Monday, July 16, 2012

Learning and Discovering New Skills - Artist Petra Kern

A "Design Board" is a tool used by designers to help them get a good idea of what their clients are looking for. There are several types of design boards: Mood Boards, Inspirational Boards, or Decorating Boards, all of which are basically collages of items such as photographs, sketches, clippings, fabric swatches and color samples; they can be either actual or virtual. I used them a lot when I did interior design to help show and inspire my clients during the conceptual stage of a design project; I used hand sketches, images and floor plans and I also featured paint chips along with color and fabric swatches plus images of accessories. They are fun to make and can show a variety of styles and ideas - and save time and money in the long run.

Artist Petra Kern
I now consider my blog a bit like a design board, where I feature artists from all over the world, although I am not trying to sell anything. I just love to show off their beautiful art! I think it's fascinating to find out about other cultures and styles of art. So this week I am pleased to present an artist from Slovenia - a beautiful country attached to the northeast side of Italy. Petra Kern's art is lovely. Although she lives in Europe and is new to art licensing, she exhibited at Surtex this year through an agency. Here is her unique story:

The Moon from My Attic: Please introduce yourself. My name is Petra Kern, of Petra Kern Designs - I started off as Petra Kern Hand Painted Designs but now my work is also digitally done on computer.

I was a journalist and stylist since I was a student. In 17 years of journalism I managed to work for national women and lifestyle magazines (printed and online) such as Elle, Elle Decor and Cosmopolitan. As much as I enjoyed working there, I could overhear a little voice whispering: "Come on, you know you want it!"

© Petra Kern
After graduating from the university, two children and lots of whispers from that little voice, I decided to stop fighting them and embrace the fact that I wanted to be an artist and surface/textile designer. In 2009, with enormous help from my husband, I launched a web page, built a Facebook Page community, made my first card collection and decided to learn as much as possible. I took many e-classes to educate myself and to really see what my options were. You have to realize that I live in a small country with literally no licensing field or knowledge of it.

With a lot of help and experience from my former occupation and with a constant desire to create and learn, I am now ready to license my work, open online shops, make holidays cards and move forward every single day with my work. I just launched my own business in October 2011 so I am still looking for the perfect licensing deal.

TMFMA: What's exciting about your creative work? Oh, I could go on and on with this one! When I started to do what I love I really started to love Mondays. I am so thrilled every time I surround myself with colors, papers and brushes that I look like a child in a candy store. To my surprise I started to love designing on computer. I really love the fact that I can sit in front of any artwork I started earlier and the continuation always comes very natural to me. Whats makes creative work exciting is also the fact that you never ever stop learning and discovering new skills. I love that!

TMFMA: What's your favorite medium or tool/s you create with? Basically everything that I have created by hand. Every medium serves to a different need and produces a different look. At the beginning I started with cheap markers. Then I realized that I have a lot of unopened guaches, then I moved to inks and watercolors, finally I discovered mixed media and I have to say I love to put different papers together. When I started to make patterns I realized that I have to learn how to make them on the computer, so I gave myself two months to learn basic rules in Illustrator. Now white paper, a black marker and a computer are very much every day tools.

© Petra Kern
TMFMA: Who or what has inspired you in your art? When I started to create (basically the major breakthrough happened in 2009) I thought that I'd lived in a creative desert for so long that my mind just collected this creative power and that I had to let it out. Now I am starting to realize that I am inspired by our heritage, colors, ornaments, flowers … Only a glimpse of a beautiful thing can be enough to do my own interpretation. I loved to travel, but I have small kids now and I am starting a business and trips are really limited. But I can not wait to see what serious travel will do to my art.

TMFMA: Do you license or sell your work? Or both? For now I sell my artwork on Etsy and two art galleries in Slovenia. I also sell my cards in a small shop. I've recently opened a Spoonflower shop where I mostly sell hand drawn/painted designs. 

TMFMA: Have you walked or exhibited an art licensing show in Europe or elsewhere? If yes, tell us about your experience. A month or so before Surtex I got an invitation from A Fresh Bunch Agency to join their team. I had two weeks to do presentation kits and in this short time period I did the best I could. I couldn't fly to New York but my work was shown at their booth.

© Petra Kern
TMFMA: Please give your analysis of the European market based on your own experience. The truth to be told I am more aware of the American market and companies than those in Europe because all my education is based on the American market. I am now a student of a Pattern Design Course with Rachel Taylor and I am still in the learning phase. But I am very pleased to see that art is turning very global and the mix of styles are what is now appearing everywhere. I am thrilled about this diversity.

TMFMA: In your view, what was of major interest to manufacturers this year? I think florals, geometrics and paisleys were very prominent. I was surprised how often pet designs appeared. For the upcoming season, cars and motocycles from the '50's will be sought after, as well as a "boho florals" type look, accompanied by geometrics. Neons will also be back as accents.

© Petra Kern
TMFMA: What advice would you give other artists who are considering the art licensing field? Oh, be prepared, be very prepared. It's a struggle, lots of searching and so many no's that you start questioning your decision every day! But be also prepared for huge satisfaction and joy when someone shows interest in your work.

TMFMA: Anything else you want to share, your future goals, new exciting projects, anything more about licensing? I am putting together few pattern and card collections to send them to potential clients. I am still a newbie and I am doing a lot of research. I am very excited about the pattern design e-course that I've mentioned because it makes me step out of my comfort zone and it challenges me every day to search for new things that would work best for my art. 

© Petra Kern
Find Petra Kern here:



Patti said...

really pretty patterns

Anonymous said...

Nice work Petra! Julie

Colleen Attara said... your work. So nice to read about you!!

Your HSHB sister,


verena said...

@ Petra. Beautiful work

@ Alex. Thank you for your nice comment on my blog a feew weeks ago. And thank you for the interviews. They are all so interesting and informative.