“Joy to the Work” Holiday Challenge: Guest Judge’s Pick

This holiday season, companies across the country will be on the hunt for the perfect card to send to their customers and partners. So, we asked our Minted community of artists to dream up fresh, original holiday-card designs for businesses and corporations, and the results are in!

We were thrilled when Sophia Amoruso, founder of the online retailer Nasty Gal, signed up to be a guest judge for our “Joy to the Work” challenge. After all, who better to weigh in on holiday cards for the corporate world than one of our favorite #GIRLBOSSES? Sophia’s favorite? “Blooming Year” by lulu and isabelle.

Corporate Holiday Card Ideas | Minted and Nasty Gal Blooming Year” by lulu and isabelle

“I love the hand-drawn feel and colorful elements!”
—Sophia Amoruso, founder and CEO, Nasty Gal

Congratulations, lulu and isabelle! Check out more corporate and busineess holiday-card designs here and click through below to see more prize-winning holiday cards from this year’s collection.

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Holiday Photo Card Challenge: Special Prizes

It’s Minted’s biggest and most influential stationery challenge of the year the annual Holiday Card Challenge! Our customers say that their jaws drop when they get a Minted card in the mail. That’s exactly the effect we were looking for from you, our immensely talented Minted Community, and wow did you deliver! A huge congrats to all the winners!  

This year, for the first time ever, we announced the First Time Winner Holiday Collection Award. We awarded an artist with the opportunity to launch a line of holiday cards on Minted.com to a designer who has never won a Minted challenge before.

Congrats, Colleen Tracey! We will choose 2 more holiday card designs from Colleen for a total collection of 5 holiday cards launched on Minted.

For the funniest card that just makes you laugh
Uh Oh” by Genna Coswert

For the most unconventional, unique design in the challenge that you couldn’t find on any other site. This design exemplifies the kind of design risk-taking Minted is looking for.
Popstract Multi” by Sydney Newsom

For the card that uses clever wording to reinvent typical holiday greetings
Forever Young” by Carrie O’Neal

For the best design that showcases multiple photos our customers often can’t pick just one!
Photo Booth Filter” by Olivia Kanaley

Click through for more special prize winners from this year’s holiday photo card challenge

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How to Merchandise Your Artist Store for the Holidays

By Amy Schroeder

Now that you can curate your Minted Artist Store using Merchandising Tools to shape the look and feel of your artist brand, developing a merchandising plan is one of the first priorities to help you prepare for the Minted.com 2015 holiday sales season.

First Things First: Organize Your Tabs

If you already have a great number of holiday card designs and other holiday-themed products in your Store, we recommend organizing them into a “Holiday” section, and moving that section tab to the far left, just after your Home section (learn how in this FAQ). If you have a large assortment of products that make for great gifts, you may want to create a separate section tab called “Holiday Gifts.”

lulu and isabelle’s Minted Artist Store

Merchandising Your Featured Products and Sections

Merchandising varies for every Minted artist, and we recommend identifying a manageable number of key products that you want to promote most. Your Featured Products could be a combination of your top-selling products (or top-voted new products) and particularly unique designs that make a statement about you as an artist.

If you don’t have any Design Challenge–winning holiday cards, you may want to self-launch non-custom cards. (Learn more about self-launch products in Minted Designer FAQs, and remember that all self-launch products are non-customizable by customers.) If you have dozens of holiday-themed designs and cards or a series of giftable products, position your best eight products at the very top of your Holiday section.

To help you create your merchandising plan for the holiday shopping season, Minted’s merchandising leaders share their insights and predictions for the 2015 holiday season.

Radiant Joy” Foil-Pressed Holiday Cards by Olivia Raufman

Hot in Holiday Cards: Traditional Reds and Nontraditional Greetings

Get ready to show your cards. The prime sales season for holiday cards begins the last week of October and starts to peak the week of Black Friday (November 27) and Cyber Monday (November 30), followed by a decline in mid-December, says Rose Shattuck, General Manager of Minted Stationery.

Recommended Holiday Cards to Spotlight in Minted Artist Stores

  • Custom is king. Customizable (challenge-winning) holiday cards will be in highest demand. Customers want to upload their own photo, family name, annual letter, and more. You should also feel free to self-launch and promote non-customizable non-photo holiday cards with genericized greetings for the customer who wants something simple and beautiful without spending any time on customization.

