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 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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Meet a Minted Artist: Jinhee Park

Artist and illustrator Jinhee Park studied fine art in South Korea and Japan before settling in Brooklyn. We caught up with her to find out her latest inspirations and exciting projects in the works (including a children’s book!).

Meet a Minted Artist: Jinhee Park

How did you end up doing what you’re doing now?
I vividly remember the day my journey to becoming an artist began. I was in 4th grade and stopped by my mother’s art school to meet her for dinner. She had a meeting, so she gave me a Tombow 4B pencil and asked me to draw an empty beverage can while I waited. That drawing really triggered everything and was the catalyst for my mother’s decision later to send me to an art college prep school. Since then, I’ve had a constant hunger to create things by drawing, painting, and designing.

Did you study art formally in school?
I graduated from Ewha Womans University in South Korea with a BFA and also studied interactive art at Tsukuba University in Japan. Before college, I studied drawing, watercolor, and oil painting for about eight years.

Where do you currently reside?
In 2015, I moved from Northern California to New York City for my husband’s work. I’ve enjoyed the hustle and bustle of urban life, but sometimes I miss laid-back, sunny California.

Meet a Minted Artist: Jinhee Park

Can you share the schedule of a typical day in the life?
My daily routine begins with grinding beans for my coffee and watching NY1 News. While drinking coffee, I check email and my social media accounts, as well as Minted. At around 10 a.m., I usually listen to podcasts while I begin my work—usually “This American Life,” “Note to Self,” or “Fresh Air” as I draw and paint. After lunch, if it’s sunny, I photograph recent art pieces using natural light. And if I’m feeling like I need to get out of the house, I’ll grab my art supplies and head to Carl Schurz Park on the East River, Central Park, or a cafe. At night, I primarily work on my digital pieces.

What are some of your own “rules” for living + working?
Make as many mistakes as you can, learn from them, repeat.

Meet a Minted Artist: Jinhee Park

Please describe your last month in a word.

Serendipity

Can you share an as-of-yet unrealized project with us?
I have two ongoing personal projects: the first is updating my website (jinseikou.com) and the other is creating illustrations for a children’s book.

Meet a Minted Artist: Jinhee Park

When did you begin painting and drawing?
I began drawing more seriously when I was 10 years old.

If you could sit down with any artist past or present, who would it be and where?
Mark Ryden and his wife Marion Peck at their studio in California

How do you approach your art?
Imagine, research, and observe

Meet a Minted Artist: Jinhee Park

Please tell us about your studio space.
My small desk is right next to the window so that I can draw and paint under natural light. When my eyes need a break, I look out the window and have a nice view of Yorkville.

What is your creative process like?
Whenever an idea pops into my head, I write it down immediately or quickly draw a rough sketch. Then, once I’m done with a piece, I open my idea archive of notes and sketches and look for my next theme or series from there.

What do you do when you encounter artist’s block?
Work out at the gym, take a bath, or listen to Arcangelo Corelli’s  I-Grave

Click through for more from Minted artist Jinhee Park

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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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Meet a Minted Artist: Betty Hatchett

The Minted artist community consists of more than a handful of observant, thoughtful artists, and Betty Hatchett is definitely one of them. As she shares on her Minted Artist Store, the Cincinnati artist says she feels “more human when I make things, more aware of how strange and wonderful it is to be alive, more grateful.”

In this interview, Betty reflects on a number of those strange and wonderful things, including new motherhood, taking creative risks, and the art of lingering.

Portraits of Betty Hatchett by Julianna Boehm

You recently had your first baby—what is parenthood like for you?
Our son was born in October 2015, and life has been a magical blur ever since. I feel so grateful for the chance to watch his personality emerge, to see my love for him grow evermore specific as I get to know him, and to witness my husband’s devotion to him and to me on a whole new level. My heart feels more raw, stronger, and more vulnerable all at once. Being entrusted with his little life has been clarifying—I want to see him live heart-connected, with empathy and confidence and in pursuit of his calling. With that often on my mind, I’m seeing more and more opportunities to live from my own heart and different obstacles I’ve entertained that derail me from that path.

Parenthood so far has been both an unspeakable joy and incredible challenge. If I wasn’t so sleep-deprived, I’d wax poetic about this.

You live in Ohio, but there are elements of Florida in your work. Are you originally from Florida?
You can often find glimpses of the palette, wilderness, or kitsch of Florida’s gulf coast in my work, where I first fell in love with art making and the sun-kissed, gypsy Floridian artists I met at my neighborhood community center’s outdoor art fairs. I was enchanted as a child walking through booth after booth filled with snowy egrets, great blue herons, and gentle manatees, all the while serenaded by wafting Jimmy Buffett songs.

Float” limited edition art print by Betty Hatchett

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Meet a Minted Artist: Whitney Deal

A series where we highlight a member of our Minted artist community. Featured this month: designer and photographer Whitney Deal, who lives and works in Wilkesboro, NC.

