Anne Ulku in an MCAD Continuing Education sign painting class
Anne Ulku in an MCAD Continuing Education sign painting class

“I’m always looking to evolve my craft and for something new to explore, and MCAD Continuing Education courses make that so accessible.”

What is your day job?

I work as an independent graphic designer, illustrator, and art director. The biggest thing I love about my work is the variety of projects I get to do on a day-to-day basis. One day I may be working on a large corporate rebrand, other days children's book illustrations, editorial lettering, or painting a mural. I also consider a lot of my side work and projects part of my day job. As an artist and creator, it’s important for me to set time aside to explore new mediums, concepts, and techniques.

Where do you go and what do you look at for inspiration?

I end up being inspired by a lot of my surroundings and the places I go. I like being outdoors and in nature, traveling, visiting museums and galleries, and extending myself to different types of events and groups of people I maybe normally wouldn't think of exploring. I try to take a lot from these experiences and find elements that are of great interest to me and see how those things may influence my vision, creative process, or side projects.

Why did you start taking classes at MCAD? What keeps you coming back?

Having graduated from MCAD back in the day, I love that I can still be a part of the educational and creative community. I’m always looking to evolve my craft and for something new to explore that may benefit my career as a creative, and the MCAD Continuing Education (CE) courses make that so accessible with such great and unique offerings. I love seeing the new courses added each semester and always try to find time to work in something new I have never explored before.

Anne Ulku's sign in her studio

Ulku's sign from the Sign Painting classin her studio. Photo courtesy of Anne Ulku


What is the most rewarding aspect of being a student?

I will forever be a student. I’m so eager to keep learning because I know it to be so beneficial for creatives. I love the vulnerability of sitting in a classroom not knowing anything about a subject and diving in with no expectations of yourself but using it as a way to deepen your curiosity and being able to get messy with no judgments or predetermined outcome. In client work, there can often be so many barriers and requirements—it’s nice to have a break from that and just create with freedom.  

What is an example of a project you’ve done in an MCAD CE class that you’ve found really rewarding?

It is probably a toss-up between the monotype class and woodcut class. I was very new to both techniques so it was nice to come into those blind and ready to play. The MCAD printshop facilities are pretty incredible and being able to have access to that has really inspired me to continue on with more printmaking classes. The monotypes class was great because it allowed me to be very experimental creating a one-off print—and not always knowing what my end result would look like was always a nice surprise. And the woodcut class was almost the opposite with careful and precise planning and executing the wood carving before getting a larger edition of prints.

What is one piece of advice you would give to a friend who is nervous about attending a CE course?

Know that many other people in the class will probably feel the same way! It’s nice to have a group of people that will probably have a range of skill sets and backgrounds. If you feel good and passionate about the content of the course and are taking it to reach outside of your comfort zones, or to further your career—then it’s so great to embrace that. Use it as a way to challenge yourself and find out more about how you can learn and grow. Also probably most importantly, don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be perfect at the skill you learn or the work you create in the class. It’s all for fun and the love of art and if you’re relaxed about the process and the outcomes, it becomes that much more inspiring.

Anne Ulku's monoprint

One of Ulku's monotypes from One of a Kind: Monotypes class. Photo courtesy of Anne Ulku.


What is the learning environment like at MCAD?

When I went to MCAD for undergrad, we were pushed by our professors to focus on strategy reasoning and process. It was challenging but beneficial, and great to be surrounded by such a creative and hardworking environment. With CE courses, I think the greatest aspect is having a range of people and backgrounds. Everyone is there for a different reason. And also the accessibility and openness of the classes. I’ve never felt intimidated or under-qualified for any course, because the faculty make it so reachable. Plus it, of course, is fun!

What is your favorite technique/medium/subject you have tried?

I mentioned earlier that I really enjoyed the printmaking classes. The one-off experimental monotypes, to the editions of carefully planned woodcut prints. I really enjoyed the sign painting course that was offered as well. It was challenging, but was really nice to gain some quick knowledge about the craft, and I plan on practicing more of that in the future. I also really enjoyed the quick studies in oil painting class as a great introduction to the medium. I still need a lot of work but feel good about the brief knowledge I learned from the class.

What technique/medium/subject would you like to try?

I’ve been really interested in paper marbling recently and would love the chance to learn and explore. And I’ve always had a great interest in ceramics. I admire the craft and would love to see how working with a dimensional medium would enhance the work I do. Though on the other side of that, I’ve also been interested in veering into the digital worlds of augmented and virtual reality and seeing how that plays a part in storytelling and experiential art and design.

To see more of Ulku's work, visit


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