JOB TITLE: Founder, Andrew Faulkner Studio (afstudio.com), a Bay Area-based design agency creating marketing and instructional materials for tech companies such as Adobe Systems, Inc.; fine artist, The ICB Studios, in Sausalito, California (andrew-faulkner.com)
FAVORITE TRINITY MEMORY: It would have to be the day that U2 came to play in front of the life sciences center. In the middle of Edge’s solo, Bono grabbed a flag from on stage and ran into the science center and ran up to the glassed-in hallway. He then ran up and down the hall only to return to the stage to finish the song. In those days, U2 was not as well-known in the United States, and we were lucky to get them to do a gig on the Trinity campus.
You are a graphic designer and a painter. How would you describe each of those roles? I am proud to say that since graduating from Trinity, I’ve worked in a profession where I look forward to going to work on most days. Sure, I’ve had my bad days, but this includes more than 35 years as a graphic designer and my current work as a painter. I now split my work time so that 60 percent of my work is design, and 40 percent is on my fine art practice. I have always drawn and painted as a hobby, but a few years ago, I made the intention to explore my art career in a more professional capacity. I took a gamble and rented a large painting studio in a building in Sausalito, California. It’s not far from my home in an amazing building with more than 90 other artists. For this wild experiment, I was able to take on fewer clients and make time to paint two to three days a week. After several shows at galleries and at my own studio, I can say that the gamble has paid off, and it was thanks in part to my fine arts degree from Trinity.
What did you enjoy most about your work? For my design work, I enjoy the creative problem-solving. There is something very satisfying for me about evaluating a client’s need for a new logo/brand or website and bringing a fresh look to their business identity. In my art practice, I often work on several works at one time. Compared with my design work, my fine art work is a more open-ended self-expression that feeds my soul.
What are the biggest challenges you face? In this age of technology driving our social and economic destiny, how do I reach the broadest audience? I have an active Instagram following (andrew_faulkner_art), but is that enough?
What was the most memorable course you took at Trinity? Why? My late father, architect Winthrop Faulkner (Trinity ’53), encouraged me to take an intro to architecture course that was taught by a practicing architect in downtown Hartford. It was a thrill to find that I shared my father’s enthusiasm in designing in 3D. The professor subsequently invited me to do an internship in his office, which ultimately led to a job after graduation at Cambridge Seven architects in Boston.
Did you have a professor who was particularly influential? Who was it, and why? My work with George Chaplin, the head of the Fine Arts Department while I was there, was critical to the successes I am having now with my fledgling art career. George was small in stature but had a serious and commanding presence. Art critiques were a humbling and sometimes intimidating experience. Professor Chaplin’s “reality checks” at Trinity have kept me honest about where I am and how there is always so much more room to grow as an artist.
How did your time at Trinity prepare you for your career? I often tell people that I wouldn’t have been able to start my own design business had it not been for my broad liberal arts background at Trinity. Communication is such an essential part of presenting myself to clients and communicating their value propositions to the world. Had I gone directly to art school, I may not have had the skills to do this.