In Issue #13, I shared my experience about visiting the Eva Franco studio in Los Angeles last summer. It was an amazing experience to meet with Eva and see the full scope of her fashion enterprise: from the inspirations and sketches to the samples, manufacture and warehousing. I'll be posting more about Eva throughout the day—let's start with her design process!
@sarahselecky: Loved reading #13 today. The article about rain + Seattle was so inspiring I wrote for 2 hours, listening to the rain.
Kate Woodrow, who was my editor at Chronicle Books on this project, emailed today to share that our Shoegazing Notecards are nicely featured on the Papyrus website. (Check them out in the banner!) Papyrus is also having a big sale: buy one stationery set, get one for 50% off. So, start with Shoegazing Notecards and perhaps the lovely Polaroid set as well?
UPPERCASE will be at the Louise Riley branch of the Calgary Public Library tomorrow as part of the city-wide celebrations of the library system's 100 birthday. There will be food trucks, music and activities such as button-making with yours truly (from noon-3pm) and a craft with children's book illustrator Carolyn Fisher.
I'll also have copies of the magazine for sale at a special in-person party price! And if you subscribe in person, you will receive a free back issue.
If you're not in Calgary and would like to subscribe, we have a $14 off coupon for the online shop: just enter the discount "I'veBeenUnderARock" which is valid on orders over $50.
Have a great weekend, everyone!
We first featured Christopher Stott's oil paintings in issue #7, and you may have noticed his work in this Anthropologie campaign. Christopher has been hard at work on painting new works of some really nice-looking old stuff, available to view and purchase from the Elliott Fouts Gallery in Sacramento, California.
These little ticks might not look like much, but to me they represent the past many days of diligently working away on the design of issue #14. I've got 109 pages done of 116, Erin's busy proofing and so the end is in sight!
Alanna Cavanagh met some new talent earlier this month at Surtex.
PRNT (which stands for PEOPLES' REPUBLIC OF NICE THINGS) is a brand-spanking-new studio founded by young designers Jenna Russelle and Halla Koudsi.
The two founders have backgrounds in the illustration and fashion worlds respectively and met while working in the apparel industry in Toronto. In January 2012 they formed PRNT and this past week they made their debut at SURTEX.
In addition to their own designs the studio carries patterns created by several different artists which results in an enormous variety of work available within one studio. Most of their patterns have a highly illustrative and often edgey vibe and would work wonderfully in the fashion, home + paper goods markets.
We wish Jenna and Halla the best of luck in their new venture!
When Chryssi Tsoupanarias emailed me this week I received a lovely surprise. "I've been an UPPERCASE subscriber since the very first issue, I love it! It's a really beautiful publication," she writes. A graphic designer for the Canadian furniture retailer Structube, Chryssi has made good use of her back issues: as attractive stacks of magazines in the photos for their latest catalogue. "We've used issues of UPPERCASE in some of the images for our Summer campaign—these will be on our website, in our catalogue (online and also printed in-store) as well as in ads featured in home decor magazines (such as House & Home, Style at Home)."
I love how edited the photos are and happy to see the magazine is appreciated in this way. I can see myself at this white desk, below, with my laptop...
Structube has stores in Quebec and Ontario and will be making their way into Western Canada later this year with a store in Edmonton.
(The cover of issue #14 would go really nicely with that grey couch and green accent pillow, too!)
Shelley: How long have you been pursuing the art licensing business?
Chrystal: 8 years
Shelley: How have you found it to change from then to now?
Chrystal: The art is much better. It used to be very old fashioned. Not contemporary at all. More and more illustrators are trying it. Much more competition.
Shelley: What do you think are the most significant new opportunities that you see for your artists in the future?
Chrystal: Paperless applications.
Shelley: What should artists do who want to make the shift from illustrating to surface design or licensing?
Chrystal: Get out there and understand that art is about collections. Decide if you want to be single image or patterns and research. Do lots of research.
Shelley: What shows do you feel are essential to the art licensing business?
Chrystal: Surtex and The Licensing Show in Vegas. Also, if anyone is planning on exhibiting in a show, they should first attend at least one or two years in a row prior to exhibiting in it.
Now that was a crafty extravaganza! We had four tables of things to make: notebooks, necklaces, buttons/mirrors and decorative orbs. Here's a quick gathering of our tweets and instagrams; I'm off to get a good night's sleep. Thank you to Erin, Megan, Chantal and Eleanor for their tremendous help, and to the fine and friendly folk at the Chinook Centre Anthropologie store. We'll post the pictures from our event photographer, Abby Hutchison, soon.
