A Miami Guide to Photo Styling

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That’s it! I’m moving to Miami.

Okay, not really but it would be nice, wouldn’t it? Hot temps, killer cocktails, and art deco architecture that makes you stop in your gladiator sandals – what could be more tempting?

Over the past three months, I’ve been on a bit of a travel splurge. I managed to cover five cities in five weekends; eating up (literally and figuratively) every bite of culture possible. September took me to New Orleans, where the French-inspired artwork, jazz music and cajan tastes filled the streets. October started in Sea Island, Georgia and ended on what would become the unintentional Florida excursion: Miami one week, spontaneous Taylor Swift concert in Tampa the next, and two weeks after that, a trip to Orlando Disney’s Magic Kingdom for a work conference. Not bad, aye?

Not only did was the site seeing creatively inspiring, but it also brought me back to basics. Take South Beach Miami for instance. Yes, the streets may be filled with barefoot tourists and restaurant hostesses tempting you with BOGO margaritas, but the city has an added pop. It’s inspired by the art deco era of architecture and I just can’t get enough.

The art deco style is characterized by its bold geometric shapes and vibrant, high contrast colors. Though the style is often noted for it’s symmetry, it is also renowned for it’s intricate ornamentation. Now now, I won’t make you sit through another art history class (am I the only person in the world who got anything out of those?!), but I will give you the goods on how to take this deco-fab look with you.

Upon arriving home and making my travel photos frame-ready, I realized these art deco photographs highlighted each of the styling techniques I use daily. As we all know, it’s the smallest details that can elevate your social media pages the most. Let’s talk photo styling, shall we?

The off center photo on the left let's the fruit take the stage. The green apples are a perfect contrast against the pink of the fruit's skin.
The off-center photo on the left lets the fruit take the stage. The green apples are a perfect contrast against the pink of the fruit’s skin.

The Rule of Thirds. There is something beautiful about a perfectly centered shot; but there is something interesting about an off-center frame. Let the items in the back of the frame tell a story too. Try it at home: use the gridlines on your iPhone camera to map out your space.


 

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Create Angles. The straight and narrow is an obvious choice. Adding a sharp angle to your photo makes for unexpected drama. Try it at home: perhaps that marble cheese board turns a sharp 45 degrees before snapping the holiday tabletop pic.


 

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For added drama, take your negative space to the max by highlighting a single object in your shot. But don’t forget the rule of thirds!

Never Forget Negative Space. My coworker makes fun of me for this one (It needs more negative space, dang it!). I am a true believer that the items in your photo should be balanced by the same amount of negative space. My OCD can be at ease! Try it at home: start with a blank canvas an step back – literally. Your morning read and Christmas socks will shine a little brighter by using your cozy white comforter as negative space.


 

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Taken in Sea Island, Georgia. I love the way the palms create an organic frame around this sanctuary. Natural details at their finest!

Add life. Avoid the art history still life paintings you studied by adding life to your photographs. Try it at home: live plants dangling from your styled #shelfie or even a hand reaching for popcorn on your Sunday vibes post will work.


 

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Don’t forget the hidden detail. People appreciate the authenticity in your posts. Don’t skimp on making sure you capture ever detail. Try it at home: an ornate vintage tea cup can add instant style to a stale coffee table shot.


Lastly, the golden rule. Always, always photograph your subject in natural light. Yes, that even means your Christmas tree!

Share your shots with me on Instagram with #boldwithblanc. Happy styling! 

 

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Meet Designer Ashley Rodriguez Reed

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We see thousands of photos a day. Our Instagram feeds are filled with the perfectly polished coffee table and pumpkin spice lattes have made their cameo appearance in every fashion blogger’s ootd. We drool, we scroll, we repeat. It’s not often when we stop to notice something different.

In the overwhelmingly huge Javits Convention Center, I stopped.

This past spring, I flew to New York to get inspired by the National Stationary Show. The work of each vendor was exquisite. Though, after walking aisle by aisle, I began to notice a lot of similarities around me. I could easily spot the top five trends in the stationary biz.

Getting lost in the maze of the convention center, my senior designer and I found ourselves wandering into the SURTEX marketplace. Surtex is the global B2B marketplace for sourcing original art & design—where artists, art agents, licensing agencies and licensors connect with manufacturers and retailers to create the next best-selling products in every category imaginable.

The first booth I saw was Ashley’s. My senior designer and I both stopped – yes, physically stopped and looked (a rarity at these shows). Ashley Rodriguez Reed had something that the others didn’t. She had flare. Originality. Spunk. Complexity. Her work was captivating.

