JNA goes to Lake Como, Italy for Artists Retreat 2018

If you follow us on social media, you know we’ve just gotten back from an artist retreat on Lake Como.  It was an amazing time!  We were generously hosted by Amore Escapes and the majestic GrandHotel Imperiale!  Our days were filled with painting, yoga, sight-seeing and, most importantly, time together.

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JNA artists from around the the world gathered, Rae came from Minneapolis, Janna from Hamburg, Miriam from the Netherlands and our newest artist, Malin, from Stockholm.

We were in the town of Moltrasio perched right over a waterfall that pours into Lake Como. Below, you can see work-in-progress from the artists as well as some scenes from the village.

A highlight of the trip was a lake tour with our kind captain, Giacomo. The lake is lined with fabulous grand old (and a few new) homes. Some of which belong to George Clooney and Richard Branson… one property even boasts scenes from Star Wars and James Bond movies. This place is like a dream.

Below are a few more shots and more art. The work is as stunning as the place!

 From left: Malin Gyllensvaan, Miriam Bos, Janna Krupinski and Rae Ritchie

From left: Malin Gyllensvaan, Miriam Bos, Janna Krupinski and Rae Ritchie

This is a trip I won’t ever forget! Stay tuned to see what we do next year! - Jennifer


Jennifer Nelson Artists Made A Big Splash in The City By The Bay

Whew! What a terrific trip I had traveling to San Francisco for our first-ever West Coast trade show. The city was beautiful (and I have pictures to prove it) and the show was a big success. We will definitely be coming back to Blue Print San Francisco next fall!

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I met up with other artists and agents at the Fort Mason Center to set up for Blue Print (special thanks to Katy Tanis who helped me so much with the booth). The show was three good days punctuated with eating super yummy foods. I loved meeting all of you (many for the first time) and celebrating our mutual love of art.

Our booth looked great. I got to hang out with my agent friends, Abby, Brenda and Paul (founder and mastermind behind Blue Print) and Patrick too!

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The flight from Boston was 3,234 miles. I brought more than 90 pounds of artwork to the show, on foot. Quite a workout, but it was well worth it! :)

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A very sweet client brought Jill Howarth’s latest book up from LA for us. It’s so satisfying to see the artist’s work out in the wild.

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The setting was gorgeous, right next to the water. At one point I looked out the window of the hotel and saw a seal basking in the sun. We don’t get those in Boston!

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 The show was a huge success and we will definitely be there next autumn!

After three fun-but-exhausting days I had some time off. While in San Francisco I visited Alcatraz with my friend Brenda and hiked all around town.

I walked (just under 10 miles - and met not one but TWO corgis!) from Japantown to the Painted Ladies… down Haight Street to Market Street… to Lombard Street back down to the water… and back to the bayside, where a friend and Advice for Artist client, Shannon McNab, kindly drove me back to the airport.

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I had a great time but it’s good to be back home. The succulents out west are so pretty, I brought one back to see if I can let it live in my studio. A little souvenir of my week in San Francisco.

 

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



The most wonderful time of the year!

Feel that excitement? It's spring trade show season! This is the time of year when we get into high gear preparing for two big back-to-back shows in New York City: Blue Print 1 and SURTEX. Even one day in the Big Apple means lots of things to do and people to see. This is SIX DAYS in the city so we're talking six times the energy and six times the fun! Portfolio books are arriving each week... the artists are busy putting the finishing touches on their prints... and we are making special handmade gifts for our buyers this year! Reserve your appointment time today!

Come see us 17-19 MAY at BLUE PRINT and 20-21 MAY at SURTEX (register in advance here). If you decide to come, make an appointment and I will set aside time especially for you! For more information on the busiest, most exciting time of the year, you can read about JNA at the shows.

Thanks for looking at our latest work. You can see more at the two big shows in New York, or simply let me know and I will put together a custom gallery on any subject or by the artist of your choice. Kindly, Jennifer

My Heimtextil Diary

For our first time exhibiting at a trade show in Europe I decided to keep a diary of each day’s events. Ha! Easier said than done. There was so much excitement, so much going on and so many people to see and places to go, that my diary plans fell apart immediately. So here are just a few random highlights of our adventures in Heimtextil.

