Minted Artists Connect Over Art and Community in Seattle

Photos by Lela Wulson

On August 11, Minted artists from around the Seattle area and as far away as Vancouver, Canada (Kelly Schmidt) met with CEO Mariam Naficy to connect in person with the people they’ve come to know well in the global creative online community.

Organized by Jan Kessel, the Minted Artist Seattle Meetup was one of Minted’s largest to date, bringing together nearly 20 artists. The artists met in the early evening at General Porpoise Doughnuts, a Capitol Hill coffee and doughnuts shop that moonlights by evening as an event space. Over conversation ranging from Minted Design Challenges to creative passion, they enjoyed wine and hors d’oeuvres catered by Bar Melusine, part of the Renee Erickson collection of restaurants.

Pictured from left: Catherine Hubert, Melanie Biehle, Minted CEO Mariam Naficy, Kelly Schmidt, Bri Davey, Sara Johnson, Allison Kincaid, Kelly Johnston, and Rachel Nanfelt of Alethea and Ruth. Rachel gave birth to a baby boy a few days after the meetup!

Jan said that although some of the artists were a bit nervous upon arrival, that feeling quickly evaporated. “Everyone shared details about their lives, both inside and outside of art and Minted,” the Bellingham, Washington, photographer said. “It was really interesting to hear everyone’s stories, what else they did in life, work, motherhood, and how participating in Minted was a priority.”

From left: Maria Estigoy of Arden Reed, Candice Leigh, and Jan Kessel

Jan said Mariam shared interesting stats about how Minted’s community critiquing system helps everyone achieve better designs and scores. The recent Spaces and Places Art Challenge was the first in which Jan actively participated in critiquing, both in asking for others’ help, and in offering my help to those who ask. “I found it deeply rewarding to help and be helped, and I really think my work is better for it. I learned from others who may see something slightly differently that I do,” she said.

“As the artist, you stare at something so long that it’s easy to lose perspective. The critique helps with fresh eyes, and a fresh point of view.”

Brandy Brown of Marabou Design and Melanie Biehle

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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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8 Tips for Pricing Your Commissioned Original Art for Minted

For customers seeking unique original art, photography, and design, we’ve launched Minted Commissioned Original Art (BETA), a new program that is limited to U.S. consumers and Minted artists during our initial beta period.

Minted believes in protecting the value of artists’ work and creating a marketplace that will help independent artists thrive. To prevent a pricing race to the bottom, we’ve set a minimum price of $75 per commission. Our independent community of artists create a variety of styles, mediums, formats, and with that comes varying prices. Artists set their own price for Commissioned Original Art (BETA) projects. Please keep in mind that artists keep 80% of the price quote and Minted retains 20%. Your price quotes must include shipping costs.

Pictured above: Lauren Rogoff is a Minted Artist who specializes in custom pet portraits. She posted this photo of herself on her Instagram, @wanderinglaur, during a Minted press event in New York in July 2016.

How Does Pricing Work in Commissioned Original Art?
Minted artists will set an estimated price or price range for various sizes (S-L) and complexities (Simple-Complex) of projects you will have available for commission. You will not set a final price for a project until you discuss the project with the client and agree on the scope. By this time, you’ll also know the estimated size/weight of the finished product and the shipping address, so you’ll be able to accurately estimate and account for the insured shipping costs. You may also need to include any sales tax in the price depending on the state where you live, and the location of the customer.

Based on the photo she received of her client’s French bulldogs above, Lauren Rogoff created this pet portrait.

What’s the Right Price for My Work?
If you’re looking for a one-size-fits-all formula for pricing commissioned work, you might not find one. But after interviewing several experienced commissioned artists, we’ve identified common threads for best practices. Here are eight tips to help you find your pricing sweet spot.