  • Red-y for the holidays. We find that many Minted customers gravitate toward holiday cards with red hues. That is, unless they’re shopping for Hanukkah cards or corporate holiday cards, in which case blues or neutrals are better.

  • Spice up the season’s greetings. Customers love holiday cards featuring unique messages, so we recommend featuring original takes on the standard “Happy Holidays” and “Merry Christmas.”

  • Just about all styles are equal. No one holiday card style sells better than another. “Minted customers enjoy the full range of styles from traditional/classic, to whimsical, to modern, and edgy,” Rose says.

fa la la la” holiday photo cards by baumbirdy

Minted’s Top 6 Most Giftable Holiday Products

  1. Minted Art and Custom Art. “Art in which customers upload their own photos is an extremely popular gift during the holiday season,” says Ashley Ganz, Director of Merchandising for Holiday and Gifts. (Download the self-launch art print template here.)

  2. Personal stationery—especially foil-pressed. “Foil is always a top seller, so if you have a foil-pressed design in your Store, we recommend featuring it at the top,” Ashley says. (Download self-launch stationery templates here.)

  3. Wrapping paper (custom and non-custom) and gift tags (Download the self-launch wrapping paper template here and self-launch minicards template here.)

  4. 2016 calendars

  5. Notebooks, Day Planners, and Address Books. (Download the self-launch notebook template here.)

  6. Wedding products. “Don’t forget about wedding,” Ashley says. “The holiday season is the most popular time of year to get engaged, and Google searches for ‘save the dates’ spike the first week of December.” If you have a number of weddings products, you may want to position wedding products up high in your Home section or create a Weddings section.

Evergreen Wrapping Paper” by Oscar & Emma

This is the first article in our 2015 Minted Holiday Playbook, a one-month program designed to teach artists how to better merchandise, market, sell their work. The next article will be published on in the Community>Resources section of Julep on October 6.

Minted’s 7 Tips for Creating a Unique Artist Brand
Minted Artist Stores Merchandising Tools Tutorial Video
Minted Self-Launch Templates
The Essential Checklist for Minted Artist Stores


Published October 1, 2015

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Winter Wonderland Holiday Card Challenge: Special Prizes

We took out the eggnog for our non-photo holiday card challenge! This is a fun challenge that Minted artists typically enjoy, because it allows their talents as a designer to shine, whether they are an artist, illustrator, typographer or graphic designer. We were looking to help customers express a broad range of styles; there is no one Minted “look”. Our artists had fun, took risks, and designed holiday cards that they would be excited to send themselves. Congratulations to all our special prize winners and runners-up!

For the most innovative non-photo holiday card that best exemplifies design risk-taking,
while still conveying the cheer and spirit of the holiday season

Reindeer Love” by Cass Loh

Runners-Up (below): “All I Want Is” by Magdalena Earnest | “Year: The Board Game” by Betta

For the best holiday card that also announces a recent move
Decking New Halls” by Peridot Design

Runners-Up (below): “Home” by Lori Wemple | “Zola” by Chocomocacino

For the design that best reinvents the “annual letter,” in which
families share major milestones from their year

Annual Highlights” by Shirley Lin Schneider

Runner-Up (below): “Seasonal Update” by Jessie Steury

Keep reading for more special prize winners

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Minted Holiday Playbook for Artist Stores 2015

We designed the Holiday Playbook to teach artists how to better market, sell, and merchandise their work during the winter holiday season, but the advice can be applied for other seasons as well. The following is a list of educational articles featuring advice from Minted leaders, external experts, and top talent in the Minted community.

Tips & Advice on Julep

More Resources for Building Your Minted Artist Store

Stay tuned for examples of stellar Stores, such as Carrie O’Neal’s Minted Artist Store.

What is a Minted Artist Store?

We’re glad you asked. Artist Stores are relatively new to Minted.com, the design marketplace connecting consumers with the world’s best artists to create something one of a kind.

All artists who win a Minted Design Challenge automatically win a Store.

The benefits of Minted Artist Stores:

  • Focus on what you love—we’ll take care of the rest. Use Minted’s world-class manufacturing and fulfillment platform to produce your art, stationery, and home decor creations.

