Sunday, November 13, 2011

Collaborative Work in Licensing - An Interview with Artist Khristian Howell

My first set of product mockups is a wrap - I originally sketched them out in pencil and then turned into Illustrator files. And I also completed my first collection, which I am working into my first tearsheet. Very exciting! Soon I will be done with three more collections that can be submitted to manufacturers ... so I am doing more research now on potential matching manufacturers while getting the portfolio and website completed. Lots of fun work ahead! To keep up with inspiration, I asked a dynamic and successful artist what she thought about art and licensing, and here is what she said:

Artist Khristian Howell
The Moon from My Attic: Please introduce yourself – I am Khristian Howell. I license my work to a wide range of categories including fabrics, stationery, wall coverings, and more. I live to travel, and I eat lots of olives (mmmmm...olives).  Recently, I have started contributing to national magazines. I was profiled in the October issue of Better Homes and Gardens (exciting!). I am exploring the different corners of my creativity and constantly thinking about what is next.

TMFMA: Where do you enjoy doing your creative work? I really love my humble little studio, but sometimes I like to get out and be among moving people. I really like sitting on the college campus in our city and watch the college kids. I like to see what they are wearing (if it is not sweats and co-ed gear), and hearing what they are chatting about. It is fascinating! I get to explore so many different aspects of myself through my work.  Sometimes it is playful, sometimes demure, still other times bold and energetic. It is exciting to get to change it up all the time.

© Khristian Howell - Desert Daydreams
TMFMA: How did you get started? I started as a colorist in the kidswear product development division of Nordstrom Product Group at the Nordstrom HQ in Seattle. I sat in a room with the textile artists and they always had too much on their plate. I got the courage to say hey, can I help, and they jumped at it! I quickly became a colorist and textile artist soon there after.

TMFMA: What's you favorite medium or tool you create with? Of course I can't live without AI (Adobe Illustrator), and I love shooting as well. I am exploring working with oils at the moment as well.

© Khristian Howell - Baby Beach Bum
TMFMA: Do you work by yourself or do you also do collaborative work?  I am always open to exploring collaborations. I think they offer a great potential for personal growth. I work alone the vast majority of the time. I get sucked into the work, so it is easy to do. I do however, have an off-the-charts fantastic assistant Niki

TMFMA: Do you license your work? Yes.  Licensing is the bread and butter of what I do. I currently license my work in a wide range of categories including fabric, wall coverings, bath, bedding, and stationery to name a few. I started by just following the submission guidelines for companies I wanted to work with (I still do this today). I was lucky and one bit right away! That was how I got my first license which was with Robert Kaufman Fabrics – I really enjoy running my business and creating art, so I choose not to work with an agent.

© Khristian Howell - Provencal
I do show at Surtex each year. I would like to add another show, but keep on fighting with myself over which one!

The most important thing about licensing is to not be deterred by the word no. It happens - ALOT. You will get more no's than yeses that is for sure. You cannot take it personally.  Sometimes it has nothing to do with your work at all. Manufacturers are always looking to fill certain needs, so try try again! Don't be afraid to go back to the same manufacturer again and again if you believe you are a good fit.

TMFMA: Where do you like to look for inspiration?  Travel and culture are my greatest sources of inspiration. In fact, I am a bit overdue for an adventure!

© Khristain Howell - Nolita
TMFMA: What are the reasons for you to do what you do? I am OBSESSED with living a life to my own beat. I am just not cut out for going to a job to do the same thing everyday. My mind is constantly thinking of what is next and I must be able to explore all of these ideas (no matter how crazy) in order to feel like me. I love color, pattern, culture, design and travel so much, I can't image a me without being entrenched in all of these things.

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1 comment:

Natalie Timmons said...

This was a fantastic and information article. What an inspiration! Thank you for sharing.