Meet a Minted Artist: Christine Llewellyn

A monthly series where we highlight a member of our talented Minted artist community. Featured this month: surface pattern and product designer Christine Joy Llewellyn, who lives in Brooklyn.

After getting her MBA, Christine Llewellyn worked as a marketing manager while taking creative classes on the side—everything from ceramics and printmaking to architectural drafting. She decided to pursue a creative career full-time and got her masters in industrial design, and launched her design studio Christine Joy Design in 2014.

Meet a Minted Artist: Christine Llewellyn

Please tell us more about yourself!
I’m originally from Flushing, NY, and attended college in Connecticut at Wesleyan University. After a few years of financial consulting, I went on to get my MBA from the University of Michigan. After business school, I worked as a marketing manager at a large financial services company; while I loved marketing, I found myself constantly searching for creative outlets. I spent hours after work taking continuing education courses—in ceramics, architectural drafting, space planning, printmaking. Basically, if a creative class was being offered nearby, I was signed up! Soon after, I decided to get a Masters of Industrial Design from Pratt Institute and, in 2014, established Christine Joy Design.

Did you study art formally in school?
I took a few studio arts classes in college but felt pressure to major in something that might pave the way to a traditional career path. After college, I took advantage of being close to some wonderful New York City art schools and made it a point to enroll in as many creative continuing education classes as possible. When I decided to pursue my creative career full-time, I enrolled in the masters program at Pratt.

When did you begin painting and drawing?
I have very early memories of passing the time indoors with just a pencil and paper. I remember feeling complete happiness with crayons and paper, and being left alone to create things that came to my mind. I’ve always felt happiest and most at ease when I am creating.

What medium(s) do you most enjoy working with?
I use many different ones, including pens, pencils, markers, and stamps. I’ve recently fallen in love with watercolor. It requires you to relinquish control—you have to go with the flow and let the pigment do what it wants on the paper. There’s something very liberating about that.

Get a behind-the-scenes look at Christine Llewellyn at work
in her studio in this West Elm x Minted video.

What do you love about living in Brooklyn?
I currently live on the border of two vibrant Brooklyn neighborhoods: Fort Greene and Clinton Hill. They’re both relatively small and have a wonderful community feel to them. The neighborhoods are home to renowned educational and cultural institutions such as Pratt Institute and the Brooklyn Academy of Music, which gives it a wonderful, artistic vibe and energy. Though there were many more artists residing in these neighborhoods in the past, there is still a good number of artists and other people in creative fields. And being a mother of two young kids, there are tons of parks and playgrounds, which makes it an awesome place to raise children.

Please tell us more about your family.
I have two sweet, curious, and rambunctious toddlers: 3 years old and 19 months old. I also have an amazingly supportive husband who has always encouraged me to find and pursue my passion and is a huge reason behind my establishing Christine Joy Design.

How do you encourage creativity in your own children?
I’d say they encourage creativity in me! I’m amazed by the level of creativity my kids display on a daily basis. It’s so refreshing to see the wonderful things that happen when you aren’t bogged down by expectations, societal pressures, and other creativity-stifling constructs and do what you truly are drawn to do. By watching them construct, deconstruct, make messes, and just have loads of fun is a huge inspiration for me.

Meet a Minted Artist: Christine Llewellyn  Christine Llewellyn of Christine Joy Design in her studio.

How did you first hear about Minted?
After deciding to launch Christine Joy Design in 2014, I decided to exhibit at Surtex, an art licensing trade show at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City. I had sort of a “go big or go home” mindset and the fact that it took place right here in New York City made exhibiting there a no-brainer for me. A few people from Minted approached my booth and encouraged me to submit to an upcoming art challenge. Thankfully I did and won an Editor’s Pick.

What do you enjoy most about being part of the Minted community?
I am amazed daily by the spirit of generosity present in this community. There are so many talented artists at various levels in their career who share their unique perspective and knowledge. We all value each other’s opinions and make it a point to support each other in any way we can. It’s amazing that Minted has created such a wonderful platform for so many artists from around the globe to connect and form both professional and personal bonds.

