HELLO! I'm an Art Director, Designer, and Co-Founder of an artist co-op. Go for it, ask me anything!

Christine Jo Della Fielder
Mar 15, 2018


I'm a classically trained graphic designer, turned art director, who has dipped her toes in about as many different artistic practices as humanly possible. Whether it's behind a computer, camera, canvas, or creative crevasse, I'm passionately immersed up to my neck.

After entering the workforce and even in art school, I noticed there was too much emphasis on the set-in-stone specific mediums everyone was practicing. Myself, realizing that I really thrived and enjoyed working in many different proficiencies, had a bit of an awakening as an artist. With the heavy desire to continue my work as a full-time graphic designer, and still allow the openness to take on other projects, our collective Merderhaus was created. 

Under the umbrella of an artist co-op house, we provide a portfolio of artists with disciplines in art, graphics, and production. As projects come in, we divide and conquer all requests and required services, based on expertise. Even within our name, we are attempting to break down the traditional agency set-up, blooming on the chaos of wide offerings and collaboration. 

A visiting designer at Pacific Northwest College of Art once shared with me, that he turned down a million dollar contract at [insert big soda company here] because of the ethical implications and ambition for creativity beyond money.  It's been since then that I strive to give back, mentor, and provide pro-bono as much as possible. 

When I'm not working at the studio, my nine-to-five is as an art director, at a tech startup in Chicago's Fulton Market District.  





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Have you ever had to fire anyone and how did you feel about that?
Mar 22, 12:56PM EDT0
What is one of your pet peeves with regard to artists?
Mar 21, 11:32PM EDT0
Do you have any books/magazines/websites that you would recommend to young artists attempting to pursue a career in the arts?
Mar 21, 7:26PM EDT0
How much time does an artist in your employ get from initial pitch to final art needed?
Mar 21, 8:42AM EDT0

Deadlines depend on the project - but most the time I'd say projects can get turned around quickly since we have such a supportive environment to work in. I myself have even reached out to my collaborators when I've needed extra hands on a project. 

Mar 21, 1:08PM EDT0

Hello Christine,

Would you work with photographers? 

Mar 20, 9:40PM EDT0

We actually often work with/in the photography world!  Right now we have two of us that are photographers, with completely different styles.  Depending on the subject - determines who we filter the work to.  It's always nice to have a variety of offerings to clients.

Mar 21, 1:00PM EDT0
Show all 4 replies
What do you believe are some of your best assets as an Art Director?
Mar 20, 7:55PM EDT0

I think my encouragement for feedback.  I'd heard so many times from people outside of the creative world things like "well that's just what I think, but what do I know, I'm not an artist...etc, etc" and I fully disagree with that. Most design and asset curation will be digested by the masses, so artist should really be open to crit from everyone!  When I have a client or coworker who doesn't know how to express their vision correctly, I see it as an opportunity to teach and strengthen the confidence.

Mar 21, 1:04PM EDT0
What are some of the reasons an art piece would be rejected?
Mar 20, 7:51PM EDT0

That rejection from the world of artists, or from the masses?  Nothing will ever please 100% of everyone, sometimes it just happens.  I'd probably say projects with the highest level of external rejection, come when the concept touches on a subject that is insensitive or ignorant. 

Mar 21, 1:10PM EDT0
What excites you the most about a career as an art director?
Mar 20, 2:30PM EDT1

I really get to utilize my variety of skills, and it's really rewarding to think big picture -all the way down to the production macro level.  It is such a rewarding career.

Mar 21, 11:06AM EDT0

There's a huge community over competition movement going on in the creative world. It's great in concept, but not so easy in the real world. If you work with other creatives, how do you identify quality creatives to collab with?

Mar 17, 7:05PM EDT0

Great question!! I actually fully support/love these community ideas - I believe we're fellows, not foes.  Often when collaborating with other artists (which is the main point of my co-op) we are always willing to look at portfolios of interested parties and encourage them to reach out.  When qualifying a person or group to work with, we focus on their energy, the passion they have, the versatility of portfolio, and the willingness for a differing perspective critique. Often in coworking community environments, feedback from others is what strives everyone to grow!  

