The community of the Garrett County Arts Council (GCAC) is large and multi-talented, composed of artists from many walks of life. As we enter a new year, we will begin a series of features to shine a spotlight on talented artists associated with the GCAC.
This month we introduce Kendall Ludwig, a graphic designer and artist originally from the Baltimore area but now a resident of Mountain Lake Park. Her main artistic passion is branding and graphic design, as it relates to both print and digital mediums. This is the basis of her career, in fact, with her design company CurlyRed (curlyred.com).
“I have a variety of artistic hobbies as well,” Kendall said, “including theatre, bass guitar, acrylic painting, and embroidery. I grew up studying several forms of dance and have even done some choreography.”
Kendall considers herself a lifelong artist. “When my kindergarten teacher asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I told her, ‘Either an artist or the first female Baltimore Oriole [baseball player],” she said. “I was an art major at Towson University, and stumbled onto graphic design when I was still figuring out what I wanted my career to be. I instantly gravitated towards the marriage of imagery and typography, and still love the idea of creating ‘useable art.’”
Now in its 14th year, CurlyRed fulfills that combination of art and print, with clients across the state of Maryland and beyond.
“CurlyRed has provided creative and timeless branding, print and web solutions for companies and non-profits across the country (and has had even a few international clients),” she said. “My company now fully supports our family, and gives me and my husband Mark freedom and flexibility to live in this beautiful area and spend so much time with our girls. I feel truly blessed to love what I do for a living.”
Kendall and Mark have made their home in Mountain Lake Park, along with their two young daughters Margot and Juliette. In her nearly five years as a resident in Garrett County, the graphic artist has engaged in the community in a number of ways, acting in Our Town Theatre productions, opening her office in Oakland, joining the Greater Oakland Business Association and volunteering for the downtown events, and being appointed to the Garrett County Arts Council Board of Directors several years ago. She now serves as the president of that nonprofit organization.
“I’m honored to serve as the president of GCAC,” Kendall said. “I have a wonderful Executive Director in Kathy [Beachler], and a fabulous board and staff. I love seeing all the wonderful things our organization is doing in the community. I hope I can be a small part of bringing more diverse and inclusive art programming to our area, and amplifying voices that need to be heard.”
As for the artistic inspirations that have led to Kendall’s artistic passions, she credits her parents with early exposure to a wide range of experiences throughout her childhood.
“My parents (Madeline Mesiter and John Amato) were huge influences on my love of the performing arts,” Kendall said. “They met doing a musical at a community theatre in Baltimore. So I grew up in a family of theatre lovers, was in my first musicals (Wizard of Oz and The Music Man) at age 7. My mom and dad have always been incredibly supportive of my artistic endeavors.”
The artist said she discovered the Impressionist painters while in elementary school, and felt particularly drawn to Renoir, Monet, and Degas’ work, especially his depictions of dancers.
“By the time I was in high school and college, I was regularly visiting the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Walters, the Museum of Industry, and the American Visionary Art Museum. The Cone Collection at the BMA is one of my favorite places on the planet,” she said. “When I married Mark in 2004, we went to Paris on our honeymoon and spent the better part of the two weeks we were there visiting museums — my favorite one was the Musee d’Orsay, where I got to see many of Degas’ famous pastels in person.”
Kendall does not leave music out of her list of artistic passions. “I’m also a music junkie,” she said, “and particularly adore rock and indie bands and musicians. I’ve sung and played bass in a couple of bands, and I would rather spend money on seeing live music than pretty much anything else.”
Her advice to budding artists is to understand that “there will always be naysayers, especially when you’re trying to do something new or different.”
“Listen to your gut,” Kendall said, “and find people in your life who will be your cheerleaders. Figure out your ‘why,’ and stay curious, always.”
The Garrett County Arts Council celebrates artists like Kendall, and works year-round to support, promote, and enhance their artistic endeavors on the Mountaintop. The GCAC is supported by the Maryland State Arts Council, the Garrett County government, and through individual memberships, which are just $25 annually. Go to garrettarts.org to find out more.
By Mary McEwen of The Garrett County Arts Council