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Marya Triandafellos

Marya Triandafellos

Marya Triandafellos Hartford Art School

Author, CareerX

BFA, Hartford Art School
MFA, New York University

The Hartford Art School appealed to Marya Triandafellos  ’81 because of the opportunities to explore subjects outside of art during her college years. Her time as a visual communication design major at the University of Hartford set the tone for a successful and diverse career in which she honed her understanding of design, sociology, and writing. On May 10, she celebrated the release of her new book, CareerX, which unboxes how to have an impactful, fulfilling, and successful career.

“The main point is to know yourself and to know the world around you,” says Triandafellos. “Then, try to position yourself in that context. Ask yourself how you can make yourself unique in crowded spaces, and bring yourself forth as a combination of all of your interests.”

Triandafellos’s book consists of 120 frequently asked questions aimed to get directly to the heart of readers’ specific concerns. It’s meant to help job seekers think strategically about how to change careers, network, and navigate an economy that is increasingly structured on contracts. Triandafellos’s own experience as a designer informed her excerpts about potential employers that hire designers and art direction services based on demand.

“That puts pressure on the individual to cover a lot of the expenses that had previously been covered by a parent company, such as training, healthcare, software, days off,” says Triandafellos. “Because of this, I remind people who aren’t in full-time jobs to join groups such as the Freelancers Union to give themselves more power.”

Triandafellos emphasizes how critical it is for students to complete portfolios, commissions, internships, and even volunteer work prior to graduation. In addition, she stresses the importance of soft skills acquired both in and outside of the classroom.

“Show that you know how to work with people, how to follow directions, how to meet deadlines,” Triandafellos says. “The statistics show that hiring managers today are much more interested in the soft skills – how to communicate, how to be responsible – those are very important today and they’re only learned by doing. The best time to get that experience is while you’re in school.”

Do you have questions about what steps to take to start your career in the arts? Make sure to take the Professional Practices course, which covers how to market your work, how to negotiate contracts, and best practices for working artists.