Go West, JNA, Go West!

We are packing our bags, putting the final touches on the booth notions and sprinkling in some fairy dust for good measure! See you in San Francisco 2-4 October (Gallery 308 at Fort Mason Center). We get into high gear preparing for what will likely be our best show ever!

Here is a sneak peek at some of the great winter holiday art we will be featuring at Blue Print!


And some of the gorgeous florals, animals and the loveliest beach scene you have ever seen making a debut too!

We even have special handmade gifts for our Blue Print buyers! Reserve your appointment time today! I cant wait to see you there! - Jennifer



Anisa Makhoul took 10 years to come back to art

Our own Anisa Makhoul answers your questions about creating art for surface design. We asked the artist to select three questions pertaining to her art career. These are her fascinating answers.

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Q. If you hadn’t become a professional artist, what kind of career do you think you would have chosen?

A. If I couldn’t do anything artistic at all, I would have studied herbs/flora and religion. I’m very interested in folklore, folk magic, and African American folk spirituality. I dream of traveling to the Caribbean and studying under a root doctor. Maybe I’ll still do it one day.

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Q. How old were you when you knew you wanted to be an artist? Did you strive to get your art on the refrigerator as a child? Describe your earliest artwork. 

A. When I was really young I used to draw pictures with my crayons and then put prices in the corners, like 5 cents or so, based on how good I thought it was. I’d force my parents and grandparents to buy my drawings from me. I wasn’t just going to give them the art for the refrigerator. 

Q. Did you have formal art training? Thinking back to art school, what’s something you learned in a classroom that you still use to this day?

A. I have a BA in fine art printmaking from Minneapolis College of Art & Design. I started out as a film and photo student and ended up graduating in hand printmaking. I never even considered illustration as a career. I thought I couldn’t draw because that’s what my drawing teacher told me. In fact, after I graduated from art school I was very sure that I had no place in the art world. After college I started sewing handmade dresses and doing fashion design. It took me 10 years to come back to art. Everything clicked when I began allowing myself to draw things in the wackiest, most relaxed way I could. I started enjoying drawing, and getting better at it. 

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Anisa's clients include: Vogue, Compendium Books, Anthropologie, Flow Magazine, Taproot Magazine, American Greetings, Trend Bible, Cost Plus World Market,  TeNeus Publishing, TJ Maxx, Design House Greetings, Godiva, Hallmark, Harrods of London. 

Jennifer Orkin Lewis works her gouache-y magic!

Here's a treat for you. In just 26 seconds you can watch Jennifer Orkin Lewis work her gouache magic. She doesn't really work quite this fast, but she is that good! Jennifer creates paintings like this constantly and never seems to run out of inspiration. 

Want to see more of Jennifer's stunning work? Just ask and I pull a gallery together for you in a jiffy!  Enjoy - (the other) Jennifer

 

Anisa Makhoul's work reaches the home decor market

Anisa Makhoul loves to design patterns and loves to travel! She has lived in Amsterdam and travel extensively, most recently to Germany with the agency for Heimtextil. About Anisa recent work for the home decor market, she writes "I like that I can see these on a number of home decor products. I love a bright happy pattern. There’s a good amount of folk art invoked here, which helps to tell a story. I obviously love pattern on pattern and any opportunity to pattern clash.”

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Fasten your seatbelts!

Thank you for making 2017 our best year ever. We couldn't have done it without you!

As we get ready for 2018, and our third year in business, we have plans to be even bigger and better.

First up: trade shows. This month, we'll be attending Heimtextil in Frankfurt (a fantastic home decor show and our first European trade show!). In May, we'll be at Blue Print NYC and SURTEX in Manhattan. And in October, see us at Blue Print San Francisco (our first time exhibiting on the West Coast). For this reason alone, 2018 promises to be an amazing year. I will send out flyers announcing dates, so you can book your appointments well in advance.

Secondly, we're launching two new newsletters. One will be just for clients in the Home Decor category. We'll include hand-selected art that lends itself specifically to that purpose. Every other week we will share trendsetting work from some of our artists. If you're not already on our list for Home Decor, just sign up to be included!

  Anisa Makhoul's  dramatic floral stripe available for home decor licensing or purchase.

Anisa Makhoul's dramatic floral stripe available for home decor licensing or purchase.

And in this same vein, we're adding a regular newsletter intended only for clients in the publishing world. The new Books newsletter will spotlight recent book projects some our artists have completed, and include sample artwork that's particularly suited to books. Want in? Sign up for one (or both)!

  Miriam Bos  for Walter Foster

Miriam Bos for Walter Foster

Thirdly, we have some big news! As our workload has increased (thank you!) we have added a new member to the JNA team. Please welcome Nanda Rust, a brand new Artist's Agent here with me. Nanda has a sparkling personality and lots of experience that make her more than qualified to keep things running smoothly in our newly-expanded office. An artist in her own right, and an accomplished photographer, Nanda is great at keeping our images organized, and providing service with a smile. Come by and meet her at Blue Print and SURTEX in May. 

