We are delighted to introduce to you local graphic designer Molly O’Connor. Molly did an incredible job designing all of our print and stage work for our Bismarck event last year and currently works for Lemonly. She also freelances on the side, including poster design, info graphics and branding. You can read more about her freelance work at www.mollymoco.com.
Name: Molly O’Connor
How can people connect with you? (i.e. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Website):
Facebook (personal): facebook.com/mollymoconnor
Where do you live now? Where do you call home?
I am happy to call downtown Sioux Falls my home for the past three years. I love living in the heart of the city with so many things to do and see right outside my door.
I was born and raised in Vermillion, so that will always be home for me.
Give us a behind-the-scenes look at your average day.
I am lucky to live just a few blocks away from my work, so everyday — rain, snow or sunshine — I walk to work. After work, I usually spend a few hours designing for my freelance graphic design business.
I spend a lot of time on the computer at work and outside of work, so I rely on my dog, Ollie, to get me out of the apartment. He’s more than happy to let me know when I’ve been spending too much time on my laptop and not paying attention to him.
What projects are you currently working on, both in your career as well as hobbies or passions?
Right now, I’m working on an infographic about animal attractions in Palm Beach. I’m also in the research phase of designing an event poster. I am lucky to have a wide variety of freelance projects in my cue right now.
I’m also involved in the downtown arts scene. My boyfriend, Zach, owns and runs a start-up art gallery called Exposure Gallery & Studios. I manage its social media and advertising. It’s so exciting to see Exposure grow from what once was just an idea into a fully-functioning art gallery and studio space occupied by local artists.
What challenge in your life or work are you most interested in overcoming?
I’m really focused right now on growing my skills as a graphic designer. After college, I fell into a rut I think a lot of art students find themselves in, where I didn’t make art outside of work. Because of that time period, I’m pushing myself harder than ever to become a better designer. I want to make sure I’m always designing, making or doing something art-related.
If you could do any job, what would you do and why?
There are a lot of jobs I’d like to try temporarily, but given the choice, I’d still choose a career in design. If I couldn’t design, I’d be an insect wrangler. Seriously, that’s an actual job title.
What’s your desert island album/book/TV show/movie (answer one or all)?:
Book: “Harry Potter” (I don’t think I could pick just one)
Since you live in one of the OTA states:
• Why do you choose to live here? The art community in South Dakota and specifically in Sioux Falls is expanding rapidly. Even in the three years I’ve lived here, so many creative outlets have popped-up around the city. Often, people think they have to flock to a larger city to work in the arts, but in a lot of ways, South Dakota has more opportunity.
In a bigger city, it’s much harder to do things on the same scale as they can be done here. My boyfriend’s start-up business, Exposure Gallery & Studios, is a perfect example of this. It is a pretty rare and incredible opportunity to be able to own and sustain an art gallery in the heart of a city. In a larger city, the cost of rent alone would have stopped Exposure from ever becoming a reality. In Sioux Falls, Exposure is not only sustainable, it’s able to flourish.
• What is the most beneficial aspect of living in the region when it comes to your career? The people. The opportunity for connections is endless. You never know who you are going to meet, form a relationship with or work with next.
• What’s one thing you would change about the OTA region? I’d like to see art have a bigger presence in our communities and schools.
• What’s one thing that most people don’t know about the OTA region? We have some incredibly talented people.
Where do think good ideas come from?
Passion and experience.
What’s one current trend that you think will change the world?
What advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?
The key to success is trusting yourself.
Who is the most creative person in your life and why?
My mother. She can make, create and design anything. She has an ability to only see possibility in projects rather than roadblocks. I grew up hearing the phrase, “I can make that,” a lot. And you know what? She did.
Who is the most connected person in your life, and what personal characteristics make him or her so well-connected?
Hugh Weber. His passion for connecting with his community and helping create connections for others is incredible.
Who is the most community-focused person in your life, and how do they impact their communities?
My boyfriend, Zach. As an artist and entrepreneur, he is always thinking of new ways to help create and foster the arts scene in Sioux Falls. His drive, vision and passion to help grow his community never ceases to impress and inspire me.
At what intersection do you live your life? (ex: creativity and community, humor and humanity, art and athletics)
Creativity and opportunity.
What’s the best way to put inspiration into action?
Listening to your gut and ruling out fear as an option.
Who’s one regional writer/artist/leader/entrepreneur we should pay attention to?
Altman Studeny. He’s an incredible South Dakota artist whose work focuses largely on public engagement and South Dakota culture. His ability to tell a story, both through art and verbally, is amazing.
What’s your biggest failure and what did you learn from it?
Allowing myself to become inactive as a designer and artist. I’ve learned a seemingly obvious, but often forgotten, lesson: Opportunities won’t come to you, you have to work for them.