle, WA
Lives in: Brooklyn, NY
Age: 28
Education: BFA, Design, California Institute of the Arts

For Kim Dulaney, design is all about making seemingly disparate things work together as a whole. Her work as lead designer and co-art director showed her talent for this kind of fusion in the opening title sequences for the OFFF International Festival for the Post-Digital Creation Culture. “The concept was to find a balance between nature and machine, along with forms in nature that symbolized strength,” she explains. This effect is achieved as the video navigates several curious structures: stone-like pyramids, what looks like underwater wires, two animals fused as one.

Illustration and art direction for NFL Opener pitch. Produced at Logan. Directed by Ben Conrad.

At times, it’s hard to discern what’s synthetic and what’s natural, whether you just saw a creature, a machine, or both. Dulaney admits that her love for the natural world, something that pops up in a lot of her work, found its way into this project, as well. She credits a professor from CalArts for providing the impetus for her interest in nature. “One of my teachers pointed to a tree once and asked, ‘See that tree? What would you design if you were inspired by, not just any tree, but that specific tree?’ I realized that looking at nature and exposing myself to a broader scale of design helps inspire me as an artist.”

Illustration for Hexoral. Produced by Psyop. Directed by Marie Hyon.

Dulaney has been working as a freelance advertising art director and designer for two years and says she hasn’t abandoned her main source of inspiration, though she realizes sometimes it’s hard to maintain one’s style in a commercial setting. She’s managed to so far make it work. “I always want to keep my style, yet still compliment the product or subject I’m advertising. Sometimes my work is too ‘arty’ for clients, but I’m stubborn. It’s hard to tame my design at times.” This theme has guided her trajectory. After all, the most beautiful things in nature are hardly tame.

One of my teachers pointed to a tree once and asked, ‘See that tree? What would you design if you were inspired by, not just any tree, but that specific tree?’ I realized that looking at nature and exposing myself to a broader scale of design helps inspire me as an artist.

Click here to learn more about Kim.

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