I left behind record cold temperatures in Boston.

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I flew to into Frankfurt, where the weather was lovely… much more pleasant for walking and exploring the old town, and having dinner with my artist friends. I was delighted to find that Frankfurt is a very walkable city; the tram, subway and buses are easy to use (and free with your Heimtextil badge!).

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 Anisa's rendition of Römerberg, the rebuilt "old town" of Frankfurt.

Anisa's rendition of Römerberg, the rebuilt "old town" of Frankfurt.

The show was tons of fun, especially meeting all the people. I met some artists I have consulted with, as well as clients I have wanted to reach for a long time. There were lots of new faces from the US and abroad.

One of the highlights of the trip was meeting Janna Krupinski for the first time! Although she has been with Jennifer Nelson Artists for almost a year, we had never actually seen each other in person. It was wonderful to discover that Janna is as funny and smart as she is talented. 

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Artists Janna, Rae Ritchie, Anisa Makhoul and myself all stayed together in an AirBnB. What a treat! We had a great time. One of my favorite parts of being an agent is the enduring friendships I have with my artists.

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I wondered how I would fare in Germany since I don’t speak that language. Just fine, it turns out. The German people are very kind and accommodating. Having a few German words and phrases to express pleasethank you, and good day goes a long way.

Wow! Heimtextil is a busy market, with some beautiful elaborate booth construction. Two doors down from me, a designer even built a log cabin in the space. The show was really something to see.

Lots of beautiful work was on display. This is a new market for us and I realized we still have more to learn. Prints at Home Decor shows are HUGE (~24 x 36")… so our prints looks a little small in comparison. Most of the artwork is repeat patterns, as clients are buying and licensing for wall, furniture, bedding and other home surfaces.

In comparison to a show like SURTEX, Heimtextil offers more for your investment. The booths are ample size, the tables are amazing and come complete with lockable tables and a small cabinet. The extra chairs, lights and tables do not cost a fortune. The space is large and the aisles wide. 

There was a good feeling of camaraderie with my Blue Print friends as well. Brenda Manley was just across from me and Paul from Cinnamon Joe was just around the corner. Friendships with other agents makes the world feel a little smaller, even thousands of miles from home.

After the show each night we had had one delicious dinner after another: Indian, Italian, French and the last night, Vietnamese. Frankfurt is a cosmopolitan city with lots to offer. Then we came back to our AirBnB where the artists painted, and we drank wine from teacups and talked. That was my favorite part!

 Rae Ritchie sketchbook (left) and Anisa Makhoul's (right)

Rae Ritchie sketchbook (left) and Anisa Makhoul's (right)

Saturday we took a train to Freiburg to be tourists for a day. It is a charming little town! We took an early train from Frankfurt, ate spaetzle (German pasta/dumplings) with wurst and lentils, found an amazing o market in the square and an little shop where Christmas is happening 365 days a year! On the way back, Anisa even bought champagne for us to enjoy in the train!

Overall, the trip to Heimtextil was a success. We licensed work for window coverings, bedding, pillows and rugs in Mexico, US, Europe and Asia. We met several US clients and very importantly expanded our database to many new clients from around the world. 

Now that the show is over, I am going to enjoy some R&R in Budapest (where my brother lives) and visit the Szechenyi Baths in the morning before the US is even awake! Pure bliss and $20 for a one-hour massage. I can hardly wait. :) Jennifer

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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

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

Where would artists be without inspiration?

Where would artists be without inspiration? Whether it’s a spring flower, a sunny day, or a cat napping near a window, artists draw inspiration every day from their experiences and the things they see.

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If you’re really lucky, like our own Jennifer Orkin Lewis, you can draw inspiration from an amazing trip to India! The sights she is seeing are awe-inspiring and we’re sure that they will inspire Jennifer to create some wonderful new images of her own. Just take a look at the some the amazing photographs from her journey. Enjoy! – (the other) Jennifer

Inspiration from The Potteries

Hello, Rachel Grant here writing from a rather damp, cold North Staffordshire in the UK.
 
