UP CLOSE & PERSONAL
WITH ALAN K. STOUT

Kathryn Bondi is a digital graphic designer with Posture Interactive and an adjunct faculty member of Marywood University, where she teaches graphic design. Bondi is a native of Bethlehem but has lived in Scranton since attending Marywood, where she received a degree in graphic design. She is the vice president of the board of AAF Northeast Pennsylvania. She lives in Scranton.
Meet Kathryn Bondi …

When did you first realize you had an interest in graphic design?
I think it goes back to high school. I always loved art. My mom was an art history major, and I grew up really having a love and an appreciation of art. I was always drawing and doing crafts. But when I got to high school, reality kind of set in, and I realized I needed to combine that with a way to make money. I used to get requests to do people’s tattoo designs and T-shirt designs, and I realized I liked combining the drawing aspect with the actual logistics and layout, and sourcing materials, and trying to find the best way to deliver a creative product. I was like, “I think this is what I want to do. I want to do package designs, T-shirts, websites … I want to put artistic direction into a product and deliver it to someone.”

What do you enjoy about teaching?
It wasn’t that long ago that I was there, so I can relate to being in their shoes. I can relate to being in their seat and asking, “Is this really want I want to do for the rest of my life?” or “Do I even know what it’s like to do this in the real world?” When I started, I was probably thinking I’d be doing magazines and newspapers, but that is not what I’m doing. Maybe on a small scale, to some degree, but it’s mostly web. That’s the direction everything has gone. So I might say, “Hey, I know you’re shying away from web code, but you might want to tip-toe into that.” I like discussing their options. Saying, “You’re really strong with illustration. Maybe that really is your route, and maybe you might want to take that a step further and start licensing your illustrations on a website.” It’s giving ideas on venues that maybe they didn’t think existed and getting them to explore those venues.
Can you talk a little about your work with the American Advertising Federation?
It’s a national federation and we serve Lackawanna and Luzerne County. There are all kinds of great national events and benefits, so we try to educate people as to why they might want to become a member. There’s also a government relations component. We try to get involved on the Hill in terms of advertising, where things will affect you if you have an agency or are a freelancer. There’s also continuing education, so we have speaker events. And there’s also community service. You get out of it what you put into it. If you come to the events and you want to learn more about copywriting, or sales, or digital adverting – that’s something that you can grow and benefit from.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
There’s not much of it, but I draw when I can. And I always come back to cooking and gardening. I like being able to grow my own food and then find a way to turn that into something amazing. And whether it’s my boyfriend or my family, I’ve always been a firm believer that food brings people together. Maybe that’s because I’m Italian. (Laughs) I also do handmade jewelry. (www.etsy.com/shop/BrokenTwig)

You’re also involved with local theater, correct?
Yes. I first got involved in theater in high school, but it was more on the speech and debate side of things, with oral interpretation events. I would do dramatic pieces and poetry and prose. I also played music in high school, so I didn’t usually get to be in plays, because I was usually playing in the pit band for the plays. But for the past two or three years, I’ve gotten involved with the Diva Theater and I really like it. I’d forgotten how much I like to just get on the stage and let loose. It’s a good outlet. My first one was “The Lion In Winter.” Most recently, I was in “In the Dark.” I’ve also gotten into set design and did the stage design for “Glengarry Glen Ross.”

Favorite music?
My all-time favorite artist is Beck. I’m a fan of his whole catalog and I’ve followed him since I was a kid. I generally go towards the alternative genre and indie/folk. Lately though, I’ve been more into Washed Out and Boards of Canada – stuff that you can just have on in the background. It’s very relaxing.

All-time favorite movie?
I like indie focus films and indie films – stuff that makes you think. By the end of the film, I want to be surprised. I like Wes Anderson. I like the design of his films. He has really interesting color pallets and shots. It’s very symmetrical.

Favorite TV show?
I’m currently going through “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” I also like “Rick and Morty.”

Favorite food?
Pasta.

Favorite holiday?
Halloween.

Favorite city?
Portland, Maine.
Favorite vacation spot?
Ocean City, New Jersey. That’s always been our family vacation spot.

Favorite thing about NEPA?
I love a lot about Northeast Pennsylvania. A lot of people from where I’m from in the Lehigh Valley are transplants, which some might see as refreshing, but I like the idea that everyone here has a connection to the area. People know you. There’s a sense of community. I also like the entrepreneurial spirit. You can just do something and no one’s going to say, “No.”

Guilty pleasure?
Sitting on the couch playing video games and not doing anything. Sometimes you just need to shut down and hang out in your PJs on the couch.

Biggest pet peeve?
Negativity. Negative people.

Any pets?
A dog, Mars, and a cat, Ares.

Is there anything about you that might surprise even your friends?
As much as I talk to people and I enjoy talking to people, I’m kind of a homebody. Growing up, I always had one or two very good select friends, but I never had “the gang.” To me, a good Friday night was sitting in my room, drawing and listening to music. I wasn’t very social. So that may surprise people that I know now and that have seen me out and about. That’s not how I always used to be.

Most influential person in your life?
My mom. I definitely owe a lot to her. I even have a tattoo in honor of her. It’s based off of her wedding portrait, but I did in it in the style of Alphonse Mucha, because I also love art history. She was an art history major and I minored in art history. Growing up, she fostered that in me. We went to museums together, and I definitely feel that she created the creative part of me. She could see that I also had an interest, and she helped me recognize it and know what to do with it. She’s been instrumental in helping shape how I see myself.

UP CLOSE & PERSONAL with ALAN K. STOUT is a regular feature in electric city, profiling people from all walks of life throughout NEPA. Reach Alan at alankstout@comcast.net.

photos by emma black

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