Monday, 13 October 2014

Artist Feature: The Wonderful work of Melissa Kelman

I came across Melissa Kelman's designs on Pinterest and instantly fell in love with her 'Tiny Branches Floral' print, which works beautifully in different colourways. Sometimes I see a print design that I just can't stop looking at. I imagine it on home accessories, textiles and paper products and know that it would look amazing on everything, and with this that was most certainly the case. Melissa creates magic with her beautiful prints and stunning colour palettes. Aside from print and pattern, Illustration and Stationery work, New York based Melissa is the textile designer for American Eagle Outfitters and has created detailed designs for embroidery and knitwear. Let's meet the woman behind this beautiful work...

1. How did your business come about (and when did you start)?

As a kid I was always creating cards for friends and family or creating custom designs for my paper dolls. I’ve always loved creating and luckily my parents supported my love of the arts. We had a little room in our basement where I could experiment and make a mess. Today, I work in the fashion industry as a textile designer and create stationery designs for and I began my career in fashion about 6 years ago when I graduated college. Stationery has always been a part of my life (or at least since I could write out “Happy Birthday”).

2. Can you give a quick insight into your working method? (ideas,techniques, etc.)

Usually I brainstorm ideas in my sketch book and create little thumbnails of design ideas. Sometimes I like to start painting without any idea and see what I come up with. I love to paint florals in watercolor and gouache. When I am ready, I scan in my motifs and design in photoshop. For pattern designs, I create my repeats in photoshop and re-color in a pattern software called Kaledo.

3. What has been the hardest single obstacle to your life in design (apart from a shortage of time, which seems to be universal amongst creatives!)?

Probably marketing myself. I would much rather create artwork then spend time promoting it. I love working with Tinyprints and Minted because they do all of the marketing for me!

4. How do you stay motivated? What inspires you?

With a new baby, it can be a challenge to find time to create. I am currently navigating the balance of motherhood and my career and it’s not easy! I truly love to create and the simple joy of making is what keeps me motivated. For inspiration, like most artists I look to nature, but I am equally as inspired by the colors and textures I see on the streets of NYC. As a textile designer, I am often inspired by patterns and prints from past decades.

5. What has been the icing on the cake for you as a artist/designer?

As a designer nothing brings me more joy than seeing people wearing or using my artwork. I love when I see someone on the street rocking something I designed – best feeling ever!

6. Who do you admire (other artists/designers; other people generally)and what/who are your biggest influences, past or present?

I admire so many people! Past and present co-workers and mentors who have been so supportive of my dreams. My husband, Graham Kelman, who believed in me and pushed me to pursue a career in the arts. Iconic textile design houses, Collier Campbell, Marimekko and Vera Neumann.

7. Describe your creative space.

We live in a one bedroom apartment with a baby so space is a bit limited right now but I have my desk set up by our big window with an awesome view of New York City.

8. What is the best piece of advice you've ever been given?

The harder you work, the luckier you get. 

You can keep up to date with Melissa's work here...

(all above images are © Melissa Kelman)