In FSBlog’s Just Launched feature, we talk to brand new Full Sail grads, right out the door from graduation, about what’s next for them as they head out into the workforce. This month’s Just Launched graduate is Lenell Applewhite.
Name: Lenell Applewhite
Degree Program: Digital Arts & Design
Graduation Date: August 7, 2015
Early Inspiration: I was first inspired when my parents put up my drawings on the refrigerator. As a child, you develop the things your parents take interest in or reward you for. So I grew up loving art because every time I made something, my parents would say it was the best thing in the world.
Freelance Work: In 2000 I got my associate degree in Interactive Media, and worked as a freelance graphic artist for about four years before joining the Army. I reached out to small businesses in my area, started doing brochures and flyers for them, and for a couple of party promoters I did posters and party pluggers. Eventually I made enough money to pay the bills.
Recently, I’ve worked with a production company out of Puerto Rico, and designed some CD covers for them. I also work here at Spark, and so I spend most of my time there.
Military Service: I joined the Army in March 2004 and spent 13 years in the military as a nurse. I went to Afghanistan once, and worked in a detainment facility in Kandahar. Then I came back to New Mexico and trained another group of soldiers to go over.
From there I was bouncing around the United States in different training centers or processing centers. At the processing centers we’d screen soldiers and civilians before they went overseas – making sure they had their vaccines, checking their mental stability, testing for traumatic brain injuries, and we’d do all of the same when they got back.
Design Style: As an artist I have a style, but as a designer I try not to have one. As a graphic designer it’s important for people to see your work, but not see you. So the whole objective is to be as invisible as possible. Less of you, more of what they want.
As an artist I enjoy colors. I also like curved edges. It seems like lots of males are very angular in their design, but I tend to be more circular. I like watercolors, acrylics, mixed media, and digital art of course. I’m also a tattoo artist and love doing portraits.
What’s Next: I’m about to start Full Sail’s Entertainment Business Masters degree program. A year from now, I’d love to be working at a production house or a graphics effects house. There’s no dream company; I just want to work. I envision myself working at a lot of different places and also freelancing. I’d eventually love to start my own production house.
Advice for Other Full Sailors: Learn every day. It’s important, while you’re here, to attempt things you think are impossible. Some people don’t try things because they feel like they’re going to fail. They should embrace that process and move forward.
A lot of people say Full Sail is difficult, but it’s been easy for me. I used to work 19-hour days in the military, and there were a lot of things I had to overcome every day. But this is a learning environment. Nobody wants you to fail. It’s ideal for growth. The stress they put on you here makes you better. Once you embrace that pressure, it makes the learning process a lot easier.