I wanted to share with you a little bit about this area I live in and the way in which it inspires some of my artwork. 

Books and catalogues full of manufactured designs

If you have had a peek at my portfolio you will notice that I have a bit of a passion for painting images that include a piece of pottery or two! 

Burleigh ware in the museum with the original office windows
Burleigh transfer prints

North Staffordshire is known affectionately as "The Potteries" because historically this area has been an important centre for ceramics since the industrial revolution. Wedgwood, Doulton, Spode, Minton and many more all built their legacies here. The iconic bottle kiln is a familiar sight for me and although a lot of the local factories have been lost, there has been significant investment in regenerating some of our historical sites into heritage centres that have become wonderful places to visit, explore and be inspired by!

Iconic Potteries Bottle Kiln

One of the closest factories to me, only a twenty-minute walk away, is Middleport Pottery where the wonderful Burleighware is still manufactured today. The factory’s historical character has been preserved and recently a visitor centre has been created around it, including museum areas, displays and a lovely café with a cosy wood burner - and of course all Burleigh tea sets! It has become one of my favourite places to visit, mooch around, photograph and sketch at. 

In the heart of the old factory

When I was younger and learning about our local history I would often imagine myself as one of the paintresses or even one of our famous designers like Clarice Cliff or Susie Cooper. When I am busy at my desk now, I still channel a little bit of this dream as I paint the pottery pieces in my illustrations. I am particularly drawn to blue and white pottery which we have produced plenty of in the Potteries but also of course the beautiful Delftware from the Netherlands offers boundless inspiration. 

Cafe Table at the Heritage Centre

In my most recent series of artworks I decided to give this inspiration centre stage and created a little collection of paintings with a piece of blue and white pottery in each one. All of these original works on handmade paper sold and flew off to new homes before the New Year, but they are now available to license. 

My blue and white collection
My blue and white collection continued

While I paint these pots into my illustrations my mind often wanders to the (unfeasibly dark) wood clad designer’s room at Middleport Pottery Factory and I dream of continuing the Potteries legacy in my own small way by designing patterns for a range of ceramics. That really would be a dream come true. So you see these little still life pieces hold more than just those flowers and the foliage, for me they hold a little piece of my heritage.

On my desk - pattern work in progress

Thank you so much for allowing me to share this with you. Until next time, Rachel

Ready, Set PRINTSOURCE - here we come!

After a very successful show last year, look for artist’s agent Jennifer Nelson to return to Printsource in New York City on January 10th and 11th, 2017. Jennifer will be there representing the terrifically talented illustrators of Jennifer Nelson Artists: Anisa MakhoulBee BrownJennifer Orkin LewisJill HowarthKelly AngelovicLauren LowenMiriam BosRachel Grant and Rae Ritchie

“This is one show that we come back to every year. It has been good for us before and now we have some new artists to introduce, so we expect it will be even better,” said Jennifer Nelson from JNA’s Boston office. “These days it’s not uncommon to do business with a client for years without ever actually meeting in person. So we relish these occasions when we can meet face-to-face with the wonderful people who buy our art. Sure, it’s business, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy ourselves.”

With an expanded roster that now includes nine amazing illustrators, Jennifer looks forward to dazzling art buyers with a wealth of stunning new images. JNA’s artists specialize in a kind of hand-crafted look that conveys a warmth and sincerity that’s hard to find in today’s digital world. Although each artists has her own unique style, all of them create works that are quirky, feminine and fun. 

“It will be great to see our favorite customers again this year, and to meet some of them for the first time. Of course, the best part is meeting new people and making new friends! The art attracts people to our booth and that naturally starts a conversation.” Attendees should make an appointment with Jennifer in advance, to avoid disappointment. “If we miss you in January we’ll have to wait until August, and that’s just too long!”

