Q&A: How does food inspire your creativity?

At Minted, we believe inspiration is everywhere—you just have to look for it. With Thanksgiving a few days away, we’ve been thinking not only about challenging situations we’re thankful for but also, well, food.

For this edition of #WhatInspiresMe, artists Rebecca Bowen, Ariel Rutland, and Ann Gardner share stories of how the simple act of enjoying food inspires them.

Rebecca Bowen
Dallas, Texas

I have a strong affinity for food. I mean, I really love food.

Food has shaped all of my favorite vacations, childhood memories, holidays, family meals, and every party I’ve ever hosted or attended. The Food Channel is always on in my house, and my children and I are glued to it.

I’m never without a snack and a tasty beverage at arm’s reach. I cannot say that I am great at cooking, but I do love dreaming up my own creations. My mother just so happens to be the best cook on earth, meshing together her Italian heritage and my father’s Arabic side—we never had a bad meal.

My favorite pastime, aside from designing, is seeking out new restaurants. The whole experience of eating is exciting to me. It’s about eclectic atmospheres and well designed menus, colorful cocktails, and a wonderful aroma in the air. I especially love places that put a lot of creativity into their menu. Pairing unusual food groups in unique ways. I love spicy cocktails, and bacon hidden in my desserts.

Glamour” notebook by Rebecca Bowen

I tend to approach food as I do designs—there must always be something different or unusual thrown in. It must be true to itself yet somehow be set apart from the rest and it does not need to be clouded up with unnecessary ingredients. And like design, the food must be visually interesting. It must be beautiful enough to take a photo of and share it with the world.

Wine-Thirty” Cocktail Party Online Invitation by Rebecca Bowen

All About That Joy” holiday photo card by Rebecca Bowen


Ariel Rutland
Princeton, New Jersey

During the holiday season, I love to make lemon yogurt cake. It’s an old standby that gets me into the wintry spiritespecially when it’s time to dust the top with snowy powdered sugar, which is the perfect opportunity to turn out a festive sugary design.

For this powdered-sugar design, I took the wreath illustration I created for “Winter Joy Wreath” in Illustrator and printed it large on a standard printer paper. Then I painstakingly cut it out with an Exacto knife, and voila! It became a stencil. I laid the stencil over the cake and dusted the sugar on top then lifted off the stencil to reveal the design.

Winter Joy Wreath” self-launch A2 card by Ariel Rutland

Clockwise from top: “Merrily Christmas mini card” gift tag; “Winter Merry Bright” self-launch A2 card; “Geo New Year” self-launch A2 card; “Hanukkah paper cutout card


Ann Gardner
Irving, Texas

When I was young, the aroma of fresh-baked bread filled the house around the holidays. It was a signal that it was officially the holiday season. The time I spent with my mom in the kitchen brought out a love of creating from scratch. From homemade bread and cinnamon rolls to decorating holiday cookies, making things with my hands inspired me to create—and of course, enjoy the fruits of my labor.

A must-have baked good with my family during the holidays is fruitcake. I know what you’re thinking…fruitcake? But my mom’s is so good, chock-full of fruit and just enough batter to hold everything together. And so fresh and moist. Not your typical store-bought fruitcake. As I was working on holiday designs this year, her fruitcake popped into my head, and I saw that great photo of two kids making faces. It seemed like a perfect combination for a fun holiday design.

Holiday Fruitcakes” Christmas photo card by Ann Gardner

The Night Before” holiday photo cards by Ann Gardner


How does food, drink, or a particular meal inspire your creativity? Share your answer in Comments below and on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter with the hashtag #WhatInspiresMe. We feature some of our favorite social shares in our Minted Fine Arts newsletter.

READ MORE #WHATINSPIRESME
Does routine inspire or stifle your creativity?
Has anything ever scared you so much it’s inspired you?
Who’s your biggest creative influence?

Published November 23, 2015 • Learn how to become a Minted artist here.

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Meet a Minted Artist: Natalie Groves

A series where we highlight a member of our Minted artist community. Featured this month: painter Natalie Groves, who lives with her husband and daughter in Exira, Iowa. 

Self-taught artist Natalie Groves (who got her start as a chalk artist at Trader Joe’s!) began painting with watercolors after she moved from Southern California to the rolling countryside of Exira, Iowa. Here, she shares a glimpse into her life in the country and opens up about juggling art, life, and motherhood.