This summer, I got to know a bit more about Ashley and the inspiration behind her unique patterning. As an artist and designer, Ashley has set her goal on a surface pattern line full of textiles, wall paper, and more. As a teacher, she continues to inspire young artists and designers.

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Tell me about your brand. What do you stand for as an artist?

I started to develop my brand in 2015 when I committed to building a business around surface pattern design. My style is meant for people who love art, color, and fun! I make artwork that is inspired by many different things, but my artistic style of using layering and texture brings a unique element.


I want my artwork to bring joy, inspiration and a sense of play into people’s lives.


I couldn’t agree more! When did you know you wanted to pursue art as a career?

I knew very early on that I wanted to be an artist. In elementary school, art was my favorite subject. It was the only class I could easily focus on. In college, I thought I wanted to do fashion design, but that changed to fine art. I liked the freedom that a BFA would give me. I studied printmaking and textile design before going on to my MFA in Fiber and Material Studies. Now I am a designer, teacher and fine artist.

That sounds like quite the full schedule. What are your day-to-day activities like?

Right now everything has been all over the place due to my move to San Fransisco. When I get back into a routine, my day to day would be teaching art, drawing or painting at my home studio, continuing to build collections, and working on my overall brand. With my fine art practice, finding time to work on art projects varies. If I have a show, I might be in a larger studio space screen printing and building on the weekends. The past 3 years I was teaching undergraduates as an adjunct professor at Tyler School of Art. That was an amazing experience!

This year, I had worked toward SURTEX by building my brand. I’ve always found ways to piece things together and continue to balance work and art making. It can be nerve-racking at times to have a lot of unknowns but it’s also freeing.

How would you describe your style? What inspires you most?

My style is a mixture of geometric + bold meets texture + illustrative. I’ve always gravitated towards pattern, lots of color, and layering. Nature is my favorite place to look. There’s so much interesting beauty in nature. There’s also the relationship we have with nature from how we cultivate it, shape it, and sadly destroy it. I’m interested in cycles in nature, growth, and transformation.

I also love fashion. Fashion is interesting because it changes all the time and it’s a way to express ourselves. I love seeing people take creative risks and wearing bold prints with confidence!

I hear ya! With several creative outlets available at your finger tips, you have to have a favorite. Which medium keeps you loving what you do?

My favorite creative outlet is printing. I love screen-printing without a plan. For example, I might make a few screens and then overlap and layer different patterns and create different compositions from them. I also like to play with different materials and see what they can do. In graduate school, I found that cardboard was in an abundant supply. I decided to work with it and see how I can sculpt with it. It was a challenge but the more I made, the better I understood how to push the material. I like that kind of process.

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You have taken patterning to another level. What is it about patterns that you enjoy?

I’ve always enjoyed how patterns express so much. For example, if you see a certain type of pattern, you may be able to identify the culture and/or time it comes from. It is like another language that can tell us about a person, place, or thing.

Creating pattern is very stimulating. It is mesmerizing as well. Even though surface pattern is so prevalent, there is still a skill to designing a very interesting pattern. I like playing with structure and color. A good pattern has to be considerate of this.

I’m in love with your cod pattern (above pillows)! What made you decide to work animals into your new line?

Thank you! When I first started, I made patterns that were less illustrative, with only abstract shapes and designs. Then I realized how much I love and adore animals and illustration. About halfway through designing my collections, I really began to draw animals because they make me happy! I thought, why not start to draw them and see where it goes. A lot of pattern for children has animals but I wanted to make animal patterns that adults could enjoy just as kids do.

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What goals do you have for your artwork? How would you like it placed in the design world?

I would like to have a line of fabric that people can buy yardage from and make anything they want with it such as bags, pillows, or clothing. I see my work as many types of products and it would be amazing to see what other people do with them. I want the patterns to be used creatively by people who like to make, style, and design themselves.

What advice do you have for emerging artists?

Keep making no matter what! It’s hard to find time when we have other jobs and life obligations. Creating a space that you can work in is also helpful. If you don’t make a place or set aside time, it will slip away. Stay connected to other artists and ask for help. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if there’s something you want to know. It can be scary to put yourself out there but it’s the only way. Don’t be afraid of what other people say. I’ve had many moments where I’m thinking to myself, I must be crazy for making/drawing this. What am I doing? But then, I just keep going. You have to have faith that it will work out through the process if you stick with it.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

In five years, I think I’ll still be living in the Bay Area and probably doing a combination of what I’m doing now. Teaching is a passion of mine and I want to continue to be an artist/designer and educator. In five years, I want to have seen my artwork licensed on a line of textiles and see how people have been inspired to use them. I would love to see my pattern on home interior textiles or wallpaper. I’m excited about where it will go! I’m looking forward to more collaborations with businesses, artists, and students!