Jennifer Nelson Artists is still a relative newcomer to the surface design world. But since their launch in January of 2015 they have been creating piles of new art and making literally hundreds of licensing deals. “We’ve been busy!” said Jennifer.

Printsource is the main resource for surface and textile design for America's major manufacturers, retailers and catalogs, covering such industries as men's, children's and women's apparel, bed and bath, kitchen and tabletop, paper goods and stationery, wall coverings, window fashions and other surface and textile design applications.

Rae’s visit to Houston for Quilt Market

Hello there! I feel so fortunate to have attended Quilt Market in Houston this past weekend. I had a spectacular time and I’d love to share it with you!

Quilters, sewers, shop owners, pattern writers and fabric manufacturers come together from around the world twice a year for this amazing trade show. I’ve been designing fabric for Dear Stella Design, a Timeless Treasures company, for a year and a half, so it was time to attend the show and finally meet many partners and friends - some face-to-face for the first time! 

 Here I am at the lovely Dear Stella booth!

Here I am at the lovely Dear Stella booth!

 A dress pattern (using my “Perch" fabrics) designed by “Made by Rae” - no relation lol! 

A dress pattern (using my “Perch" fabrics) designed by “Made by Rae” - no relation lol! 

This is one of my newest collections “Into the Reef.” The lovely quilt was designed and made by Sew Many Creations. Jessica from SMC worked in the booth with us, and it was fabulous finally meeting her in person, learning about her process, and seeing her impressive quilting wizardry!

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 Embellished quilt labels from my “Made with Love” collection.

Embellished quilt labels from my “Made with Love” collection.

I was also very excited to meet Denniele from Louanna Mary Quilt Design in person! She’s designed quilts for several of my Dear Stella collections, including this "Late Night Lanterns" quilt, using my “Night Garden” collection.  I’m so amazed by the talent of these makers, and it’s truly surreal seeing these gorgeous projects with my art on them. I’m very grateful to work with such outstanding people at Dear Stella!

It a super short trip, but luckily I got out to see a bit of downtown Houston. The historic district and Market Square Park were especially lovely. I must say, Houston does a great job with green-space downtown. Halloween weekend wouldn’t be complete without some inspiring spooky trees and old buildings! - Rae

Jennifer's Inspirational Retreat

My whole life I have wanted to live somewhere other than New York and Rhode Island. But it hasn't happened... yet. This summer I decided to just pack up my supplies, rent an Airbnb, get on a plane, stay for 3 weeks, and see what happens. It was a wonderful change of pace.

I spent my time on Vashon Island which is a ferry ride from Seattle. This was my view from the deck of my house and from the work table I set up in front of a big glass window. Different, yes!

The first day I was nervous. I had a stomach ache because of it, but as I adjusted to the situation I felt myself relaxing. It just so happened that a few jobs got delayed which meant I really had time to explore the island, see new things and play around with painting. I've been wandering the roads and the beach, collecting wildflowers and rocks and seeds... so many little bits that inspire me. My eyes are open wider.

There are really nice houses there, cute cottages, gardens that are out of this world, and amazing views. I took lots of pictures so I can refer to them later for reference. I also have done a lot of plein air painting which I don't get to do very often.

I  painted many loose, slightly abstracted watercolors in a cheap sketchbook just to get going. For me, if I work in a very quick way, without regard for the final outcome, I can find new ideas and directions. Even here I still have times where I have no idea what I want to paint, what is inspiring me. But I took a walk along the beach, or a hike in the woods. Or go to a cute cafe and sit for tea. These small mindful things are so necessary to the creative process and sometimes in the business of everyday life I forget to take time for myself.

Also, I've met the most wonderful, warm, kind people here! And been invited over to so many incredible homes. With all the stuff going on in the world right now it's such a pleasure to turn off the news and just enjoy simple, beautiful, generous humanity. Best, Jennifer

Lauren Lowen’s Tokyo Adventure

Hello everyone! I just got back from Tokyo and had an AMAZING time. This was my third time visiting Japan and my husband’s second.  Read on to see some of my favorite photos and hear what we did!

