Some artists have a hard time putting their style of their work into words, but not Francesca Iannaccone. The London artist and illustrator easily sums it up in a sentence. It’s about bright color palettes, layered textures, and sharp, clean graphics with a Mid-Century influence—breaking down the detail into shape, color, and pattern. Her process is distinctive as well—she usually creates by hand and colors digitally, although recently she’s been drawn to traditional methods, including paint and paper collage to create abstract works.No comments
“If you would have told me 10 years ago that I would be a professional artist, I would have said, ‘shut the front door.’”
That’s how Mary Gaspar responded when we asked how she became an artist, as she recalled the twists and turns that preceded her current career path. The Minted painter—whose popular “Plant Cell” series has made an impact in the design blogosphere and led to commissioned work for The Property Brothers—used to work as an actor.
In a nutshell, Mary landed her first acting gig at age 13 by singing in the choir in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Chicago Theatre. In high school, she was immersed in both theater and fine art, and grappled with deciding which one to focus on in college. Although she worked diligently on her art portfolio as a teenager, Mary never submitted it to universities and decided instead to study theater at the University of Illinois.
After college, Mary moved to Los Angeles for a few years to pursue acting and worked doing commercials while maintaining a long-distance relationship with her then-boyfriend, Derek, a fellow actor who stayed in Chicago. He later joined Mary in L.A., but long story short, after marrying Derek, getting pregnant with their first daughter, Mary and her young family returned to the Chicago area to be near family in 2008. Fast-forward 10 years, and their family has expanded to three daughters (ages 2, 7, and 9); both Mary and Derek are on the up and up with newfound career paths—she as an artist and he as a restaurateur. But it didn’t happen overnight.
“After I had my girls, my husband was busy with work and school, and I was working for my father doing legal research while being at home all day with the kids,” she explains. “I felt like I needed to make something.” She naturally scratched the itch to paint once again, following her childhood passion for art.
In this interview she tells how the rest is history in the making.
Mary holds the original of “Blue Hearts” painting, which Minted repurposed into a fabric for home decor, such as the “Blue Hearts” table runner below.
Announcing the Special Prize winners of our With This Ring Wedding Invitation Challenge! Engaged couples come to Minted for trendsetting and unique designs they cannot find anywhere else. The Wedding Invitations category is the largest in wedding and showcases our freshest and most innovative designs. Congratulations winners!No comments
When Parisian artist Gwen Bedat made plans to travel with her husband from France to California in January, the first person she contacted was Holly Whitcomb, a fellow Minted artist who lives in Omaha, Nebraska. Although the two had never met face to face, Gwen and Holly have become close friends through Minted.
Holly Whitcomb (left) flew from her home in Omaha, Nebraska, and Gwen Bedat flew from Paris to meet for the first time in San Francisco in January 2018. Gwen Bedat (right) thinks she’s likely to find a Minted artist just about anywhere in the world, which is almost—but not quite—true, considering the community stretches to 90 countries. “You only live once, so I figure I should try to meet Minted artists in every city or country I visit,” the Parisian designer says.
Gwen and Holly were connected through the Minted Buddy program in 2014, and began corresponding a few times a week via email and Facebook Messenger. Over time, they began messaging daily about everything from design to day jobs to family life. During Minted Challenges, they shared screenshots of their works in progress to spark feedback and critiques. “We’re always bouncing stuff back and forth,” Holly says. “But we’d never talked on the phone or face to face.”
After communicating online for three and a half years, they finally met in the flesh in mid-January. Four months pregnant with her third child, Holly flew to San Francisco for three days to hang out with Gwen. What was it like to meet in person after years corresponding on the Internet? “It felt like seeing a familiar face in an unknown city,” Gwen said, after explaining that Holly met Gwen and her husband at their Airbnb in Haight-Ashbury. Jet lag and swollen feet aside, the two explored Fog City and hit up tourist attractions like the Golden Gate Bridge, Coit Tower, and Alcatraz. They also stopped by the Minted offices to meet employees and try their hand at watercoloring.