Meet a Minted Artist: Natalie Groves

How did you end up doing what you’re doing now?
I have loved drawing since childhood. When I was in my early 20s I worked for Trader Joe’s as their chalk artist. I received incredibly valuable on-the-job training: how to find my own personal style, how to consistently meet deadlines, how to listen, catch vision, and crank out artwork. When I moved from Santa Barbara, CA to Exira, IA with my husband, I started experimenting with watercolor. Eventually I met Meg Gleason of Moglea and started working in her letterpress studio. She encouraged me to enter a Minted art challenge! I am so glad she did.

Did you study art formally in school?
I am self taught, but I would love to study children’s book illustration someday.

Where do you currently reside? 
I live in the rolling countryside of Exira, IA. The city is an hour from us, but I love almost everything about living in the middle of nowhere. Beautiful views, lots of space, quiet, gardening, horses in the pasture, kittens on the deck, deer in the timber, simplicity. It’s quite perfect out here!

Meet a Minted Artist: Natalie Groves

Can you share the schedule of a typical day in the life?
I am a new mother—our daughter Navine (rhymes with ‘pine’) is 11 months old—so my day consists of caring for my family, home, and property. I think the only constant is that my husband and I always go to bed at the same time together, and he reads Scandinavian folk and fairytales to me until I fall asleep.

What are some of your own “rules” for living + working?
I only paint when the house is clean and my daughter is sleeping… so not very often!

What was the best recent conversation you’ve had?
Any conversation with my little sister. She is a wise and incredibly funny young lady.

Please describe your last month in a word.
Mama

Can you share an as-of-yet unrealized project with us?
I just started painting pet portraits! (Ed. note: See a recent cat portrait in the collage above.)  You can watch the process unfold on Instagram (@meadowtogrove).

What are you serious about?
Loving my husband and daughter.

How do you balance work and family time?
I am still experiencing the new struggle of self-sacrifice for my daughter. There are days when I get overwhelmed because I want to accomplish something, but we do baby stuff all day instead. When she snuggles me or I get to see her do something new I forget about my crashing art career. That is a dramatic way of saying I am so grateful to stay home with her. She tips the balancing scale.

How do you encourage creativity in your own child?
Navine already enjoys making noise on several different instruments. We read piles of books, explore outside and share new experiences. I can’t wait for her to be able to hold a crayon! Then we can make art together.

Meet a Minted Artist: Natalie Groves

What medium(s) do you most enjoy working with?
A micron pen, a brown color pencil, and watercolor on hotpress watercolor paper. I also love working with Nupastel chalk.

When did you begin drawing and painting?
As soon as I could hold a pencil.

Is there a movement in art history that speaks to you?
Golden Age illustration. The line work is remarkable!

If you could sit down with any artist past or present, who would it be and where?
Beatrix Potter, in her home.

How do you approach your art?
Very quietly with a paintbrush. I like to sneak up on it.

How would your describe your artistic style?
Illustrative, scientific.

What do you do when you encounter artist’s block?
Clean the house or weed the garden.

What are you working on now?
Drawing the Belgian draft horse that currently resides in our pasture.

What are some of your favorite Minted pieces?
“All is Quiet” by Jenni Kupelian: I love the color palette and the subject. The Icelandic pony is so sweet and the landscape is serene.

“Landscape of Triangles and Dots” by Yao Cheng: I like the texture of Yao’s painting. To me, it looks like a forest of triangles. Every person who visits our home comments on how much they like her piece.

What does Minted mean to you as a working artist?
I am so thankful that Minted allows me to make a small living so that I can stay at home with our daughter and take care of our home and property. I spend about four hours a week painting! Barely anything! But because Minted does all the hard work, promotion, printing, shipping, and record keeping, I am able to paint and then sit back and enjoy my family and responsibilities.

Meet a Minted Artist: Natalie Groves

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

Inspiration
Who inspires you: My husband
Favorite place in the world: Home
Favorite color: Light ochre
Fashion idol: I wish I knew how to dress!
Favorite city: Santa Barbara, CA
Last stamp on your passport: Italy
Song in your head: “White Foxes” by Susanne Sundfør

Home
Favorite pieces of art in your home: “Cetti Warbler” and “The Night Bird Sings His Lullaby,” both commissioned pieces by UK-based artist Natasha Newton.
Stationery: Moglea
Pets: Cat
Favorite flowers: Hollyhocks, dahlias, zinnias, lilacs, peonies, and ranunculus
Favorite neighborhood restaurant: Chad and Meg Gleason’s house
Favorite drink: Mulled wine
Favorite snack: Frozen banana, peanut butter, milk smoothie


More from Natalie Groves:
• Natalie’s Minted Store
• Natalie’s Blog
Natalie’s Instagram
• Recent Julep post featuring Natalie: “Has anything ever scared you so much it inspired you?”

