An Artist’s Guide to Life After College: Homeless Shelters, Skis, and Graphic Designs


Lane Smith is an art major with an edge. He graduated from the University of Redlands in 2012 and was a part of the Johnston Center of Integrative Studies. One of the many unique aspects of the Johnston Center is the ability it gives its students to find a program of study that applies directly to their interests. By designing their own majors, students can pull from a variety of different focuses to create a field of study that goes beyond the simple constructs of “Mathematics” or “English.” In other words, Lane is not your typical Art Major.

He actually majored in: Cultural Equity Through Visual Art and Design. Interested in different cultures, painting, graphic design, and photography, Lane created a major that encompassed it all and allowed him to delve into the study of cultures with an artist’s eye.

In order to do this, he had to put together a curriculum for his chosen major. His schedule included graphic design classes, painting classes, photography classes, as well classes within the field of Ethnic Studies such as ethnomusicology.

Now that he has graduated, his major has served him well. He has been able to combine all of the elements of his studies (as well as some fun elements of his personality) to create a life for himself.

During the winters he is the head coach of a Freeski team. In the summer he holds a number of odd jobs while continuously working as a freelance graphic designer.

Right now he is the overnight weekend manager at a homeless shelter. His study of various cultures and his movement within the artist community have given him the “skills to communicate and really work in the margins when in doubt of what decision to make.”

His art reflects his experiences and desire to explore the cultures that surround us (even the ones we usually ignore). It’s gritty, true, and right on the streets it’s inspired by. At the same time, he is also able to create clean cut designs like the ones he created for Life Cycles Bike Shop and Box Canyon Bicycles, pictured below.


“Petey,” courtesy of Lane Smith

One part of his studies he truly appreciates is the freedom it gave him to run his own business. It’s definitely not one of those majors that defines a career for you straight out of college. After graduating, he was able to choose a path for himself. Though at times it may be hard to find a way to make ends meet, Lane has never gotten caught up and bogged down with worries.

Whenever he’s stressed he does not hesitate to turn to his Art. He paints or travels and “takes flicks.” No matter what he is going through at the time, he can just draw and it brings him back to Earth (at least for a few minutes).

Lane is an artist in the truest sense. He sees art as something to be created and shared. In the near future he would like to be self-sufficient with his graphic design business. He wants to be “driving around in a graphic wrapped Eurovan making new clients and friends.”

Further in the future he thinks that he would like to be an art professor. He would like to give back what he picked up as a student.

“Art is my life.”- Lane Smith

Homework Time! Lane found that art is what keeps him grounded. When it seems like there’s too much going on, art will never fail to offer a form of relaxation. Art is just plain good for the soul, and Lane has incorporated it into his working life. What makes you feel better after a bad or stressful day? Can you think of a way to incorporate this into your career plan? How might that change your outlook on your job or job search?

Main image: “Hardly Strictly Family,” courtesy of Lane Smith


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