On Thursday, April 23rd a few minutes after 1pm, Makayla Lovrak and Sadie Jordan conversed about quarantine, rest, design, spirituality, and marriage over Zoom.
S: Okay, we’re going to just jump right into it. What is your greatest struggle right now?
M: Probably getting into a routine. I’m a person that thrives on consistent things happening all the time and even though school is happening consistently my environment never changes. I guess that’s consistent but it’s just the fact that I can’t…I don’t know. There’s no rhythm to every day. Every day is a little different and it’s hard because you have to adjust to it.
I wish I had a routine but I look at everything more as a really great opportunity to just slow down. But that’s been the struggle—letting myself slow down and letting myself maybe do nothing or pause. Which is so funny because it’s what my thesis is about. It’s just pretty timely. But yeah it’s just been hard too because everything has been so slow and to a stop, and so it’s kind of like my body is…or my mind is catching up with my body. Finally. And that’s been hard.
S: I totally understand that! Can you tell me about how your thesis connects to what’s going on in the world right now?
M: Yeah, so my thesis is about, oh my gosh, I need to get better at saying my pitch about what it is. It’s about the need for rest and pause and the in-between spaces of our life because of the high-status we give busyness. And so I just explore the idea of… I mean if we did, if we rested more, we would probably be more creative and more perceptive to ourselves and everything around us.
I think that’s how everyone is feeling right now. They’re so aware of everything, they get to have time with themselves, time with their families. Though it may not be them intentionally like creating that space, it’s kind of just been done to all of us, I think it’s really showing how valuable that time is. Taking time to not work and to say no to work and rather do things that you really enjoy and you really delight in.
S: That’s really cool that it connects in that way. Is there a way that you are thriving personally in this environment that you didn’t expect?
M: Yeah, I see silver linings in everything now and I don’t take anything for granted. I started doing this gratitude practice to get my anxieties to go down because at the beginning of this I was very anxious. I had lost my job and everything was really scary and I’m always really scared about my health. But yes, I was super anxious, so I started every day writing down something that I’m thankful for and it helps me be present to the things happening now—so that I’m not scared about things in the future. And that’s been really helpful.
I just finally have time to just sit and be and not feel like pressure to get something done or be somewhere or…(laughs). I feel like we could be so distracted when we’re commuting and we can just get caught up in maybe frustration around traffic or expensive parking. But now it’s like all those things are kind of taken from us and then it starts to…you get these layers shaved back. And you start to see what really matters. I think that coming out of this and through all this I really noticed that, I mean, now I’m finally investing in the things that I’ve wanted to invest in forever, but the world and everything around me were distracting.
S: That’s a really eloquent way to put that. It’s a very crazy and interesting world we’re living in right now. I feel like if you don’t take a moment to be grateful or at least feel okay with where you’re at then it’s way more difficult.
M: Yeah, and another thing is a lot of people have been talking about this all as us like grieving stuff. And so I think this time has also been a chance for me to learn how to grieve better and notice how I avoid situations. So a lot of people could just be like, ‘No, I don’t want to hear about anything right now. I hate it. I deny it. Blah, blah, blah.’ But I think it’s making us all move to be more healthy, more emotionally healthy beings, as well.
S: How has your design practice changed or has it?
M: So, at first, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I have so much time!’ and I told myself to design something every day and I was doing it pretty consistently. Then school started so technically I was designing every day but not posting finished things on Instagram.
So, I honestly felt really excited as a designer because I felt that even though a lot of people say, ‘Oh my inspiration comes from like going places and looking at stuff and blah blah blah, but I still feel like I can do that. feel like before I didn’t really like trying to find good design work online and doing research like that to look for visual inspiration. So recently I’ve been reading many articles and looking at more stuff and I really want to buy a ton of design books right now. And also I think at first everyone else was kind of like ‘Oh my gosh, you have so much time. Do a new project or something!’ and there was kind of that pressure. But I think, I don’t know. I don’t feel that pressure anymore. I think it doesn’t really matter, just do whatever the heck you want to do. Plus we’re in school and we are still doing stuff like that. Maybe even too much stuff.
S: Can you tell me about someone influential in your life or your practice or that’s made an impact during this time specifically?
M: My cat’s pretty cute, he’s sitting here.
S: I love your cat! So pretty, oh my gosh.
M: He’s sleeping.
S: Hi, buddy!
M: Hmm, a person.
My answer would be God and I know that’s probably not an answer that a lot of people might say. But I find peace and rest in him always and I think being able to go to a person like that is unique, impactful, and powerful. And I really wish more people could experience his goodness because I know a lot of people are just freaking out right now. I would say that’s where I draw a ton of my inspiration from. I’m confident I’m designed to create order from chaos and to find beauty from that kind of making and organizing and tapping into God and spiritual practices is my way of exemplifying those things.
