We love receiving inspiring emails from great designers and today was a good one! Natalia Gemma has designed prints for companies like Free People and Lucky and was kind enough to share some insights with us about her design process. Check out our interview with her after the jump.
Do you have any tips for our readers about working to briefs from clients? How do you work within the requested style but keep your print unique to your own style? How do you strike that balance?
I try to keep the vintage/ethnic artistry but use modern layouts with fun pops of color. I also love to mix a ton of little motifs together in one print because I think the details are what make designs really special. I love watercolor as you can see in most of my sketches but mixing different media also creates interesting stories within a print that also make it feel more contemporary.
Before I begin working, I love looking at vintage ethnic textiles and traditional art from other countries. I am always so fascinated at the beautiful textiles originating in India, Turkey and Africa and love to try and make modern interpretations inspired by their designs. I also love the history of textiles and how artists used to paint every original design and repeat by hand, and I try to create by hand as much as I can. Those hand made qualities seem to be getting lost as we rely more and more on photoshop and illustrator these days.
Do you approach or feel differently about work you are producing for your own print collection, not knowing where it might end up?
It’s fun to sell prints not knowing what they’ll be ultimately used for because I feel as if I’m passing over pieces of art to inspire other designers’ creativity. In the end, it’s always a collaboration of unique ideas that produce exciting results.
Confession: I am obsessed with folk art. And being Russian, I can’t believe I just discovered Maria Primachenko. Raw Vision Magazine described her best and I’m not going to try to outword them, so here is a quote from the magazine:
“This miracle of colour and invention had her bast shoes planted firmly on the soil of her native land. Maria Aksentievna Primachenko (1908–1997) was a Ukrainian peasant. Her astonishingly fertile picture plane was located in the flat limitless horizon of the Ukrainian steppe.
Primachenko’s mother and grandmother were highly skilled embroiderers and she absorbed the inter-generational Slavic tradition of needlework, of which Ukrainian embroidery is a superlative example. It encodes an ancient symbolism, fusing both pagan and Christian, where flower heads morph into eternal sun wheels, birds become messengers of peace, horses protect from the evil eye. This inherited world of signs would saturate Maria’s later work. When we encounter these forms and symbols on the decorated pottery of the adult artist, the initial impression is one of timelessness. Are they Bronze Age? Contemporary?
Primachenko lived her life in the village of Bolotnya in the Kiev region. She contracted polio as a child. Her already empathetic character became heightened into a profound sense of universality that in earlier times might have been seen as almost pantheistic. In the Ukraine of the immediate post-Revolutionary period this would, of necessity, find more nuanced modes of expression.”
Discovering this gem of an artist took me down a wormhole trying to find any product that might have her art on it. I found these pillows that were made for Ikea but were no longer available! What a shame!
The only things I found that I could buy for my home were some small postcards and I bought the ones shown below. I ordered these from someone from Estonia on Etsy hoping I can turn them into posters. If you know of anywhere I could buy her pillows or anything else with her work on it, even a book, please let me know!
I first discovered the work of textile designer, Alicia Galer, through her expressive interpretations of plants. Loose scribbles and paint daubs capture the shapes and silhouettes of succulents and other leafy friends in a casual manner. In her most recent series titled, Glass Houses, we’re taken on an abstract architectural journey. Color patches and what seem like random marks portray interior and exterior details in simplified form. We also love these designs below which speak the language of the 80s but with a soft, feminine color palette perfect for nowadays.
There’s something so right about LEGOs made of chocolate! Illustrator and designer Akihiro Miszuuchi has paired two of the most loved things together and the result is mouthwatering!
Shining gold and pink in the sunlight.
Bright sunset hues stitched and mirrored for a colorful Mexican embroidery feel.
– bekah hilleson
Deanne Cheuk continues to amaze with her most recent foray into charcoal illustrations. Soft and moody, her drawings capture detail and movement in innovative ways. What’s not to love about the mesmerizing lines of Psycpeony shown below. Deanne’s long career has included art direction for Tokion Magazine where she put her illustrative skills to use, applying them to typography and layout. See more of her work here, here and here.
Some Friday food pattern inspiration in the form of 98 perfect 2.5 x 2.5 x 2.5 cm cubes. Created by Dutch artists Lernert and Sander, the raw food display was commissioned by Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant for their their food-themed documentary photography special.