Hello to all!

My name is Stephen Youmans, and I am vigorously pursuing a wide range of artistic interests and goals. For the past couple of years, I have been studying hard (and having the time of my life) at Flathead Valley Community College. I have recently earned an Associates Degree in English, and I am now less than a semester away from earning a Certificate in Applied Science in Graphic Design. Once my time at FVCC has come to an end, I plan on transferring down to the University of Montana to work towards a Bachelor’s Degree in Photojournalism.

I am a fan of unique perspectives. I’ve known this about myself for quite a while, now. A deep-seeded desire (and my ultimate, buck-stops-here career goal) is, and has always been to make my living as a writer. Fiction is my literary drug of choice, and it’s also the writing I most enjoy to challenge myself with. I consider myself a speculative fiction writer, with a few historical fiction ambitions that I one day plan to explore. That’s what writing is to me; exploration. It’s the exploration of the English language, the exploration of the world around me, and perhaps most significant, the exploration of myself. It was on these explorations that my penchant for uniqueness came to light. I love odd, unconventional perspectives. I absolutely love them. Left field is my favorite place to go. Predictability is my nemesis.

My burgeoning interests in Photography and Graphic Design have steadfastly followed in these footsteps. When I set out on a photography project, or hunker down with a design challenge, I do my absolute best to produce an image or concept that no one would have ever expected, yet still fulfills or exceeds all positive expectations. Unique perspectives are what it’s all about.

A Mythological Calender Page

I didn’t start out with photo-journalistic aspirations. And Graphic Design was nowhere near my radar. I started out as a straight English major, my specialty to be Creative Writing. But the worry-wart in me, knowing a BA in Creative Writing is a bit of a crap shoot, demanded a skill or two to fall back on, which led me to Graphic Design. I admit, I was skeptical at first. It didn’t sound very interesting. But panicking about one’s future can take you funny places, and the place it took me turned out to be great big piles of fun. There is so much more to Graphic Design than I ever imagined. The work is a pleasure, and the possibilities are darn near endless. My expectations were (and remain) high as I began my new Graphic Design adventure.

But along the way, a funny thing happened. Just for fun, I took a photography class. Then I took another. And another. And before I knew it, out of all the courses I’d taken at FVCC, the photography courses were my favorites.

A Departing Caterpillar

With that realization, just about all of my career aspirations shifted. The writing will not change, but photojournalism has bullied its way in and usurped some of Graphic Design’s spotlight. The Graphic Design became a tool that would help facilitate my photography rather than support my writing.

But I don’t want to abandon the other (vast) aspects of the Graphic Design world. I don’t want photography to muscle everything else out. Logo and web design are still very enjoyable, and the notion of creating  effective and unique identity packages is very appealing. And therein lies the exciting part. Good writing, photography, and graphic design are all essential to productive identity packages. I see a fantastic opportunity for all three of my preferred artistic mediums to support and feed each other in a fluid, cyclical way; they’re a creative tripod, atop which could sit success.

This semester, this Portfolio Preparation course, is going to be instrumental in the construction of my creative tripod. I hope to finish this semester with a unique, professional identity package, and both a digital and hard copy portfolio with which to display my work.

I want this course to challenge me, to help me learn how to hit home runs over left field, and hone my unique perspectives to a razor-edge.

I can’t wait to get started.