Connecticut Creatives

Rena DeBortoli

What do you do and where do you do it?
By day, I am a graphic designer / creative director for a wide variety of projects; from branding and print to motion graphics and packaging. Sometimes I do it while I’m walking the dog, sometimes while I kayak, but mostly I work from my home office at the edge of Connecticut in Pawcatuck. But all I really need is my laptop (and an Internet connection), whether it’s in my office at home or in the middle of the Mediterranean…. have laptop will travel!

(Oh and by the way, by night I’m a graphic designer too, I just wear a cape.)

What inspired you to choose this profession, and what makes you stay in it?
From a very young age I was interested in art, but didn’t want to be selling my paintings on the street corner, so I went to school for veterinary medicine to eventually work with tigers. I didn’t discover the graphic design profession until midway through my physics and biology courses, when my elective art course instructors kept telling me to take a graphic design course. Once I did, I never looked back — it was true love. And still very much is. I love the challenge and unique story of every project that needs to be communicated. All I can say is that I love what I do and feel very fortunate to have the freedom and luxury of enjoying my work… Sometimes I can hardly call it work — but don’t tell anyone.

I still love tigers.

What is your single favorite portfolio piece?
There have been so many fun and interesting projects. Not sure I can say I have one. Besides, I tend to stand back and look at what could have been better, or modified. Although I do not dwell, as I am usually immersed in focusing on the next project at hand.

What/Where do you want to be in 10 years?
Well, alive for one; I’d like to still be happy, healthy, inspired and creative, while doing what I love, and exploring the world.

Who/What are your biggest influences?
I try to be open to take in everything around me; from the simple and tranquil color palette of a beach to the complex energy, sights, sounds and smells of busy city market. Being exposed to different points of view — whether they are from colleagues, students or an entirely different culture somewhere else in the world — continually keep my thoughts expanding.

What do you wish you did better?
What I wish I did better, the list would be way to long; I think on many levels I’m always striving to do better. I wish I were able to pursue some personal projects that I always manage to let fall to the side. To slow down a bit and not feel guilty for it. Sleep.

Why Connecticut? 
Connecticut is where I ended up after college; I moved to San Francisco for a little while, discovered that I’m not fond of earthquakes and moved back. I would have considered living in Pittsburgh, where I am from, if it only had an ocean. I love the little edge of CT that I live in. I’ll stay for a while, as I work on raising funds for my second home in Capri, or a place yet to be discovered…

Who are the best creatives you’ve worked with? 
I have been lucky enough to have studied, collaborated and worked with so very many talented people. And I’d like to think that I have learned something from everyone.

What are your loves/passions outside of this field? 
Well, certainly there is the quest to see the world; I love to travel, especially to places that are so totally different from my day-to-day world. Certainly sharing even the simplest moments with family and friends (and of course the dog and cat.) I enjoy the outdoors, islands, a peaceful kayak, and consider myself a tequila and chocolate connoisseur.

What do you know now that you didn’t know then? 
Everything and nothing… I do not want to stop experiencing and learning and laughing. But mostly, how truly fortunate I am in so many ways.