Shauna Keating is a designer and front-end developer living in New Paltz.
What does your daily life look like?
I work at a studio called Moonfarmer where I work as a designer & front-end developer. Every day, I get to work with my team at our studio in uptown Kingston to design and build websites, applications, and art.
I am pretty active in the local tech & design community. I serve as an organizer for the Hudson Valley Tech Meetup & Catskills Conf, am the Director of Programming with AIGA Upstate NY, and am an active participant with HV Women in Business. The longer I’ve been here, the more I hear about amazing little communities forming around all kinds of topics.
What are you excited about right now?
I spent the end of 2017 building a big newsletter announcement of everything we have accomplished last year, and I think what I am most proud of is the work we have done to actively engage and celebrate the place in which we work.
Radio Kingston has been my primary project for the last few months. It’s a really amazing project that not only is challenging and engaging for me as a designer, but actively pursues making the community I spend so much of my time in stronger. Over the course of the project, I’ve done wireframes and initial user experience (UX) design, front end development for it’s launch, illustrations of the city of Kingston that we use in the header of the website, and UX for additional features as we continue to work on it.
Earlier this year, we worked with the folks at Hudson Valley Weather to design and develop a new Android app for them. I did a full UX audit of their existing iOS app and created a new design that utilizes the native elements in the Android operating system. After that our developers used my prototype to create a React Native app that you can download from the Google Play store.
Plus, Moonfarmer as a brand is actually pretty new. Since we announced/launched it back in 2017, I’ve been doing a lot of design work for different places our identity gets applied, and it’s some of my most fun and interesting work. Having our own website to make additions to has also been a great opportunity to obtain new skills. I started learning React so I could build some of the case studies we put up on our site to show our work. I’m really looking forward to the ones I am working on now going live!
How did you end up in the Hudson Valley, and what do you love about it?
I grew up about an hour south of here in Bergen County, NJ. I started living in the Hudson Valley as a student of SUNY New Paltz, enrolled in the BFA program for graphic design. When I graduated, I decided to stay and start off my career here. Even though it’s a difference of about 55 miles from where I grew up, it’s very culturally different here, in a way that’s really good for me.
The Hudson Valley is different because of how much people value community, creativity, and human connection. For someone working in my field, it makes a really excellent environment to work in. The people I’ve met here are not people that go to work and hate their jobs, but people who are doing the things they love and care about. There is a culture of collaboration and respect I haven’t seen anywhere else.
The typical trajectory for someone who grew up where I did is you move home after college, get a job in New York, and commute over an hour each way on the train every day. There isn’t a lot of room for side projects or community involvement with that lifestyle. Living here, I do have a pretty packed schedule, but I am spending more time meeting people and making stuff rather than commuting.
(The view of the mountains is pretty good, too.)
Who are other Hudson Valley creatives whose work you admire?
Through running tech and design events I get to meet so many excellent and talented individuals! To name a few:
Becca Kennedy, who runs a UX Consultancy in the Capital Region called Kenneson. Becca has a PhD in Human Factors, and brings a really great perspective from a psychology to doing UX research.
Sarah Vogwill, who I met through having AIGA events in Kingston. Turns out her studio is only a block away from Moonfarmer. She's a designer running a small studio, called Studio 7, doing branding and web design.
Brandon Walsh is a developer I’ve worked with for the majority of my career, and is current member of the Moonfarmer team. He is a full-stack developer, specializing in Rails, React, and Wordpress development.
Caylena Cahill, who does some really great work in the realm of photo-centric marketing, running her business called CC Photo and Media. She also runs a podcast called Put a Fork in it, which is worth a listen!
Nicole Langlois, who co founded a co-working space up the street from my apartment in New Paltz, called One EPIC Place. Her business does a lot to engage creative people in New Paltz and all around the Hudson Valley.
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