Graduate series: Art alum makes the cut in new job

Rob Alvey
Rob Alvey

Editor’s note: This is second in a series on how recent Union alumni are faring in the job market.

College students hope to find good jobs after graduating.

The process of finding internships, polishing a resume and applying for jobs is something many are familiar with by the end of their undergraduate experience.

Rob Alvey went through the process and was rewarded with a job offer before graduation.

Alvey works in the field in which he studied– art with an emphasis on graphic design with a minor in marketing.

He works at Mama’s Sauce, a letter press and silk screen printing company in Orlando, Fla.

Alvey interned for Mama’s Sauce in February of 2012, three months before graduation. He is the finisher, meaning that he cuts all the paper for the company’s products before they are printed.

Alvey’s search for a February internship began when his interest in design zeroed in on printing.

“I fell in love with printing,” Alvey said. “I got into design history, and letter press was something I really gravitated toward.”

Melinda Posey, professor of art, was Alvey’s graphics teacher at Union.

“We tell our students to make these greater connections to the design world,” Posey said. “Rob really followed through in his time at Union.”

Google searches mostly yielded print shops in places like Portland, Ore., and Nashville. Those were exactly the sort of places Alvey wanted to go.

“I looked up places that do a lot of design so I could come be part of the design community,” he said. “My first thought was Portland. I was going to move there and search for jobs.”

It wasn’t until Alvey was browsing a design blog that he discovered Mama’s Sauce.

Orlando is on the opposite side of the country in which Alvey thought he would live, but he decided to email the owner anyway.

Alvey had sent email after email to many print makers at this point.

His persistence led to an interview for and eventual procurement of an internship with the print shop.

Alvey spent more time at work than a summer intern would have.

“I was there all day every day, unlike other interns. I got to see how the whole process worked,” Alvey said. “I built a rapport with the other people who worked there, and they knew they could count on me, even to do other stuff that wasn’t typical intern duties.”

“It always amazes me the letters that we get from these places about how different Union students are from the other students that intern,” Posey said.

Alvey built relationships with people who would become his co-workers three short months later.

“This opened up the door for me to get the job there,” he said.

Alvey has been working at Mama’s Sauce for more than a year now.

“It’s a great way for me to be plugged into the design community,” he said. “I love working as a printer.”

Graphic design is typically thought of as a hands-off art form because so much of the work is done on a computer. Alvey is getting to work in the more palpable part of his field.

“This is the old school analog printing,” Alvey said. “It’s so much more intense and crazy than digital printing. It’s tangible.”

That form of media has been around for centuries.

“It’s the exact same thing that Gutenberg did when he letter pressed the Bible,” Alvey said. “It’s amazing that we get to participate in this history. We have tools that let us do it a little faster, but it’s the same process.”

“People are getting to see their designs realized and it’s cool to be part of that,” he said. “When people are posting their business cards to Instagram and are excited about what we printed, it’s a really cool feeling.”

Alvey said he would like to go to grad school. He plans to teach art.

Image courtesy of Cardinal & Cream|Cardinal & Cream