A day in the life of Shauntel looks like what?
In the morning, I pray, read, and have breakfast (one of the most important meals of the day). During midday, I’m usually in work mode or lunch mode. Depending on the day, I may or may not meet a client for lunch. No day is the same for me. In the evening, I’m usually doing a physical activity like volleyball, running around the track, or attending local dance classes. The remainder of the night I’m either working on freelance projects, occasionally writing for screenplays I have in the works, or journaling because it helps me decompress after a long day. I use weekends to brunch (because breakfast is life), spend quality time with family and friends, and explore my city to find hidden gems.
What makes you jump out of bed every morning?
Aside from God, my family and friends keep me motivated to stick to my purpose to help people bring their vision to reality.
How do you define inspiration?
I define inspiration by something that provokes an idea and conversation. As a designer, I see inspiration as something that I may admire and utilize when creating, while also giving credit to what I’m inspired by. To me, life is inspiring.
What is an accomplishment you're most proud of and why?
Graduating from college and knowing that inspired my sisters. To hear them say they looked up to me after graduating made me proud.
You're living and thriving in Houston, Texas! Any "go to's" you recommend for any wanderlusts planning to travel there?
Galveston Beach: This is one of my favorite places to go every once in a while. It’s just an hour outside of Houston. It’s nice to get away from the traffic of the city to catch some zen and relaxation. While you’re down there, be sure to check out Pleasure Pier, super cool.
Downtown Houston: Stop by Discovery Green, there’s always something going on there. If you’re into the nightlife scene, stroll down Main St. for the bars and cool spots like The Conservatory (I personally like going here).
Midtown, Museum District, and Galleria: There’s so much to do in these three areas. One of my favorite places to visit is Songkran Grill (because I’m really into pad thai). Tiny Boxwood, Taste Bar + Kitchen, Weights + Measures & Holman Draft Hall are other great restaurants I would recommend trying. If you’re looking for a chill spot to hang out during the day (or night), I would suggest Axelrad or Rooftop Cinema. I would also recommend visiting The Museum of Fine Arts Houston (MFAH) and Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (CMAH), two of my go-to’s. You can catch periodic events at both museums and MFAH shows vintage and indie documentaries weekly, so there’s always something going on.
Hidden Gems: Jame’s Turrell Skyspace is a hidden gem on the campus of Rice University that anyone can visit during sunset/sunrise. Hermann Park Conservatory is nearby as well. EADO is an up & coming area for things to do closer to downtown. While you’re down there, make sure to stop by Truck Yard Houston & Tout Suite.
How did you get into graphic design and the creative industry?
Honestly, I’m still searching to find my footing within the creative space as a professional. It all started in high school. I was apart of a Telecommunications Academy program that taught me my foundational design skills that I still use until this day. My involvement with the American Advertising Federation in college is when I started to actually see how I could potentially make a career from my innate gift to create. Another opportunity that opened the door for me in the creative space was being apart of the Marcus Graham Project. Their mission is to develop the next generation of leaders within the media and marketing industry. What’s unique about this program is the level of diversity. I got a chance to work with people from all over the U.S., all from different backgrounds. This was a breath of fresh air for me. That experience exposed me to multiple real-life working environments, being a part of an agency, and working as an Art Director. Being apart of the Marcus Graham Project was probably one of the best experiences in my life thus far.
What advice would you give to aspiring graphic designers and creatives of color like yourself looking to get their foot in the door in the creative industry?
Start looking for opportunities to create in every capacity. Even if there isn’t a present opportunity, make one. For me, it was difficult at times to get my career started because I had no prior work experience as a designer. Nor did I have a strong portfolio (because school projects only get you so far). I would suggest hitting up friends, family members, and people that know people who may need some design work to get your feet wet. This will allow you to gain some real-world experience. Another tip I would give is to always be willing to learn and brush up on new design programs over time. It’s so easy to become stagnant once you’re comfortable with a set of programs you’ve mastered. Lastly, stay true to your craft. There will be people who will not understand your craft and that’s ok. Growing up, I didn’t see anyone who looked like me who were into design. It wasn’t until graduating college, that I started to see other black women creators like Laci Jordan, Adrienne Raquel, and Melina Matsoukas which kept me inspired to continue to follow my path.
What are some of your favorite travel destinations that captured your heart and why?
My study-abroad trip to Scandinavia as an undergraduate in college was a trip of a lifetime! This was my first time out of the country and literally changed my perspective about a lot of things in life. I realized how consumerism is a thing here in the U.S., but the total opposite there. People I met during my trip cherished time with the people they loved. I also learned about ” Fika”, where people take coffee breaks multiple times a day (for hours at a time) and socialize. Afterwards, they return to their regularly scheduled programs. This was something that stood out to me the most. There’s never been a time when I’ve been able to take a two to three hour break to grab a coffee, socialize, then return back to work, like never. Scandinavia was pretty cool.
If you could give advice to your younger self, what would it be and why?
I would tell myself to follow my intuition earlier, to stay focused, and to stop second guessing myself.
Who is your role model and how do they inspire you?
The women in my life. They’re strong, independent, and running the world all while simultaneously working, raising a family, and still making time to take care of themselves. All of my grandmothers are working women, my mom is a single-parent raising three kids (like, how?), my sisters are all boss baddies, and other women figures and friends who I’ve been surrounded by have all been an amazing support system. That’s enough to be inspired by within itself.
If you could share with the world something interesting about yourself, what would it be?
I’ve played volleyball since I was in fifth grade, so that’s a sport that I hold near and dear to my heart.
How do you overcome fear?
I try to put myself in situations where I’m conquering “fear” and I continue to put myself in uncomfortable settings where I have to face fear head on. For example, when I was in middle school, public speaking used to be one of those things that made me so nervous, especially when I had to present. Growing up, I started becoming more aware of my fear of public speaking and decided to I start volunteering to speak everywhere! This is still a work in progress, but I’m definitely more comfortable speaking in front of others.
In what ways has travel positively impacted your life?
It has opened my eyes to a world beyond Houston, Texas. It has allowed me to gain insight about what’s going on outside of my bubble. Travel has positively impacted my life by teaching me to remain humble and appreciative.
What does the phrase "Keep Shining" mean to you?
It means putting in the work, acquiring patience, and remaining dedicated to the process no matter what the circumstance(s) may be.
I am unapologetically authentic because...?
I choose to be myself in a world where everybody wants to be someone else. There’s only one me, and I want to encourage others to be who they’ve been created to be.
ABOUT SHAUNTEL BARRON:
Shauntel Barron is a creative at heart exploring all things music, media, and design. She’s a Houston, Texas native and a graduate from Stephen F. Austin State University with a degree in Advertising Design and a concentration in Marketing. Since graduating, she has worked as a Graphic Designer, bringing to life both digital and print collateral ranging from large format prints to curating social media content for The Children’s Museum of Houston and Idea Lab Kids. Later in her career, she became an Art Director for the Marcus Graham Project where she developed and conceptualized advertising campaigns from ideation to execution for Apple, Fossil, Travel Portland, and other clients. Recently, she has worked as a contract social media designer for Mattress Firm and does freelance work for various businesses, non-profits, and entrepreneurs all over the U.S.
Want to connect with Shauntel? Check her out on her platforms below.
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