Photos: Some Kinda Golden; cat portrait is courtesy of Natalie Groves

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Meet a Minted Artist: Susie Allen

“Nothing is too pedestrian or too weird to experiment with,” says Susie Allen, the Eastman, Georgia, designer and illustrator who uses a variety of materials and a mashup approach to creating her playful, eclectic stationery and art.

A graphic designer for a small printing company by day and a freelance illustrator by night, Allen shares how watercolors, list-making, and even vegetables inspire her work.

Newspaper Sailboat” is Susie Allen’s first-place winner on Minted. “I really love combining type and illustration, and I’m happy with the way this one integrated the two,” she says.

Portraits of Susie Allen by Stephanie Shadden

When did you begin painting and drawing?
I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember, and I had a creative mom who supported me from the start. As a kid, I didn’t know what graphic design was, but I often gravitated toward projects that combined visual art and lettering. I made my own illustrated books and elaborate, crayon greeting cards for family members, with my own “logo” on the back with my initials, “LSA Greetings.”

Click through to learn more about Minted artist Susie Allen

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Does routine inspire or stifle your creativity?

When it comes to cultivating creative inspiration, it seems like there are two schools of thought: One, freeing the mind to let creativity happen when it happens, and two, scheduling yourself “creative thinking time” in order to make it happen.

Of course, there’s no “right” way to inspire creativity—it’s different for everyone—but there may be a best route for you. For this edition of #WhatInspiresMe, busy Minted artists Alexandra Nazari and Sarah Curry share how scheduling works for them.

Alexandra Nazari
Los Angeles
Minted Artist Store • alexnazari.xyz • Instagram: @AlexandraNazari

I think it’s a very romantic idea to think that artists don’t need some sort of routine. In practice, however, I’ve found that scheduling blocks of time is the best way for me to develop my work. I try to spend at least a few hours every other day at my studio. If I can’t make it there because I’m tired or unmotivated after a long day at my day job, I try to at least tackle some retouching or printing tasks. It’s sort of like working out—even if you can’t make it to the gym every day, there are still ample little ways to maintain your fitness.

If I’m on deadline and creatively stuck, I like to go for a long drive to clear my head. Also, turning off my cell phone is another great way to stay on task.

California Dreams” by Alexandra Nazari

Upside” by Alexandra Naziri


Sarah Curry
Santa Cruz, California
Minted Artist Store • Instagram: @sarahcurrydesign • Twitter: @pinksuitcase
Portraits of Sarah Curry by Blue Lace Photography 

I work full time as an art director, so I have to block out chunks of time during evenings and weekends to design stationery and work on other creative projects. My routine really depends on my available time and deadlines I have to meet.

On weekday evenings, after spending a good part of the day working on a computer, it really helps me to get outside to refocus and refuel my creative energy. On weekends when I have a little more time, I love experimenting with painting and photography, or grabbing my sketchbook and heading to the beach or a coffee shop. I feel like I get more ideas when I work on art that is tactile and exercises different parts of the brain. My Stamped Seashells fabric was the result of an experiment with seashells, sumi ink and kraft paper. Other experiments haven’t turned out as well but I always learn something in the process.

When time is limited or I’m trying to meet a deadline, it’s not uncommon for me to go straight to the computer to start designing or to work late into the night. These times can make for long days and lost sleep, but in the end I think it’s all worth it to do something I love.

Gilded Brush” Foil-Pressed Holiday Card by Sarah Curry

Stamped Seashell” Table Runner by Sarah Curry


How about you—does a scheduled routine inspire or stifle your creativity? Share your answer in Comments below and on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter with the hashtag #WhatInspiresMe. We feature some of our favorite social shares in our Minted Fine Arts newsletter.

READ MORE #WHATINSPIRESME
Has anything ever scared you so much it’s inspired you?
Who’s your biggest creative influence?
When you need a quick creative pick-me-up, what do you do?