1. Do Your Research to Get a Ballpark Figure
When initially thinking about your price range for commissioned work, it’s helpful to get a sense of the market on other sites, especially for your particular style and medium. “You don’t want to charge $10 or $1,000 when your competitors are at $500,” says Lauren Rogoff, a Minted artist who specializes in animal and pet portraits. “Even if your work is distinct stylistically, it helps to know what customers are spending.”

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How to Ship Commissioned Original Art

When it comes to best practices for shipping Commissioned Original Art (BETA), we knew exactly who to contact for advice: Rich Baiardi. As Minted’s Vice President of Manufacturing Supply Chain, he’s an expert in shipping all of Minted’s assortment products in the safest way possible.

Before we dive into the Q&A with Rich, please keep in mind that during the beta period, we are limiting Commissioned Original Art to U.S. customers, so our tips are based on domestic shipping methods. Also remember that you must insure Commissioned Original Art and require the customer’s signature upon delivery. We highly recommend that you confirm the customer’s shipping address and message the tracking number to the customer once you’ve shipped the order.

How can I protect small unframed art, design, and photography?

Rich Baiardi: For a initial layer of protection, I recommend placing art in a plastic bag, which you can order at clearbags.com.

Then sandwich with cardboard chip mailers (.03 thickness) — one piece on each side.

If the art is small (anything up to 11’ x 14’), the best thing to do is ship in a flat mailer, which you can purchase from ULINE. The cardboard makes the packaging stiffer and helps to prevent damage if it’s bent during the shipping process.

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Austin Artists Cool Off Over Sangria and Laughs

In early July, Minted Artists met up in downtown Austin for a casual get-together over cocktails and snacks at Irene’s, a new bar and restaurant recommended by Austin artist Melanie Pavao. Artists took a break from the scorching Texas heat to bond over the local art scene, their experience with Minted, and their favorite creative websites and resources.

        Top row from left: Melissa Reese, Heidi Miller Lowell, and Amanda Guerassio.
Bottom row from left: Melanie PavaoCarol SchiraldiSarah Luna, Kathy Van Torne, and Christina Loff.

“I especially appreciate the intimate, human connection that we all experienced through meeting each other in person — it has literally made my Minted world come alive,” Sarah Luna told us after the meetup. Austin artists are already making plans to hang out again.

Our very nice waiter from Irene’s helping us jump-start Heidi’s car, with a very happy Heidi.

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New Minted Artists Talk Swimming and Nordic Design

Every month we welcome some of our newer Minted artists to the community in the Welcome Wagon series. Hop on and learn some fun facts about Roberta Pinna, Thuy DoAlice Galeotti, and Chloe Chung.

Roberta Pinna
New York and Milano, Italy

Website and Instagram: www.robertapinna.com, @robertapinnaart

My first winning design for Minted: “Duet

What’s been your favorite part of the Minted experience so far?
As a professional artist, I find Minted an excellent and unique platform to share my deep love for art and design with other artists and designers. We find exposure and support in the same environment. Everything is so fresh and joyful and, at the same time, exciting and challenging. Also, and most important, professionalism is a keyword in this context. I really feel part of an artist community. It is definitely real life and not only a mere digital experience.

If you could have dinner with any artist living or dead, who would you invite and why?
Robert Ryman. His use of white color for me represents perfection. His paintings are masterpieces of perfection.

A lot of your work features divers, what is the inspiration and story behind that subject for you?
I was born on an island called Sardegna, the second largest in the Mediterranean sea. I learned how to swim before I could walk. My passion for divers is related to my passion for water. In my works all swimming performances synthesize life—we all can do our best by turning a fall into a flight.

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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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Behind the Design: “Modern Marble” Wedding Invitation

Vancouver-based Minted designer Kelly Schmidt shares the vision and creative process behind her elegant, swirl-patterned wedding invitation “Modern Marble.”

Marble Wedding Invitation

What was the inspiration behind this wedding invitation?
I wanted to design something classic but modern. I envisioned a piece that was artistic and painterly, yet sophisticated and chic. I had been playing around with marbled paper patterns for a while, in borders and backgrounds for different concepts. Through some experimentation I flipped from flat colour to foil and was immediately inspired.

