Brain Surgery and Equal Love Inspired Lauren Packard’s Art

You don’t often hear people say they’re grateful for brain surgery, but for Lauren Packard, this life-threatening experience served as inspiration to pursue her childhood passion of creating art. By day, she works as a New York City art teacher, and in her free time, she is a mixed-media artist in Brooklyn.

A member of the Minted Artist community since 2014, her painting “Lina y Challie” is featured in the August 2016 West Elm catalog. In this interview, the New York City artist and school teacher talks about the urge to create, encouraging her students’ individuality, and the celebration of gay marriage — the impetus for her prize-winning art print in the Minted X West Elm Challenge.

Lauren Packard’s painting “Lina y Challie” (shown above on the easel) is featured in the August 2016 West Elm catalog. Fellow winning art prints in the Minted X West Elm Art Challenge are featured clockwise from top left: “Aperature + Cellular” by Jennifer Morehead, “Malachite Reinterpreted” by Leslie M. Ward, and “Autumn” by Jennifer Morehead.

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Minted Artists Connect Over Art and Community in Seattle

Photos by Lela Wulson

On August 11, Minted artists from around the Seattle area and as far away as Vancouver, Canada (Kelly Schmidt) met with CEO Mariam Naficy to connect in person with the people they’ve come to know well in the global creative online community.

Organized by Jan Kessel, the Minted Artist Seattle Meetup was one of Minted’s largest to date, bringing together nearly 20 artists. The artists met in the early evening at General Porpoise Doughnuts, a Capitol Hill coffee and doughnuts shop that moonlights by evening as an event space. Over conversation ranging from Minted Design Challenges to creative passion, they enjoyed wine and hors d’oeuvres catered by Bar Melusine, part of the Renee Erickson collection of restaurants.

Pictured from left: Catherine Hubert, Melanie Biehle, Minted CEO Mariam Naficy, Kelly Schmidt, Bri Davey, Sara Johnson, Allison Kincaid, Kelly Johnston, and Rachel Nanfelt of Alethea and Ruth. Rachel gave birth to a baby boy a few days after the meetup!

Jan said that although some of the artists were a bit nervous upon arrival, that feeling quickly evaporated. “Everyone shared details about their lives, both inside and outside of art and Minted,” the Bellingham, Washington, photographer said. “It was really interesting to hear everyone’s stories, what else they did in life, work, motherhood, and how participating in Minted was a priority.”

From left: Maria Estigoy of Arden Reed, Candice Leigh, and Jan Kessel

Jan said Mariam shared interesting stats about how Minted’s community critiquing system helps everyone achieve better designs and scores. The recent Spaces and Places Art Challenge was the first in which Jan actively participated in critiquing, both in asking for others’ help, and in offering my help to those who ask. “I found it deeply rewarding to help and be helped, and I really think my work is better for it. I learned from others who may see something slightly differently that I do,” she said.

“As the artist, you stare at something so long that it’s easy to lose perspective. The critique helps with fresh eyes, and a fresh point of view.”

Brandy Brown of Marabou Design and Melanie Biehle

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Minted CEO Mariam Naficy Hosts Artist Meetup in London

Photos by Jess Henderson of Jess-on-Thames

Pictured above from left: Gwen Bédat, Annie Montgomery, Zhi Ling Lee, Mariam Naficy, Bethan Lumb, Viktoria Rodek, Pooja Pittie, and Jan Shepherd.

What was it like to attend a London meetup with Minted Founder and CEO Mariam Naficy? In the words of Minted Artist Pooja Pittie, “It was like an evening out with your girlfriends — if they were all artists! We sipped rosè, alfresco, in an historic bar in London. Everyone was so warm and friendly — I didn’t feel like I was meeting them for the first time.”

Pooja traveled a long way from her hometown of Chicago to visit family in London and attend the first U.K. meetup for Minted artists on July 27 at The American Bar inside the Stafford Hotel. Mariam was on holiday in the U.K. with her family, and as always, was thrilled to talk with some of Minted’s global community of artists.