What does Minted mean to you as a working artist?
As an independent artist, it’s really hard to get your name out there and get exposure. Minted has given me the platform to reach a much wider audience than I would have ever thought of reaching on my own. I never dreamt that I would have prints for sale at West Elm just a year after launching my business, but Minted made it possible. I definitely would’ve told you you were crazy if you told me this was going to happen so quickly.

What are you inspired by?
I’m inspired by my kids and their unabashed sense of wonder and excitement at things most adults either ignore or take for granted. I am inspired by my time living abroad in The Republic of Congo, Denmark, and Greece. I love beautifully and thoughtfully designed objects. I am constantly on the look out for interesting textiles, colors, and patterns that might inform my next work.

How would your describe your artistic style?
My style is bold, elegant, playful, and globally inspired. There are rhythmic elements in my work and there is a fair amount of pattern repetition and various repeated geometric shapes.

What do you do when you encounter artist’s block?
Going for a walk usually helps. In New York City there’s just so much to be inspired by that it’s hard to go out and not find inspiration. I also find my level of creativity is directly related to how much I am connecting with the music I am listening to. If I find I’m having a block, I try to find “new” music that might motivate to create and come up with something different and interesting.

Meet a Minted Artist: Christine Llewellyn
Christine’s Favorite Things
We asked Christine to share her current favorite art, style, and home décor inspirations.

Inspiration
Who inspires you: My mom. Being a working mother of four, she is a superhero to me. I have my hands full and only have two!
Favorite place in the world: Antigua, West Indies [ 1 ]
Favorite charity: Make-a-Wish Foundation
Favorite colors: Pink and teal
Favorite city: Copenhagen [ 6 ]
Last stamp on your passport: Antigua, West Indies
Daily website read: I love reading about architecture and real estate and make it a point to check out Curbed and Brownstoner daily.
Song in your head: “Afro Blue” by Robert Glasper
Favorite Instagrammer: @satsukishibuya

Home
Favorite pieces of art in your home: My daughter’s crayon drawings in our living room. I love that she is SO proud of her work and aptly calls that portion of the room her “exhibition area.”
Coffee-table book: Remix by Jeanine Hayes and Bryan Mason of AphroChic [ 2 ]
Pets: Bobby! He’s our 5 year old chihuahua, spaniel, Pekingese mix.
Favorite drink: A glass of red wine after a long day of toddler chasing  [ 3 ]
Favorite snack: Chocolate-covered pretzels  [ 4 ]
Favorite flowers: Orchids [ 7 ]
Stationery: Moglea  [ 8 ]
Favorite gadgets: My Wacom Cintiq tablet
Favorite neighborhood restaurant: Madiba in Fort Greene, Brooklyn
Favorite dessert: Malva pudding

Art
Favorite artist: I love the illustration work of local Brooklyn artist Sean Qualls [ 5 ]
Favorite art supply store: Blick
Favorite watercolor paints: Winsor & Newton professional watercolor tubes  [ 9 ]
Favorite brushes: Princeton Artist Brush Co.  [ 10 ]
Other art-related favorites: I love a good nice quality watercolor paper. My favorite is Arches cold press.

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Meet a Minted Artist: Julia Contacessi

A monthly series where we highlight a member of our talented Minted artist community. Featured this month: contemporary abstract artist Julia Contacessi, who lives in Norwalk, Conn.

After graduating from Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute in 2000, Julia Contacessi worked in marketing and branding as a graphic designer before deciding two years ago to quit and pursue painting full-time. Here, she shares a glimpse into her studio life.

Q&A: Minted Artist Julia Contacessi

Quick! Tell us…
Digital or Film: Film
Modern or Vintage? Modern Vintage!
Marfa or Oahu? Oahu
Morning or Night? Night
Stripes or Polka Dots? Both please!

How did you first hear about Minted?
I first discovered Minted years ago (BN—that would be “Before Neo,” before my son was born!), around 2007. I used to make custom candles that people could give as party or wedding favors, and I was always searching for other industry-related ideas and products. I remembering falling in love with Minted’s concept, and, of course, the designs were amazing. Then, more recently, when I started painting full-time and began to focus on other avenues to expand my reach, I joined the community and started to enter art print challenges. The Oh! Ovals challenge last year was the first one I participated in.