Describe your creative process – from initial idea to end result.
When inspiration strikes, I usually start brainstorming and making lists, trying to get all of my ideas down on paper in a messy mind map of writing and small, simple thumbnails. I narrow down my ideas and create loose inspiration boards and notes, drawing from all types of sources: art, photography, interiors, colour palettes, patterns, and textures.

I am typically working on more than one project at a time and I hop around between them, which means I’m getting inspiration and influences from different places and applying them in ways I might not expect at the outset. I am all about experimentation and happy accidents with unexpected results. I use Photoshop and Illustrator heavily through this trial and error phase, saving many different ideas. It’s common for me to use hand-drawn or hand-crafted elements, which I manipulate digitally, sometimes extensively so. I go on feeling a lot, with what feels right. My end results are often drastically different from my original idea.

Describe the couple that might choose this invitation for their wedding.
While I was working on this design, I envisioned a professional, creative couple who frequent art galleries, cultural events and concerts. They are well traveled and adventurous with strong, traditional values. I imagine the wedding as a sophisticated and elegant event, with rustic greenery, a muted palette and soft romantic lighting.

What wedding trends do you love right now?
I love how weddings have become an opportunity for couples to create an event that is unique and filled with personal touches that make the day extra special. I love seeing all the different ways couples are incorporating metallic details into their weddings to make it their own. It adds a touch of elegance and can mix with any style; vintage, black tie or rustic.

I can’t talk about trends without talking about food and drink! Classic cocktails are at the top of my list. I love a good Manhattan, Old Fashioned or Mint Julep. We had a classic cocktail menu at our wedding and everyone loved it! Family style receptions are something I am really excited about. I love this way of eating (I can never decide what to eat because I like to try everything!) and I love that it’s becoming popular for weddings.

What were some challenges you faced while designing this invitation?
I wanted a classic design and started out with very traditional serif typefaces, but then decided to experiment more with the type, mixing things up to create something more modern. I was torn on which direction to go. I always tweak and push my designs until all the elements feel right. The hard part is trusting that what I’m feeling in that moment will resonate with others as well (and that I will still like it the next day!).

Tell us about your workspace.
I often do my messy process work on the dining room table where I can spread out. If I’m doing production work, it’s more flexible so sometimes I’ll work at a smaller desk in our den, or go out to a local pub or coffee shop if I feel like I need a change in scenery. We just moved this past year so we are also working on turning one of our small rooms upstairs into a studio space where I can be a bit more messy with paint and exploration.

How did you start designing for Minted?
I had been following Minted online for a few years while considering the launch of my own wedding stationery line. I was curious but felt intimidated about entering challenges, because of the high caliber of work. Once I started entering challenges I learned how open, inclusive and supportive the community is, and I am so grateful to be a part of Minted.


More from Kelly Schmidt:
Kelly’s Minted Store
Kelly’s Instagram

More from Minted:
• Wedding Invitations
• Save the Date Cards
• Wedding Websites

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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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Perfect Match Award Roundup: Special Prizes

Announcing the special prize winners for our Perfect Match Awards! Our customers love that they can choose matching Minted Envelope designs that carry the theme of the invitation through to the envelope. These awards are for the most creative envelope designs that add something extra special to the invitations they accompany. A huge congrats to all the winners and runners-up!

The Most Wonderful Time 2015 Holiday Card Challenge
Merrily Matching Award


Everlasting Love Save the Date Challenge
Perfect Match Award

Suite Love Wedding Invitation Challenge
Perfect Match Award

Great Expectations Baby Shower Invitation Challenge
Perfect Match Award

Sweet Celebrations Kids’ Birthday Party Invitation Challenge
Perfect Match Award

Imagery created by Leah Conroy
Perfect Match Awards will be announced as a roundup twice a year. 
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