My name is Anne Starke. I am a freelance graphic designer in Eugene, Oregon; my business is Starke Design Studio. This interesting time (coronavirus pandemic) has slowed my business considerably, so I decided to take the opportunity to expand my skill set and add tools to my business toolbox.
I enrolled as a Multimedia Design major so I could learn how to work with video, audio and photography. I am toying with the idea of learning animation as well. I don’t know if I will ever complete the degree – a lot depends on what happens to my workload when the pandemic has run its course.
I guess returning to school when I don’t like my other life options has been a pattern for me. The first time I went to college was in 1988. I went to California Lutheran University, mostly because that’s where my stepmom thought I should go — I didn’t have a clue. I ended up graduating in 1992 with a BA in music, with the idea that I wanted to be an opera singer. It didn’t take me long to figure out that the life of an opera singer is not for me: you pretty much have to live in New York City and participate in competitions and auditions as much as you can stand. And then when you get a job you usually have to travel all over the country, living in hotels or the houses of strangers. I can barely stand doing a recital, so competitions and auditions are like pulling out my teeth with pliers. Agony.
After realizing I didn’t want to live the life of an opera singer, I moved to Eugene (because my sister lived here) and joined the opera chorus here in Eugene just for fun. I met my husband while singing in Die Fledermaus. After a couple of years working at various jobs I ended up in a clerk job at the Register Guard. There I got a glimpse of what graphic designers do; it looked like a good career option for me, so I enrolled at LCC to learn. I graduated from the GD program in 2003.
After graduating I had a couple of graphic design jobs that I didn’t like very much and I was too scared to try freelancing, so I went back to school again: in 2007 I got a second BA from the U of O in art while doing the Waldorf teacher training program at WTEE at the same time.
After teaching and doing graphics for a number of years at a Waldorf school in Boulder, Colorado, I got burnt out and decided to start freelancing. My husband and I decided to move back to Eugene in 2015, where, for the most part, my business has flourished. At least it has paid the bills!