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.Comments Off on London artist Francesca Iannaccone credits her style to details and the ‘10,000 hours thing’
“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.
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.
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.Comments Off on 39 heartfelt, delicious, and quirky holiday traditions
Written & photographed by Kamala Nahas
Photography has always been the way I explore the world. Whether it is a connection between people, a dance between light and water, or the grandeur of a sprawling landscape, I’m always looking for beautiful stories to tell. And I pretty much always have a camera or two attached to my hip, so it only made sense to take photos of my experience at the Minted office when I visited for a couple of days in October with a group of fellow Minted artists from around the U.S.
Here’s what I saw.
When we arrived outside the Minted headquarters on Front and Broadway, I was nervous. Incredibly. I’m accustomed to working at home with dogs at my feet and a computer screen that buffers me from the world. It was a bit surreal to think I’d be walking into the world that up until now had only existed online, in my mind.
This is the first thing you see, when you walk up a flight of stairs to the second floor: Minted’s reception area, with a striking copper wall. It is even more beautiful than the posts you see on Facebook—the light pouring through the windows is amazing.
I met Minted Engineer Gabriella Grandilli while she was coding in the comfort of one of Minted’s impromptu living rooms.
The Minted greeting card collection that’s currently carried in a number of Target stores is also on display in the Minted office. This was my first time seeing the Minted greeting cards upfront—they’re really beautiful, funny, and inspiring.
Megan Davis of Toast and Laurel, Lynn Knipe of Griffinbell Paper Co., and Amy Kross looked at a selection of Minted fabrics. I can’t emphasize enough how energizing it is to be able to touch, feel, and see the products that all of us Minted artists are designing. It really brings home that we are part of putting something real and beautiful into the world.5 COMMENTS
Written by Jennifer Griffin
When Minted Art launched in 2012, five years after the company’s founding, Minted became publicly recognized for what it had already undeniably become: a global community of independent artists. Before then, many thought of Minted as primarily a stationery e-retailer. But the vision had always been far bolder.
Early on, we recognized that the breadth and range of talent within our artist community was incredibly deep. There were graphic designers, illustrators, painters, and creative artists of all kinds. Minted artists clearly needed more canvases, more ways to reach a broader audience in a more comprehensive way. Unleashing their creative output into the $45 billion global art market became a leading drive.
Minted Art launched in May 2012 with a carefully curated selection of limited-edition art prints created by our global community of artists, providing further access to income opportunities, exposure, and creative community. The earliest offerings were primarily graphic design works, including illustrations and customizable children’s art. Photography and prints of painted works would follow. Minted’s prints were and continue to be produced on museum-quality, cotton rag archival paper.
Since 2012, Minted Art has evolved significantly, with each new launch part of a continuous and deliberate effort to provide Minted artists and consumers the best platform to sell and acquire art through both traditional and emerging channels.
A Timeline of Minted Art
- Spring 2012. Launch of Minted Art with a percentage of sales from children’s and nursery art supporting Every Mother Counts, a nonprofit advocating for maternal health around the world.
- Spring 2013. Minted’s first West Elm partnership art challenge
- Summer 2014. Self-launch of artworks debuts for non-custom prints. The introduction of self-launch allows artists to include works in their portfolio beyond those submitted to challenges.
“Wild Grass” foil-pressed wall art by LemonBirch Design
Written by Amy Schroeder & Easter Kim
Three days. Three cities. Dozens of artists. One huge surprise. That’s the condensed version of our Follow Your Passion Tour, in which Minted Founder and CEO Mariam Naficy and her team traveled from California to celebrate the art and design worlds of Austin, Nashville, and Miami, August 23–25. During our action-packed 24 hours in each city, we explored art hot spots, enjoyed discussions with local Minted artists, and celebrated in the evenings with gallery events showcasing artists’ original work and Minted Art prints.
Now that we’ve returned from the whirlwind tour, our feelings are a mix of inspiration and compassion. We loved talking with the artists who create Minted art and design, and we learned so much by experiencing their cities firsthand. But shortly after we returned to our San Francisco headquarters, Hurricane Harvey reared its head in south Texas, touching too close to home for a number of Minted artists.
“The Minted team and I are saddened by the grave impact of Hurricane Harvey on Texas,” says Mariam. “We are thinking of our friends there. In honor of our visit to Texas for the Follow Your Passion Tour, we donated $5,000 to American Red Cross and we encourage everyone to donate. You can find a list of places to donate here.”
(Above) Mariam Naficy talks with Austin area Minted artists at Hotel Saint Cecilia on August 23, before the art gallery event. (Below) We showcased works by Texas Minted artists at Hotel Saint Cecilia in Austin.
