Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Patti Gay

How did you become an illustrator?
For as long as I can remember I have always been driven to draw and paint. I don’t think I really thought I would be anything else.
Did you go to art school?
Yes, I went to Columbus College of Art and Design. It gave me a great foundation to build on. There were some pretty spectacular illustrators in my classes. I think that I learned a lot from them as well. My favorite class was Color Concepts where we learned to graph and work with color using the Munsell color method. I still use that knowledge in everything I paint.
Were there one or more individuals that were an influence in your becoming an illustrator?
I used to draw and paint a lot with my mom. She was very creative. The love of it grew from there.
What inspires you now?
Everything around me is inspiring. I look at all kinds of art and typography and am really inspired by the way I see artists approach a project. I also live in a beautiful area full of nature. I have wisteria blooming outside my studio window with steller jays hopping about it. There are majestic redwoods, lace like ferns and a myriad of blooming  wonders to enjoy.
I am also inspired by my son’s love of painting beautiful textures. He is autistic and has a whole sensorial experience with the paint and paper. I use his textures to create images that are now in the Two Can Art Collection of art.
Is there anything you would like to share about your technique or style?
I love to explore beyond my comfort zone. I have paintings that very tight watercolors and others that are loose acrylics. I will sometimes do a painting based upon an area that I find difficult like working with water reflections and light. I am starting to work with pattern and texture which I find really exciting. I work both traditionally and digitally.
What types of markets do you do illustration for?
I have done picture books. I have a golden book called CATS and I have recently done a couple of e-books, Friends, Amanda and Max and animals MUST BE.
They are on Barnes and Noble. I am represented by The Herman Agency for books.
I also do art for licensing. I have images on all types of products like cards, cutting boards, tiles, stickers, gift bags, and needlepoint. I also have some 3-d characters that have been licensed from the Amanda and Max book. I am excited that a Two Can Art image is going to be used for platters and plates next season. I will be exhibiting for the first time solo at the big art licensing show, Surtex this May. I had always been represented by an agent there in the past and am excited about the experience.

Are there any links to your images you would like to share?
website: www.pattigay.com
book agent:  
Friends , Amanda and Max e-book:
animals MUST BE e-book:
Are there any other creative interests you persue?
I have been working on writing for picture books, and belong to a wonder writing critique group from SCBWI. They are all wonderful writers and I have learned a lot from them.
Do you currently have products with your images on the market?
Yes, I have cutting boards, tiles, gift bags, and cards on the market. I also have the 2 e-books and have a site to sell prints on demand for the Two Can Art images.
What is the thing you love best about what you do?
I can’t wait to get into my studio. I feel incredibly lucky to have what ever time I have there. There is something so wonderful about taking an idea and bringing it to fruition.
I can’t imagine doing anything else. I love it!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Carol Van Zandt

