Driven by passion, artist finds her way

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”
–Pablo Picasso

Amber quaid/The Arka Tech
Skylar Cox shows one of the many projects she has worked on this past year. Concepts for these projects are drawn by hand and then a final product is created from that.

Infectious laughter with a kind heart, an eye for design and a strong work ethic is what helped Skylar Cox complete over 250 graphic design projects over the last eight months for Arkansas Tech University. She attributes this to her mom.

Growing up in Devils Den State Park, television was not an option; there just was no reception to be had. Her mother’s solution for no television—art. Since Skylar could remember, her and her four siblings would draw whatever item, animal or concept their mom would come up with for the day.

“I remember this one time, we were told to draw toads, and mom told my brother his was good but didn’t tell me anything about mine. I cried,” Skylar said remembering a pivotal moment in her childhood.

This stuck with Skylar as she grew up and continued to improve her fine art skills. Her older brother then started coming home with artwork he produced at Tech and Skylar thought, “I want to do that.” In May of 2016 Skylar graduated Tech with a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design.

While at Tech, Skylar earned numerous awards and accolades for her graphic design talents. Such awards as winner of the ATU Women’s Week art contest, second place at the Eighth Annual Juried Student Competitive Exhibit and first place in the Vintage Violet Boutique T-shirt design contest.

Through her undergrad college experience, she never planned on going to graduate school but graduate school had a plan for her.

She was offered the opportunity to be the graduate assistant for graphic design in Campus Life.

“I found there was an opportunity to grow as a professional at Tech. I applied for the position and was picked, so I applied for grad school and now here I am,” Skylar said of her GA position.

Skylar accepted this opportunity because getting her masters debt-free was something she could not pass up. While Tech does pay for most of her schooling through her position she still has to work another job, Brick Oven, to make ends meet and guarantee a debt-free degree.

“I love school and I know a lot of others who didn’t. I feel very blessed that way,” said Skylar. “I didn’t like high school but I liked school here [at Tech].”

She will graduate this May with her Master of Liberal Arts in Communications degree. Though she is about to graduate, her schedule is still full of projects to be completed for this semester.

In the last seven months, Skylar has completed over 250 projects for various departments and RSOs at Tech. In her position, she works with an interactive PDF to help clients create what they need. She begins with a draft, after communicating with the client about what they are looking for, and after suggestions and alterations she creates the finish product; many of which are seen around campus. One such project she has worked on is the OnTrack Road Map for theLink. This is a 36-page guide that informs students what OnTrack is, what it does, how it benefits students and breaks down events into easy to understand categories to use for OnTrack.

Skylar has also completed professional projects such as Ashby St. Outdoor Advertising where she created custom vinyl and digital billboard designs or for Sydney Elizabeth Designs where she created custom, themed and cohesive designs for skorts. Sydney Elizabeth Designs, with the skorts, was just picked up by the Pro Golfers Association store.

“Skylar is such a talented artist,” said Sydney Harwood, owner of Sydney Elizabeth LLC. “She really took what was in my mind and made it come to life.”

To earn her master’s degree Skylar is creating her own professional branding campaign. Here she will create her own logo and package designs for various products giving her a professional setup to step out on her own.

Currently, she is not taking any graphic design requests, as her daily schedule is filled, but she is selling her fine artwork in her ETSY store (piecesbysky). Skylar’s focus for now is on graduation, her two dogs and her fiancé.

Amber Quaid
About Amber Quaid 60 Articles
Amber Quaid is the coeditor-in-chief for the Arka Tech newspaper at Arkansas Tech University. Her focus is on diversity and its importance for inclusion into society. Amber has a bachelor’s degree in journalism with an emphasis in communication and public relations. She is currently working on receiving her master’s degree in multimedia journalism. Amber has been in the professional world of journalism for 4 years and in professional management positions for 16 years with a Fortune 500 company. Currently, on the Arka Tech Amber does layout, design, and writes articles about diversity and mental health issues. She enjoys reading, hanging out with her kids and playing deck-building board games.