What mediums do you most enjoy working with?
As a painter, I focus primarily on acrylics. And because I love exploring the contrasting nature of things, I enjoy working with polymers and texture pastes along with pencil and paper. And, just recently, I started playing with fabric but not sure if that’s going anywhere.

If you could sit down with any artist past or present, who would it be and where?
Patricia Larsen in her studio
(Ed. note: See images of Patricia Larsen’s incredible studio in Mexico on Remodelista.)

What are you inspired by?
I’m a details person and usually find beauty in the simplest of things. I can fall madly in love with the sparkle from the edge of a gold glass vase or obsess over the texture of a stone found along a walk. I guess, as a way to hold on to these bits of beauty, I started creating art—trying to recreate the beauty I find in life in my work.

What color palettes have you been into lately?
I’m currently crushing big time on all shades of blush.

What are some recent inspirations?  
I’m often drawn to the sea as a source of inspiration—I’m fascinated by how the ocean provides an escape and can transport you to a meditative, dream-like place. My most recent work explores the water in abstracted forms to capture the fluidity of time. I see this recent series as a progression of my earlier landscape work—it’s almost as if I am trying to capture the same subject matter and inspiration in another form.

How do you approach your art?
For me, my work is how I problem-solve and find balance.

And how would you describe your style?
My style is single-minded and focused on the simplicity of beauty in the moment. My goal is to drown out the noise and clutter to find a sense of calm. The end result is clean, fresh and modern.

What does Minted mean to you as a working artist?
Minted is such a valuable business partner—the company connects artists with amazing, like-minded businesses that would typically be untouchable as an independent artist. That means relationship-building in ways I could never do on my own. Minted is also a peer-to-peer resource and, in the creative world, I NEED MY PEEPS!! That means working on my own doesn’t have to feel that way.

"Sand" by Julia Contacessi | Minted  “Sand” by Julia Contacessi for Minted

Julia’s Favorite Things
We asked Julia to share her current favorite art, style, fashion, and home décor inspirations.

Inspiration
Who inspires you: Positive people doing good things
Favorite recent discovery: My new sneaks—Cloud. I can run all day in these babies.
Favorite place in the world: Home
Favorite charity: Everytown for Gun Safety
Favorite movie: The Birdcage
Favorite colors: A lot! Blush, gold, cream… and then navy, green, and gray. Plus, soft purple.
Fashion idol: Recently I’ve been exploring fluidity and discovered Rick Owens. Fashion as art, incredible! And I always love Eileen Fisher.
Daily website read: TheSkimm
Song in your head: Because of my six-year-old: “Lego Ninjago the Whip
Favorite Instagrammer: @interior_wish_list

Home
Favorite pieces of art in your home: I just recently added two original abstract figures by Kim McAninch to my bathroom: this one and this one. Every day they make me smile.
Stationery: Neenah or Mohawk
Pets: Just recovering from the loss of our beta, Bubbles. He was a good fish.
Favorite flowers: Hydrangeas
Favorite gadgets: My Jawbone UP
Favorite neighborhood restaurant: LeFarm or Bartaco (because I can never get a rez at LeFarm!)
Favorite drink: By day, a fresh juice made with my Breville; by night, Smart Cookie red wine
Favorite dessert: Yasso Frozen Greek Yogurt bars in coffee chocolate chip
Coffee-table book: Elements of Style by Erin Gates
Favorite snack: Lesser Evil Organic Popcorn in Himalayan Pink
Top 3 DVRed shows: Scandal, Girls and The Affair (oh, my)

Art
Favorite artist: My mom
Favorite works of art: Oh my… here’s a look at my Pinterest
Favorite art supply store: Jerry’s or Blick
Favorite paints: Charvin and Turner Acryl Gouache
Favorite brushes: Liquitex Freestyle Paddle
Other art-related favorites: A good quality mat and frame!

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Get to Know: Kiana Mosley

Minted Artist Q&A: Kiana Mosley

To celebrate Mother’s Day, we chatted with Minted artist—and mother of three!—Kiana Mosley, who’s been a part of the Minted community since 2012. She currently lives in Eugene, Ore., but will be moving back to Hawaii (where she’s originally from) in June with her three children Mahlia (11), Khalil (7), and Ayanna (5) [ see photo 1 below ]. Here, Kiana shares her inspirations, what Minted has meant to her as an artist and working mother, and her idea of the perfect Mother’s Day (hint: it involves ice cream!).

