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Blugold creates map to celebrate all things Wisconsin

| Judy Berthiaume

Love the new "Discover Wisconsin" map highlighting all the cool things you can do in the state?

Thank a Blugold.

More specifically, thank Samantha Hytry, the UW-Eau Claire freshman graphic communications major and marketing minor who created the map for the popular television show that celebrates all things Wisconsin.

An Eagle River native and life-long art lover, Samantha began sharing her artwork via Instagram when she was just a freshman in high school.

Her talent caught the eye of "Discover Wisconsin" owner Mark Rose, also an Eagle River resident, who hired her for several projects, including designing a custom-designed Wisconsin map in honor of the show’s 30th season.

“He thought that having a young local artist as the designer of the project would be a cool background of the project, and it was truly an honor to be chosen as that artist,” says Samantha.

Art has always been a huge part of her life, but it was the attention she gained through her Instagram account that helped her become a working artist at a young age, she says.

“I found my passion for art came easily to me, the hobby is relaxing and I could take full advantage of my creative imagination,” Samantha says. “I started an Instagram page for my art and created projects weekly to post, which got my name out in our hometown as an artist. From there my artistic career took off and consisted of drawings for social media posts to T-shirt designs to a 200 square-foot mural.”

While her portfolio is impressive, the "Discover Wisconsin" poster was her greatest artist challenge and her most high-profile project.

“The 30th-anniversary poster was the most challenging, exciting and unique project I have ever completed as an artist,“ Samantha says.

The poster features an outline of the state of Wisconsin, with many small drawings across the map, each symbolizing something unique to the town or county in that location.

“When I was designing the project, I kept thinking of it as a treasure map,” Samantha says. “The audience in my head varied from people who had never visited Wisconsin, to tourists visiting since they were born, or residents who call Wisconsin home. I wanted to keep in mind the range of demographics, and capture the many elements that we all love.

“By the end of the project, the drawing became a detailed map of the most well-known and favored destinations our beautiful state has to offer.”

Samantha hopes the poster will trigger many happy memories for people who see it.

“If I can spark a memory or a smile from a person just by having them look at the poster, I like to think that makes my job as the artist successful,” Samantha says.

While she is proud of her work for "Discover Wisconsin," Samantha hopes it's one of many projects she will complete as an artist.

“I hope that the combination of graphic communications and marketing will allow me to succeed in a corporate company in a larger area right away like New York or Los Angeles,” Samantha says, adding that her goal is to eventually work in Minneapolis or St. Paul. “My hope for my design career after graduation would be to use a creative side of marketing combined with my design skills to be a designer for a magazine, website or a reputable company.

“Having a job as a designer would never feel like work and would allow me to take full advantage of my favorite skill.”

Already, Samantha says, UW-Eau Claire is opening doors that will help her achieve her goals.

“I’m surrounded by talented, successful and professional people, including students, professors and staff,” says Samantha, who is a public relations and outreach intern for Career Services. “I am in an environment that strives for greatness, which encourages me to do the same. I didn’t know what to expect coming into college, but my experience has been more than incredible. I have met so many amazing people, gotten involved in different organizations, and am starting to see what the future I wish to pursue looks like.

“I look forward to seeing where my designs take me, and hope to have many more incredible experiences in my future as an artist.”

Photo caption: Samantha Hytry, a UW-Eau Claire freshman graphic communications major and marketing minor, created a new map for "Discover Wisconsin" in honor of the show’s 30th season.