The Quick 5!

A musician/band you never get sick of is: Pink Floyd

Your favorite outfit in your closet is a: jersey knit tank dress. So simple and easy!

Coffee or Smoothie? Coffee!

Beach bum or Mountain climber? Climb the mountain to get to a beach.

Role model: My mom


Find Ashley online:

http://www.ashleyrodriguezreed.com

@ashleyrodriguezreed

 

Expectant

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Expectant, adj. –  having or showing an excited feeling that something is about to happen, especially something pleasant and interesting.

What do I expect out of life? A career. A family. A passion to strive for… Sure, those are the basics, but when it comes down to it, what do I really expect in life? Now that’s a loaded question. It’s one that I’ve thought more and more about over recent triumphs and criticisms in my career as a blogger.

Expectant. This is the name that the talented abstract artist, Maria Kamara, chose after painting a sun-filled array of yellows and golds for little old me. Flattered and thankful only begin to describe the feeling I had as I unpacked the canvas Maria sent to me with a note:

“…I was inspired by the energy, optimism and confidence found in your writing and blog. The painting reflects these traits with its bright yellows and flowing composition. Obviously these traits are in you, and I hope you continue to nurture them… The name “Expectant” anticipates all the good and positivity that will come from your efforts…”  – Maria

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In early January, Maria sent me an email that stemmed from a New Years resolution of hers to connect with other bloggers and professionals in the industry. With a heart of gold and a spirit that roams the entire sky, Maria Kamara had no idea what she was getting herself into when she offered to paint for me. We both had no idea how inspired we would leave each other.

I had the privilege of Skyping with Maria a few weeks ago. Besides comparing the warm Charleston winter to her frigid, snow-filled Michigan temperatures, Maria and I chatted about art, experiences, and the lessons we’ve learned along the way.

The self-taught artist started her career in a different platform: music. For years, Maria sang professionally while maintaining interest in fine art, fashion, and design. “I’ve always loved to draw and sculpt. I loved fashion and interiors too but my profession at the time was very focused. Other “arts” weren’t necessarily encouraged.” It wasn’t until she was pregnant with her first child that she began painting.

“I was truly painting in earnest,” she told me. Fourteen years later, she decided to start selling her art.

Why abstract?

“I’ve always appreciated abstract art. Even when I was in school for music, I would sneak next door to admire the fine artists’ work.” When Maria first started painting again, she started with still life drawings and then eventually evolved to an abstract artist. “I’m comfortable with the grays in life. It doesn’t have to be black or white for me.” I asked her the naive art’s question: how do you know when an abstract piece is done? She responds to me saying “You don’t, but I’m okay with that. I’m okay with something that may not be a finished thought or a finished piece.”


“I’m comfortable with the grays in life. It doesn’t have to be black or white for me.


 I love hearing what inspires artists. What artists are in your home? Do you have an favorite painter?

“I love collecting vintage unknown art (the mystery of it all again!). In my own home, I have one of my photographer friend’s work as well as many vintage pieces.” She goes on to tell me about her family and how they inspire her work, as well has two of her favorite artist: Marie Cassette and Alma Woodsy Thomas.

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Why “Expectant”?

The entire time I spoke to Maria, there was something so inspirational about her. This woman has been through it all… school, an international singing career, motherhood, and now artist. She tells me about some of her ups and downs and what she’s learned along the way.

“When I look back at my 24-year-old self, I would tell myself not accept fear in my life. It only serves to diminish us or make us feel less than others. Comparison and fear will take away any creative freedom you have if you let it. There’s enough room for all of us!”

She tells me a story about a rough critic she once received that lead her to paint overtop of a thought-out piece of hers. The next day, someone wanted to buy the original work that was now nonexistent. “Be care who you listen to,” she tells me.  “You have to know when to take criticism and when to know in your heart what is right for you [or your painting]…”

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Our two-hour discussion was more than just fulfilling. I left… expectant. Recently I have received some slack for a post of mine by an artist I admire. Though hurtful and discouraging, I have to remember to be expectant: to know that I’m blogging for a reason and that reason is to expand my own creative palette, as well as others’. It’s not to make money or make a career out of it, but rather to show the good in being a young 20-something and how to elevate yourself to be the best young professional/friend/chef/artist (you get the picture)  that you can be.

 

Maria’s work is currently featured in Gallery 602 in Holland, Michigan. You can also find her work online at www.MariaKamara.com or at her Etsy shoppe. Some of my favorite pieces of her’s are below:

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Blanc Statement ArtAs I’m sure you’ve noticed, I’m a sucker for a good piece of art.

