Can you build a career and a life doing what you love the most?

We surveyed graduates of Ringling College of Art and Design to find out.

Art is my passion and my outlet. To use it in a career feels like the greatest gift.

Rachel Brady, Class of 2007

Gallery Intern

Hasted Hunt

I make movies! Pretty cool job, let me tell you! My “job” doesn’t quite feel like a job. I’ve always dreamed of doing this, and now I get to live my dream.

Gaston Ugarte, Class of 2002

Technical Director

Pixar Animation Studios

It doesn’t feel like work. There is something to love about it. Too many careers are difficult to find anything outside of money to be passionate about. 

Mark Unger, Class of 2002

Partner/Creative Director


The choice to become a computer animator has vastly improved my life. I’m quite happy to know that the projects I work on will be seen by large audiences and hopefully inspire young and old alike with the animations I help create. Computer animation permeates all my life, and I couldn’t be happier about it! 

Kristafer Vale, Class of 2006

Intermediate Technical Animator

Sony Pictures Imageworks

Just seeing my first picture book, Grandpa For Sale, sitting on the shelf at Borders was so cool!

T. Kyle Gentry, Class of 1997

Freelance Artist

I had the opportunity to get an internship through an email I wrote to the Orlando Magic telling them that their designs stink and I could do better. They said prove it, and I did! I have met a lot of athletes, celebrities and great people since I started. I love seeing kids’ faces light up when they get a promotion I designed. It makes all the long hours worth it.

Rusty Morris, Class of 2001

Senior Graphic Designer

NBA Orlando Magic

My voice is in my creation and the idea that people are responding to it in a working marketplace is thrilling. 

Jennifer Bruss, Class of  2007

Chief Designer/Engineering Assistant

Winco Inc.

I design, draw or paint every single day. Ensuring that art has remained a huge part of my life has led to a lifestyle that suits me, and continually enriches and inspires me. Also, I’m not at all poor!

Amy Kligman, Class of  2001

Designer, Giftwrap and Party

Hallmark Cards

Sitting in my first director’s review at Imageworks, I can recall the precise moment of being hit with “wow, I’m making a movie!”

Gwendolyn Robson, Class of 2006

Intermediate Character Animator

Sony Pictures Imageworks

There is nothing I would rather do than work in the art industry. There are many opportunities available to me and I can change what I do to suit my desires and interests. I love that I get to work on so many different things and create new things all the time.

Michelle Roth-Smoot, Class of 2003

Graphic Designer

HOWW Manufacturing

As artists, our duty is to inspire and motivate. Rather than complain about the world, I can work to change it.

Erik Baeumlisberger, Class of 1999

Art Director

Timeshares Only, Inc.

Working in the video game industry has always been a goal of mine. Having finally achieved a job in that industry, I can honestly say that my life is changed for the better. Game work is unique in that it promotes individuality. In the game industry you are not a cog in a wheel. You are open to freely discuss ideas and thoughts. It is a very cool place to work.

Daniel M. Young, Class of 2003

Snowblind Studios

Game Writer/Designer

I love what I do. When I’m finished with my “paying” work for the day, I turn around and do my own personal work for relaxation. How many people leave the office and then go home and do the exact same thing for fun?

Kristin Bergh, Class of 2007

Freelance Illustrator

My company creates things that are enjoyed by children and adults alike around the world. We literally bring joy and laughter to thousands, perhaps millions. I don’t think the impact of what we do can truly be measured.

Susan Tooker, Class of 2000

Painter/Fiber Artist

Michael Curry Design

My interest is rejuvenated each and every day because I not only love the art I create but enjoy creating it. To be able to take an idea, execute it and be able to see the final project completed, then see how much pleasure it brings to the client, keeps me motivated and ready to start on my next project.

Barbara Rau, Class of 2000


Brau Studios

Working with other world-class designers and artists allows me to improve and stay humble at the same time. As visual artists in a visual world, we have the power to put positive messages and a smile on the face of humanity.

Jim McMahel, Class of 1999

Multimedia Designer

Walt Disney World

Art and design are everything we see, touch and do. For an artist, if something that you had a hand in creating touches just one individual and makes a difference in their life, what an extraordinary feeling of accomplishment!

Jerry Chambless, Class of 1999

VP/Creative Director

Illum Productions

I was able to open my own company, which is great. There is nothing more rewarding than having a client that you went out and found tell you how happy they are with the services that you provided them. 

Neal Alfano, Class of 2003


Creative Aesthetics

My life would never have been the same had I not pursued the dream of working in visual effects. The projects we work on are consistently requiring innovation. Software and technology keep changing, and we keep reinventing our process in order to meet the visual goals of the filmmakers with whom we work. I love the constant drive for a better aesthetic, a more efficient workflow, and bigger and better films to work on.

Daniel Lazarow, Class of 1999

Lead Lighting Technical Director

Rhythm & Hues Studios

I’ve got a job that I love. And when you love your work, it’s not really work anymore, is it?

Charles Rosenberger, Class of 2000

Interactive Art Director

Fly Hammond Barr

I would not change the career path I chose for any other career. There are so many possibilities today with the internet. What I design is being published live for millions of people to see online. Almost every company needs artists to develop their first visual impression.

Brian Blomer, Class of 2001

Sr. Web Designer

United Airlines

Choosing graphic design has opened the doors to so many different career paths. I always thought I’d be with a design firm, and never in a million years did I think I’d be running a magazine with a graphic design degree! Choosing a creative career was the best choice I could have made.

Melissa Mellert, Class of 2004

Art Director

Sarasota Arts and Culture Magazine

The money is great and I’m not stuck in an office; my office is on a boat or in the woods. The freedom of working for myself can’t be beat.

Steve Whitlock, Class of 1998

Studio Owner/Artist

Steve Whitlock Wildlife Art

I’m doing what I always dreamed of doing as a kid. I’ve always wondered how things work, how it was made. Now I know because I’m doing it myself!

Marc Stanyk, Class of 2000

Compositor/3D Artist


The process of keeping up with the interactive world is exciting and keeps me going day-to-day. My most memorable moment was viewing a piece I helped create in Times Square. I was surprised at how humbling the experience actually was.

Russell Ryan, Class of 2006

Junior Interactive Art Director


I have a good amount of creative freedom and am very expressive in a commercial art world. I hardly ever look at the clock since I’m having a good time.

Annie Riker

Graphic Designer

Hirshorn Zuckerman Design Group

I love that every project adds to my skill set and gives me insight to the next project. I get to draw, illustrate or paint and create on a daily basis. How fun is that?

Jeremy Kennedy, Class of 2003

Creative Director

Kenedik Design Studio