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.

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!

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

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


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


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!


Meet a Mintie: Penelope Poppy

Name: Nicole Armstrong
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Years with Minted: 4
Expertise: Watercolor style marker with black line art
Occupation: Elias/Savion Advertising Graphic Designer and Mintie

When did you first realize you wanted to be a designer?
Since I was little, I loved to color and draw. My mom would tell you it all started when I won my first coloring contest when I was 4 years old. It was a Christmas contest, and I won a teddy bear wearing a Santa hat. After receiving the bear, I immediately cut his hat off and thought it would look better on me, though it was too small. I still have “Teddy” (I know, so original), sans hat, to this day!

Throughout my grade school and high school years,, I took every art class there was.
I wasn’t really familiar with “design,” but I knew I loved being creative. Turns out, I was pretty good at it.


Meet a Mintie: Cadence Paige Design

Name: Paige Rothhaar
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Years with Minted: 4
Expertise: Layers of detail and inspired whimsy.
Occupation: Graphic Design Professional at Fahlgren Mortine, Mintie, Mother to two.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a designer?
I went into college with the notion of becoming a nutritionist but as soon as I realized how much chemistry was involved, I quickly changed my major to art education. It wasn’t until I had finished a study abroad in Italy that I realized that my future might be in graphic design. We had to keep a sketchbook/journal to receive credit for the course. We were expected to do studies of famous architecture and works by the great masters, but I was more fascinated by the details that usually go unnoticed in the art history world. I sketched intricate patterns that were hammered into Roman armor, geometric shapes on Etruscan vases, even patterns found on the coffins of Egyptian mummies. I also drew various coats of arms you’d see on buildings around Florence, which were basically an early form of branding for wealthy families. When I turned in my sketchbook at the end of the trip, my professor thought that I might really enjoy graphic arts and suggested I make it my concentration. Her instincts were right and that’s exactly what I did the following semester.