Men, that’s easy. I like them confident, cleverly funny, and with a smart head on their shoulders. Classic or new age, screen-printed or hand-painted, black and white or color galore: I have no “type” when it comes to art. In fact, I may or may not have chosen to live in my teensy carriage house based on the fact that it had tall ceilings where I could create a killer gallery wall.

I believe that you have to have an eye for art and that everyone’s eye is different (just like in choosing men). If I was forced to narrow down my style, I would say it is bold and eclectic. I like that no piece matches another and that there is never a theme throughout my collection work (unless of course, it’s accidental!). Today, I’ll be sharing my tips for hanging art, along with designer and blog-guru Erin Gates’ tips from her book, Elements of Style.

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Erin’s tips on ways to hang art :
(in the words of yours truly)

1. The Statement (as shown in my living room above) – Use one piece of art that is large enough to anchor the room and make a lasting impression. Artwork that is too small will get lost on a large wall. This particular piece was DIY-ed after a piece of artwork on one of my favorite blogs. I added the spray painted corner brackets that I found at Ace Hardware.

2. The Leaner – For a more casual look, lean a grouping of artwork on a shelf or mantel up against a wall. Layer the frames over-top one another for a cohesive look.

3. The Gallery Wall (as shown as in the first image above) – You may not know it, but gallery walls are surprisingly simple. The best come from simply winging it with no measurements at all. Erin’s tip: trace all your art on newsprint and arrange them on the wall with painters tape first. Then let the hanging begin.

4. The Grid – Arrange matching frames in a grid for a crisp look (a grid of black and white photos is my fav!). For smaller frame sizes, keep each 1-2 inches between frames. Larger frame sizes can have up to 4 inches between frames.

Adding a Blanc twist:

1. Balance – I like to keep the largest pieces of my gallery wall near the bottom of the grouping. Visually, these pieces carry a lot of weight so you don’t want them “squishing” a smaller piece of art. Balance sizes and colors throughout your wall rather than grouping them. Also keep an eye out for the type of art you are displaying. Balance abstract art, photography, drawings, etc.

2. Think out of the box – Ditch the frame. Adding unframed pieces to your collection can add dimension. Try using metallic animal heads, gold urchins, mirrors, or photo hangers (pictured below, find at Target) to add interest.

3. Stick to a theme when framing – using all the same frame type can give you a unified and tailored look. On the opposite end of the spectrum, using all different types of frames can give you an eclectic feel that will unify itself on the wall.

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Happy Hanging!

Questions on the techniques or images shown? Comment below!

 

collecting art

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An knowledgable man once said, “creativity is intelligence having fun.” Good old Albert Einstein predicted the future in not just the world of knowledge, but the creative world as well. Little did he know that creativity would turn into passion. That passion could then turn into the art of collection.

For me, my passion of collection is art (could you have guessed?). I truly believe the art one buys or creates is a direct reflection of their inner self. For example, one of my favorite pieces that I own is my bright yellow ‘Have Mercy’ palm screen print. I bought it at a small, eclectic shop in Asheville, North Carolina for $25. It wasn’t an investment piece. I didn’t research the artist for hours. I didn’t have to ponder for two seconds about whether or not I was going to purchase the 20 x 30 inch poster. I bought it simply because I liked it.

It is graphically bold, it is colorfully bright, and it has a message. It became the focal point of my gallery wall as soon as I got home.

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Accompanying Mr. Have Mercy on my walls are framed illustrations that I ripped out of Communication Arts magazines, an abstract wood panel painting my good friend Natalie Taylor made for me, and vintage posters I’ve found over the years. It’s all collected – all random. Each piece has a significance.


Rule #1: Art should feel collected.


Stay away from the stock pile people! Yes, that means you, Hobby Lobby enthusiasts. A significant collection of art should develop over time. Not every piece needs a dramatic story, but some pieces do. Collected art gives your home a personality. It’s what makes your home different.

