Hey there! I'm Kristalyn, a graphic designer, web desiger, digital artist, and martial artist. I live in Gloucester, MA, where I was born and raised. I always strive to excel, often going above and beyond even my own expectations. When I'm determined to achieve something, I never give up no matter what obsticles lay in my path. I seek to learn and grow as much as possible as an artist, a professional, and a person.
I inherited my artistic talents from my late father, who unexpectedly passed away at the age of 37 (I was 16 at the time). I remember as a child being so amazed by his artwork that I was inspired to someday be able to draw like him. I began my journey as an artist at North Shore Technical High School (now Essex Tech), where I had an opportunity to explore different fields. I ultimately settled on the Commercial Art program, where I was able to nourish my creative talents as well as learn some computer skills. I carried on my Dad's legacy through my own artwork, having a new determination to turn it into something more than just a hobby. It was my way of keeping a part of him alive.
After some time being out of school, I enrolled in the Digital Graphic Design program at NSCC. I didn't know what to expect, but it was here that I was able to reach new heights of creative potential, and I learned more about the graphic design field, and about myself, than I ever expected to. I made some great friends and met a few amazing teachers, who I still keep in touch with to this day. I then moved on to Art Institute, where my creative and personal growth continued. There I also met some great people and had many memorable experiences. It's all these experiences, the people I've met along the way, and my thirst for knowledge and growth that has shaped me into the artist and person I am today.
I would like to give a special thanks to: My Mom, who showed me unconditional love even through the darkest of times. My late father, who inspired me to become an artist, and always made sure I knew how proud he was to be my Dad. My younger brother Kyle, who is my heart, my motivation to be a good role model. My late grandmother Jean, who always knew how to make me smile. My Nana Gerry, who has never let me down. My other siblings, Kassidy and Jake, you are always in my thoughts and heart even if we aren't together. To all the friends I've made, whether we've stayed in touch or not, thank you for your understanding and being awesome. Finally, to a select few of my former professors, who have guided me and pushed me to be the very best. I wouldn't be where I am now without all of you. Thank you!
2011 - 2015
WKF Distinguished Instructor Award (2015)
Extreme Martial Arts Forms/Weapons Curriculum (2014)
W3 Schools HTML/CSS Proficiency (2014)
First Aid/CPR Re-Certification (2013)
Pressure Point Certification (2013)
Professor of Computer Sciences, North Shore Community College (2013)
Adobe Certified Dreamweaver Expert (2012)
Hyper Martial Arts Level 1 Instructor (2012)
Shaolin Kempo Certified Assistant Instructor (2012)
Shaolin Kempo, Shodan- 1st degree black belt (2012)
NAPP Member (2011)
Wrote unique hybrid Karate curriculum for YMCA Program (2011)
KRANE Regional Champion, Traditional Forms & Weapons, Open Forms & Weapons (2011)
2006 - 2010
NCMPR Paragon Awards Judge (2010)
AIGA Member (2010)
WKF World Champion, Traditional Weapons (2010)
KRANE Regional Champion, Traditional Forms & Weapons, Open Forms & Weapons (2010)
NEiA High Honors Grad (2009)
NEiA Outstanding Tutor Award (2009)
Alpha Beta Kappa National Honor Society (2009)
Published in "The Graphic Designer's Guide to Portfolio Design, 2nd Edition" (2008)
Adobe Certified Photoshop & Illustrator Expert (2008)
Ryuchi Karate Certified Instructor (2008)
Ryuchi Karate, Sandan- 3rd degree black belt (2008)
The New England Institute of Art Dean's List (2007-2009)
NSCC Highest Honors Grad (2007)
North Shore Community College Dean's List (2006-2007)
NSCC Commonwealth Honors Program (2006)
Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society (2006)
Published in "Black Belt Magazine" (2006)
2000 - 2005
North Shore Commumity College Dean's List (2005)
National Blackbelt League Overall Champion, Creative Weapons (2005)
NASKA World Champion, Traditional Forms & Weapons, Open Weapons (2005)
Ryuchi Karate Certified Assistant Instructor (2005)
NST Occupational Proficiency, Commercial Art (2002)
North Shore Technical High School Honors Graduate (2002)
Team AKA World Elite Karate Team (2002)
Ryuchi Karate, Nidan- 2nd degree black belt (2002)
US Army Reserve National Scholar Athlete of the Year (2001)
North Shore Technical High School: All-star Volleyball Team (2001)
North Shore Technical High School: Varsity Volleyball Coach's Award (2001)
North Shore Technical High School: Varsity Volleyball Team League Champions (2001)
KRANE Regional Champion, Traditional Forms & Weapons, Open Forms & Weapons (2001)
North Shore Technical High School: Honor Roll Student for every term (2000-2002)
NASKA National Champion: Traditional Forms & Weapons, Open Weapons (2000)
KRANE Regional Champion, Traditional Forms & Weapons, Open Weapons (1999)
NASKA National Champion: Traditional Weapons, Open Weapons & Forms (1999)
First Aid/CPR Certification (1999)
North Shore Technical High School: Volleyball Rookie of the Year (1998)
KRANE Regional Champion, Open Forms & Weapons (1998)
Ryuchi Karate, Shodan- 1st degree black belt (1998)
North Shore Technical High School: Honor Roll Student for every term (1998-1999)
National Blackbelt League: Junior Grand Champion, Traditional Forms & Weapons, Creative Forms (1998-1999)
NASKA Underbelt National Champion: Traditional Weapons & Forms, Open Weapons (1996-1997)
KRANE Regional Underbelt Champion: Traditional Forms & Weapons (1996)
This section includes other things about me, both personal and professional, that you might find interesting.