“It was an honor to meet the CEO of Minted — a lovely lady with a calm aura,” said Jan Shepherd, pictured above left. Pooja Pittie, seated at right, organized an artist meetup in her hometown of Chicago in April 2016.

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8 Tips for Pricing Your Commissioned Original Art for Minted

For customers seeking unique original art, photography, and design, we’ve launched Minted Commissioned Original Art (BETA), a new program that is limited to U.S. consumers and Minted artists during our initial beta period.

Minted believes in protecting the value of artists’ work and creating a marketplace that will help independent artists thrive. To prevent a pricing race to the bottom, we’ve set a minimum price of $75 per commission. Our independent community of artists create a variety of styles, mediums, formats, and with that comes varying prices. Artists set their own price for Commissioned Original Art (BETA) projects. Please keep in mind that artists keep 80% of the price quote and Minted retains 20%. Your price quotes must include shipping costs.

Pictured above: Lauren Rogoff is a Minted Artist who specializes in custom pet portraits. She posted this photo of herself on her Instagram, @wanderinglaur, during a Minted press event in New York in July 2016.

How Does Pricing Work in Commissioned Original Art?
Minted artists will set an estimated price or price range for various sizes (S-L) and complexities (Simple-Complex) of projects you will have available for commission. You will not set a final price for a project until you discuss the project with the client and agree on the scope. By this time, you’ll also know the estimated size/weight of the finished product and the shipping address, so you’ll be able to accurately estimate and account for the insured shipping costs. You may also need to include any sales tax in the price depending on the state where you live, and the location of the customer.

Based on the photo she received of her client’s French bulldogs above, Lauren Rogoff created this pet portrait.

What’s the Right Price for My Work?
If you’re looking for a one-size-fits-all formula for pricing commissioned work, you might not find one. But after interviewing several experienced commissioned artists, we’ve identified common threads for best practices. Here are eight tips to help you find your pricing sweet spot.

1. Do Your Research to Get a Ballpark Figure
When initially thinking about your price range for commissioned work, it’s helpful to get a sense of the market on other sites, especially for your particular style and medium. “You don’t want to charge $10 or $1,000 when your competitors are at $500,” says Lauren Rogoff, a Minted artist who specializes in animal and pet portraits. “Even if your work is distinct stylistically, it helps to know what customers are spending.”

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How to Ship Commissioned Original Art

When it comes to best practices for shipping Commissioned Original Art (BETA), we knew exactly who to contact for advice: Rich Baiardi. As Minted’s Vice President of Manufacturing Supply Chain, he’s an expert in shipping all of Minted’s assortment products in the safest way possible.

Before we dive into the Q&A with Rich, please keep in mind that during the beta period, we are limiting Commissioned Original Art to U.S. customers, so our tips are based on domestic shipping methods. Also remember that you must insure Commissioned Original Art and require the customer’s signature upon delivery. We highly recommend that you confirm the customer’s shipping address and message the tracking number to the customer once you’ve shipped the order.

How can I protect small unframed art, design, and photography?

Rich Baiardi: For a initial layer of protection, I recommend placing art in a plastic bag, which you can order at clearbags.com.

Then sandwich with cardboard chip mailers (.03 thickness) — one piece on each side.

If the art is small (anything up to 11’ x 14’), the best thing to do is ship in a flat mailer, which you can purchase from ULINE. The cardboard makes the packaging stiffer and helps to prevent damage if it’s bent during the shipping process.

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Minted 2015 Holiday Challenge Winners Visit San Francisco

When we asked the top three winners of Minted’s 2015 Holiday Challenge about the favorite part of their prize-winning trip to San Francisco, they shared similar sentiments about instant connection. “Being an independent designer can sometimes be a little lonely,” explained first-place winner Karly Depew. “So getting to be with Kristie [Kern] and Phrosné [Ras] and meeting the people who work hard at Minted to make our designs come to life was inspiring and invigorating.”

The 2015 holiday challenge winners outside Minted’s San Francisco office, from left: Karly Depew of Oscar & Emma; Phrosné Ras; Kristie Kern. “The trip was a whirlwind!” Kristie said. “The Minted team kept us on the go from the time we hit the ground, which was absolutely perfect for me. It was my first trip to San Francisco, and I wanted to take in as much as possible. The experience was a great combination of sightseeing, celebration, and opportunities to learn more about Minted.”    