Mar 21, 12:57PM EDT1

what kind of wisdom would you give someone who is trying to help out other young creatives (such as you are doing) but never really feels like he's making a big enough impact? 

Mar 17, 1:58AM EDT0

I'd continue to reach out to like-minded individuals, collaborate, and bring younger people to participate in freelance opportunities.  I think mentorship is really key! If you notice someone struggling, reach out!

Mar 21, 12:51PM EDT0

What do you think about AMA feed? Do you think it is worth to share your thoughts here?

Mar 16, 7:57AM EDT0

I think this platform is great! I love the huge diversity of backgrounds and career paths.  Over the past two weeks, I've read a lot about subjects I didn't have much of a grasp on, or normally wouldn't have researched myself. 

Mar 16, 11:06AM EDT1
What advice would you impart to a person who has to create a design without the client-providing context for said design?
Mar 14, 6:33PM EDT0

If clients happen to be vague, try to get them to show you things they have seen that would be similar to what they need.  If it's artistic context you mean, to be honest, most of the time clients don't know what they want it to look like or how to communicate it.  That first rule can apply there too.  But most importantly encourage them to talk over their thoughts with you, be patient, and remind them that their opinion does matter a lot, even if they have no artistic background. Nobody's opinions are invalid, aesthetics are for everyone!

Mar 15, 5:38PM EDT0
What are some of the qualities and skills a good graphic designer should have?
Mar 14, 4:25PM EDT0

P a t i e n c e.    PASSION.    desire.

Mar 15, 5:40PM EDT0
What has been a seminal experience for you and what about it has made such an impact on you?
Mar 14, 9:56AM EDT0

Moving solo out to Portland, OR for college was a huge impact on me.  (this is before the show Portlandia drew in crowds and sent a rent spike throughout the town) It was strange, weird, and I felt right at home immediately.  I craved being around likeminded people, and fellow artists; it absolutely morphed me. 

Mar 16, 11:04AM EDT0
Which current art world trends are you following and why are they of particular interest to you?
Mar 13, 2:36PM EDT0

I dig the futuristic look that's coming back around in film.  I just aesthetically think it's gorgeous. Can't beat that high color contrast fade.

Mar 15, 6:09PM EDT0

What were the circumstances that led you to pursue a career in graphic designer?

Mar 13, 12:44AM EDT0

I've painted, drawn, or crafted ever since I can remember, so for me, there really was nothing else I've wanted to do more than become an artist.  When deciding on a career, graphic design was a way I could learn a new medium and have a skill set that I could find an actual job in.  I've also always been interested in psychology, so the two work hand in hand.  I love my "job" because it doesn't feel like a job!

Mar 15, 6:13PM EDT0
How do you incorporate feedback into your designs and can you describe a time when you received harsh criticism for your work?
Mar 12, 5:13PM EDT0

I live for feedback!  I think an outsiders view is just as important as the artist's opinion.  I once had a horrible critique on a final in school, that taught me to push my boundaries much further than I had. 

Mar 15, 6:17PM EDT0
What are some of the major steps involved in your creative process?
Mar 12, 3:36PM EDT0

I love working by the 3X3 rule.  Start the first round of design with at least three different design directions - present the work and gather feedback - incorporate that into three altered designs - present and ask the client for their favorite and least favorite parts of each one - refine, combine and finalize.

Mar 15, 5:31PM EDT0
What are some of the methods you use when collaborating with copywriters, developers, and project managers?
Mar 12, 10:33AM EDT0

For writers: manuscripts all day every day! For PM's and dev I think physically sitting down and going over their existing code, taking their structure and creating a design file with UI in mind provides the best results.  I usually export out a psd file for them to use in reference,  pixel ratios, and image exporting.

Mar 15, 5:26PM EDT0
What do you consider to be the most important current trend in graphic design?
Mar 12, 9:17AM EDT0

Duotone color channeling chaos is super hot right now.  That and my personal favorite is this futuristic dreamscape, meets 80's Technicolor reboot, that's popping up all over the place  - oo it's delish.

Mar 15, 5:22PM EDT0
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