  • In addition to your Challenge-winning products, you can self-launch non-custom products to your Store, and we handle the printing, framing, shipping, etc.

  • Build a branded presence on Minted to showcase your work and promote your personalized URL via your social media and other marketing materials.

  • When you win Challenges, your winning product will be displayed in the main Minted assortment and your name will be linked to your new Store. Your Store will automatically contain your winning products and you can also self-launch as many other products as you like. Note that your self-launch products will not appear in the main Minted assortment.

Learn more about Minted Artist Stores and self-launching products, including art prints, stationery, fabric, and notebooks.


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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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Very First Digital Invitation Challenge: Special Prize Winners

Minted’s customers have been asking for the same high quality design from you, the Minted Community, in digital form – and we can’t wait to offer this product at the end of October! Customers lean towards digital instead of paper for more casual and short-lead events like dinner parties, smaller holidays, and non-milestone birthday parties. We care a great deal about creating more opportunity for you, and digital invitations will present a chance for your designs to serve many more occasions and reach many more customers. Congratulations to all our special prize winners and runners-up!

For the best design that puts names or customizable 
information on a curvilinear path
Shark Attack Pool Party” by iamtanya

Runners-Up: “Passover This Year” by Laura Bolter Design | “Tippling Bacherlorette” by Shari Margolin | “Congrats, Graduate” by Ann Gardner

 For the best dinner party design
Chalkboard Dinner Party” by Laura Bolter Design

Runners-Up: Fresh Linen” by Pistols | “Red Plate Special” by Morgan Ramberg
Bon Appetit!” by Jennifer Wick 

For the best cocktail party design
Let’s Get Saucy” by The Detroit Card Co.

Runners-Up: Cocktails & Conversation” by Morgan Ramberg | “Glam Cocktail Party” by Kelly Schmidt | “Mod Cocktail” by Keen Peachy

For the best design for bachelorette parties,  
rehearsal dinners, or engagement parties
Engagement Cocktails and Music” by Bonjour Paper

Runners-Up: Hairdo” by Anna Elder | “Truffle” by chocomocacino
Soft Bouquet” by Jessica Williams

For the best design for a grownup birthday party  
Roaring 20s Birthday Bash” by Leah Bisch

Runners-Up: “Big Numbers” by Cheer Up Press | “Sneaky Surprise” by Jessie Steury
Quirky Surprise” by Up Up Creative

For the perfect birthday party invitation for an older boy or girl aged 13-18 
Chic Balloons” by Melanie Severin

Runners-Up: “Sweetest Sixteen” by Phrosne Ras | “Sunset Sweet” by Lindsay Megahed
Age Appropriate” by Kimberly FitzSimons

For the best design for a birthday party invitation for a boy aged 8-12 
Laser Tag” by Lori Wemple

Runners-Up: Wheels” by Bonjour Berry | “Kiddo Campout” by Leah Bisch
All Star” by Peetie Design

For the best birthday party invitation for a girl aged 8-12
Mani Pedi” by Carrie O’Neal

Runners-Up: Scoop” by Carrie O’Neal | “Karate + Cake” by Up Up Creative
Tasty Type” by Jessie Steury

For the best design for a graduation party from 
high school, college, or any other school 
Hats Off Graduation” by Frooted Design

Runners-Up: “Hats Off to the Grad” by Sara Showalter | “Painted Graduate” by Erin Deegan

For the best design for a children’s or grownup’s Valentine’s Day part 
Valentine’s Day Cocktails” by Jessica Ogden

Runners-Up: “Heart Profusion” by Up Up Creative | “Lovestruck Potluck” by Jessica Booth
XO Bites” by SimpleTe Design

 For the best invitation to an Easter Egg hunt, bunch, or other Easter party
Easter Bouquet” by Jennifer Wick

Runners-Up: “Dip Dyed Eggs” by Stacey Meacham | “The Big Hunt” by Peony Papeterie
Easter Parade” by Chris Griffith

For the best invitation to a St. Patrick’s Day party
Pot-O-Luck St. Patricks Feast” by Bask In Design

 Runners-Up: Luck of the Irish” by Carly Reed | “Wear Green” by Leah Bisch
Shamrock Party” by Sarah Brown

For the best invitation to a Mother’s Day brunch 
Garden Burst Mother’s Day Brunch” by Erin McManness

Runners-Up: Mother’s Day Garden Brunch” by Hooray Creative | “Mason Jar Brunch” by Olivia Raufman | “Brunch Leaves” by Katharine Watson

For the best invitation to a Father’s Day brunch 
Father’s Day Cookout” by Dulce Dahlia


Runner-Up: World’s Best Dad” by Itsy Belle Studio


Images created by: Leah Conroy 


Guest Judge Awards will be announced at a later date.