First of all, Japan has all sorts of fun packaging, products and graphics. Here’s just a sampling of some of the uber cute things we saw.

 

One of the places I really wanted to visit was the Ghibli Museum, a wonderful space dedicated to the studio famous for their films by Hayao Miyazaki (My Neighbor Totoro , Spirited Away) . You have to get tickets way in advance, so acquiring them was extremely stressful. Just imagine me stalking my computer for the very second the next batch of tickets were available online! They have a pretty strict “no photo” policy, but you are able to get a picture of yourself and Totoro at the museum entrance.

Another adventure was visiting an onsen (traditional hot spring bathhouse). It was pure coincidence that we went to the same onsen I visited about ten years ago on my last trip. There is a communal area where you can get food, buy souvenirs, and even play games.  After a quick bite to eat and some browsing, Keith and I said bye for a while and went to relax in our designated bathing areas. By then we were very tired after a few days of intense walking, so we really needed it!

The wackiest destination was probably The Robot Restaurant. Keith was very excited to do this, and I can only describe it as part live theatre, part crazy parade, and all the insane stuff you imagine in Japanese pop culture.

One of the things I had never done during my previous visits was explore a department store. They are known for having large food halls below (delicious!) and I was lucky enough to stumble upon some beautiful house goods, stationery, and other products. Check out these photos of the kimono section in one store. (You are looking at a $15,000 garment; the obis on display range from $3000-$5000 if you’re wondering! Absolutely beautiful.)

All the experiences were so incredible. In the end I picked up a few items for myself, with lots more being purchased for friends and family.  Keith and I had a great time, but have to admit we were ready to go home by the last day…only because our feet couldn’t take it anymore!

The trip was relaxing and inspiring. After taking all those beautiful photographs I can't wait to create some images with my paints! - Lauren

Hello! My name is Anisa.

WEEK ONE: Flow Magazine has asked me to blog for them on Wednesdays all month.  We thought it would be fun to share these posts over here too! 

I was born in Lansing, Michigan, and I was a very creative child.  I was always interested in sewing or painting, or anything that involved colors. I studied printmaking at Minneapolis College of Art & Design.  

After college I just wanted to travel the U.S.  so I funded my trip by sewing hand made dresses, and selling them at music concerts, It was a great way to see my country.  It also started me into a business printing, sewing and later manufacturing my own clothing. 

I made clothes and sold under the label Makool for many years.  When I gave birth to my son 5 years ago, my love for travel and adventure won again and we decided to move from Portland, Oregon to Amsterdam, NL.  

 Anisa at work.

Anisa at work.

While living in Amsterdam I fell in love with the canal houses and the bicycles and I began painting and drawing. I started taking classes in illustration, and before I knew it I had a new career.  

Last year we moved back from Amsterdam, to Portland.  Portland is on the West Coast of the U.S. right above California.  It's in a temperate rain forest.  It rains a lot here, but the rain makes it very green.  

The city is covered in moss, ferns, fog and old growth trees.  It feels good to live here, the city seems to glow green, it’s very healing.  I missed this living in Amsterdam. 

I’m excited to share my creative process as well as some of my inspiration over the next few weeks.  I hope you’ll visit my website and follow me on Instagram.

Enjoy! - Anisa

WEEK TWO: I thought today it would be nice if I gave you a tour of my new studio. Part of the incentive for me to move to Portland from Amsterdam was that I would have a new house. Our house was finished last June and we were able to move in after a long wait. My favorite room is my studio, it’s open with concrete floors and floor to ceiling windows facing the south. It’s a L shape so it’s hard to photograph, also on the day I took these picture we had some unexpected sunshine in Portland, it’s very rare.

You can see my cat “Happy Kids T.V.”, showing you the butterflies I did for this month’s issue of Flow. She’s a Devon Rex cat and she likes to come to my studio and find things she can attack. 

