Posting Date: February 16, 2010
Meet Catalina Montaña: Paving her way through digital arts
By Tabatha Wahlquist
Catalina Montaña (left) and her classmate Anna Aguiar
created a web design that has been adopted
by the Golcuk Art and Cultural Center in Turkey
Photos by Linda Tincher
Kennesaw State senior Catalina Montaña won her first art contest in school when she was five years old. It was Christmastime, and students were competing to design the school’s annual greeting card. Design has since continued to be a part of her life, and this spring Catalina will graduate with a degree in graphic communications.
Originally from Colombia, Catalina and her family moved to Georgia eight years ago. Her interest in art started with drawings and sculptures and then advanced toward the digital world of graphic arts and design. With her father’s support every step of the way, Catalina excelled both artistically and academically, becoming a member and later, president, of her high school’s National Art Honors Society. As Catalina describes, “My dad is a huge encouragement. He taught me to not give up on art.” Her father’s artistic support and closeness to her family encouraged Catalina to stay close to home for college. “Family is my number one priority. I didn’t want the distance,” she says regarding her decision to study art at KSU.
Catalina has also found a family within KSU’s Department of Visual Arts. “I really like that it’s a small program where the teachers are also friends and life coaches. There’s a one-on-one connection between the students and teachers,” says Catalina, who also praises her program’s faculty for being highly influential in her artistic endeavors. “They push me to go beyond my comfort zone. I have learned that as an artist you have to also be a writer and an advertiser—to see the other purposes for art.”
Catalina finds inspiration in her Colombian roots also. Her work is characterized by its bright colors, signifying her Hispanic and Latin influences. Catalina's friends and fellow classmates are also a source of motivation. Her passionate pursuit of both art and academics has been highly rewarding. Catalina was chosen to be a member of the Who’s Who Among American Students and is also an active member in several honors societies. And she has achieved all this acclaim while working two jobs, including graphic design for her father’s magazine, and being a newlywed. “I always try to do my best, even with everything else going on,” explains Catalina. “I want to do good work.”
When she is not designing, Catalina continues to paint and sculpt. After graduation, Catalina would like to continue her current work as a graphic designer while also pursuing other related work. She is also considering graduate studies in industrial design. “I want to find a job that is not a job, but a way to do what I love—a job that will help me continue to grow.”