Written by Christiane Pendarvis

When we kicked off the Do You Hear What I Hear? Religious Christmas Photo Card Challenge, our second faith-based design challenge, our goal was to showcase spiritual aspects of the holiday season — from scripture greetings to faith-centric images — in a fresh and innovative way. We asked Minted artists to create religious designs across a broad range of styles, from traditional and classic to modern and edgy. As usual, Minted’s global community of artists surpassed our expectations. I’m delighted to present the 10th through 1st place winners!


  1. Cat Caudillo’s holiday sprigs embrace the word “Noel” abundantly in her design.
  1. Framed with elegant white space, Jamie Schultz Designs’ message of “Hallelujah” bursts in foil.
  1. Kristie Kern’s fresh winter greens adorn the family photo, in her signature style of clean design with exquisite detail.
  1. Lori Wemple’s minimalist design draws the eye to the photo, with a playful tiding of joy.


Written by Leah Conroy

While the rest of the world gets into the holiday spirit in late November, at Minted, we start the process in the spring. That’s when we invited Minted artists to submit designs to the Do You Hear What I Hear? Religious Christmas Photo Card Challenge, our second faith-based design challenge. We developed this competition to produce cards for people who are specifically looking for religious or spiritual Christmas greetings and designs.

Since the spring, Minted artists have been heads-down, focused on creating the most beautiful, unique holiday card designs in the world. They’ve also been anxiously awaiting this blog post — the kickoff of our annual winner announcements for some of our most anticipated and celebrated Minted Design Challenges of the year.

For our 10th annual holiday card season, we’re thrilled with the creativity of designs that artists submitted. The Minted Artist community continues to surpass our expectations in design for the most unique, cutting-edge holiday cards. We appreciate every artist who submitted a design, gave a critique, voted in a design poll, and shared festive posts in the Minted Community Facebook group to help fellow community members get in the holiday spirit. At the end of the day, the heart and soul of who Minted is centers around our global community of independent artists.

Here’s the start of our winner countdown, as determined by voters, for the Do You Hear What I Hear Religious Christmas Photo Card. Heartfelt congrats to our first group of holiday winners!


Minted’s Follow Your Passion Tour an action-packed art adventure

Written by Amy Schroeder & Easter Kim

Three days. Three cities. Dozens of artists. One huge surprise. That’s the condensed version of our Follow Your Passion Tour, in which Minted Founder and CEO Mariam Naficy and her team traveled from California to celebrate the art and design worlds of Austin, Nashville, and Miami, August 23–25. During our action-packed 24 hours in each city, we explored art hot spots, enjoyed discussions with local Minted artists, and celebrated in the evenings with gallery events showcasing artists’ original work and Minted Art prints.

Now that we’ve returned from the whirlwind tour, our feelings are a mix of inspiration and compassion. We loved talking with the artists who create Minted art and design, and we learned so much by experiencing their cities firsthand. But shortly after we returned to our San Francisco headquarters, Hurricane Harvey reared its head in south Texas, touching too close to home for a number of Minted artists. 

“The Minted team and I are saddened by the grave impact of Hurricane Harvey on Texas,” says Mariam. “We are thinking of our friends there. In honor of our visit to Texas for the Follow Your Passion Tour, we donated $5,000 to American Red Cross and we encourage everyone to donate. You can find a list of places to donate here.”

Minted artists Erin Hodges of Fig and Cotton and Megan Davis of Toast & Laurel gave Mariam Naficy and team a tour of the Austin art + design scene, including the Hope Outdoor Gallery pictured above.

(Above) Mariam Naficy talks with Austin area Minted artists at Hotel Saint Cecilia on August 23, before the art gallery event. (Below) We showcased works by Texas Minted artists at Hotel Saint Cecilia in Austin.

Luckily for Maja Cunningham, a Minted artist who traveled from her home in Ft. Worth for the Austin event at Hotel Saint Cecilia on August 23, her town merely experienced more rainfall than usual. “It’s heartbreaking to see what’s happening in the south,” Maja said. As for the Austin art event, Maja found it inspiring, informative and “simply beautiful,” saying that she enjoyed talking with Texas Minted artists and meeting Minted team members in person. “The future of Minted looks bright, and I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish together. This unique community of independent artists is an incredible source of inspiration.”

Blogger Camille Styles (@camillestyles) attended the Austin Follow Your Passion gallery event and posted this Instagram shot, writing “Art + wine at @hotelsaintcecilia with my @minted friends tonight.”


Minted 2016 Holiday Challenge Winners Visit San Francisco

Written by Simone Monrad

Every year, the top three winners of one of Minted’s largest challenges of the year, the Holiday Photo Card Challenge, win a two-day trip to visit Minted in San Francisco. On August 14 and 15, we welcomed Susan Moyal, Ann Gardner and Angela Marzuki—the top three winners of Minted’s 2016 Making Spirits Bright Holiday Photo Card Challenge—to our hometown.