This is where I spend the majority of my time. I like to draw with pencils or calligraphy pens, and paint with gouache, ink, or acrylic. I mostly don’t keep sketch books unless I’m traveling. I prefer to make a bunch of drawings, and tape them to the wall. I work with my drawings in photoshop and I find that having them taped to the wall, lets me see everything I have without toggling through folders. 

Thanks for stopping by my studio. Next week I’m going to introduce you to some of my friends. - Anisa

WEEK THREE: 

This week I wanted to show you how I stay creative and social.  Having creative social outlets helps me to stay inspired, by thinking about making art in different ways. 

Portland is a very creative city, I feel fortunate to be a part of the art community.  Last year a group of women artists started an event called “Ladies Drawing Night”, it a private group,  when I was asked to join I was very excited.  The group meets once a month, we get together to sit around a table, drink wine, share snacks, and make art.  This has connected me with some amazingly talented local women, whom I admire, and it’s been a great resource.  Last month I brought my camera along to share a picture with you. 

 (pictured here, from the right around the table is  Lena Podesta, Adrienne Vita, Vera Brosgol, Peg Serena, Tara Lilly, Kinoko Evans, and the little blue person on pink paper is by Rilla Alexander) 

(pictured here, from the right around the table is  Lena Podesta, Adrienne Vita, Vera Brosgol, Peg Serena, Tara Lilly, Kinoko Evans, and the little blue person on pink paper is by Rilla Alexander) 

Another project I do with friends is “Stamp Art Club”, once a month we each make a postage stamp based on a theme.  There are four of us, and we make these images to share on  Instagram.  We have a hashtag #stampartclub if you’d like to view the whole project. 

The artists are Tara Lilly from Portland, Oregon, Monika Forsberg from London, and Kate Mason from Australia.

One great thing about stamp art club is that it keeps me in touch with friends who live far away.   We are doing a project together so we can’t fall out of touch, also it insures that I have one playful assignment every month that’s just for myself.  So much of what you do as an illustrator is making work for clients, constantly thinking about what the client wants can get tiresome. 

I hope to encourage other creatives out there to begin some sort of “creative playground”, someplace where there’s no pressure just connecting with other artists in fun ways.  It can help to get you out of your own head, and the connections you'll make are priceless. - Anisa

WEEK 4: I used to think I couldn’t draw, but now I think drawing is like a muscle if you don’t use it’s not very strong and the more you use it the better it works.  

When I was in college, I always got C’s in drawing no matter how much energy I put into the class. This was discouraging for me and I only took the required amount of drawing to graduate art school.  I ended up studying photography and printmaking.  

After college I went on to teach myself how to sew and design patterns for clothing.  I did some screen printing on the clothing, but not very much.  I spent the next 10 years building up a business, selling hand made clothing designs.  Meanwhile I always felt something was missing.  I noticed myself spending time on the internet admiring the work of artists and illustrators. 

It was when I moved from Portland to Amsterdam that I stopped the clothing business it just wasn’t possible to move it.  I had a lot of time to be alone with my creativity which was really nagging me.  I felt lost not having a creative outlet.  One day when I was on Amazon shopping for books a suggestion caught my eye. It was Lilla Rogers “I just like to make things”, the title alone spoke to me and I ordered the book.  Shortly after, I began taking her classes, and things just snowballed from there.  Today I couldn’t imagine not drawing and painting every day, it feels like I’ve been doing this my whole life. 

Here’s a suggestion to get into drawing.  Give yourself an assignment.  I used to tell myself I’m just going to draw an object 50 times.  I discovered if you draw a chicken 50 times it’s not possible to have 50 bad drawings of a chicken a few of them will be interesting and pretty good. It’s a great way to get yourself into drawing and to discover your style. 

Thanks you for spending the month with me, I loved blogging every week.  - Anisa

The irony of being too busy to write a blog...

There’s something ironic about writing a blog explaining how you’re too busy to write a blog. So be it!

The past few months have been ridiculously busy here. And that’s a good thing! But I miss having the time to chat with our clients and artists friends.