Whitney Deal interned at Martha Stewart Living magazine and studied fashion design at Parsons before moving into photography. Here, the multidisciplinary artist and maker shares a peek at her creative life in rural Wilkesboro, North Carolina.

Meet a Minted Artist: Whitney Deal

How did you end up doing what you’re doing now?
Years of making and experimenting. I started out as a graphic designer, moved into photography, took a few years to learn the craft of garment design, and now my creative life is a mash of all those things. My husband and I ran a successful photography business for several years until we had children. We opted for a less transient lifestyle after that, so now I’m solo, blending my passions of photography, sewing, painting, quilting, and simply making all together, with a touch of freelance design on the side. Most recently, my second daughter had heart surgery as a newborn in 2014 which has led me to pursue an interest in medicine. My life and work is a blend of past experiences and a range of interests, and that’s the way I like it.

Did you study photography formally in school?
I have two undergraduate degrees, one in graphic design, the other fashion design. I started a grad program in photography but skipped out after a year because it wasn’t the right time for me.

Where do you currently reside?
A small town in western North Carolina where I was raised. I’ve had the opportunity to live in different types of places (Savannah, NYC, Raleigh) but now that I have a young family, the slow pace and familiarity—you just can’t beat that.

Can you share the schedule of a typical day in the life?
Along with all of my creative endeavors, I also stay home with my two young daughters, so most days are structured around them. I maintain an Etsy shop with PDF sewing patterns, so I’m often found sewing up new designs or managing that store. I paint to relax, so when I have a few minutes to myself, you can find me with my watercolors. And of course my photography, which on a typical day means snapping memories of my girls.

Please tell us about your studio space.
I keep my sewing machine out, a table to spread out on, and a pin-up board beside me. And light, lots of light.

What are some of your own “rules” for living + working?
I get pretty excited and energized by productivity and it has taken me a long time to understand that unfortunately I can’t add more hours into a day; so learning to accept that sometimes you just have to surrender to the day and start again tomorrow is a rule I try to live by when balancing life and work.

What objects have been most significant to you lately?
It’s always been a sewing machine and my camera.

What is your creative process like?
I typically start with an idea and then it’s GO time. When the juices are flowing, I’m making. I have to remind myself to slow down and reflect.

When did you take up photography?
After college I interned with Martha Stewart Living magazine in the art department. I enjoyed what I did with that department but I was most intrigued with the photo shoots and what the photographer was doing. As soon as I finished up that internship, I bought a camera and took a few photography classes at a local art center.

What are your favorite subject matters?
I’ve always had a thing for still life. Give me a bowl of fruit on a table any day!

Do you primarily shoot digitally or with film?
Now I shoot digitally, mostly because of the expense of film, but every now and again I’ll pull out the film cameras and take it slow.

Meet a Minted Artist: Whitney Deal

Click through to read more about Minted artist Whitney Deal and her work

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Kristen Smith Serves as Minted’s Community Ambassador

Minted artist Kristen Smith was at the top of the list of candidates for the first Minted ambassador, a pilot program we created to help artists connect with each other in their local regions of the world. Minted artists are constantly connecting with each other online, and routinely share with us how much they enjoy meeting and interacting with other community members in person. As the Minted Artist Ambassador, Kristen volunteers to organize a number of events for existing community members and prospectives in and around her hometown of Atlanta, Georgia.

“Kristen is a passionate advocate for the Minted community, excellent at coming up with fun ideas, has good relationships with the creative community in Atlanta and has an infectious enthusiasm,” says Anthea Tjuanakis Cox, Minted’s Director of Artist Relations. “You can’t help but feel better after chatting with Kristen.”

Here, Kristen shares a few thoughts about the ambassador program.

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Meet a Minted Artist: Derek Overfield

A series where we highlight a member of our Minted artist community. Featured this month: artist and designer Derek Overfield, who is currently based in Fairmont, West Virginia.

Derek Overfield studied fine arts and graphic design at Fairmont State University alongside his wife and fellow painter (and Minted artist!) Lauren Adams. Working with charcoal and pastel on paper, as well as latex and acrylic paint on canvas, his bold pieces focus on the human figure. Here, Derek discusses life as a working artist, including overcoming artist’s block and challenging himself to create at least one drawing a day.

Meet a Minted Artist: Derek Overfield

How did you end up doing what you’re doing now?
Making and studying figurative art has always been a big part of my life. As a child I studied very closely the dynamic figures of comic book art, learning what I feel is the unique and expressive language of the body. That study of the figure continued into college where I was introduced to so many amazing examples of the human form in art history. This is also when I began to work from life models and from my own image. I set a goal as a student to complete a large-scale figure drawing every day, which I have stuck to as closely as possible since. I continue to be amazed at the potential of the figure in art.

