Oct
09

Worn Stories

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I have a box full of clothing from different periods of my life – a Grateful Dead shirt from high school, my favorite baby doll tee from freshman year of college, an interview skirt from my first job search – that I just can’t seem to part with. Are you the same way? If you are, well, we’re not alone. Emily Spivack’s Worn Stories shares 60+ clothing-inspired first-person narratives that spill about the stories of our lives. (You can submit your own memory for a chance to win a copy of the book.)

 

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Oct
07

A Reading Nook Reimagined

This post is sponsored by Target. Shop Home Decor for modern luxury made easy.

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In no particular order, three of my favorite things in life are reading, being cozy, and autumn. Luckily they go together perfectly, so this month I’ve teamed up once again with Target to create a reading nook that’s both chic and inviting. My recipe for a comfy little space like this one is one part knit, one part organic, and one part metallic.

 

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In this case, the knit comes in the form of an afghan my 90-year-old grandmother made for me as a housewarming gift; it’s gorgeous and the perfect weight for chilly fall evenings. A colorful bouquet of flowers adds the organic touch, brightening up the neutrals that are popular this season and adding color to autumn days that tend to be slightly overcast. The metallic comes into play by way of this gold wire and wood accent table that manages to warm up the entire space, even with its slim silhouette. (And what reading nook could possibly be complete without a steaming cup of tea?)

 

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Right now I’m in the process of finishing up The Vacationers, which has me and a few friends planning a trip to Greece and Turkey come spring 2016. I love how books have the ability to inspire real life adventures! What’s on your reading list at the moment?

 

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This post sponsored by Target.

Aug
18

Art, Inc. + a Giveaway

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Full disclosure: Lisa Congdon is my friend. My crazy talented, enormously gifted, incredibly smart business woman of a friend who decided in 2006 to take a chance on art and succeeded beyond her wildest dreams. Art, Inc.: The Essential Guide for Building Your Career as an Artist is her latest book.

 

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If you’re creative in any way chances are you’ve daydreamed about making a career of it, and that’s exactly what Art, Inc. is about. It’s essentially a guide to making your dreams a reality and debunking the myth of the starving artist written by someone who has taken the plunge and lived to tell the tale. Learn about the ways artists can make a living from their art (you don’t have to be on a street corner with an easel, although that was always sort of my dream). Lisa shares her knowledge of licensing, sales, teaching, promoting, managing, and tons more. Not only from her own career, but from art world pros like Paula Scher, Nikki McClure, and Claire Desjardins who we’re going to dig a little deeper into below with an excerpt.

 

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Claire DesjardinsPainter
Montreal, Canada

Montreal native Claire Desjardins spent her childhood summers in the countryside, where she discovered painting. But although she loved the art form, she chose to study business in college as a way to a stable, well-paying career. After graduating, she worked for ten years in technology and marketing. Several years ago, she set up a painting studio at home to get back in touch with her creative side, painting for the first time since she was a child. Over time, she moved from small to large canvases and began painting abstractly. By 2011, she was selling enough of her work to pursue art full-time. Since then, Claire has received grants to attend artist residencies at the Vermont Studio Center and Da Wang Culture Highland in Southeastern China. She is represented by Galerie Lydia Monaro in Montreal and Muse Gallery in Toronto and is a top-selling artist on Saatchi Online. Claire’s work can be found in both private and corporate collections around the world.

 

Lisa Congdon: As a self-taught abstract painter, how did you go from painting in your studio to selling work?

Claire Desjardins: I’d been painting for several years, and around the advent of Facebook, I started posting my work there. I had given a painting to a friend and then another friend of his saw it on Facebook and he contacted me about whether I had anything else for sale. That was how it all started. I began meeting a lot of people online who were interested in my art. That year I did quite well with my art, but I was still working for a marketing communications company. I worked only four days a week, so I would paint on my free weekday. My company was restructuring and merging, and I got laid off in 2011. But it was a perfect time for me to leave my job.

 

LC: How did you first get gallery representation?

CD: I sold a painting to one of my fans on Facebook. It was one of my first paintings that I had sold to someone I didn’t even know, so it was pretty exciting. I made sure that I really took care of her. I packed the painting properly, sent it with a booklet of my art, and called her to make sure everything went smoothly. Sometime later, I received an email from Muse Gallery in Toronto. Apparently, the woman from Facebook who bought my painting lived around the corner from the gallery and had told them about me. The gallery owner looked me up, liked what he saw, and contacted me to work on an artist agreement together. I did some research on them and called other artists who the gallery represented. I asked them about their relationships with the gallery and eventually, it all came together. I borrowed my father’s minivan and drove a bunch of paintings to Toronto! They have represented me since and have given me a couple of solo shows, too.