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Top 10 Tips for Curating Your Minted Artist Store

There’s an art to curation, and it’s about more than merely placing art and designs where they look best.

When it comes to successfully organizing an online storefront, one of the most important things you can do is put yourself in the consumer’s shoes. Ask yourself, “What are consumers looking for?” “How can I make a good first impression?” and “What’s the best way for me to position my product offerings?”

Minted Artist Store Merchandising Tools allow artists to fully curate their Minted Artist Stores. You can spotlight Featured Products, create custom sections, and mix and match products by changing the order in which they’re displayed.

If you’re ready for curation advice and strategy, you’ve come to the right place. For technical instructions on using Merchandising Tools, read our “How can I curate my Store?” FAQ and watch this instructional video.

1. Identify Your Goals
Defining your goals will help you develop a business and marketing strategy—and asking yourself questions is a good way to get your thoughts on paper (or, on screen). For example, do you want to position your top-selling products front and center? Would you like consumers to view your Christmas and Hannukah products during the holiday shopping season? Do you want to rebrand yourself with a new creative direction via your self-launch products? Or perhaps you’d like to draw attention to your latest Minted Design Challenge–winning designs?

Whatever your goals are, we recommend writing them down. Keep your objectives at the forefront of your mind as you’re curating your Store—they’ll help inform your decisions for all of our following advice.

2. Focus on Featured Products
Think of Featured Products as your premium real estate—it’s one of the first things consumers will see when they visit your Store Home. Positioned up top, Featured Products are the first row of four products, within a carousel of up to 12 products.

When it comes to curating your Featured Products, keep your goals and business strategy in mind. You can change the assortment for the appropriate season or promote products that complement each other stylistically—it’s up to you.

Rachel Nanfelt of Alethea and Ruth thinks of the Featured Products section as a sort of mini collection. “There are so many possibilities—a seasonal collection, a specific product collection, a type of art technique,” she says.

“Featured Products” is merely the default language. You may rename the Featured Products title to describe the contents—for example, “My Top Sellers,” “Holiday Gift Ideas,” or in the case of Alethea and Ruth’s Store shown above (at publishing time), “painterly brush strokes.” Keep in mind that the “Featured Products” title must be less than 35 characters, so short and compelling is the name of the game.

The mission of the description located just below your Featured Products title is to provide additional context for the title. “I’ve been doing a lot of painted work lately, so my description highlights a group of pieces that feature brush strokes and painted textures,” Rachel says.

We recommend describing why you’ve chosen to feature these products in your descriptions, and include a maximum of one to two product type keywords where possible. For example:

My photography art collection is inspired by the natural beauty of Mendocino’s beaches and the surrounding redwoods.

3. Keep Your Language Simple
We always encourage creativity at Minted, but we also recommend being simple and straightforward when it comes to communication. Put yourself in the shopper’s shoes as you’re writing language in your “About Yourself” carousel as well as your Featured Products and category titles and descriptions.

When naming your self-launch products, use descriptive and short product names. Minted will then append the product name with the product kind. For example “Coastal Breeze” becomes “Coastal Breeze Photography Art.” Keep in mind that you cannot change the name of your product after it launches.

4. Create Visual Interest
As an artist, you specialize in creating visual interest—it’s the essence of your work, right? The same approach applies for curating your Store. Although your individual creations are super important, so too is the look of your products as a group.

As you’re creating Featured Products and positioning the placement of Other Products, take a step back to look at the products side-by-side. Think about how your colors, styles, and product types complement each other to create an overall look and feel.

What are your visual goals? Are you aiming to show variety? Do you want to create a cohesive look, or do you want a particular product to pop?

5. Curate for the Season
As you’re curating your Store and positioning your work in Featured Products, Other Products, and your various Sections (you can create up to 10 active Sections), optimize for the season. For example, feature Halloween designs and autumn colors in the fall, and winter holidays and themes in November and December.