Published November 9, 2015 • Learn how to become a Minted artist here.

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Meet a Minted Artist: Kamala Nahas

A series where we highlight a member of our Minted artist community. Featured this month: photographer Kamala Nahas, who lives with her family in lives in Camarillo, California.

Kamala Nahas has always loved snapping photos, but it wasn’t until a trip to Arizona’s Antelope Canyon in 2011 that something clicked. She came home inspired and enrolled in classes to hone her technique; two years later, Kamala started her own photography business. Here, the Southern California-based shutterbug shares a glimpse into her life, process, and inspiration.

How did you end up doing what you’re doing now?
I’ve loved snapping pictures for as long as I can remember, but I never took it seriously. About four years ago we took a family road trip to Lake Powell in Page, Arizona. I had just gotten a new camera and literally ditched my family to go on a six-hour photography tour in Antelope Canyon. This was the first time I completely immersed myself into photography and was smitten with the whole process. Looking back, that was the beginning for me. For years I’d taken pictures at holiday gatherings, on vacations, and at my kids’ school events. Even though people told me I “had an eye,” I think part of me was afraid of making a serious try at something I’d never really been trained to do. Brooks Institute is close to my home and they offer workshops for budding photographers. It’s nothing like attending the school itself, but participating in a few of the workshops in the years that followed the Antelope Canyon shoot allowed me to gain some technical knowledge and see how I stacked up. About two years ago I started a small portrait and event photography business: Tall Poppy Photography. I love it. Even though it’s been so much fun capturing special moments and connections between people, my heart has always been in nature and landscape photography. Last year, I finally got the courage to submit some photos to Minted and explore the more creative side of my work. I feel fortunate to be a part of this community and can’t wait to see what lies ahead.

Did you study photography formally in school?
Aside from six weeks of photography in community college and a workshop here and there, I’m self taught.

What are some of your own “rules” for living + working?
In all things:
Be Authentic
Stand Up For Yourself and Others
There’s Always More Than One Way
Take A Chance
Wing It
Get Lost, Get Messy, Sing Loudly, Dance

Please describe your last month in a word.
BIG

What are you serious about?
I’m super passionate about education and volunteer a good portion of my time in schools. I’m very serious about finding ways of reinventing our educational system to ensure our next generation is made up of thinkers, innovators, and makers with a global conscience. I’m also very serious about preparing grilled cheese sandwiches properly—crunchy on the outside, creamy in the middle, with a side of homemade tomato soup to dip the corners into.

What things will you never take seriously?
Road trips, chocolate, and mashed potatoes are all things that should never be taken seriously—even when they are bad, they are still good.

Please tell us about your family.
I’ve been married for twenty years to my first and only true love. We have three children. My oldest is my daughter Asha who is almost fifteen. She is my partner in crime and assists me in my business—I’m going to be pretty lost when she goes off to college in a couple years. My oldest son, Sassin, is twelve. He has a generous spirit and can generally be found playing soccer in real life or on the XBox. My youngest son is almost ten. His name is Samir and he is the character in the family. He is constantly building something or making something or experimenting with something or getting away with something. Our house is loud and messy, but we love each other a bunch and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Click through to read more from Minted artist Kamala Nahas

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Has anything ever scared you so much it inspired you?

Sometimes fear can be a good thing—in the sense that it can inspire you to take a risk or move in a new direction. For this edition of #WhatInspiresMe, we asked Lehan Veenker, Natalie Groves, and Annie Seaton to answer the question Has anything ever scared you so much it inspired you?

Lehan Veenker
Plainfield, Illinois

As strange as it may sound, the thought of not being able to stay at home with my kids scared me. My husband and I always knew that having one of us stay home with our kids was important to us. In order to make that happen, I needed to find a career that would allow me to work at home with kids, and neither of my former professions would allow the time and flexibility to make that a reality.

I have always been fond of art and design and stumbled upon Minted in 2008 when it was just starting. I decided to enter a couple of challenges and didn’t have any winning designs. In my mind, I completely failed to enter anything close to the caliber of designs already present at Minted. I was scared of failing again and missing this amazing opportunity to work at home with our then-future-now-present children, so I took a break to learn. I taught myself about Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, textures, typography—anything design-related that I could get my hands on. This self-teaching hiatus lasted about two years. In September 2010, I decided to give Minted another shot and actually had some winning designs in the wedding challenge that year.