Thanks to Nanda's help I'm now able to spend more time out of the office and on the road, such as my recent trips to visit publishers in NYC and artists in the UK. If you call the office and Nanda answers please give her a warm welcome. 

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Last, but not least, I want to re-commit to serving you in the best way possible. If there's something we're not doing well, let us know. If you have an idea for a way to improve our service to you, we're all ears. Suggestions? We would love to hear them.

Thanks again for being part of this journey, from being a start-up in 2015 to becoming a successful (though intentionally small) agency in the past two years. And thanks for joining Nanda, myself and our ten wonderful artists as we venture into an exciting new year, filled with promise and lots more gorgeous artwork ahead. Happy New Year.

Kindly, Jennifer

Have a Very Rae Ritchie Christmas

Hello dear friends! I’m excited to share some timely holiday art to celebrate this fine season! Lately, I’ve been channeling lots of winter foliage, traditional imagery, things you’d find on a wondrous winter walk, as well as a sly reindeer to name a few! Please enjoy and have a wonderful holiday season everyone! - Rae

Ho, Ho, Ho Holidays with Howath!

It's that time of year again, when designers can embrace the actual season and share their seasonal art in the actual season! Sometimes I wonder what others must think of my seemingly obvious preference to make Christmas art. I think it can best be explained by my childhood. My parents both shared a deep love of the holiday, making it pure magic for their kids, a tradition I happily carried on with my own. My Gramma lived in an old victorian house, right next door to ours, so I spent many hours there. She had a stack of Christmas books, filled with poems and wonderful imagery that I would always ask her to read to me... all year round! So you see, the concept of embracing the holiday all year long was instilled in me at an early age. 

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Whether it's Santa (a personal fav), or a lettering piece, or a wintery scene, I always try to capture some nostalgia and warmth with the hope that it will come through in the piece. 

Whatever you celebrate, I hope this season brings peace and joy with a happy New Year! - Jill

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Jill Howarth ditches her mouse for a paint brush

As surface designers, we JNA artists delve into Christmas and winter-holiday imagery pretty much year-round. But when November comes, I always get a little excited. I actually feel like I'm on season!

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With this in mind, I recently ditched my mouse for a paint brush and rendered a little Christmas piece. On the rare occasion that I go analog, I always end up doing a hybrid of cut paper and gouache -- because I just can't wrap my head around a finished painting in one piece!

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Admittedly, I'm pretty attached to Santa themes, but this time I tried to imagine just what goes on up there, inside his North Pole abode. Who knew he was so good at plunking out the holiday tunes? I hope this puts you in the spirit of the season! Enjoy - Jill

Jill Howarth tells all!

Our own Jill Howarth answers your questions about creating art for surface design. We asked the artist to select three questions pertaining to her art career. These are her fascinating answers.

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Q. If you hadn’t become a professional artist, what kind of career do you think you would have chosen?

A. That's a tough question but my best guess would be a teacher. I come from a family of them, with my mom, three brothers and all three wives in the same profession. My sister and I seem to be the only ones not in the family business!

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Q. Where do you find inspiration? Do you go for walks in town, look at nature shows on TV, or just start scribbling and see where your muse takes you?

A. I'm somewhat of a mid-century picture book collector, having amassed a pretty thick stack of Little Golden books, amongst others. I don't stop at vintage though. I always had a soft spot for buying beautifully illustrated books for my kids when they were small and now I just buy them for myself!

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Q. How old were you when you knew you wanted to be an artist? Did you strive to get your art on the refrigerator as a child? Describe your earliest artwork. 

A. My earliest memory is drawing Peanuts characters on large, white paper that my mom brought home from her classroom. I had several Peanuts books that I could draw from with my trusty “El Marko” markers (penciled sketched first, of course). That evolved into redrawing cute Hallmark cards for my mom's bulletin boards in her classroom. Around age 10, I knew that I wanted to be a “commercial” artist. I saw this as hopefully a practical way to make money with art, vs. fine art. Eventually this evolved into getting a degree in graphic design.

Rae Ritchie's fascinating answers to your questions!

Our own Rae Ritchie answers your questions about creating art for surface design. We asked the artist to select three questions pertaining to her art career. These are her fascinating answers.

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Q. What’s your favorite animal to draw and why?

A. I really enjoy drawing and painting red foxes. Because they are such majestic creatures with their little human-like hands and graceful movements, I find myself introducing them in my work quite often. Sadly, I have never seen one in the wild! They are rumored to hang around the creek by my house in the early morning, so I definitely need to go for some 5 AM walks to see some! Cats also have a special place in my heart and on my drawing table!

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Q. What’s the life of an artist like? Do you work early in the morning? Late at night? How do you integrate your art time into your daily routine?

