By Janee Law
Harborfields high schooler Katelyn Maher first saw her passion for graphic design emerge when she was a sophomore.
Now, as a senior, that passion has grown to incorporate designing t-shirts that are being sold at Bronx Zoo and Central Park Zoo through the New York Wildlife Conservation.
Maher was introduced to the art while taking a computer art class two years ago. For her final project she created a t-shirt design.
“We had just learned the pen tool in Illustrator and that’s how you can make different shapes,” Maher, 18, of Greenlawn, said. “I thought it was cool, almost like having puzzle pieces come together to make one big picture so I did that with different kind of shapes.”
With her love for animals and using Illustrator, the t-shirt incorporated several squares that featured a lemur, a toucan, a giraffe and a tiger inside them.
Maher added, “My art teacher said it was an amazing t-shirt and it could be sold at the zoo. That kind of stuck in my head and then one day I just decided to reach out to the Bronx Zoo.”
Impressed by her previous work, zoo officials sat down with Maher and, after requesting a fennec fox design, she ran with the idea.
Maher said she created a geometric watercolor design, which involved various geometric shapes in different shades of one color to form the fennec fox.
With more than 960 t-shirt orders for both the Bronx Zoo and Central Park Zoo, which began selling the product in June.
“When we went to the zoo, I was kind of in shock because it was in the window display case and they have their own little table set up,” Maher said. “To see someone grab a shirt, look at it and then get on line was a cool feeling.”
Although Maher said she always wanted to be a veterinarian growing up, she’s happy to have found an outlet that includes both passions. She said she loves that she was able to take “my passion for art and my love for animals to combine them together.”
To continue her passion for design, Maher created KMaher Designs LLC in September of her junior year.
Now, Maher hopes to major in graphic design when she learns what college she’d like to attend.
In the meantime, Maher is continuing her efforts in creating class and athletic team shirts for the high school. Maher has created homecoming shirts for the senior class and the sophomore class and will be designing shirts for the basketball booster club.