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Meet Jamie Cohen-Kiraly '09

Posted June 15, 2021 in Alumni Profile

Meet Jamie Cohen-Kiraly '09
Meet Jamie Cohen-Kiraly '09
Meet Jamie Cohen-Kiraly '09
Meet Jamie Cohen-Kiraly '09
Meet Jamie Cohen-Kiraly '09
Meet Jamie Cohen-Kiraly '09
Meet Jamie Cohen-Kiraly '09
Meet Jamie Cohen-Kiraly '09
Meet Jamie Cohen-Kiraly '09
Meet Jamie Cohen-Kiraly '09
Meet Jamie Cohen-Kiraly '09
Meet Jamie Cohen-Kiraly '09
Meet Jamie Cohen-Kiraly '09

Lawrence School, Class of 2009
Cuyahoga Community College, Class of 2015
Cleveland Institute of Art, Class of 2020

Since graduating from Lawrence, what have you been up to?
My path after graduation definitely didn’t go as expected, but then again, what does? After Lawrence, I enrolled at Ohio University. After just one year I knew OU wasn’t for me. However, I still wanted to continue on with my college education. I began taking core classes at a local community college, but fate intervened and I landed an apprenticeship in the world of tattooing. I worked as a tattoo artist for a few years and really found a lot of joy and gratification in bringing my customer’s creative visions to life. I earned an Associate’s Degree in Art from Cuyahoga Community College and eventually a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Cleveland Institute of Art. Even though it took me a decade to complete my degrees, it was the experience of a lifetime. The process truly shaped me as a person.

Tell us about your experience at the Cleveland Institute of Art...
I loved everything about my experience at CIA! The three years I studied there flew by because I so wanted to be there and was passionate about the education I was receiving. My senior thesis, Not Everything Is as It Seems, explored the many different ways of looking at life. Because of the pandemic, I had to complete my entire last semester and defend my thesis online. It was definitely a challenge—but so fitting a subject to discuss during such an unprecedented time in all of our lives.

How did Lawrence prepare you for college and beyond?
I worked hard as a student—I failed sometimes and I succeeded others. But to me, education has always been about the journey (even more so than the degrees I earned). It was Lawrence that really instilled this in me. I learned to tackle challenges one at a time and celebrate little successes as they come. It was also at Lawrence that I learned to manage my time, which is a total life skill!

Tell us about your career...
Pursuing a career in art can be a daunting experience. It’s not a clear-cut path. You truly have to make your own way!

I have had the honor of creating public art for The Cleveland Museum of Art and Parade the Circle. I am also the co-owner of Color Your Palette, LLC. We run painting social events all around Northeast Ohio. I have taught classes in nursing homes, schools, social service groups, private parties, and even on the Cuyahoga Valley National Park Scenic Railroad (a moving train!). I also do commissioned work, including: murals (public spaces and restaurants), paintings, tattoos, custom shoes, and pet portraits!

You can google me (I go by Jamie C-K professionally) or check out some of my work in the photo gallery above.

Have you always been interested in art?
My short answer is yes. My parents like to tell people my favorite book growing up was: Purple, Green, and Yellow written by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Hélène Desputeaux. It's the story of a little girl who is an artist at heart (even as a child I knew I liked to create). My interest really became apparent in eighth grade and was taken to a whole new level in high school — shout out to Mrs. Hall!

What is your fondest memory of Lawrence School?
Mainly, it’s my memories of the people! I had amazing relationships with my teachers and fellow students. Their support and encouragement propelled me forward and made me feel I could make a positive difference in the world. My dear friend, Paul Matia and I (pictured above at graduation) were in the National Honor Society together and gave tours of the school to prospective families as school ambassadors. Several years ago, he sadly passed away from a congenital heart condition. I’ll never forget the fun we had together and I’ll carry him in my heart forever.

What advice would you give a new Lawrence student?
Don’t be afraid to be yourself! Try new things and venture out of your comfort zone. You’ll be better for it! There is no specific path to follow. Life might take you down a winding road, but that windy road will allow you to gather new and wonderful experiences.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
I enjoy experiencing and learning as much as I can. While I am still figuring out the answer to this question, I know I’ll be in the field of art. I take opportunities as they present themselves and I’ve found the more I take, the more new ones come my way!

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