Did you study art formally in school?
Yes, I have a degree in Fine Arts and Graphic Design from Fairmont State, where I studied with acclaimed painter Lynn Boggess and met my future wife (and also a Minted artist), Lauren Adams.

Where do you currently reside?
I live in a small town in West Virginia and have always been proud to call this state my home. It has remarkable beauty and my family’s roots here go back to the 1700s.

Meet a Minted Artist: Derek Overfield

Can you share the schedule of a typical day in the life?
I work on at least one drawing a day. On top of that, I usually work on canvases or do the not-so-fun stuff of  building our stretchers, stretching and priming canvas, etc. There’s always other work like photographing pieces, answering customer’s emails, updating my website, and social media.

What are some of your own “rules” for living and working?
I feel that art should come from a place of love. It’s difficult to explain, but I feel the artist should be moved by the subject matter first, before they can ever hope to move their audience.

How would you describe your artistic style?
Expressive, simple and bold, classic and modern.

What painting techniques have you been working with lately?
My works on paper could be characterized as a sustained gestural technique. They take elements from both classical drawing and expressive work. My works on canvas have a similar approach, and I’ve developed a technique of painting that feels very much like drawing.

Meet a Minted Artist: Derek Overfield

Please tell us about your studio space.
We have converted part of our 1935 two-story house into a studio space. We’ve renovated two rooms into one studio space, large enough to accommodate both of our needs!

When did you begin painting?
I began painting in college, watercolor landscapes on location.

What medium(s) do you most enjoy working with?
On paper, charcoal and/or pastel. On canvas, latex and/or acrylic paint.

What is your creative process like?
I use my works on paper as a way of preparing for and experimenting with themes for my larger canvas works.

Meet a Minted Artist: Derek Overfield

What are your favorite subject matters?
The human figure, usually in reference to a heroic or tragic theme.

Your work primarily focuses on the human form, almost always with the male figure. How did you arrive at this?
I’ve done figurative work of both genders, but the stylistic approach I’m currently employing has a very masculine feel to it. I feel it works best with the male figure at the moment.

Is there a movement in art history that speaks to you?
That’s a great question. So many movements have embraced figurative art, so they usually always speak to me. I would say that the most essential would be the late classical period of Greece/Rome and the High Renaissance of Italy, with their humanistic focus on the figure as the epitome of artistic expression. I respond to non-figurative work as well, and really admire the work of the Abstract Expressionists. Their embrace of the artist’s personal touch and view of art-making as an event, very much influences my approach to art.

If you could sit down with any artist past or present, who would it be and where?
Couldn’t pass up the chance to witness Michelangelo at work, or anywhere, really. I don’t think I’d have the guts to speak to him though!

Click through to read more about Minted artist Derek Overfield and his work

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A Day in the Life of Amy Carroll

Animals are the heart and soul of many of Amy Carroll’s photographs, including “Staredown,” a portrait of a bull that is one of Minted’s most popular limited edition prints. The Michigan photographer has weaved a life centered around family, animals, and creativity. As she shows in this video and in her own words on her Minted Artist Store, you can find Amy traveling abroad or exploring her backyard. “Beauty abounds,” she says. “Take time to see it.”

Portraits of Amy Carroll by Sam Vanderlist

“Staredown” limited edition print by Amy Carroll

8 AM-ish: We start our day roughly between 7:30 or 8 am each day. We co-sleep with our two-year-old son Mayer, so when he’s ready to get up, we get up and all start our day by fixing breakfast together. Our recent favorite is banana pancakes, which Mayer loves to help me make. I’ve been trying to be more cognitive of my time with my family and instead of hopping immediately on my phone or computer, spending quality time with Jeff and Mayer and enjoying a slower and more mindful start to our day.

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Meet a Minted Artist: Sarah Brown

As an “M”-level artist in Minted’s CMYK program, Sarah Brown has 125 winning designs on minted.com, but her success didn’t happen overnight. When she entered her first challenge, the 2009 Seasonal Save the Date Challenge, she submitted what she describes “a few terrible designs” and says she was mortified by the scores. “That experience really motivated me to become a better designer and to improve my skills,” she says, in hindsight. “Continuing to enter the design challenges is also a great incentive to keep your work fresh and try new things.”

Here, the designer from St. Joseph, Michigan, shares insights about her experience as a typography-driven designer, and her a-ha! moments along the way.

You’re a self-proclaimed typography enthusiast. When and how did this happen?
I’ve never considered myself a traditional artist—my drawing skills are pretty limited, and I’m generally too impatient for painting. Because of this, I struggled for a while as a designer to find my niche—there’s only so much you can do when you don’t paint or draw. After my first Minted winning design, “A Very Merry Christmas,” in 2010, it clicked with me that beautiful typography is an art form in itself. I received such a great response from that design from the community and consumers, and I began to focus on type-driven designs. I’ve tried to learn all I can about typography from books, online resources, and lots of trial and error.

Merry First Christmas” by Sarah Brown

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