The Minted Buddy program strives to connect experienced Minted artists with newer artists, and when Holly signed up, she assumed she’d be matched with a more experienced artist. But as a longtime member of the community (she joined in 2010), Holly played the role of veteran to Gwen’s somewhat newbie status, considering she’d just joined a few months earlier in 2014.
Drumroll, please! We’re excited to announce the two winners of our Minted x Every Mother Counts Contest, who will join Mariam Naficy and Christy Turlington Burns in Haiti this fall.
Please join us in congratulating our two winners, Karly Depew of Oscar & Emma and Briana Nielson! Karly and Briana participated in at least two of Minted’s Baby & Kids Challenges in 2017 and also submitted a very thoughtful written and video application, respectively. Both artists demonstrated excitement and passion in supporting EMC’s mission through their own personal stories and experiences with pregnancy and maternal healthcare.
Every Mother Counts (EMC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to making pregnancy and childbirth safe for every mother, everywhere. At the beginning of 2017, we kicked off a year-long contest where two Minted artists would be selected to join Minted Founder and CEO, Mariam Naficy, and EMC Founder Christy Turlington Burns on a trip to Haiti in fall 2018. On the trip, the winning artists will meet with one of EMC’s grantees and experience first-hand the work that they are doing to provide skilled and compassionate care to Haitian mothers throughout their pregnancies.
Karly Depew of Oscar & Emma
Karly has been with Minted since nearly the very start of the company. She is a talented graphic designer from Columbus, Ohio—she has 200 wins on Minted, won first place in Minted’s very first Holiday Photo Card Challenge and struck gold again in the same challenge in 2015. She is an active community member who is very well-liked, down-to-earth, and always willing to help fellow community members. (Karly Depew photo by Christa Kimble Photography)
In Karly’s Words
“While the road I have traveled in motherhood has had its bumps and curves, I am so thankful to have had proper care. I can’t imagine going through this journey without the support system I had. Every Mother Counts is an incredible organization and it would be an honor to be able to visit Haiti and see firsthand the impact it is making on the lives of those who truly need extra helping hands.”No comments
Announcing the special prize winners of our Young at Art Minted x Pottery Barn Kids x PBteen Art Challenge! We called on all artists young at heart to help us celebrate our successful partnership with Pottery Barn Kids and PBteen and source another unique collection of artwork. Congratulations winners!No comments
Announcing the special prize winners of our Moments that Matter Milestones Challenge! From Baptisms to Bat Mitzvahs, Confirmations to First Communions, Minted was looking to refresh our invitation assortment for numerous baby and kids’ milestones celebrations. These stunning designs will be become keepsakes that both parent and child will enjoy for years to come. Congratulations winners!No comments
Announcing the special prize winners of our Spread the Love Valentines Day Quickfire Challenge! Cupid is coming in a few short months and kids and adults of all ages will celebrate Valentine’s Day by sending cards to family, friends, and classmates. These fresh, unique designs made our hearts skip a beat! Congratulations winners!1 COMMENT
When we asked the Minted artist community to share their favorite holiday traditions, we knew we’d be in for some good tales, but we had no idea how creative and interesting some of them would be. Whether you’re looking for light reading to get into the holiday spirit or exploring ideas for your own traditions, we’ve got 39 of them. Ranging in theme from plaid pants to nontraditional holiday meals, and spanning the globe from sunny California to the Land Down Under, sit down, cozy up, and enjoy.No comments
Announcing the special prize winners of our Can’t Help Falling in Love Save the Date Challenge! The fourth quarter of the year is the time when the most couples announce their engagement, and we looked to our talented artist community to provide unique designs to announce this exciting news! In this challenge, we were looking for fresh, trendsetting Save the Date designs that would appeal to our broad customer base. We received a beautiful array of designs for this category. Congratulations winners!No comments