From then on out, I continued to build my collection on Minted, which enabled me to stay at home with my kids. Even before they were born, my children were the catalyst of my graphic design career, and they continue to inspire me every day, as seen in works like my “Heritage Children” art print and my “Enjoy The Little Things” holiday design.

Heritage Children” by Lehan Veenker

Enjoy the Little Things” by Lehan Veenker


Natalie Groves
Exira, Iowa

One day my family and I were checking on our pumpkins, and we came across a giant garden spider! He had intricate yellow designs on his big black body. He was so spooky that we were in awe, and instead of smashing him, we let him be and visited him every time we entered the pumpkin patch (mostly because we didn’t want him to surprise us in a different location). His web became one of the “homes” featured in my latest painting for the A is for Art Challenge.

Our daughter Navine (rhymes with “pine”) loves to investigate new things with her little pointer finger. It’s so fun to teach her about the world, and I love that I can do that through illustration.

Homes” by Natalie Groves

Name Bearers” by Natalie Groves


Annie Seaton with two Two Venice Beach longboarders. (Photo by Sonja Schenk)

Annie Seaton
Sherman Oaks, California

That would be pretty much everything. Let’s start with my decision to get pregnant and have two kids. I was scared to let go of my career and allow myself to become a mother. I always tell my children they are my best creative project. I never anticipated they’d become my best muses.

One of the reasons I named my daughter Violet was after a favorite oil color “Quinachridone Violet.” I felt her name reflected my creative values. Now, some of my bestselling artworks and paintings are of Zac and Violet. I would have never guessed I would paint them, and documented their entire childhood through my lens and paintings.

Secondly, I took a risk and decided to be a full-time artist after raising them. I moved into my own art studio and exhibited in the U.S. and Canada. It was a scary risk to not go back to a traditional job, and years later my artworks are selling in my Minted Artist Store.

Lastly, I did return to work and ran a brand-new photo gallery from the ground up as its director. I was scared, because I didn’t know if I could handle it and be a mom at the same time. I built up its program from zero, curated bi-monthly exhibitions, threw major special events, and grew to a very significant place in the L.A. photo scene. I was scared but I told myself,  “Don’t think Annie—just do it.” And it was one of the best projects I ever did and I’m proud of every exhibition and all the artist friendships I’ve made there.

Zachary And Violet Oxnard I” by Annie Seaton  

Zach and Violet Intertube” by Annie Seaton


How about you—has anything ever scared you so much it inspired you? Share your answer in Comments below and on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter with the hashtag #WhatInspiresMe. We feature some of our favorite social shares in our Minted Fine Arts newsletter.

READ MORE #WHATINSPIRESME

Who’s your biggest creative influence?
When you need a quick creative pick-me-up, what do you do?
How has education inspired your creativity?

Published October 26, 2015 • Learn how to become a Minted artist here.

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Who is your biggest creative influence?

Friends, family, strangers, enemies, teachers, other artists. There are so many people who inspire artists—and sometimes without consciously realizing it. For this edition of #WhatInspiresMe, we asked Minted artists Naomi Ernest, Melissa Egan of pistols, and Alexandra Dzh to tell us who inspires them most.

Naomi Ernest
Ann Arbor, Michigan

My main sources of inspiration begin with my family. Growing up, my parents were both artists-on-the-side. By example, they instilled in me the idea that art is an everyday part of life. These days, my five kids are daily reminders of the importance of the creative process; their blithe, uninhibited approach is evident every time I watch them.

Recently I’ve also been reconnecting to my family history, creating work as homage to my copper mining ancestors and their life in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. And, of course, a passion for my local environment is always evident—the lakes, landscapes, and resources of my home state of Michigan provide constant connection and inspiration for colors, textures, and themes in my work.

Drift” by Naomi Ernest

December – Turquoise” by Naomi Ernest


Melissa Egan of Pistols
Portland, Oregon

One of my biggest creative influences is my husband, John. He’s a brilliant painter, curator, and craftsman who makes everything from furniture to movie props. He’s taught me so much about the importance of taking your time to make something right, paying attention to details, and staying true to your personal aesthetic instead of only following trends.