How did you first hear about Minted?
I saw a gorgeous wedding invitation on Pinterest back in 2011 or 2012 and signed up for the Minted newsletter; later, I found out they were seeking fine artists, as well!

What mediums do you most enjoy working with?
I really love all mediums, as well as more experimental mediums and tools. Most prevalent in my current work is watercolors, but I also have a very deep affection for oils and acrylic.

Who are some of your favorite Minted artists?
I really love everything Kelly Ventura does—she is definitely my Minted idol! I own Kelly’s piece “Meena.” I’m also a fan of Emily Jeffords’ gorgeous landscapes; her pieces—like this one—remind me of breathtaking coastal sunsets. And Annie Seaton’s impressionistic surfers (like “Surfer Bae 1“) just sing to my ocean-loving heart.

What does Minted mean to you as a working mother and artist?
Minted has been instrumental in my career, especially in such a competitive and saturated new art market. And Minted’s support, marketing, and commitment to community reflect my personal values, as well. There are many other artists who share some of the same challenges I face, so being around people who “get it” is a big encouragement and relief. I’ve always felt very safe and encouraged in their care and platform.

How do you balance work and family time?
Um, sporadically! Well, my studio/office hours have to coincide with the children’s school hours, but I’m technically always in and out of the studio (which is easy since my studio is in my home!). The challenge is trying not to work sometimes.

How would you like to spend Mother’s Day?
I would love to spend Mother’s Day with my keiki outside, perhaps at the park having a delicious picnic, followed by a trip to get ice cream!

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? 
My grandmother gave me the best advice, not so much through words, but through her constant encouragement and support to develop my skill in the visual and performing arts.

How do you encourage creativity in your own children?
I always have art supplies on hand, but if we run out (which isn’t very often!), we look for alternative or natural mediums to play with. We love designer Justina Blakeney’s “Face the Foliage” pieces
[ 2 ]
where she creates beautiful portraits out of leaves and flowers. Children are just so naturally creative, they don’t need much help—my kids’ abilities to role play or come up with unique and imaginative scenarios is just incredible and inspiring, and reminiscent of my own childhood! It creates a wellspring within myself as I watch them learn, grow, and create—they constantly inspire their mama and I tell them so! When we share encouragement, we all grow.

Do you get feedback from your kids before submitting art for design challenges?
Yes, sometimes! But they aren’t very critical, they just say they love everything, the little loves! So I really have to look as objectively as I can at a piece before entering.

Kiana’s Favorite Things
We asked Kiana to share her current favorite art, style, and home décor inspirations.

Inspiration
Who inspires you: I’m inspired by people who help others with their gifts.
Favorite place in the world: Though I’ve never been, Thailand looks like heaven on earth.
Favorite charity: Waves for Water, Casa, ICAF, Boys & Girls Club
Favorite movie: The Princess Bride
Favorite colors: All the colors! But I do tend to gravitate toward muted tones and earthy pastels.
Fashion idol: Donna Karan
Daily website read: The Jealous Curator and The Jungalow. Does Pinterest count?
Song in your head: “Ain’t Nobody” by Chaka Khan
Favorite Instagrammer: Ooh, that’s a tough one! You have to check out photographers @john_hook and @masonrosephoto. Then, there’s also @happymundane and his visual treats! Gah, don’t make me choose!

Home
Where do you live: Soon, back where I was born, Hawaii.
Favorite pieces of art in your home: I have a few, but one true treasure is a painting by my father. He did it in the ’80s and was too poor to buy canvas, so he would stretch bed sheets over hand-built stretcher bars, and then gesso the crap out of it until he could pile on the textural oil paint!
China: Simple. White. Minimalist.
Stationery: Floral watercolor (of course!)
Pets: Soon! I plan to adopt a dog and a hedgehog.
Favorite gadgets: iPhone and my Mac computer
Favorite neighborhood restaurant: Currently Cafe 440 and Mame Sushi in Eugene
Favorite drink: Coconut mocha
Favorite dessert: Shave ice [ 3 ]. Macarons and ice cream. Chocolate.
Favorite snack: Candied ginger and black licorice
Favorite flowers: Tuberose [ 4 ], plumeria, and stargazer lilies
What’s in your Netflix queue? Umbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Once Upon a Time, The Goldbergs
Coffee-table book: Flower by Andrew Zuckerman [ 5 ], Creative Block, The Art Book