 

LC: Right around the time you left your job, Anthropologie contacted you. They sell your original paintings and license your paintings to make prints and for use on their products. How did this relationship come about? What are the advantages and disadvantages of working with a big company to sell and license your work?

CD: It all began one day when I got an email—and in the subject line it said “Anthropologie Interest.” They were looking for local artists to feature on the walls and windows of the new Montreal store. Four of their buyers came to my studio. I heard that they had read about me on Mocoloco.com.

There are both advantages and disadvantages to working with a large company. The main and obvious advantage is the exposure of my art. Other advantages include the additional revenue, as well as seeing my art on different products. The disadvantage is less obvious; it’s that a small portion of the artistic community came to perceive my art as too commercial or that I’m “selling out.”

 

LC: What is your main mode for selling original work now?

CD: By far, I make most of my sales online. Specifically, I’ve had success with Saatchi Online. In order to nurture this relationship, I try to keep up with my social networking as much as possible. This is a very important component to my job, as it’s the only advertising I can afford (it’s mostly free!), and it reaches so many people. Whenever I post a new painting online, I make sure to link it to a page that allows people to purchase my art, like Saatchi Online. I make sure that I give them credit for the good things that they do, in a timely fashion. So if they include one of my pieces on their home page, I make sure that I blurt it out for all to read, on all my social media like Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Twitter.

 

LC: You are an advocate for signed agreements— whether in licensing or when you work with galleries. Why are they important?

CD: When you sell or license your art, money and image rights are involved, so spelling out the rules in advance helps to manage expectations and eliminate surprises later on. It protects both the artist and the reseller. Proposing the writing of an agreement should not be perceived as an unfriendly gesture or an indication of mistrust. In fact, it should be considered an act of ensuring mutual understanding. We all have contracts with our cable or cell phone companies, so why wouldn’t you have an agreement with the resellers of your art, whether they are galleries, agents, or commercial companies? The exercise of writing an agreement will raise many questions that had not been thought about before. Those questions can be imperative in terms of the health and sustainability of the relationship.

 

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And once again here’s the fun part – two of you have the chance to win a copy of Art, Inc! Whether you’re an aspiring artist or know someone who aims to be this book is the guide you’ll want at arm’s reach. You have until midnight CST Sunday, August 24th to toss your hat into the ring!
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Jul
18

Happy Weekend

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01/ See families lying in a week’s worth of their own garbage in 7 Days of Garbage.
02/ The Foodnited States of America.
03/ The Crystalline Series by Niche Modern have beautiful colors and shapes.
04/ This watch – DURR – shivers every five minutes to investigate the subjective nature of time.
05/ Completely brilliant – Motion Silhouette is an interactive shadow picture book.
06/ Can you believe these scenes by Bovey Lee were hand-cut from rice paper?!
07/ Head in the Clouds illustrates one hour’s worth of trash in NYC. Incredible.
08/ Ever wondered what’s inside fireworks? Check out Boom City.
09/ Photography, digital effects, and models combine for a glimpse In Utero.
10/ So glad Yumi Okita‘s textile moths aren’t real.

This week on Design Crush:
Have a listen to this month’s Mixtape #38: Just Trying to Be Where I End Up.
Make sure and enter our Loom Decor giveaway for a chance to win!
Love these gold-kissed art from Au Prints.
Beautiful textiles with a great premise from JOYN.
Super limited edition (but affordable) jewelry from fortune.
We pulled together 12 July DIYs – our favorites!
Blurry, washed out watercolor portraits by François-Henri Galland.
A little bit in love with the color palette of The Mercantile Collection!
Pretty leather pouches and bags by Georgie Cummings.

Design Crush elsewhere:
A bathroom floor refresh.

May
27

Summertime

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What is it about summer? Maybe it’s the longer days or childhood memories, or maybe it’s fewer pieces of clothing or more time spent outdoors. No matter what you can’t deny that something about the season just feels freer than the others. Joanne Dugan captures that magic in Summertime, a curated collection of 100 photos and quotes that capture the essence of the title.