Gilded Trees” by pistols

Dipped Feathers” by pistols


Alexandra Dzh
Vienna, Austria

There are a lot of people who inspire me, but one of the biggest creative influences is Austrian illustrator Lisbeth Zwerger. In my opinion, the charm of her illustrations lies in her delicate watercolor style, the diversity and strength of her colors, her great perception for detail. Lisbeth’s delightful and lyrical pictures always serve me as powerful source of inspiration.

Flowers Everywhere” by Alexandra Dzh

Bouquet” by Alexandra Dzh


Who is your biggest creative influence? Share your answer in Comments below and on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter with the hashtag #WhatInspiresMe. We feature some of our favorite social shares in our Minted Fine Arts newsletter.

Need a quick creative pick-me-up? Read Minted artists’ solutions here.

Published September 28, 2015 • Learn how to become a Minted artist here.

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Meet a Minted Artist: Marta Spendowska

A series where we highlight a member of our Minted artist community. Featured this month: artist and illustrator Marta Spendowska, who is from Poland and currently lives in Green Bay, WI.

Growing up in communist Poland, Marta Spendowska loved the arts but never imagined an artistic career would be possible. After moving to the United States in 2005, however, her dream became reality—she was able to study and work in design, illustration, and fine art. Here, Marta shares a glimpse into her life as a working artist.

Marta Spendowska (VERYMARTA) Artist Profile

How did you end up doing what you’re doing now?
Actually, I really thought I’d be a writer but after living in the States for some time, I started to feel like an island—my Polish was useless here and my English was OK but not perfect at all. I grew up with an amateur painter (my father) and have painted all my life, and after moving here, I specifically made a commitment to communicate visually. I think the decision came from a point of sadness about losing that special gift of eloquence. If I think about it now, I almost feel that I came back to painting out of unhappiness. But it was my best decision. I studied design and worked at few agencies as a designer and art director, then eventually started my own design business. Two years later, I transitioned into illustration and, finally, fine art.

Where do you currently reside?
I’m in Green Bay, Wisconsin, right now due to my husband’s business, but we’re moving to South Carolina (hopefully Charleston) or North Carolina very soon.

Can you share the schedule of a typical day in the life?
I love my routines, actually. I get up and work out (HIIT—high intensity interval training) or skip rope for 20 minutes (to sweat off the dreams). Then I drink 20 ounces of water, set my podcasts, boil an egg, boil water and brew organic coffee, eat the egg (with onion, cucumber, and salt), feed my chipmunks, light two incenses, drink coffee while scrolling through Instagram, and I’m all set to go. I check my email and agenda, and divide my work into commission-based and a fine-art time slots. I like to bike for 45 minutes at least every other day and I read a lot to relax in-between working. Dinner at 6 p.m., in bed at midnight. My husband also has his own business so we both have very solitary jobs until 6–7 p.m.

What are some of your own “rules” for living and working?
I’ve always loved Björk, whose life, for me, is a perfect blend of incorporating art and work. I’m sure if I were a banker I would be miserable and I’d suffer being separated from my passions. My work spills into my life, my life spills into my work. There is no real life (or at least a fulfilling one) without my work and there is no work without my life—conscious, mindful, sometimes crazy, sometimes melancholic, but always interesting. I craft my life through working: painting, thinking, observing, feeling.

What does art mean to you?
Art is everything to me. I hope every piece I paint makes my collectors feel joyful and inspired every time they see it on their wall. This is the best job in the whole world.

What medium(s) do you most enjoy working with?
I’ve loved watercolor all my life. Oil paint in Poland used to be expensive and hard to get so I reached for watercolors. I’ve always enjoyed it’s fluid nature. I’m currently working in mixed media, making my own pigments and mediums, so my fine art is moving beyond watercolors.

When did you begin painting?
When I was a toddler. I don’t remember ever not painting and drawing. My mom always said she was very glad to have given birth to a girl who was never bored or moody—all I needed was a set of watercolors.

Is there a movement in art history that speaks to you?
It has to be Fauvism for Matisse and Abstract Expressionism for Lee Krasner and few others.

If you could sit down with any artist past or present, who would it be?
Virginia Woolf, Björk, Ewa Kuryluk.

What objects have been most significant to you lately?
I have a table at my home with old family pictures, notes from psychics or tarot readings, crystals, old Polish books. It’s a sacred corner.

Please describe your last month in one word.
Salt. (P.S. I’m writing these answers from Baltyk Sea in Poland where I’m staying until the end of September.)