Art
Favorite artist: Henri Matisse, Helen Frankenthaler, Rothko
Favorite art supply store: Oregon Art Supply, Jerry’s, Michael’s
Favorite watercolor paints: Dr. Ph. Martin’s Hydrus Fine Art Watercolors  [ 6 ]
Favorite brushes: Various sumi brushes and artisan handmade brushes such as Rosemary & Co.
Favorite paper: Arches watercolor paper (cold and hot press)

More from Kiana Mosley:
Kiana’s Minted Store
Kiana’s Instagram
• “Spotlight – Fan Palm” art print
“Spotlight – Sago Palm” art print

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Get to Know: Jill Means and Her Daughter Ali

Graphic designer Jill Means is a longtime member of our Minted community—she entered her first design challenge way back in 2010. She lives in Lodi, Calif., with her husband Scott and their five children—Sydney (18), Ali (16), Connor (15), Ryan (13), and Natalie (9)  [ see photo 1 below ]. Each of her kids has caught the design bug in their own way, including daughter Ali, who has submitted several of her own pieces to Minted’s challenges. To celebrate Mother’s Day, we chatted with this Minted mother-daughter duo to talk about balancing work and family, fostering creativity in your children, and what the Means kids are planning to do for Mom this Mother’s Day (so sweet!).

Jill Means and Ali Means

Jill, you’re a longtime Minted designer—how did you first hear about us?
Jill: I had been recommending Minted to people who approached me to do their wedding invitations and other stationery projects that I didn’t have time to take on. One day, I was browsing Minted’s website and thought, “Maybe I should submit something for a design challenge—just for fun!” Now more of my income comes from stationery design than my corporate design.

How do you balance work and family time? 
Jill: This is the question I get most often. It’s never perfect. Sometimes I’m scrambling to meet a deadline or working on a school project with the kids late into the night. My husband is very supportive and my kids have become very self-reliant in ways to allow me to work more. They also know that the extra income I make allows us take some fun family trips!

Right now I try to get most of my designing done from my home office while the kids are at school. After school, we have a lot of sports and activities happening (usually at the same time!); then, I sometimes do more work at night. I don’t work on Sundays, which gives me a day to breathe and plan for the week ahead. My family and faith always come first, but design is something I just can’t quit, no matter how busy my life gets. It’s a part of me, I’d do it even if I wasn’t paid for it.

Is your mother also design-oriented? Does it run in the family?
Jill: My mom isn’t a designer, but she is creative in different ways. She’s a retired teacher and has always encouraged me in every thing I do. I credit her as my first client. When I was very young, around five years old, she asked me to draw a banana tree for a project she was working on. I didn’t even know what a banana tree looked like—I think my drawing looked like an apple tree with bananas instead of apples. But when I handed her my illustration, she told me how wonderful it was and what an amazing artist I was becoming. I believed her and have had confidence in my artistic skills ever since.

It sounds like several of your children have inherited your design genes! Please tell us more.
Jill: Yes! I’m teaching Sydney a little bit of photography, Ali does hand lettering and painting, and Connor comes up with ideas for designs. He sketched out the concept for my Candy Cane Banner holiday-party invitation [ 2 ], I executed it in Illustrator, and it won second place in a Minted challenge! I shared the prize money and commission with him! My son Ryan is taking a graphic design class at school and Natalie does a lot of drawing (mostly of dolphins!), so they’ve all caught the design bug in some way.

Do you and Ali work on projects together?
Jill: Right now Ali is busy with school, sports, and activities so she isn’t doing a lot of her own work, but she paints a lot of the backgrounds and elements I’ve used in my designs [ 3 & 4 ]. Ali painted the background in my “School of Fish” classroom valentine [ 5 ] and right now she’s doing some lettering, watercolors, and paper marbling for some holiday designs I’m working on this month.

Get to Know: Minted Designer Jill Means and Her Daughter Ali

Ali, what grade are you in? And what’s your favorite subject?
Ali: I’m a junior at Tokay High School and my favorite subjects in high school have been AP Environmental Science, Ceramics, and French.