The winning designs of The Most Wonderful Time 2015 Holiday Card Challenge, from left: “Embellished” by Karly Depew of Oscar & Emma; “Amazing Frame” by Phrosné Ras; “Sparkling Frame” by Kristie Kern.

After spending nearly three days with Karly, Phrosné, and Kristie, exploring the city’s restaurants and sites—including breakfast with CEO Mariam Naficy at The Battery—it’s an understatement to say that we at Minted learned a lot from the artists. We really got to know them and enjoyed hearing about everything from their families to the fact that they’re all self-taught designers to their tongue-in-cheek fears about earthquakes and “what if foil goes out of style?”

When we asked if the artists had any “a-ha!” moments after visiting the Minted office and meeting the other artists, Phrosné talked about feeling inspired to experience “the brain behind the brand.” “Minted employees are constantly working on new and exciting things,” she said. “I was also reminded that the three of us shared an uncertainty about our work and a desire to improve. We share and recognize in each other a healthy insecurity about our work, which I believe is a powerful thing, because you’ll never become complacent.”

We hope you enjoy our photo album of the trip.

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Artists Create Fun Inside #MintedBox

We tend to encourage out-of-the-box thinking, but for a fun summer project, we’re thinking about the inside of the box. We invited a small group of Minted Artists to get creative with Minted shipping boxes. The result? #MintedBox, a collection of eight interactive designs, including an astronaut by Bob Daly, rocket ship by Jessie Steury, and hot dog by Kayla King. This summer, customers who order stationery products will receive their products in one of the #MintedBox designs, in honor of Minted’s community of independent artists.

#MintedBox hot dog design by Kayla King, sported by Lolita and Joe, the dog and husband of Minted Artist and Creative Director Annie Clark.

This is project #001 of the Minted 100
The Minted 100 is an ongoing series of projects by Minted to promote collaboration among and between our community and customers. Projects will vary between big and small, but always focused on independent, creativity-first thinking.

#MintedBox cactus design by Pistols, worn by Avery, the daughter of Mary-Kevin Stuart, Minted’s Senior Merchandise Manager, Baby + Kids.

#MintedBox Social Media Campaign
We’re encouraging customers to show our community how far their art has traveled with the #MintedBox social media campaign and contest. Get your creative juices going and take a fun photo of yourself with a Minted Box to post on Instagram with the hashtag #MintedBox. Tell us where you are, and we’ll put you on the Minted Box Map on Minted.com. We’ll award prizes for the first in your state to post, the furthest away from the artist to post, and many more.

#MintedBox ice cream truck design by Susie Allen, sported by Delaney, a friend of Karen Zinn, Minted’s Head of Catalog.

Susie Allen shares a few insights about her #MintedBox ice cream truck design.

Minted: Have you ever done anything like this before?
Susie Allen:
No, and I’m excited to see it in person. One thing I love about working with Minted is the variety of new materials and genres I’ve been able to experiment with, from customizable art prints to fabric/home decor — and now interactive boxes.

Your ice cream truck design is really clever. How did you approach the concept?
When I got the assignment, one of the suggested themes was an ice cream truck, based on my “Ice Cream Truck” custom art print. I really loved the idea, but I knew it was going to be a challenge to make it into a character with a face, and an image that extended down the length of the box. When I hit on the idea of a whimsical map-like scene winding through different landscapes, it really clicked with the idea of the boxes traveling all over America. There was still a bit more box to fill, so I added some optional cutout props to up the interactive factor.

Ice Cream Truck” custom art print by Susie Allen

What did you learn from the #MintedBox project?
That limitations can actually be super helpful for the creative process. The map-like scene (complete with happy sun) is my very favorite part of the image, and it’s not something I would have conceptualized without the challenge to make use of such a long, narrow space. I was initially very nervous about the color restrictions — only three Pantone colors (plus the white background) to make a fun image that really pops. That limitation forced me to make decisions I typically wouldn’t (like red/pink trees and lakes) and to incorporate texture into the illustration in different ways than I normally do. This project has really changed the way I look at color, and I’m excited about using some of the new tricks I learned in upcoming work.