It was a typical foggy day in the city, but this didn’t take away from the excitement of finally meeting these very talented women in person. The two-day trip was a whirlwind of activities, including attending a new product development meeting with Minted Founder and CEO Mariam Naficy, a Q&A session with members of the Merchandising and Engineering teams, and a tour of the office. “The Minted office is like nothing I imagined,” said Susan Moyal, the first-place winner in the challenge. “It is amazing to see how many people are working behind the scenes and gain more insight on how the company runs.”

The 2016 Holiday Photo Card Challenge winners in some fun spaces in the San Francisco Minted office, the Printshop, and the Pillow Room. From left: Angela Marzuki, Susan Moyal, and Ann Gardner

During the trip, we got some tips on visiting their home cities (Toronto, Chicago, and Dallas) and gained valuable feedback on their experience as a Minted artist. “I work the best under pressure,” laughed Angela Marzuki. “I’m not one to plan much before challenges are posted. I focus on what I enjoy creating and getting it in before the deadline.” Each artist has been working with Minted for quite some time and we chatted about how Minted has grown over the years and exciting new developments, like our new wedding products and greeting cards. They all agreed that the submission process, especially for Holiday cards, can be overwhelming, but noted that file preparation has become easier and more streamlined. Something we were very happy to hear!


The winning designs of 2016 Making Spirits Bright Holiday Card Challenge, from left: “Christmas Sprigs” by Susan Moyal, “Winter Window” by Ann Gardner, and “Freshly Framed by Angela Marzuki

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Hooray for Kristy Kapturowski’s 1st place win in Minted’s Greeting Card Challenge

Kristy Kapturowski was short on inspiration and time when she first heard about The Better Together Minted Greeting Card Challenge, but as she puts it, once she buckled down and brainstormed ideas, she had a lot of fun with the creative process. Good thing she made time to work on greeting card designs.

As the first-place winner in the challenge, Kristy won $5,000, and her birthday card will be carried in a leading U.S. retail chain (to be announced). She also earned Editors’ Picks for 14 other card designs. “Greeting cards turned out to be one of my favorite products to design,” says the Philadelphia artist who goes by the moniker Hooray Creative. “I really enjoyed the chance to write copy and develop concepts for the front and inside of the card, combining illustration with my love of typography.”


Nashville Minted Artists to Watch

Written by Jennifer Griffin

Angela Simeone

For artist Angela Simeone, the creation of art is no picnic. It’s a struggle, a battle, and yet it’s one of the most profoundly human and life-affirming pursuits one can take on. Art can be lonely. It demands mightily of you. And yet look what comes out of it.

An abstract painter and mixed media artist, Angela has lived and worked in Nashville for the last decade with her husband and three sons. Self-taught, Angela has thrown herself into learning the craft of painting with the same tenacity and discipline she exacted in her former career. Before moving to Nashville, Angela worked in San Francisco at the height of the dot-com boom in the late ‘90s, doing marketing for an editorial startup called Chick Click, an online network of independent zines targeted toward young, hip, urban women.

“It was a highly creative group of primarily women. That was the first time I watched women create their own realities, their own lives, their own careers. They were self-starters, writing their own tickets. A lot of them had not done anything like what we were doing.”

That early lesson, that you can push forward, do good work, and experience success despite initial inexperience was a key one, though not entirely new. Prior to San Francisco, Angela worked in marketing in the music industry in Nashville, initially working for free at an independent publicity and marketing label while studying business at the University of Georgia. It was a thrilling gig; the label promoted Hootie and the Blowfish and the Dave Matthews Band on their first albums.

“I got far more out of everything I’ve done for free than what I gave,” she says. “By working along someone for free, learning and becoming part of the process, that person becomes invested in you.”

Southern Cotton Series 4” by Angela Simeone

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Texas Minted Artists to Watch

Maja Cunningham

When there was talk of war in Bosnia in the summer of 1992, Maja Cunningham (née Pavlić), then 12 years old, took a bus trip through war-torn Croatia to stay with her aunt for two weeks until things “settled down.”

“No one thought the war would last long—but my short trip turned into eight years,” says Maja, now 37. When Maja became a war refugee as a pre-teen in Mainz, Germany, all she had was a bag of clothes and her homework. Maja’s mother stayed in Bosnia, and they didn’t see each other for the remainder of the war. Maja felt like a stranger in Germany, but gradually built a new life there, learned the language, and began studying architecture as an apprentice at age 16.

Then at age 20, Maja moved to Texas—once again with just one bag of belongings—to live with her cousin who had immigrated there. “When I moved to the U.S., I was basically a mute for the first six months, and my cousin spoke for me,” Maja explains. “After six months, she said, ‘I’m so over this.’” Out of necessity, Maja quickly taught herself English and became fluent within a year. That’s when Maya started studying architectural design at University of Texas at Arlington. Upon graduation, she landed a job as an architect for a prestigious firm and enjoyed learning the field.