Luckily for Maja Cunningham, a Minted artist who traveled from her home in Ft. Worth for the Austin event at Hotel Saint Cecilia on August 23, her town merely experienced more rainfall than usual. “It’s heartbreaking to see what’s happening in the south,” Maja said. As for the Austin art event, Maja found it inspiring, informative and “simply beautiful,” saying that she enjoyed talking with Texas Minted artists and meeting Minted team members in person. “The future of Minted looks bright, and I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish together. This unique community of independent artists is an incredible source of inspiration.”
Blogger Camille Styles (@camillestyles) attended the Austin Follow Your Passion gallery event and posted this Instagram shot, writing “Art + wine at @hotelsaintcecilia with my @minted friends tonight.”
Kristy Kapturowski was short on inspiration and time when she first heard about The Better Together Minted Greeting Card Challenge, but as she puts it, once she buckled down and brainstormed ideas, she had a lot of fun with the creative process. Good thing she made time to work on greeting card designs.
As the first-place winner in the challenge, Kristy won $5,000, and her birthday card will be carried in a leading U.S. retail chain (to be announced). She also earned Editors’ Picks for 14 other card designs. “Greeting cards turned out to be one of my favorite products to design,” says the Philadelphia artist who goes by the moniker Hooray Creative. “I really enjoyed the chance to write copy and develop concepts for the front and inside of the card, combining illustration with my love of typography.”1 COMMENT
Written by Jennifer Griffin
For artist Angela Simeone, the creation of art is no picnic. It’s a struggle, a battle, and yet it’s one of the most profoundly human and life-affirming pursuits one can take on. Art can be lonely. It demands mightily of you. And yet look what comes out of it.
An abstract painter and mixed media artist, Angela has lived and worked in Nashville for the last decade with her husband and three sons. Self-taught, Angela has thrown herself into learning the craft of painting with the same tenacity and discipline she exacted in her former career. Before moving to Nashville, Angela worked in San Francisco at the height of the dot-com boom in the late ‘90s, doing marketing for an editorial startup called Chick Click, an online network of independent zines targeted toward young, hip, urban women.
“It was a highly creative group of primarily women. That was the first time I watched women create their own realities, their own lives, their own careers. They were self-starters, writing their own tickets. A lot of them had not done anything like what we were doing.”
That early lesson, that you can push forward, do good work, and experience success despite initial inexperience was a key one, though not entirely new. Prior to San Francisco, Angela worked in marketing in the music industry in Nashville, initially working for free at an independent publicity and marketing label while studying business at the University of Georgia. It was a thrilling gig; the label promoted Hootie and the Blowfish and the Dave Matthews Band on their first albums.
“I got far more out of everything I’ve done for free than what I gave,” she says. “By working along someone for free, learning and becoming part of the process, that person becomes invested in you.”
“Southern Cotton Series 4” by Angela Simeone
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When there was talk of war in Bosnia in the summer of 1992, Maja Cunningham (née Pavlić), then 12 years old, took a bus trip through war-torn Croatia to stay with her aunt for two weeks until things “settled down.”
“No one thought the war would last long—but my short trip turned into eight years,” says Maja, now 37. When Maja became a war refugee as a pre-teen in Mainz, Germany, all she had was a bag of clothes and her homework. Maja’s mother stayed in Bosnia, and they didn’t see each other for the remainder of the war. Maja felt like a stranger in Germany, but gradually built a new life there, learned the language, and began studying architecture as an apprentice at age 16.
Then at age 20, Maja moved to Texas—once again with just one bag of belongings—to live with her cousin who had immigrated there. “When I moved to the U.S., I was basically a mute for the first six months, and my cousin spoke for me,” Maja explains. “After six months, she said, ‘I’m so over this.’” Out of necessity, Maja quickly taught herself English and became fluent within a year. That’s when Maya started studying architectural design at University of Texas at Arlington. Upon graduation, she landed a job as an architect for a prestigious firm and enjoyed learning the field.
“That’s one fast bike, said the cloud” by Maja Cunningham
Fast-forward several years and Maja married a Texan, had her son Jack in 2014, and started decorating her son’s room. When she couldn’t find art that felt personal to her, she made her own. She created “That’s one fast bike, said the cloud” based on her honeymoon adventure she’d taken with her husband, entered the painting into a Minted art challenge, and the rest is history—sort of. After working for nearly 20 years in architecture, Maja realized that her heart just wasn’t in it. Now Maja is a full-time parent and artist and couldn’t be happier. “I don’t regret anything because it leads me to where I am now,” she says. “Because I’ve been through so much in the first three decades of my life, I really want to live a stress-free life now. Things that matter to me are health and my family’s happiness. I know it could all be taken away in a second.”
Andrew McClintock is a big guy who makes big art for a big world. “But I also have a passion for little trees.” His words—not ours.
At 6 foot 7, Andrew’s definitely tall, and because he creates illustrations and photographs intended to be viewed in an oversize art print format, Andrew holds true to his claim. As for his interest in small trees, Andrew’s newfound hobby is bonsai. “Maybe I was inspired by The Karate Kid in the ’90s,” he says.Comments Off on Texas Minted Artists to Watch