What careers are you considering once you’re done with school?
Ali: I would really like to follow my mom’s footsteps as a graphic designer. I’m so glad she started teaching and encouraging me early so I can feel more prepared and confident as I pursue design!

Jill, how do you encourage creativity in your own children?
Jill: I try to teach them that creativity is not something you have or you don’t, it’s a skill you learn and develop your whole life. Creativity is more than just art, it’s a way of thinking, whether it’s approaching a challenge, staying on a budget, or packing a suitcase. We also try to do new things and go new places to give them lots of experiences to fill their “creativity bucket.”

Ali, how does your mom inspire you?
Ali: She is always striving to help and make time for me and my four other siblings. Her love and dedication is something I really try to emulate. She’s understanding, funny, beautiful, and my best friend. I love her designs and she has really helped me to appreciate simplicity and balance in art.

What are you and your siblings doing for your mom for Mother’s Day?
Ali: On Mother’s Day, me and my siblings wake up early to prepare a yummy breakfast with my dad that we enjoy as a family. Everyone makes cards and little gifts to make her feel special and appreciated.

Most important thing/best advice you learned from your mom?
Ali: One of the most important things my mom has taught me is to set goals and focus on priorities. She works hard and makes sure to spend her time meaningfully with our family. She carefully plans her projects and work hours in a way that suits her and our family. Some of that time is also spent teaching and helping me to become a better designer—it’s a time I cherish and will remember.

More from Jill Means:
Jill’s Minted Store
Crash Course Creative (Jill’s blog)
“Candy Cane Banner” holiday-party invitation  [ 2 ]
• “School of Fish” classroom valentine  [ 5 ]

Photos: All courtesy of Jill Means and Minted

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Get to Know: Minted Artist Kerry Doyle of Paper Dahlia

It’s our birthday! Minted turns seven this week and, to celebrate, we’re featuring a series of blog posts dedicated to the ins and outs of our company, customers, and artists.

Kerry Doyle of Paper Dahlia, who lives in San Francisco, has been a part of our Minted artist community since the very beginning (she joined in June 2008, right after the company launched). Since then, she’s participated in countless challenges and won a ton of awards (111, to be exact!). We chatted with Kerry about the evolution of her career as a designer and artist, the things she’s inspired by, and what Minted means to her.

Minted Artist: Kerry Doyle of Paper Dahlia

You’ve been a part of Minted since the very beginning! How did you first hear about us?
I remember stumbling across a blog post about a Minted design challenge—it sounded so fun. I just wish I could remember who the blogger was so I can thank them! At the time I was a full-time stationery designer working with brides, mainly, on wedding invitations. I had just starting teaching myself Adobe Illustrator but was still designing in Quark, so Minted’s Illustrator/Photoshop file requirement was just the motivation I needed. I ended up submitting a handful of designs for the “Fabulous Thank-You Card Challenge.” Right away, I loved getting feedback on my designs and giving feedback as well. I received two editor’s picks awards from that challenge and was hooked!
[Ed note: See those editor’s picks wins below  [ 1 ]  from our archives!]

Tell us about your favorite Minted piece.
Right now my favorite piece is my art print “Dance” [ 2; pictured below ]. I was inspired by light shimmering and dancing on top of water. Abstract is my personal art aesthetic and I’ve been working with blue a lot lately (for example, “Currents” [ 5; pictured below] ), so I made a conscious decision not to use blue here, even though it would have been the logical choice. I really love the shimmery feeling of the piece, I feel like it all came together quite nicely.

Meet a Minted Artist: Kerry Doyle of Paper Dahlia

How has Minted influenced your journey as an artist?
It’s funny because I have a BFA in painting, but over the years I gravitated more towards design. I was feeling pretty comfortable in my design life when Minted announced “Untitled: The First-Ever Art Print Challenge.” Not really knowing what Minted was looking for, I entered a few designs (I don’t feel comfortable even calling them art now!) but didn’t receive any wins or picks. That stung a bit. But it was also a wake-up call to get real and dig a little deeper if I wanted to be successful. I’m still striving to do that and I am so thankful to the Minted artist community for their invaluable support. But what I truly value most are the friendships I’ve made along the way. I have an amazing group of Mintie friends that I can count on for support, advice, and laughs when we need them.

