Future in Landscapes
Having once spent all day, every day for four years in Tyler Hall, David Owens ’15 is now seeing his illustrative dreams come to life as he works on one of his biggest projects to date, with Anderson Design Group, based in Nashville, Tenn.
David said his time as a graphic design and illustration student at SUNY Oswego equipped him for the future.
The Central New York native was drawn to Oswego for its broad programs and opportunities—and the close proximity to the Oswego and Salmon rivers, where he spent a lot of time fishing.
It was David’s experiences in Art Professor Richard Metzgar’s interior design class and an independent study for the college’s Scholarly and Creative Activity Committee, that peaked his interest in freelancing.
“It was amazing that I could do something while creating my own parameters as a self-study,” David said.
Loving the freedom and self-reliance that he developed from freelancing, David went on to begin his own company, David Owens Illustration. Through his company, he extended his graphic design and marketing work that he initially began during an internship with an organization the summer before his senior year. After graduating in 2015, he has continued to develop his illustration style by working on various editorial and advertising projects for clients all over the United States.
David took a liking to the Nashville design company, Anderson Design Group when he saw a lot of similarities between his style and theirs. Both he and Joel Anderson, founder of Anderson Design Group, used the Work Projects Administration (WPA) posters as inspiration for their posters.
David reached out to Joel for some advice, but Joel had something even bigger and better in store. He offered David the chance to complete what would be one of David’s biggest projects to date, a collection of National Park and U.S. city posters for the Anderson Design Group.
Throughout this project, David has been able to combine his interest in both design and illustration skills with Joel’s typography and creative direction. This has resulted in a “painterly version” of the WPA posters that David and Joel originally bonded over. David plans to create at least 30 posters for the collection, averaging about two or three posters a month.
From the ideation to the final product, David thoroughly enjoys the entire process. It reminds him of why he first started freelancing—freedom. He is able to see his ideas come to life while expressing himself illustratively.
David continues to give back to his Oswego community in various capacities. This past January, he served as a panelist for Imagine 2021, a month-long series that brought together alumni from various professions to discuss their careers and job-searching tips with current students. He was able to talk about his experience at Oswego and how it prepared him for his career today, in hopes of inspiring current students.
Additionally, he teaches illustration classes, makes regular presentations to design classes and does portfolio reviews for graduating seniors.
“It’s important for me that I enjoy what I do,” David said. “If you like something, then you’re more likely to put in the work. Clients take note of that passion.”
To see more of David’s work or to see if he can help your company or project with his illustrations, check out his website at davidowensillustration.com or follow him on Instagram @owens.illustration.
Or check out his latest project with Anderson Design Group: andersondesigngroupstore.com/a/collections/david-owens-collection.
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