As art director, Stephanie integrates an analytical approach to design and programming with an artistic flair for color and patterns. The result is truly innovative work tailored exclusively for her clients.
With a background steeped in science and sociology, Stephanie never imagined a life as an artist. But when she heard legendary self- made graphic designer David Carson speak, her world changed. She left her non-profit job to follow in his footsteps, immersing herself in everything she needed to know about programming and graphic design. Her self-proclaimed status as a “math and science geek” came in handy with design’s technical aspects; she spent long hours becoming an expert at the Adobe Creative Suite. Once she had built a solid technical foundation, she drew on her inherent talent for unique handcrafted art, thoughtful color palettes, and innovative illustrations. Previous to Mazzarello Media and Arts, Stephanie worked for a Grammy award-winning band, designing promotional merchandise, email campaigns, websites, and online marketing materials.
Stephanie’s thoughtful way of seeing the world directly translates into her success as an art director; she works closely with clients to understand and execute their vision, while also gently encouraging them to consider breaking beyond the bounds of fixed concepts to explore the wider range of possibilities.
The Beautiful Game
Growing up, most of my weekends were spent on soccer fields somewhere in the greater Los Angeles area. Sometimes I loved it, sometimes all I wanted to do was sleep in, but looking back I know it made me better at what I do now.
Soccer is a game of improvisation and teamwork: you have to anticipate where other players will go and how to work with your team to score. I still do this everyday -- I team up with people to create something beautiful and useful to reach a goal. When collaborating with others, I'm able to create something that I couldn't on my own. When presented with an obstacle, I have to think quick on my feet, “How can we solve this?” or “What would work best?”
Each day is like my own little soccer game, without the shinguards or oranges at halftime. But we have considered Mazzarello team jerseys.
Yearbooks and Picas
In high school I worked as the yearbook editor, where I learned about responsibility, leadership and picas, a unit of measurement. In a world of changing technology, I was just the right age to still experience laying out pages by hand. Working with picas on paper and waxy pens on photos made me think about columns, grids and eye flow in a tangible way. I was quite the math nerd and something about counting boxes and using cropping tools appealed to me. It made sense. But eventually the columns and the grids were so restricting that I didn't think outside the box. I hadn’t developed confidence in my own creativity to use the restrictions to my advantage.
Years later I started fooling around on Illustrator and Photoshop just wanting to create. I loved that I could so quickly change colors and create compelling images, but something was missing. I had gone to the other extreme, I had left behind any sense of structure. I finally realized that without creativity a strict layout leaves us bored, but without layout unharnessed creativity leaves us unsettled. Finding this balance is one of the keys to good design, to know how to reign in our wild ideas just the right amount.
First roll of film
My first roll of black and white film shot manually on my dad’s Canon AE-1 35mm camera was special. I thought of each shot carefully before taking it, often deciding that a shot wasn’t worth using up one precious frame. A huge part of this was the fact that I was a cheap college student that couldn’t imagine spending money on developing a roll of film. But I was also scared. Scared that I wasn’t creative enough. Scared that I was going to use the wrong shutter speed or F-Stop. Scared that I would regret every shot.
When I finally finished the roll, I took it in and anxiously awaited my photos. Opening the envelope was thrilling. I loved what I saw. Although the photos weren’t perfect, I could look at them with the confidence that I knew how to take a photo. This moment helped me to release my fear of failure, and eventually enabled me to delve more deeply into my talents of drawing, painting and designing. I began to view each creative experience as an opportunity for growth and learning. With each risk of trying something new, I created a chance to share my perspective on beauty and life with others.