We are only a month and a few days away from this year's Surtex 2015 show. Many artists are preparing for this exciting event in NYC. Artist Nina Seven is one of them. She is a surface designer and illustrator from Seattle, WA, represented by Pink Light Studio.
"I live in a 1909 Craftsman style home with my hubbie, in the Phinney Ridge neighborhood," Nina says. "I have 2 kids, but they can hardly be called kids any longer since they are now in their 20's!"
I asked her what her favorite design style is and what inspires her. "My favorite design style and the one that most inspires me, I guess you would call quirky modern. Designs that are kid-like but still appeal to adults. Cute, but not cutesy. I hope that makes sense."
THREE (or less) KEY NOTES ON ART & LICENSING: I'll be showing my work through my agent at the big Art Licensing show, Surtex, in May, for the 4th time this year. I'd like to thank my agent, Mary Beth Freet, for giving me the best advice when I first signed with her. She told me one of the main things you need to know when getting into licensing is that you have to possess the ability to have patience.
If you are a person that really thrives on instant gratification, you will most likely face some disappointment. The process of getting your work shown, picked up, then eventually made into a product can take years sometimes. It also takes awhile to build up a full body of work that can be shown at the big shows like Surtex.
If you are new to surface pattern designing or are thinking of getting into it, I would point out the need to design pieces in a collection.
Here are a few examples of the way we do our collection previews. Everyone does them slightly differently, but you can see how the designs within the collection go together but don't actually share any of the same elements.
WHAT YOU REALLY LOVE, I.E. YOUR PASSION: I really love spending time with my family. I love my two crazy but adorable cats and I love drinking coffee. I'm hopelessly addicted to Starbucks!
WHAT YOU DON'T REALLY LIKE: I don't like loud, rude people.
A FAVORITE SOMETHING: I like to take photos with my phone, mostly around my neighborhood and share them on Instagram. It's my favorite social media site. All pictures, all the time! My user name is @ninaseven7, if anyone wants to follow me on my photo taking adventures. I also share some of my design work on there as well.
A MEMORABLE EVENT IN YOUR LIFE & A FUN MEMORY: I often think about how one thing leads to another and how you end up where you are because of a chain of events. About 15 years ago, when I was making a lot of mixed media fine art work, I had a small show at the local bakery. A woman that owned a paper crafting company here in Seattle saw the show and contacted me about designing some products for her. She also happened to live just up the block from me. This was the start of my surface design career. I continue to do some design work for her and we are great friends. I never could of imagined this happening when I put that work up in the bakery.
YOUR CONTRIBUTION TO THE WORLD AS AN ARTIST: I still do some fine art work occasionally and contribute work every year to Art for Autism, which benefits Northwest Behavioral Associates. My son has autism, so it's a cause that is very meaningful to me.
WHAT'S THE NEXT CHAPTER IN YOUR PROFESSIONAL LIFE: As I said before, my work will be shown at Surtex in NYC and I also will be attending the show for the first time! I'm so excited! I'll be at the Pink Light Studio booth on Sunday, May 17. If you're at the show, stop by and say Hi!
A HELPFUL TIP TO OTHER ARTISTS: I've already mentioned a few things that might be helpful to anyone who is interested in getting into surface design and art licensing, so I don't have too much else to add. I would just say keep working, work every day and hone your skills. Take classes, try new things, be observant to what you like and find your own happiness.