Can you share an as-of-yet unrealized project with us?
A lot of my illustration work will finally see the light very soon—I work with many companies on their product lines and it always takes a long time to be released into the world. It’s mainly beauty brands hiring me for watercolor work. I’m also taking part in a three-person show this November at a Sacramento gallery, which excites me beyond belief.

What are you serious about?
My fine art career. Part of my focus is commercial illustration (I consider Minted one of my commercial illustration clients) and I love working on commissions for products and marketing campaigns, so this is important for sure. But I’m growing my fine art career right now, painting big and working on a noncommissioned-based work for galleries. I’m happy to say that my trajectory is rising fast.

How did you first hear about Minted? And when did you join?
I’m a Minted newbie. I joined during the last Domino challenge in October. I saw the call for submissions and noticed that a few of my colleagues were a part of Minted. Because Domino has always been one of my favorite magazines, I knew it was a perfect opportunity.

What do you enjoy most about being part of the Minted community?
The community! Since I joined I’ve connected with a lot of artists with similar careers, and we’ve created a sort of advisory group where we can discuss work with and outside of Minted. We share the ups and downs of the artistic career and it’s been amazingly fun and helpful.

Artist Profile: Marta Spendowska of VERYMARTA
Marta’s Favorite Things
We asked Marta to share her current favorite art, style, home décor inspirations.

Inspiration
Who inspires you: Currently Katarzyna Kobro (I’m reading her biography right now)
Favorite recent discovery: That I’m blessed—it’s a daily discovery.
Favorite city: Hopefully soon Charleston, SC  [ 1 ]
Favorite charity: Room to Read
Favorite movie: The sad and dark film The Hours directed by Stephen Daldry
Favorite colors: Fluorescent pink and orange. Maybe violet. But then also black and white.
Fashion idol: After watching the documentary Advanced Style, Debra Rapoport and Sarah-Jane Adams  [ 2 ]
Favorite place in the world: Baltyk Sea/Poland  [ 3 ]
Daily website read: I think it’s Instagram
Song in your head: Sia’s “Chandelier”
Favorite Instagram account: @themuseumofmodernart

Art
Favorite art supply store: Jerry’s Artarama
Favorite watercolor paints: Winsor & Newton or M. Grahams
Favorite brushes: From Poland  [ 4 ]
Favorite artist: Henri Matisse and Jenny Saville
Favorite works of art: Right before my trip to Poland I saw Modern Rebels exhibition at the Milwaukee Art Museum and I loved seeing Lee Krasner’s “Milkweed” [ 5 ]. I have to say, nothing compares to seeing works in a museum instead of on a laptop screen.

Home
Favorite pieces of art in your home: Old Catholic crosses from Lwòw—my grandfather gave them to my father, who gave them to me.
Stationery: I create my own line of greeting cards and I must say—I love them!  [ 6 ]
Pets: My dachshund Tapsiu and very soon my father’s Maltese CoCo
Favorite flowers: Wild plants
Favorite gadgets: My iPhone. Always and forever.
Favorite neighborhood restaurant: Z Harvest Cafe in Green Bay
Favorite drink: Chocolate smoothies made by my husband or red wine
Coffee-table book: My own—I made a book interspersed family pictures with my illustrations and gave them to family members as gifts.
Favorite snack: 1 chopped tomato, 1 chopped onion, 1 chopped avocado, olive oil, lots of balsamic vinegar, salt, and cracked pepper.
What’s in your Netflix queue? I cannot wait for the new season of Bates Motel! Also, these are awaiting me in my queue: The Grand Budapest Hotel, Still Alice, and a lot of old French movies.

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When you need a quick creative pick-me-up, what do you do?

Creative funks happen to the best of us, but overcoming them oftentimes inspires a whole new direction. Here, Minted artists Joni Tyrrell, Andi Pahl, and Jennifer Postorino share their most reliable creative pick-me-ups.

Joni Tyrrell with her son, Kingston

Joni Tyrrell
North Liberty, Iowa

Take a break! It’s so easy as a creative business owner to get caught up in working all the time and forgetting to find balance between work and family life. I’m just starting to figure out a balance, and I find that when I turn to the two most important people in my life—my husband and son—that downtime can really trigger a creative thought or idea and I can come back to “work” feeling refreshed and excited about new things.

Joni with her dog, Maverick (“A female with a boy name,” she says.)

