Design Assistant for Hanna Andersson, Freelance Illustrator

Christa PierceDesign Assistant for Hanna Andersson, Freelance Illustrator

Hillsboro, Oregon

Illustration/New Pictures major 2013

For Christa Pierce, anything visual can become her next piece of art. She’s done freelance illustrations for clients such as Compendium and Microsoft, she supplies wholesale paper goods to retailers such as Made In Oregon, and she is now working as a design assistant for the children’s clothing company Hanna Andersson.

In December 2014, she released her first children’s book, Did You Know That I Love You?, through HarperCollins. It’s sold in bookstores everywhere, been featured on the Today Show, and landed a review in The New York Times. A simple story of love and friendship between a bird and a fox, the book is brought to life by Pierce’s vibrant and minimalist artwork.

Christa Pierce
Photos by Fritz Liedtke

Pierce was able to explore multiple illustration and design ideas while a student at SPU. Here she found a kinship with Professor of Art Laura Lasworth in the Seattle Pacific Art Center. Piece doesn’t just consider Lasworth as a mentor — she sees her as a friend. She remembers that Lasworth would check in with her each quarter to encourage and challenge her to improve her art.

Now Pierce aims to gives back to the Art Department, attending senior shows and making herself available as a resource for students. She’s even been invited to talk about her experiences in the classroom.

“Sometimes when I visit I get to do class talks about freelancing, and I have been so impressed with how far along and professional the senior art majors are now,” Pierce says. “I was so blessed to have a supportive SPU art experience. I hope the students feel like they can reach out to me, too.”

— Dusty Henry

Christa Pierce
Photo by Fritz Liedtke

How does your time at SPU connect to the work you’re doing today?

SPU gave me a safe, supportive place to dream about my future and my career. The Art Department (the clubs, the professors, the students, the events) opened my eyes to all the possibilities I could look into for myself.

Who made a difference in your SPU education?

Laura Lasworth took the time to build a personal friendship with me that I still value today. I know that if I need to, I could call or visit Laura about work or my personal life and she would make time for me. Aside from being a such a lovely person, she always took time to check in with me each and every quarter and challenge me and encourage me in my art.

What advice do you have for students about life after graduation?

Be brave, be bold! Not everywhere is like SPU, so carry that kindness with you as you venture out into the world.

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