Learn more on the #MintedBox page.

About the Author: Amy Schroeder, Minted’s Community Content Manager, founded Venus, the magazine about women in the arts and DIY culture, and has written for Etsy, West Elm, and NYLON. Connect on Instagram @thevenuslady.

Published June 29, 2016 • Want to join the Minted Artist Community? Submit to a Challenge here.
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8 Tips for Getting Started in the Design World

If you’re a recent college graduate on the hunt for design work, good news. Not only is there demand for traditional full-time jobs, but opportunities are on the rise for becoming your own boss. “There are so many resources for independent designers, platforms to sell your work, and opportunities to create passive income streams,” says Hailey Myziuk, who works full time for her company Snow and Ivy. The 31-year-old Detroit artist joined the Minted community in 2010 and says now is “such an exciting and fun time to be a designer.”

To help you curate your career, Hailey and Genna Cowsert — a fellow Detroit area designer and Minted artist — share these right tips for getting your digital foot in the door and developing your career.

The Sky Is the Limit” by Genna Cowsert

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First Minted Artist Paris Meetup Full of ‘Pinch-Me’ Moments

In mid-May, London-based Minted Artist Annie Montgomery organized the very first Minted artist meetup in Paris, bringing together one Parisian, as well as a German, French, American, and Italian. “It was absolutely lovely! An evening filled with inspiration and new friends…all set on a rooftop overlooking the rooftops of Paris,” Annie said.

Cheers! (From left) Annie Montgomery (London), Cécile Kotsch of Bonjour Paper (Germany), Liz Conley (U.S.), Gwen Bedat (Paris), and Gerrie Magnani of chocomocacino (Italy).

The five artists met at 43 Up on the Roof, dined at Fish La Boissonnerie, and finished the evening at Grom for gelato—”trying to make the night linger for as long as possible,” Annie said. “There were lots of bubbles and cheers involved because we had so much to celebrate, including the end of the big Minted holiday design challenge.”

Despite being from various parts of the world, Annie said the artists had so many things in common, from travels and expatriatism to designer role models and friends and families humming Christmas music in March. “We laughed and nodded and bonded over so many similarities,” she said.

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2 PBteen x Kids Challenge Artists Share ‘Winner Stories’

“An absolute blast!” “Delighted and astounded!” “We were oohing and ahhing.”

These are just a handful of the comments from the Pottery Barn Kids and PBteen merchants during the Minted community winners’ announcement call on May 25. An obvious statement—but we’ll say it anyway—the merchants were beyond excited. “This has been an unbelievable partnership,” said Mary Harrington, Vice President, Merchandising, Pottery Barn Kids. “The amount of work that artists put into the entries was amazing. The work is whimsical, creative, and beautiful—everything we like to stand for.”

Mr. Giraffe” by Makewells, 19th place winner (also Pottery Barn Kids Editors’ Pick)

Hey Mr. Dog” by Makewells, PBteen Editor’s Pick

With more than 7,000 submissions and over 600,000 artist and consumer votes, the Minted X Pottery Barn Kids X PBteen Wall Art Challenge is the largest in Minted’s history. We look forward to seeing the winners’ work in Pottery Barn Kids and PBteen stores in July 2016. View a list of all winners here.

Here, two of the many winners—Megan Wells of Makewells, and Hannah Williams—share the inspirations and stories behind their winning submissions.

Megan Wells of Makewells
Makewells Minted Artist Store

Minted: Word on the street is that there’s an interesting story behind your two winning designs—can you share?
Megan Wells: A few of the pieces I entered in the Minted X Pottery Barn Kids X PBteen Wall Art Challenge were from my 365 Sketchbook Project. In May 2015, I decided to create in my sketchbook every single day for 365 days. The only rule was I had to fill up a page, and post it to Instagram (@makewells). When I started this project, my main objective was to simply complete it and accomplish my goal. I had started twice before and didn’t last a month.

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