A. I feel incredibly grateful everyday to be a full-time artist who works from home. I have always been an early riser, so I often get to “the office” around 7 AM. I always feel more comfortable being awake and in the office before my clients get to work, so I can devote some time to licensable artwork before any assignments come in. Depending on the day, I may have time for personal work, or I’ll be booked with a client for the day or sometimes for the week. Every day is different, which I love!

Often, I’ll go for a run around lunchtime, then work until 6 or 7. They can be long days, but the work is always rewarding and enjoyable! I try to turn off in the evening and recharge for the next day. I must say that I should try to get out more, though I am a homebody for the most part and really do enjoy this set-up!

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Q. Everyone can answer the question, “What’s your favorite color?” But only an artist can answer “What are your two favorite colors to put together?”

A. Hands down, my favorite color is dark blue, and I love pairing it with a warm/pinky lavender. The night sky has always been a huge inspiration for me. The cool cast the moonlight puts on tones that are warm during the day is fascinating and comforting to me.

Rachel Grant Answers Your Questions

Our own Rachel Grant answers your questions about creating art for surface design. We asked the artist to select three questions pertaining to her art career. These are her fascinating answers.

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Q. If you hadn’t become a professional artist, what kind of career do you think you would have chosen?

A. It’s really hard to imagine doing anything that is not within a creative field of some description. When I do it all gets a bit random. If it wasn’t for the night shifts and the overwhelming responsibility I’d say a midwife... or a doula. Then of course I do very much like the idea of having a little antique shop full of old books and ceramics, with a stand outside selling plants... and fresh pies... and freshly baked bread! Perhaps I would have been a farmer... if I wasn’t scared of animals?! I would also have liked a little shop selling Fair Isle jumpers on an island off the Scottish coast... but I don’t think I could handle all that bad weather. Overall it’s probably a good idea I took the path I did. I can take myself off to different worlds in paint every single day, without the commitment to stay there!

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Q. Where do you find inspiration?

A. I spend a lot of time looking back for inspiration. I am obsessed with history, nostalgia, time-worn surfaces, patterns and ephemera. I love the way that the aesthetics of the past influence trends; and the way that those trends resurge in cycles is also fascinating. These kinds of interests lead me to antique shops, second-hand book stores, museums and anywhere where history comes alive. So here in the UK we have lots of stately homes, castles and other places of interest, like factories and mills that are open to the public and are full of inspiration. I also love to relax in front of films and TV dramas that mix historical reference with fiction, or even science fiction and fantasy. I love to see the way a director plays with colour and style to create exciting visual interplays between past/present/future. Wes Anderson’s colour palettes for example are absolutely divine and I spent the whole of the film “Brooklyn” geeking out about the way that John Crowley and his team had beautifully coordinated the knitwear with the wallpaper in each scene!

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Q. Thinking back to art school, what’s something you learned in a classroom that you still use to this day?

A. I followed a very clear path into the arts from high school to a BTEC Art and Design foundation course at college, and then on to a Textile Design and Surface Pattern degree course at University. The most prominent and transferrable skill I learnt during those years was about layering and manipulating surfaces to create texture and depth. Since graduating I have worked on all kinds of different projects, from original art, site specific installations, collaborations with performing arts groups and architects, through to the illustration and licensing work that I do now. In one way or another all of the work I create has been underpinned by those first years of experimentation in mark-making and surface manipulation.

Blue Print + SURTEX = 100% SUCCESS!

We had an absolutely amazing time in NYC at Blue Print and SURTEX. It was great to see old friends and to make some new ones. Our little agency sold or licensed art for use in all these categories: bedding, greeting cards, journals, tea towels, decorative pillows, wallpaper and many more. Plus, we received loads of smiles and compliments. It was very gratifying.
 
I was so proud of my wonderful artists Rae Ritchie, Anisa Makhoul, Jennifer Orkin Lewis, and Kelly Angelovic who were able to attend the shows and share the excitement with me. (Maybe next time we can include the equally excellent Miriam Bos, Rachel Grant, Lauren Lowen, Jill Howarth, Bee Brown, and Janna Krupinksi.)
 

 
I wanted to spend time with each of you individually, but sometimes there was literally a line of people waiting to see us (!) and I wasn’t able to get to everyone. I’m truly sorry about that.
 
 

If you purchased some art at the shows, I’ll process that for you very soon. If you requested a custom gallery I’ll get back to you with that just as quickly as possible.
 
Thank you so much for making this our best year ever! - Jennifer

We keep our little agency small on purpose.

It allows us to really focus on our artists and to give personal attention to our clients. That's why it's a REALLY BIG DEAL when we add a new artist to our roster. Today I'm proud as can be to introduce Janna Krupinski!

Janna joins our awesomely talented team to bring us to a total of ten amazing illustrators. Just check out her work to see why I'm so pleased to bring Janna into the fold. Please join us in making her feel welcome.

Come see Janna's debut at Blue Print and SURTEX this month!

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And there's more where those came from! If you want to see what else Janna Krupinski has been up to, just let me know.

Kindly, Jennifer