I used to keep this part of my life quiet because I never appreciated the reaction people have, but I don't mind so much anymore. I haven't been able to pursue the martial arts to the extent that I would have liked, for me my design career came first. In my earlier years, including middle school and high school, I had many things happening in my life that prevented me from being able to travel to tournaments a whole lot, and sometimes even just train. But I was lucky enough to do reasonably well at regional and some national tournaments that I could go to, earning me a number of titles through the years. Perhaps someday, after dealing with a couple nagging injuries, I can return to the tournament circuit stronger than ever.
Styles: Ryuchi, Shaolin Kempo, elementary Kung Fu, elementary Jujitsu, XMA
Rank: Sandan (3rd Degree Black) Ryuchi Karate, Shodan (1st Degree Black) Shoalin Kempo
Weapon proficiencies: Bo, Sai, Tonfa, Kama, Nunchucks, Straight Sword, Katana, Escrima, Jo
Certifications: CPR/ First Aid, Instructor & Assistant Instructor, Pressure Points
Titles: 5 "World" (WKF, NASKA, NBL), 9 National Titles (NASKA, NBL), dozens of Regional Titles (KRANE, IPPONE)
Favorite weapon: Bo (long staff)
Favorite form: Branches of the Fallen Pine
Special Thanks to: White Tiger Academy (Beverly, MA- now closed), Mystic Kung Fu (Beverly, MA), Clark's Self Defense / Helix Martial Arts (Newton, MA), In Your Defense (Wellesley, MA- now closed), Sterling Martial Arts (N. Attleboro, MA)
Please also check out my blog with the curriculum that I teach at the Cape Ann YMCA: senseikristalyn.blogspot.com
Lyra- domestic shorthair cat, 4yo (as of July 2015)
Fish- 8 glo fish (danio's), 1 betta
Favorite Genre: Hard Rock all the way! Yeah, I'm a bit hardcore.
Favorite Album (currently):
WARNING: Parental Discretion Advised
Favorite Artist: besides my father, I'd have to say Nik Ainley
Favorite Design Software: definitely Photoshop
Favorite Design Style: I've really been into grunge lately
Favorite Project: the cosmic poster, under Digital Art
Astronomy, swimming, skiing, Nintendo (especially Mario games), Sci-fi novels & movies (NOT Star Wars!)
Following are some of my favorite sites that I've utilized frequently for my work and inspiration, either commercial or personal.
AIGA- Professional association for designers
Adobe Exchange- Plugins and add-ons for Adobe software, some free
Brusheezy- Photoshop brushes (many free)
Creative Allies- Contests and community for visual creatives, either amateur or professional
Dafont- Download some really cool fonts, many royalty-free
FontSquirrel- Royalty-free fonts and webfont generator
Graphic Artists Guild- Community resources for creative professionals
NAPP- Group for professional Photoshop users
W3 Schools- Coding reference and education for all things web
This section is all about my artistic inspiration, my Dad. His talents weren't anything more than a fun hobby for him, but it fascinated and inspired me. He never had any formal training in art, and often did his drawings without any source of reference other than his mind.
Can talent and creativity be inherited? I say yes, I don't believe I would be in this field of work if I were anyone else's daughter. When I was young, I wanted to be able to draw just like my Dad. As I got older, my own creative and artistic talents emerged, and I felt having that shared talent with my Dad meant something. Especially after his passing, this was something that would forever connect me to him, and I knew I wanted to make it something more than a hobby.
If you knew my father, then you probably also know about the darker side of him. Yes, he had his issues, made many mistakes, and sometimes did not handle things the right way. Whether you disliked him or his ways, it's not something I care to hear about or discuss. I don't care for negativity or revisiting the past. This is how I choose to remember my father, as a smart and talented man who loved his kids, and was lost far too soon. If you have a problem with that, you are more than welcome to leave this page and keep your opinions to yourself.
For my Dad, Jerry Klopotoski, who I miss more than words could express. Thank you for your love, thank you for life, thank you for your encouragement, inspiration, and most of all, the laughs and fun memories. I love you, "now and forever".