 

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May
02

Happy Weekend

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01/ My Toy Plane shows just that in fun and imaginative scenarios.
02/ Pretty silk scarves emblazoned with NASA satellite imagery from Slow Factory.
03/ The 10 Commandments of Typography. Follow ‘em.
04/ The post-film lives of sixteen sets.
05/ Subtly geometric wooden iPad and MacBook sleeves from Grove.
06/ Fictitious Dishes depicts meals from famous works of literature.
07/ CATable end the battle for space with your feline companion(s).
08/ Each of BL76‘s price tag artworks is priced according to how many stickers are used!
09/ This hand-cranked sculpture made from popsicle sticks is a study in bird motion.
10/ This glow-in-the-dark energy efficient highway is beyond brilliant.

This week on Design Crush:
I’m teaching a class on creating a killer media kit next week at Alt for Everyone AND giving away 7 tickets! Have you thrown your name into the hat?
Lucite – modern chic or trashy cool?
Check out Wind & Willow Home and then support their Indiegogo to create a new soft goods line!
Crazy awesome collage work by David Woodward.
Don’t forget the card this Mother’s Day. And yes, it’s only a week away!
April was mega crazy, and honestly I’m glad it’s over.
One day I plan on hiring Erin Fitzpatrick to paint my portrait. You know, for posterity.
These kilim clutches prove it’s not just fit for your floors these days.
People You May Meet illustrated me and my animal menagerie!

Apr
25

Happy Weekend

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01/ Fruit Juices shows us exactly how much liquid is products from a single piece.
02/ Mysterious animal crates were left around Paris to announce the reopening of the zoo.
03/ A Tribute to Budgie showcases bird illustrations made from food.
04/ This Chinese beekeeper isn’t afraid to wear a coat of 450,000 bees. Uhhh…
05/ The transparent Axor Starck V makes the everyday faucet beautiful.
06/ CafeCat slowly melts his marshmallow self away in your hot beverage.
07/ Check out the 50 most amazing tree houses in the world.
08/ Screen Identity is a 7-foot tall smartphone exhibiting our digital sense of self.
09/ A journey of self discovery that includes wearing other peoples’ clothes.
10/ Rachel Sussman is on a journey to document The Oldest Living Things in the World.

This week on Design Crush:
I revealed the second half of my collaboration with Nissan – the new Murano!
Check out Houndworthy, a shop full of thoughtful things for pet and owner alike.
Dubbed one of the best gifts ever by my mom, Mother’s Day + Kolo’s photo books are a natural fit.
Taking a peek at my trip to Craftcation in retrospect.
I’ve dubbed 2014 The Year of the Textile, beginning with the lovely work of Caitlin Wilson.
Every Mother Counts + Minted have teams up to donate 20% of all art print proceeds through 4/28 to expectant mothers!
Tiny everyday objects are matched by color in the Tiny PMS Match project.
Modern birdhouses that both you and your avian visitors are sure to enjoy.
Serene dessert scenes from Jordan Sullivan.

Apr
10

Whatever You Are, Be a Good One

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You already know of my love for quotes. But wise words are made only better when hand-lettered, in this case by artist Lisa Congdon in the book Whatever You Are, Be a Good One: 100 Inspirational QuotationsInsights, calls to action, and encouragements illuminate every page making this a bright spot on any bookshelf. It would also make a thoughtful gift for anyone going through tough times or reaching an important milestone.

 

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Mar
24

Hello NY / Meanwhile in San Francisco

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There’s something very appealing about two popular indie illustrators telling the stories of their hometowns on opposite coasts in simultaneously released books. In Hello, New York: An Illustrated Love Letter to the Five Boroughs Julia Rothman talks historical tidbits, idiosyncratic places to visit, interviews with locals, and her life growing up in the Bronx. Meanwhile, in San Francisco: The City in its Own Words, Wendy MacNaughton asked dozen of locals to describe their lives in the city. Both are amazing looks into two beloved cities.

 

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Feb
27

Creative Block

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I’ve been waiting over a year to lay hands on this book! Creative Block is the brainchild of my friend Danielle Krysa, aka The Jealous Curator. Between the covers Danielle taps into the minds of fifty successful artists and elicits advice and exercises for overcoming all manners of artistic impediment, that thing you probably know better as creative block. Of course the pages are also brimming with the artists’ resulting work. My plan of action is to read about one artist a week in the hopes that it keeps my creative mind fresh and ready to tackle anything!

 

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