Mikayla (Michaelson) Keating graduated from the Department of Art & Graphic Design in December 2015. Since then she has gone on to a career at Decorist, an innovative online interior design company that specializes in affordability of design.
Q. Mikayla, will you tell us about what you do at Decorist and what you love about your job?
A. I am a classic interior designer and an assistant to the elite and celebrity designers at Decorist. I tend to client's needs for their home and work within their budget to create their dream space. I work from the comfort of my own home to create designs and communicate with clients.
Being an interior designer has always been a dream of mine, and I love the challenge of creating a high end look on a strict budget. The thing I love most about my career is that it is always changing and always a challenge.
“I don’t even have a background in interior design, but what I learned from the design department taught me everything I needed to know anyways!”
Q. How did your time at NNU prepare you for your current position?
A. My NNU education helped prepare me to work with people and communicate properly. Paul Kinsman and Mike Bartlett taught me the importance of deadlines and asking all the right questions. They helped shape me into an efficient designer. I am so thankful for all the Photoshop and Illustrator lessons as well!
Q. Are there other NNU experiences that have contributed to your success as an interior designer?
A. I did my internship with a local printer, and it definitely was different than what I was used to. I would get projects that would need to be done in a few hours, which pushed me to hone my skills and prioritize. That experience has carried on to my job as an assistant to our celebrity designers. There are times when they need me to find a furniture piece, like a sofa or chair, as quickly as I can so they can make their client happy. Having experience with quick deadlines and turnover has helped me greatly in what I do now.
Q. You mentioned Professors Kinsman and Bartlett. How have the relationships you formed in the art department been influential?
A. My best friend from college is now a designer at Drake Cooper in Boise. We helped push each other all throughout college to be the best we could be. Paul Kinsman will forever be an inspiration as well. He taught me to have fun while I work! Life is too short to do something you are not proud of or something that doesn't fill you up. I am still in contact with most of my friends from college as well.
Q. What advice would you give to prospective students looking at NNU and considering their future careers in a graphic design field?
A. I would say make the most out of your years in the art department. It’s okay to step out of the box and explore your passions. I don’t even have a background in interior design, but what I learned from the design department taught me everything I needed to know anyways! Reach out to the professors as well, because they care about your success and helping you find your niche in the design/art world. Look forward to critique days! I know they can be scary and uncomfortable, but learn to love them and look forward to them. You and your work will benefit and grow from those days.
Learn more about NNU's art and graphic design programs→
Photos courtesy of Amanda Cherie Photography.