Working with Georgia O’Keeffe and witnessing on-site accidents with Martha Stewart are only a couple of events in the career of Gael Towey. A recent Q&A with the chief creative and editorial director of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia details Toweys experiences as a graphic designer and her time working with the domestic goddess.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a graphic designer?
I became a graphic designer accidentally. At Boston University I was an education major at the School of Fine Arts. I thought I was signing up for a print making course and it was typography, I thought, “Wow that Baskerville B is beautiful.” It had never crossed my mind. It immediately occurred to me that I could get a job studying commercial art so I switched my major. I studied photography, history of photography, illustration, anatomy and there probably isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t use that knowledge.
What was your first job in the design field?
I worked for Studio Books Viking Press as a paste-up artist, doing mechanicals and photostats. I worked on books with Jacqueline Onassis, Irving Penn, Alfred Eisenstadt, Inga Morath, Georgia O’keeffe, and museums like The Met and the Whitney. I learned so much about art and photography.
What’s the strangest thing that has happened to you during your design career?
Strangest? Met my husband? Flew around the country with Martha having lots of unexpected experiences. Found out my grandfather delivered Martha and her siblings. Photo shoot experiences like a kid’s shirt catching fire or Martha cutting herself while demonstrating how to slice a turkey.