How is it that you came to be a designer?
Well, I had a sort of moment in 2004 in Tokyo when I was schlepping my paintings in and out of taxicabs between my apartment, the framer, and the exhibition space getting ready for one of my last solo shows there.  I just kind of thought to myself jokingly that it was time to go digital.  Then the next several months I really started taking to the idea. I didn't get the chance to really do that due to another stint in another country with my husband, but when we returned stateside, I started taking courses in Illustrator and Photoshop and textile and print design.  And that eventually led me down the path to art licensing.
Did you go to Art School?
Yes, I majored in Studio Art at Boston College and then took graduate and continuing courses at Massachusetts College of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Radcliffe Pottery Studio, Haystack Mountain School of Crafts…and the list goes on!  I learned that if I took one course at an art school, I had access to the studio 24/7, so I was able to produce after my BA with minimal investment while contributing to a learning environment.  At one point I worked thirty-five hours a week in a clinic, and worked another 35 at the studio where I signed up for just one class.  And my work was selling well in a gallery out of state. The studio, my job, and apartment were all walking distance to Harvard Square. Good times. Later on I studied Japanese Calligraphy and sumi painting seriously for ten years and then I studied surface design at The Institute for Textile Print Design. I loved studying through formal courses. BUT I know many self taught artists who do amazing work.  Everyone has a different path this way.  In art and in business, results are what counts. 
What inspires you now?
What is funny now versus in my abstract painting days is that I always notice things around me that would make a good motif.  So I am always motif hunting. I am inspired by both ordinary objects and nature, and color from everywhere. And design of all kinds for all product.  Interestingly enough I really enjoy following industrial design. 
Is there anything you would like to share regarding your technique or style of work for instance what types of medium do you like to work with? 
I love to draw using pen and ink.  I also paint in a few styles. One is Japanese sumi-style where it is all about the brush stroke.  I  like western watercolor, which I also taught for three years to textile design students. But when it comes down to it, my tool of choice is Adobe Illustrator. The ability to change colors and scale in a vector program makes it so versatile for design.  I just work from my drawings to keep the hand drawn quality of the line.  I do use photoshop too when I am using my watercolors or sumi painting for motifs.  
What types of markets do you do art and design for?
I'm an equal opportunity artist and designer!!  Like many artists, I would love to see my designs on as many products as possible. I think in the beginning I was targeting more textile and home decor oriented applications, but I have a lot of design collections now for paper and stationary, party and gift .
Do you do other things regarding art like teaching, or classroom visits?
Yes, I dip my hands into many things or accept invitations to do so when they come up. For several years I taught some painting to young children in my studio.  I've juried some shows, and also organized group exhibitions. I taught botanical watercolor and drybrush painting workshops for three years at The Institute for Textile Print Design.  Recently I was invited to speak about fabric design on a panel put on by the East Bay Modern Quilt Guild and at the Surtex conference program where I will be on "the In Depth Look at Art Licensing Basics" panel on Sunday the 19th from 11-12:30. In general at the moment I only have the bandwidth for occasional outside gigs. Art Licensing is certainly a full time job!
Are here other creative interests you pursue like writing or music?
I'm kind of all art all the way.  For pleasure and not for sale, I like to do Japanese calligraphy. I have also started to do improvisational quilting--for pleasure only, though I was inspired by the community of quilters especially modern quilters that I came to know though my fabric lines. 

Do you currently have products with your images on the market? Books, gifts or home products?  
I have cotton fabric collections, greeting card collections and soon gift wrap and notebooks, a kitchen textile collection, and skins for all sorts of electronics. My work is also on bedding, mat board, pillows and wallpaper, a book cover, and a variety of accessories.  I also rent out my fine art paintings.  There will be plenty more soon if all goes well! 
What is the thing you love best about what you do?
I love to create of course! I also like that what I create actually gets put on products that people use.  I love to network and work with manufacturers and retailers, and other artists and designers.  Though I love my quiet time in the studio and office, I am always up for the real world of commerce and a big community.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Dianne Woods

How is it that you came to be an artist?
I was trained as a commercial photographer and for 35 years shot photographs for magazines and book publishers.  When the digital revolution hit and I made the transition from film to pixels, a new world filled with opportunities to be creative emerged.  Inspired by the possibilities, I traded one passion for another and began my personal transition from commercial photographer to digital artist.     
Did you go to art school?
Yes, I graduated in 1977 from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.  There I learned technical skills, how to see, how to hear criticism and then act upon it, what hard work means and, last but certainly not least, perseverance.
Were there one or more individuals that were an influence in your becoming an artist?
My parents, who were an endless reservoir of encouragement and support, were the biggest influences on my becoming an artist.  My mother graduated in 1942 from Parsons School of Design in New York and, while she chose the life of wife and mother, she was also an artist who remained active in art associations.  She mounted several one-woman shows over the course of her life. My father was an industrial engineer who was forever scratching out designs on yellow tablets and paper napkins.  He showed by example what it was like to love your work.  
What inspires you now?
I’m inspired by beautiful light, color, great design and cats.  I’m known for my cats. 
What types of markets do you do art for?
Most of the licenses I hold are in the stationary, gift and home d├ęcor markets.  Products include calendars, note pads, greeting cards, wall art, coasters, trivets, and cutting boards.
Are there links to you images you would like to share?
My website is www.diannewoods.com

Are there other creative interests you pursue?
While these days most of my time is spent creating new cat imagery, I still very much enjoy taking photographs.  My camera is never far from reach.  
What is the thing you love best about what you do?
Everything, even the frustration inherent in keeping my computer skills up to speed or the challenges that come from addressing changes a client might want.  At some point in the course of each day I get to put into play a set of skills I’ve spent a lifetime developing.  And, I get to make art, and a living.