That’s one fast bike, said the cloud” by Maja Cunningham

Fast-forward several years and Maja married a Texan, had her son Jack in 2014, and started decorating her son’s room. When she couldn’t find art that felt personal to her, she made her own. She created “That’s one fast bike, said the cloud” based on her honeymoon adventure she’d taken with her husband, entered the painting into a Minted art challenge, and the rest is history—sort of. After working for nearly 20 years in architecture, Maja realized that her heart just wasn’t in it. Now Maja is a full-time parent and artist and couldn’t be happier. “I don’t regret anything because it leads me to where I am now,” she says. “Because I’ve been through so much in the first three decades of my life, I really want to live a stress-free life now. Things that matter to me are health and my family’s happiness. I know it could all be taken away in a second.”

Andrew McClintock

Andrew McClintock is a big guy who makes big art for a big world. “But I also have a passion for little trees.” His words—not ours.

At 6 foot 7, Andrew’s definitely tall, and because he creates illustrations and photographs intended to be viewed in an oversize art print format, Andrew holds true to his claim. As for his interest in small trees, Andrew’s newfound hobby is bonsai. “Maybe I was inspired by The Karate Kid in the ’90s,” he says.

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Florida Minted Artists to Watch

Elizabeth Sanchez of Alex Isaacs Design

Sunny watercolor hues, mid-century modern curves, and la piña are some of the elements you’ll find in Elizabeth Sanchez’s work, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you can summarize her work as “Floridian art.” Instead, Elizabeth describes her work as a “melting pot of various cultural influences.” The Minted artist who goes by the moniker Alex Isaacs Designs (named for her brothers), lives in Estero, Florida, an area known for white sandy beaches and lush fauna and flora.

My art is heavily influenced by the places where I’ve lived: Colombia, Palm Beach Florida, and Southwest Florida,” Elizabeth says. “From Colombia, I bring on a tropical color palette and Caribbean flair. From my years living in Palm Beach, I get my affinity for all things Palm Beach Chic: Chinoiserie, the revival of Hollywood Regency glamour, and the quintessential preppy chic.”

Semicolon” by Alex Isaacs Design

A full-time artist who lives in something akin to tropical paradise, it’s hard not for Elizabeth to be inspired by the lush beauty that surrounds her. Her work is also influenced by some of her earliest memories, which are marked by family trips to the Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta and the Tayrona National Par, a unique area of Colombia with a large mountain and gorgeous beaches. Elizabeth’s father loved traveling to wild, uninhabited locales and exotic locations. “We never had an ordinary childhood vacation,” she recalls. “These strong childhood memories marked my love of color.”

On Elizabeth’s Minted Artist Store, you’ll find art prints that evoke magical realism—a combination of abstract watercolor paintings, illustrations, and digital paintings. “My creative process is ongoing. I always keep a small notepad with me so I can jot down creative sparks that I come upon in unexpected places: A striking color combination while waiting in line, a captivating word that would be perfect for a title for painting. I take snapshots wherever I go.”

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Israeli-Californian artist Hadas Tal marries realism and abstraction with a designer’s eye

“Finding the emotional climate and capturing the feeling of a scene.”

That’s the name of the creative game for Hadas Tal, who approaches her paintings with a designer’s eye. Whether she’s painting a California coastline or an abstract representation of high-rise windows, she carefully considers the composition, color, shapes, form, and cropping of everything she creates. “I like clean design, white, contemporary—The Guggenheim in New York, for example—expansive white walls,” she says.

Tal is a full-time artist in Emeryville, California, located about 10 miles northeast of San Francisco, but was born in Rishon Letzion, Israel. In 1980, her dad received a lucrative opportunity to work as a computer programmer for IBM, so her family moved to New Jersey, where Tal grew up. A new Minted artist, Tal earned a top-voted win for Windows,” in the Minted + West Elm on the Big Stage Challenge. “Windows” was inspired by a gray, rainy day in Chinatown, San Francisco—more specifically, the haziness of the gray rainy day and how it affected the light surrounding the building. “Each window looked like an abstract painting,” Tal says.


Minted x West Elm Art on the Big Stage Special Prize Winners

Announcing the special prize winners of our Minted x West Elm Art on the Big Stage Challenge! For our fifth year running, Minted and West Elm teamed up to put Minted’s independent artists on a big stage. Congratulations, winners!

West Elm Creative Director’s Award
For the piece that most captures the attention of West Elm’s senior vice president of design, Johanna Uurasjarvi.
Surf by Lauren Packard Art

Collection Award
For the best group of pieces (3-4) that could be purchased together.
Stay 1, Still 2, Still 3, Still 4, and Still 5 by Victoria Johnson

Painterly Neutrals Award
For the best painting created in a neutral color palette.
Mountain Movements by Kristen Franklin

Abstract Photography Award
For the best abstracted piece of photography.
Big Apple Blur by Emily Coey

Fauna Photography Award
For the best piece of photography showcasing animals.
Jane Gallagher by Amy Carroll

Printmaking Award
For the best piece of art created using a printmaking technique (lithography, etching, etc).
Ocean Abstract IIIOcean Abstract IV, and Ocean Abstract V by Alicia Schultz

Graphic & Geometric Award
For the most interesting graphic & geometric art print.
After Midnight by melanie mikecz

Drawing & Sketching Award
For the best black & white drawing or sketch.
Human One: Anton by Colin Stuart