Pining for Pineapple by Joni Tyrrell


Andi Pahl
Columbus, Ohio

Music—from show tunes to ’80s pop to Jenny Lewis and everything in between—is a great creative pick-me-up. I also enjoy taking ballet classes, so whether it’s an hour-long class or a short plié relevé combination in my living room to get the blood pumping, working out can be very helpful.

One of my favorite creative pick-me-ups is coffee and collaborating with a creative friend, like Alaina from Cheer Up Press. Since inspiration seems to hit me at the most random times, I keep several journals. When I’m at a total loss for ideas, I consult one of my journals for creative inspiration. There’s always a surprising idea that I wrote down at some earlier point and forgot about later. When all else fails, I just start painting or sketching without any prior plan or expectations.

I’m Frond Of You No. 2” by Andi Pahl

Reflections Watercolor by Andi Pahl


Jenny Postorino and her daughter, Quinn. Photo by Ashley Mauro Photography

Jennifer Postorino
Dayton, Ohio

It’s pretty simple for me. I just walk away from whatever I am doing and see what’s going on in the world around me. I’ll run to grab an iced coffee from Starbucks or a sweet treat from our local bakery—I’m a total sucker for iced sugar cookies and cupcakes! Lately I’ve been hitting the gym for a butt-kicking crossfit session every day (which is my newest obsession, or necessity, based on my love of cookies).

But, honestly, most of the time I find myself just hanging out with my two kiddos, being a typical mom. The things that come out of their little mouths crack me up, and I find inspiration in them every day. It could be anything from hearing my 3-year-old sing Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” in the car at the top of her lungs to playing outside and listening to my son ramble on about how he thinks he has a huge head while shooting hoops. Oddly enough, it’s in those little moments when creativity strikes, and I feel recharged again and ready to work.

Glimmer” by Jennifer Postorino

Bundle of Joy” by Jennifer Postorino


What do you do when you need a quick creative pick-me-up? Share your answer in Comments below and on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter with the hashtag #WhatInspiresMe.

How does education—formal and informal—shape your creative work? Read about Minted artists’ experiences here.

Learn how to become a Minted artist here.

Published September 14, 2015

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How Has Education Inspired Your Creativity?

Back-to-school season has got us thinking about how education inspires creativity. For this edition of #WhatInspiresMe, Minted artists Taleen Bedikian, Lori James, and Kaydi Bishop think back to their college days.

Taleen Bedikian
Torrance, California

“I love being surrounded by creative thinkers and even non-creatives who question the whole. When I was first majoring in Fine Art, my professor opened my eyes to the idea of gestalt, reminding me to step back and really look at what I am seeing. It’s the whole that we see that really moves us. Having learned this, I like to test myself when tackling projects, which usually means tilting my head, squinting, or backing up to assure that my work feels good as a whole. It’s just something that has stuck with me through the years, and I like to think it helps.”

Lounge-1” by TRB Design

There’s Always Hope” by TRB Design


Lori James of guess what?
Honolulu, Hawaii

“At Honolulu Community College, I had a very inspiring professor named Harrison ‘Bud’ Brooks who really spurred my passion for design. He stressed the importance of knowing the basics and instilled an ethic of discipline and hard work. He challenged us to seek out good design and analyze the underlying elements—composition, layout, typography, etc.—to understand what made it successful. He also taught us never to be complacent, but to continue to learn and grow and evolve as artists. Mr. Brooks definitely had a huge impact on who I am as a designer, and I’m so thankful to have had him as a mentor.”

Petit Monsieur” by guess what?

Snow Time Like the Holidays” by guess what?


Kaydi Bishop
San Francisco

“With a background in interior design and architecture, I find myself inevitably inspired by everything from the uncommon moulding detail to ancient tile patterns. In college, I had the opportunity to study in Florence, Italy, consequently studying many of these details first hand. After college, I was fortunate to travel throughout Asia and the Mid East for my job. Everywhere I turned, I found myself photographing inspiring patterns, materials, color combinations, etc. The education I receive from traveling continues to serve as my main source of inspiration to this day.”

Brushed Casablanca” pillow by Kaydi Bishop

The Half Shell” by Kaydi Bishop


How has—or does—learning and education inspire your creativity? Share your answer in Comments below and on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter with the hashtag #WhatInspiresMe.

#WhatInspiresMe is published every other Monday. This is the fourth edition; read the third edition here.

Published August 31, 2015 • Learn how to become a Minted artist here.

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