One of our intrepid Surtex reporters, Alanna Cavanagh spoke with Lilla about the many facets to her creativity.
Alanna: Lilla you run a thriving illustration agency, work yourself as an artist and have recently launched Ruby Violet. How do you possibly do it all?
Lilla: Well...actually I've just finished writing a book for Quarry/Rockport that will reveal many of the ways I have done it! It's called "I Just Like to Make Things: How to Have Fun, Stay Inspired and be Successful as an Artist" and it's due out February 2013. It contains lots of great photos and interviews and has a ton of advice on how to make a living with your art.
A: Wow I can't wait for it to come out - and I'm sure many UPPERCASE readers feel the same way. The "stay inspired" bit from your title strikes me right away because in our 24/7 plugged in world of blogs and Pinterest I find many artists suffer from a bombardment of images which can really dull their creativity. How do you advise artists to stay inspired?
L: You have to fill the cup up but not to overflowing. There needs to be a continual process of taking in and then giving out. If you take in too much and don't produce you'll feel saturated. On the other hand if you just give out (produce art) but don't take the time to look around and see what's going on...your work will get stale. It's a matter of balance.
A: Your artists' work always looks so fresh and 'on trend'. Do you do anything to help them achieve this?
L: Each season I send all my artists a trend report which is filled with what I see are the emerging images, colour ways etc. For example last Christmas the report contained vintage ornaments and deer!
A: In an earlier interview for UPPERCASE you explained that in the 1980s you felt that the best energy and interesting illustration work was happening in magazines but now you feel it's in surface design. Do you still feel this way?
L: Absolutely! Surface design is positively exploding right now. There are so many areas within it. For example home decor, apparel, and fabric. All of them are expanding. This is our 6th year doing the Surtex show and it just keeps getting better.
A: What advice would you give an artist who is hoping to break into surface design?
L: Read as much as you can on the topic. Keep up with what's going on in the marketplace and stay current with technology. Come to Surtex and walk the show the first year to decide if it's for you. Make up as many pattern designs as you can and if doing a show figure out a way to present them nicely. Remember that you can often create many new patterns by simply altering the images and colours of an existing pattern. In general I would like to say to illustrators and agents that no industry stays the same forever. It is bound to change and those that embrace the change and remain positive will do fine!
A: Such great advice Lilla. In addition to your book and more Ruby Violet designs what can we look forward to seeing from you in the future?
L: In 2013 I hope to launch an online course on making a living with your art. I just love to teach and help artists learn how to make pieces that sell. Keep your eyes peeled for it!
A: We will Lilla. Thanks so much for your generous insights.
Alanna: Helen you seem to be an incredibly prolific illustrator and surface designer. From your blog it appears that you produce at least 1 new (and very dense) pattern a week. What's the secret to your productivity + focus?
Helen: Well...I've always been an overachiever so I am used to working very hard. As far as focus I work very late at night after my three kids are in bed and all is quiet. That's when I can really delve into my work and concentrate. I make a cup of tea at 10pm and normally work till 4am in the morning.
A: You were an early adopter to the blog world. What do you like about blogging?
H: I don't have a lot of people in my immediate circle in Ottawa who are as crazy passionate about design as I am. Blogging gave me a way to join a community of like minded and very supportive artists. Through it I've met incredible surface designers like Heather Moore in South Africa and Carolyn Gavin in Toronto-both of whom have become good friends.
A: Do you have any advice for those new to blogging?
H: Yes do it for yourself. Use it as a vehicle to create new work, experiment with your style and push yourself forward. The minute you realize you're doing the blog for the benefit of readers you should STOP!
A: You have been present in Lilla Rogers booth for all 3 days of Surtex. What do you like about coming to the show?
H: Illustration can be a very solitary profession so it's a great experience to meet some of my clients in person and finally put a face to an email address.
A: What has been one of your favourite surface design assignments?
A I have loved working with Blue Q. The art director is tremendously supportive. He tells me to do what I do best and gives me a lot of freedom with my design. I have worked on bags, towels, and water bottles for them.
A: Your work has appeared on so many surfaces already. Do you have a dream assignment?
H: Yes. One day I'd love to have my work printed on lining for the inside of a fabulous coat!