Tell us about your most recent collection. How has your artistic point of view changed over time?
When I was in art school, and for years after, I did representational art such as portraits. My artwork now is mostly non-representational and I believe participating in Minted’s challenges has been a great opportunity to experiment. That’s true of the stationery challenges, as well—I love trying new things in both areas, and the feedback I get from challenges is so helpful in letting me know if I’m on the right track or not. Lately, I’m all about simple, hand-drawn patterns and I love mixing repetitive patterns with organic elements. I love the haphazard quality of hand-drawn patterns, so perfectly imperfect.

How has being a Minted artist changed or enabled your business?
It’s hard to fully express everything in words. So many positive things have happened since I entered my first challenge. My earnings with Minted have continually increased—I’m no longer working with custom-design clients and now earn as much as I did when I had a full-time job, yet I’m able to spend more time with my family. That is a wonderful thing!

Minted Artist Kerry Doyle, Paper Dahlia

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Meet a Mintie: Max & Bunny

Name: Rebecca Hardie
Location: Richmond, Virginia
Years with Minted: 4
Expertise: Bold, modern and colorful
Occupation: Max and Bunny founder and designer, Mintie

When did you first realize you wanted to be a designer?
I was in college, sitting in an accounting class and the professor had gone off on a tangent telling us to pursue our passions and I realized my passion was definitely not accounting; it was design. While the thought of doing hours of accounting homework made me cringe, I had been working for the student government creating posters for various activities on campus and loved doing that.

Where do you go for design inspiration?
Everywhere. I recently was at a wedding and was sitting in the most gorgeous 1860s church building with the most amazing stained glass windows and detailing throughout. I found myself sketching out designs and snapping pictures—I couldn’t help myself. I was also in Stockholm last winter and fell in love with Scandinavian design and drove my husband nuts taking an excessive amount of pictures of buildings, signs, streets, random objects and patterns.

How has moving to Richmond just recently influenced your work?
I’ve loved learning about Southern style and that has definitely rubbed off on me.

After being in the New York for several years, I had some clients tell me how this design would be perfect in the South whereas another design was too “city.” I couldn’t fully understand that until moving here and really getting immersed in a more Southern culture. I think it’s nearly impossible to experience something new and not have it influence your work. I also love how Richmond has both the old and the new – being rich in history and the new with a strong art community that is well-supported and seeks out all aspects of art from design to food to fashion.

What is your normal workflow or process like?
My process varies a bit from project to project, but typically I start by drawing out ideas. It helps me to get it down on paper and explore everything first, before creating on the computer. I’ve also found that I’m at my most creative in the afternoon and into the night—I’m definitely not a morning person.

As an independent designer, how do you self-motivate / stay on track?
I find the most success in setting little daily goals. I also like to try and balance it out. For example, after having several intense work days where I feel like all I’ve done is sit behind a computer for hours on end, I like to get out and find some inspiration. That may be going to the art museum for a couple hours, antiquing, or even just taking a long walk with the dog.

How did you hear about minted?
I have my own design company, Max & Bunny, and we have a booth at the National Stationery show every year. The Minted team approached me and I loved the crowdsouring idea and thought the camaraderie it created was infectious. Besides, the Minted team is so amazing, I jumped at the chance to be a part of that community. 

Tell me about one of your designs for sale on Minted and how it came together.
For the Color Zip holiday card, I was inspired taking a taxi home in New York City. While riding up the West Side Highway, the passing lights of cars and the cityscape blurred together creating a line of color that sparked the idea for that card.

What’s a cool DIY project you’ve worked on recently?
I love my YuDu desktop screen printer. It allows for easy at home screen-printing and I’ve done all sorts of projects on that — everything from invitations to t-shirts to baby onesies. It’s really fun and it makes for great homemade gifts.

Do you have any fun party planning or decorating tips you can share with us?
I love sending my guests home with personalized party favors, like notecards with their name on them because it really is something that makes someone feel special. Also, decorations don’t have to be expensive or purchased to be beautiful.  You can do so much with tissue paper, kraft paper, and a little time.

Favorite pen? Favorite notebook?
Both are from MUJI—I’m in love!

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