Artist's Story: Christine Joy Design
Playful, rhythmic, and precise are just a few words we'd use to describe the lovely patterned paintings from Christine Llewellyn of Christine Joy Design. Carefully crafted with the culture of New York City and the influences of time spent abroad, her aesthetic is truly an extension of her rich range of personal experiences. We caught up with Christine to learn a little more about the woman behind the brightly patterned prints. So, without further ado, meet Christine!
Name: Christine Llewellyn
Occupation: Founder and Creative Director of Christine Joy Design LLC
Art Medium: Watercolor is a favorite, but I experiment with markers, inks, and pattern making using block printing techniques.
Favorite studio tool/supply: Masking fluid/frisket (We went ahead and Wikepedia'd this for you: On a letterpress machine, it's a sheet of oiled paper that covers the space between the image and the edge of the paper that will be printed.)
Artist you love: I'm a huge fan of Satsuki Shibuya's simple yet evocative watercolor paintings.
Sources of inspiration: A lot of the colors I use are inspired by nature – especially the vibrant colors you find in the natural landscape of the Caribbean.
Favorite thing about painting: The way that the pigment reacts to the water. It's magical.
Most unexpected quality: I have an MBA and love creating spreadsheets and number crunching!
What does your average day look like?
Depending on what I have to do, I will either head to a nearby cafe to work or I'll work from my home office. In addition to creating art, I license surface pattern designs. A good amount of my day is spent brainstorming ideas for new patterns and sketching in my sketchbook. I have a list of dream clients for my surface pattern work so a chunk of my day consists of outreach to various companies. After doing a bit of outreach I start painting or working on new collections for my portfolio. At any one time I'm usually developing a collection for a licensee so part of my day consists of communications with them regarding the line we are currently developing. I also aim to post to social media daily to keep everyone up to date on my current inspiration or a look at what I'm working on behind the scenes.
How would you describe your creative process? How do you go about making art?
I keep my sketchbook with me wherever I go. I am constantly inspired by things that I experience and see here in New York City. There really is no shortage of inspiration. When I'm ready to create, I usually go back to my sketches and build upon one of the ideas I had previously jotted down. Once I've painted my piece, I scan it into the computer and make some adjustments to get the piece exactly as I had envisioned it. Finally, I upload the piece to my storefront or add it to my pattern portfolio.
What influences your design?
I'm inspired by my time living abroad in The Republic of Congo, Denmark, and Greece. I grew up in Queens, New York – a melting pot of cultures and languages and was blessed to be surrounded by people from all corners of the world. Additionally, my mother, who worked for the UN, traveled often always made a point to bring back textiles and other objects from the countries she visited. This gave me an early appreciation for different cultures and their works of art. I am constantly on the look out for interesting textiles, colors, and patterns that might inform my next work. My kids also influence my designs more than I realize. Their pure sense of wonder and excitement makes me more open to experimentation with various media. They often remind me that beautiful things can result when a few unnecessary conventions are broken.
"My mother, who worked for the UN, traveled often always made a point to bring back textiles and other objects from the countries she visited. This gave me an early appreciation for different cultures and their works of art."
What is the hardest part about being a creative entrepreneur?
Finding time to balance the creative side of your business with the more mundane but very necessary aspects is a challenge. As a creative entrepreneur you are wearing many hats – you're not only the creative director, but the marketer, the social media person, the accountant, the PR person, the sales rep etc. Juggling many tasks is true of any entrepreneur but being a creative entrepreneur, we can't necessarily schedule time to "be creative". You have to feel inspired and sometimes that doesn't happen exactly when you'd like so your schedule has to remain fairly fluid in order to accommodate those moments of inspiration.
What tips would you give someone looking to buy art?
I strongly believe in surrounding yourself with objects that are functional, meaningful, or beautiful. Someone looking to purchase art should make sure that the piece they are considering purchasing fits into any personal criteria they might have for purchases they make. Does a particular piece have special meaning for you or conjure positive feelings and or memories? Or perhaps you're inspired by the artist and her story? If so, purchasing the art is probably a great idea. If not, then don't make a purchase. The ultimate power of art is the ability to move you and make you feel, think, and experience. If a certain piece doesn't speak to you in any way or have special meaning, keep searching.
"I strongly believe in surrounding yourself with objects that are functional, meaningful, or beautiful. "
What would you say to someone who is convinced they lack creativity or artistic ability?
I would challenge them to tell me about a time that they solved a problem or came up with a new way of doing something. I would encourage them to think about creativity more broadly to help them realize that they are indeed creative. As far as artistic ability goes, I'd encourage them to keep creating and to abandon any pre-conceptions of what is right or wrong or what is on trend or not. I'd tell them to experiment with many different mediums to see which they enjoy the best and once they have found that I'd advise them to create as much as possible.