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Paul Heltunen | Graphic Design BFA

July 28, 2017

Paul graduated from UMD SFA in 2013

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
An artist.

What major[s]/minor[s] did you graduate with?
B.F.A. in Graphic Design

Where do you live these days?
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Where do you work? What kind of work do you do?
I work for a small advertising agency, SAGA. We do consumer-facing marketing campaigns, catalogs, advertising, branding and all sorts of other things you see, hear and touch.

How are you involved with the arts in your current community?
I help organize AIGA's Portfolio 1-on-1, and attend many artist-driven events in the area. Art-A-Whirl being the most recent.

What was your favorite class or project in college?
All of the design classes were great, but Ceramics was my favorite class!

How did SFA professors influence you?
They influenced me to be myself as a person and a professional, and to stick up for my design work. Also, never to doubt my skills and ideas against the latest fads and trends. They all come and go, just own the work as long as it is well conceptualized, and it will be great no matter what your style!

What advice would you give to a incoming Art & Design student?
Art & Design students, invest in a Fine Art minor, take a choir or theater class. Sitting on a computer is great in college, but I definitely like experimenting with all mediums, off the screen, all the time!

What was your favorite local Duluth hangout in college?
My house seemed to be the "it" spot. As for Duluth, try the outdoors. Any and all of it.

What is the most inspiring thing that has happened to you since graduating from UMD SFA?
I took an okay job right out of college, then was laid off. It was a blessing in disguise, as I moved to the Cities without a new job and worked hard to find a one that I liked. Don't settle, rise up and keep challenging yourself!

What was your biggest takeaway from UMD SFA?
How to appreciate all the arts, not just for what it looks like, but the history of the style and technique, and the hard work that goes into being a creative.

How did you make the decision to attend UMD for school?
I would get a hefty academic scholarship, so I applied. The major was on a whim, one of the best guesses I have ever made!