You can also hide off-season designs when they’re not optimal—for example, Christmas or Hanukkah cards in July.

6. Self-Launch Products
One of the best ways to direct the creative vision of your Store is to self-launch products. If you’re new to Minted and haven’t won a number of design challenges, self-launching products is a great way to increase your product offerings. For that matter, you can also self-launch your non-winning submissions to Design Challenges.

We welcome you to self-launch art, stationery, notebooks, fabric, wrapping paper, and more. Like all Minted products, we take care of manufacturing, order fulfillment, customer service, and shipping. Read our Designer FAQs for more details.

7. Keep Your “Shelves” Fully Stocked
Artist Stores are similar to physical boutiques—they’re most inviting and appealing when their shelves are full. Remember this as you’re creating sections for your various products. We recommend stocking at least four or five products to warrant a section; any less than that appears a bit empty.

If you have only one or two products of a particular category, wait to create a section for them when you have more items to round things out. For example, in Alethea and Ruth’s “holiday” section, she includes a combination of Stationery and Art.

8. Promote Your Specialized Links
Once you’ve created a section, you can create your own marketing campaigns and direct fans to your specialized URL. This is not an actual URL, but to give you an idea, the format would look something like: minted.com/store/artistname/number/whateveryouwant

For example, if you have a “holiday” section, you could promote the products via social media, an e-newsletter, or your personal website or blog.

9. Get a Second (or Third) Opinion
Invite someone who represents your “target market” to test-drive your Store and provide feedback.

10. Experiment and Make Changes
Together we’re just getting started with the new Store design and merchandising tools. And together, we’ll learn about what works well and what doesn’t. As part of the learning process, we recommend experimentation and refreshing your Store sections, Featured Products, and Other Products to see what works best for you.

Rachel says she considers her initial Store creation just the beginning and will likely change her approach often, especially in the featured product section. “I can’t wait to do a Holiday feature section with wrapping paper and gift tags,” she says. “I think it can be a good place to feature some of the smaller coordinating pieces that are for sale but not always in the forefront, like thank-you cards or stickers. I also might use it as a place to feature my newest work for sale on the site—there are so many possibilities.”

What are your thoughts, questions, and advice for curating a Minted Artist Store? Share your feedback in Comments below.

Designer FAQs: How can I merchandise my Store?
Minted’s 7 Tips for Creating a Unique Artist Brand” featuring advice from artist Melanie Severin
The Essential Checklist for Minted Artist Stores

Ready to grow to the next level? Once you’ve won a Minted Design Challenge, you’re invited to create your own branded Store. Artist Stores allow you to use Minted’s world-class manufacturing and fulfillment platform to run your business. You can self-launch non-custom products to your Store, and we handle the printing, shipping, and customer service. Learn more here.

Published September 24, 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.

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

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.

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.


“For Art’s Sake” Challenge: Special Prize Winners

We are continuously impressed with the high quality of artwork and photography that our Minted community has created. As our art business continues to grow, we can’t wait to launch a more diverse and unique assortment of art. We turned to you to submit your most interesting and creative pieces. You wowed us once again! Congratulations to all the winners!

Curator’s Choice Award: For the artwork that most captures
the attention of the Minted curatorial team
The Mountains Before Us” by Mande

Newbie Award: For the best work of art by a first-time entrant
Sable Song” by Juniper Briggs

Color Award: For the best bold and colorful art piece
Green Garden” by Tae Lee

Nursery award: For the most charming print for a little one
Blue Fish Wish” by Maja Cunningham

Avant-Garde Award: For the best edgy print that pushes boundaries
Star Child” by Tolani Lightfoot

Abstract Award: For the best abstract painting, illustration, or graphic
Melt” by Adrienne Jackson

 Photography Award: For the best photographic art print
Red Rock and Sky” by Compass Rose Photography

 Seasonal Award: For the best piece of artwork inspired by the fall or winter months
Blue Mountain” by Jenny Partrite

Landscape Orientation Award: For the art piece that best utilizes the landscape orientation
Linger Longer III” by Lindsay Megahed

Square Award: For the most interesting square-shaped composition
Sombras” by Lulaloo

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