December is a busy month for most people, with holidays and shopping and family. For us, it’s even busier as we exhibited at our first trade show: Blue Print NYC. We had a great time being in New York City, meeting people in person we had only spoken with on the phone, and doing quite a bit of business right there at the show. Our wonderful artist Jennifer Orkin Lewis brought her watercolors and was painting portraits of attendees live and in-person. Such a cool experience! We broadcast some of it live on Periscope while posting photos to Instagram and Facebook right from the event. 

In January we were back in NYC for Printsource. Once again we had a booth and enjoyed meeting and greeting both artists and art buyers in a sometimes hectic but always friendly atmosphere. If you didn’t make it this time we’ll be back again in August. Send a note to say you’re coming so we can plan to meet there. It’s a terrific show for the surface texture industry.

We barely had time to catch our breath before we had to be in the air for a trip to Atlanta. (Less than 24 hours between getting home from Printsource and boarding a flight to Georgia. Yes, I managed to squeeze in a shower.) I met our amazing artist, Lauren Lowen there. The Atlanta Gift & Home Show is not only a wonderful show, but Atlanta is my home town. That meant spending quality time with my folks in between doing business at the show. It was fun, but exhausting. The very cool thing is that last year (the week before we hung out our shingle) - Lauren and I first met at this very show. JNA had no products, of course.... well, this year we are so pleased to say we have over 50!

With all that travel behind me, I have been working like mad on the mountain of follow-up. There are still calls and emails to return, and literally hundreds of inquiries to answer. But I’m not complaining! I love to be busy and I love my job.

I’ll blog again when I get a break. Meanwhile, feel free to get in touch when you need illustration for whatever project you have. I’m sure we can make you happy. – Jennifer

Fractured Finds

Hi!...a little something from Bee today...we braved the winds at the weekend, togged up the wellies and went off in search of somewhere to stretch our legs! Not too far from our home is a great arts centre which has a lovely big pond in the park surrounding it. There are super-wide paths for the boys to scoot their scooters, and fun places to play in with little nooks and crannies to hide in!...We were so surprised to also find hiding in a cranny these incredible mosaic people...if only they could have shared with us their tales of how they came to be there, but what a wonderful find? Bee x

Folky Fish

A few weekends ago we visited an exhibition of British folk art at a gallery not too far from where we live, and happened upon some amazing pieces of incredible folk art. I just LOVE folk art. There was so much to see and enjoy. I would have loved to have been able to show you some of the things we saw in more detail but sadly we weren't allowed to take photos. I was really inspired by some 3D wooden carvings of fish that used to hang over shop doors (before proper signage was invented) to let passers by know that particular establishment was the fishmonger's. There were huge boots for the cobblers, an enormous padlock and keys for the locksmiths and a beautiful golden teapot for the tea shop. Here's a quick sketch of some of my fish... watch this space because I'm sure they'll be featured in a pattern pretty soon! Enjoy - Bee

Although the exhibition is closed now, you can still find out more here

Reflections on PRINTSOURCE (January 2015)

Jennifer Orkin Lewis and I met at PRINTSOURCE in NYC just before we announced the launch of the studio. This was my 6th time and every year I learn so much! The artwork pulls your eyes in all directions. It was good to see familiar faces and meet some new friends too! Hearing what trends and subject matter clients are looking for is truly invaluable. We walked and walked and stopped for a yummy lunch!

Many say fashion sets the surface design trends, and I have to say that point of view is definitely worth considering. We saw emerging trends such as: animal skins and spots, REALLY big plaids, folk (and boho), patchwork and blurry florals. We saw subject matter ranging from kitchen, animals (the perennial woodland creatures + zoo), nautical, floral, baby to winter holiday and even a few zebras!

So, now I am making my lists of where we are currently working and where we will be soon!

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And who knows, maybe we will score a license on some fancy PJs one day!?! You think so too!?! Call me, 781-643-2002 and let's make it happen! - Jennifer

 

You can find information about the PRINTSOURCE shows here (also in April and August each year). If you are interested in learning more about trends, see the wonderful PRINTSOURCE trend blog here.