Spotlight on Alumni: Ilka Hadlock ’09

ILKA HADLOCK ‘09, Jackson Hole (WY)

Ilka Graphics, working primarily in illustration, logo design, and web design


Photos: After work pow! (photo credits: Chris Moody)


I live in Jackson, WY with my boyfriend Hank & our pup, Milo.

After Burke, I studied Art & Film at St. Lawrence University, with a focus in digital media. I currently run my own design business, Ilka Graphics, and work primarily in illustration, logo design and web design. My day to day is ever changing, but is usually a good mix of design time, collaborating with clients and running the business side of things.

As the daughter of an artist, I was always interested in traditional visual arts — painting, printmaking, drawing, but the second I started creating digital illustrations and stop motion animations in college, I knew I had found my passion. I also knew that I wanted to turn it into a career but wasn’t entirely sure how.

So, following in the footsteps of thousands of “unsure” liberal arts graduates, I headed west with a few pairs of (far too skinny) skis and landed in Jackson. I spent a year being a bona fide ski bum before I started working in marketing (thanks to Brendan Levine! Past BMA coach, who “knew a guy”) at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. The job description was all-things-digital, but unsurprisingly, I found that I really loved the design assignments. Over the next 4ish years, I picked up a number of side projects and freelance clients and left full-time jobs for bartending gigs so that I could focus on my design work during the day. I finally went to full-time freelance status in early 2017.

The most exciting part of my job is the variety of brands & clients that I get to work with. I get to dabble in so many industries and work with people all over the world. I’m in a constant state of learning and problem-solving, and I absolutely love that.

Here’s what I learned on Alpine Lane that I carry with me every day:

– Get your work done (on a plane! in a van! on the chairlift! in the lodge between runs!)

– Go skiing

– Ride bikes

– Have dance parties, and don’t worry about the number of attendees

What do I miss most about Burke?

Definitely the people. But I’m lucky enough to cross paths with many classmates through our continued adventures on skis and bikes. I guess many of us still “wanna live a life of danger.” I wouldn’t have it any other way.