Superintendent’s Artist of the Week: John Bakke


Superintendent’s Artist of the Week: John Bakke

November 9, 2022

Warwick Valley High School senior John Bakke first started using computers for gaming. Now he’s an Adobe Photoshop expert who uses the program to earn money as a freelance graphic designer.

At the end of his freshman year, John told his father that their old laptop was not working well enough for playing video games. 

“We saved up, got a new computer and I started playing,” John said.  “Then I realized that there was so much more you can do with a computer.  I originally started making mods for video games, and that led to graphic design.”

A mod (short for modification) is new in-game content that players create as opposed to the game developers. John creates his mods, and all of his other graphic design work, in Photoshop. He taught himself the program by watching videos and experimenting.

“I picked Photoshop up then and realized that I was pretty good at it,” John said. “I watched so many videos on YouTube on how to do this and how to do that. It really helped me out.   That’s how it started, but then I realized that you can do whatever you want with Photoshop.”

John started posting his mods on One of his mods was so good that the game developer, SimWorld Sports, hired John to do freelance work. The company even provided him with a gaming computer and a large monitor.

“I thought it was crazy because it was the first time I was getting paid for doing something with graphic design,” John said.  “I was like wow, I can make money off of this. I want to major in graphic design in college because the opportunities are crazy.”

John is currently taking Computer Advertising and Graphic Design with Rocco Manno. Mr. Manno could see John’s talent from the first class assignment, a cat food advertisement.

“His ad was very clean and laid out well,” Mr. Manno said. “He’s got an eye for graphic design.  He’s a very good graphic artist.  And he also shares his knowledge of Photoshop with other students in the class.”

In addition to making video game mods, John now designs logos for companies. He has created designs for t-shirts and sweatshirts too.

“I’m doing freelance graphic design every day,” John said. “It’s like my job, basically. If I (eventually) got a job in graphic design, it wouldn’t even feel like a job. I’d just enjoy doing it.”

John is currently looking at colleges such as Fashion Institute of Technology and Pratt and has the ultimate goal of starting his own graphic design company.



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