S: Okay, we are going to talk about stuff that isn’t coronavirus related for a moment.
M: Okay, cool!
S: What was the happiest moment of your life?
M: My wedding day was the happiest DAY of my life. That was a pretty amazing day. It felt very, what is a good adjective? Not cinematic but…It just felt… the whole day felt like a very out of body experience where I was like, ‘Wow.’ Because Curtis and I had been dating forever and we were long-distance for most of it, and then we were gonna come back to Portland after the wedding and live together and all that stuff. It was a really big day that we had been dreaming of.
Like you plan a wedding and me, I’m so anal about everything and I was so stressed about everything up until the day and everything had to be perfect. I was so worried that something was gonna go wrong. Then you get to the day and you’re like… none of the stupid stuff that I planned even matters. Because on that day, all you’re thinking about is the person you’re marrying and how much you love them and you acutely notice how much they care for you, and how much you love the people that came to see you get married.
It’s just a really big ball of happy emotion where you see that you are really loved and you have all these friends, and family, and support system all in one place at one time. And it’s really incredible. When I was handed the microphone to say thank you I really had no idea what to say because I was just so overcome with gratitude for everyone who walked with us, and helped us, and supported us through our life. It’s basically like getting a really big hug from a hundred people, which is really nice. It was just a very joyous day, that came with a ton of anticipation, that I’d thought about for my whole life and that came and it was like… it lived up to my expectations.
S: Can you tell me about your greatest accomplishment?
M: Okay, I would say…here this is broad— going to graphic design school, has been my biggest accomplishment.
I want to elaborate but I don’t know. It’s just a long time coming for me. I graduated high school five years ago. And so I will have been in school for like five years. I went to community college and then that was basically a waste of time— half my credits transferred to PSU. I was so mad. But then I got here and I was like, ‘Wow, this place is amazing.’ Like the graphic design program in particular, not anything else.
And then I feel like last year was finally when I found my place in the program. The first quarter I did A+D (Fall 2019) was just so great. And I think, I don’t know, it left me so excited. I started to really find my niche and my passions under the greater umbrella of “design.”
I feel like I’m so glad that I went through all this. Like I could’ve quit at any time. I had been working full time all the time and going to school. Barely had any free time, had no social life, and now (having no job, a lot of time at home, and 1 more class to register for) it’s like ‘Wow, this is gonna be good.’
I’m really proud of myself for getting through it, because no one else in my family is like any kind of artist or designer or anything, and they don’t really understand. It’s really hard to talk to them about it and how much work I put in. It’s just hard to articulate that to people. But anyway, I’m just very proud of myself. I am also proud of making a typeface last term, that kind of goes into this. That was really fun and really gratifying. It made me realize that I could do anything I wanted.
S: How did you find design and get into it? What drove you to want to be a designer?
M: In high school, I did Yearbook for three years and I was the Editor-in-Chief for two of them. I don’t know. I was kind of just put into it. I was kind of just nominated to be it. I didn’t even choose it. But people noticed good design instincts in me. So then my senior year, I signed up for a…it was called a graphic arts class.
I was thinking about this the other day, I made this typography poster, but it was like one of those typography posters that was like you put lines of type on a path and you make an image out of it. It was so ugly. And then I made some random animation called Mak & Cheese like my name and cheese. It was me and a cat and I made it in Fireworks, I think at the time that was like an animation… it’s like a really simple animation thing through Adobe? I don’t know. Anyways, so I took that class and then I guess I have no idea when it was that I made the decision that I wanted to be a designer.
But I chose to move back here. I moved in with my grandma in Gresham and went to Mount Hood Community College and started their design program. But then I found out that none of it would transfer accurately to PSU. So I was like, ‘Well that sucks’. So I just started taking all these random classes and they weren’t even really design which is frustrating and stupid. I just felt like a high school student again.
But then I transferred to PSU, into my junior year and started the design program. And that’s when I was like, ‘Okay.’ I remember the first class I ever had was with Precious and it was so great. (laughs) I really liked…I don’t know, something about typography. I was like, ‘This feels good’. It’s striking a chord in me. Then it was kind of like, “okay,” then I just took the classes that the catalog told me to take, you know to get the degree. So I just kept taking classes and taking classes and then I feel like it’s not until now, like last year, I could say I’m going to be a graphic designer because I really want to be a graphic designer. I finally figured out what I really love and what I like and what I don’t like more importantly.
S: I love it. You’ve had such good responses to everything and it’s been really easy to just chat with you! I really appreciate you talking with me.
M: That’s good.
S: Well, thank you again.
M: Bye. See you later!