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How to Collect the Goods:

  1. Art Fairs & Student Work– Fairs are a great place to find local artists outside of their galleries. Most art fairs will sell unframed art which is usually cheaper than buying it pre-framed. Pair the purchased piece with a painted Goodwill frame and you now have an original piece. Local universities also have art shows throughout the school year. In the case of having creative friends like I do, ask a friend for an original piece and offer to compensate them for it.
  2. Souvenier the right way – Following in my mother’s path, I like to look for new artwork when vacationing. It’s a chance to scope out local artists that are unknown to your home town. Plus, it makes for a better memory than that Mexico coffee mug.
  3. Online – websites like Etsy and Society6 offer loads of original work at a range of prices and sizes.
  4. Look at more than just “art” – Calendars, greeting cards, or even pages of art magazines or books make great framed artwork. I framed Rifle Paper Company‘s Chicago greeting card above my stove for a little piece of home in my kitchen (above).
  5. DIY the art you love – Having a fine art degree, I tell myself “you can make that” a lot. Mimicking art you admire is one way to display personality in your home. The trick is to put your own spin on it. I created the abstract gold circle painting (shown hanging over my couch, above) on an old Hobby Lobby canvas and added spray painted L-brackets I found at Ace Hardware. The piece was inspired by abstract art I found on Pinterest. Note: Be sure to respect the artist’s work and abide by intellectual property laws!
  6. Found art – let me explain below…

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Found art is just as it sounds: found objects that are turned into art. My friend Skipper introduced me to the concept one Saturday afternoon over a bottle of champagne.

“Most of my artwork is found art,” she explained. “My family has always collected art and turned it into new things. My grandmother loves to paint and my mother loves to create art structures out of found items. The bamboo fish on my walls (below, photo #2) are made from bamboo she found in the mountains. The vintage pin up girl posters (above) are advertisement drafts from when my great grandfather worked at an advertising agency long ago. The illustrator actually went on to illustrate for PlayBoy.”

Skipper goes on to explain how she not only inherited the artwork of the role models before her, but she also inherited their love of found art. The distressed gold mantle hanging above her tv was found on the side of the road on King Street.

“It was a piece of a broken frame that I found outside of an art gallery in downtown Charleston. I just loved it.” (shown in below, photo #1)

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Bottom line? There really are no rules. A piece of drift wood is just as much of art as a painting. What’s important is the self expression and originality behind the art. Make it you – not just a filler piece – and collect away!

Thank you Skipper for letting me photograph your tremendous collection! 
xoxo 

 

write yourself fancy

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In the world of writing vows and tying the knot, a traditional look never goes out of style. Most girls have Pinterest pages a mile long full of lace dresses, baby blue hankies, and an array of baby’s breath. Along with these delicate wedding details comes the invitation. Formally handwritten by the bride’s parents, invitations are now being massed produced by millions of companies across the globe. Yet, in our fast-paced world, there is still a large sum of us who are doing it all by hand. These goddesses with the penmanship of a 1900’s king have not only taken over the wedding industry, but the design industry as well.

Calligraphers aren’t just getting creative on the envelope. Their hand-done method is proven to be desired by magazine editors, visual merchandisers, and ad agencies alike. Some of my favorite ink-goddesses (I say this with experience, calligraphy is quite difficult to master!) include Laura Hooper, Dana Tanamachi, and my dear friend, Griffin Glaze.

Griffin and I were 2 of 7 the graduating graphic designers at my university. I remember meeting her and thinking, damnit, this girl is good. She has always had a way with typography that made me cringe with jealousy. Today, she is a full time assistant video content developer at a renowned design agency in Charlotte. Her creative days end with soothing nights of pen and ink. Griff and I chat about her new business and how she fell in love with this old school craft:

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I picked up calligraphy about a year ago. I never had the patience for it. How did you start and why do you think has it stuck with you?

“A few months after starting my graphic design job (about a year and a half ago), I started to get an itch to do something that involved using my hands and learning something new. In school, I had become so used to spending about half my time working on a computer and the other half creating things with pens, X-acto blades and actual paper. It was a bit of an adjustment when I began to work at a computer for at least 7.5 hours a day.

The challenge of honing my skills in a craft and continuing to learn new things was something that I really missed. I’ve had a love for typography for a few years now, and after seeing an online class to learn calligraphy, it seemed like the perfect way to fill that void. Up until that point, my experience with calligraphy was limited to some calligraphy markers I’d used back in high school to pass notes in class and to scrapbook. I was a pretty classy high schooler.

What is your favorite thing about the old school art form?

“I was always the kind of kid to sit in my room for hours on end and just make things, so calligraphy became my adult version of those same habits. Calligraphy has also taken a modern swing, and I think that makes it more accessible to a wider (and younger) audience. It allows a bit more room for imperfection. In an increasingly digital world, hand-crafted pieces begin to have more value because they have character to them. They help connect us to our humanity.”

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Did you teach yourself? What resources are out there for those looking to pick up a pen?

“I took a Modern Calligraphy for Beginners course online at skillshare.com and practiced on my own. The class was relatively inexpensive. The instructor broke down exactly what tools you needed to purchase and how to form the basic alphabet. I was able to take the classes on my own time and at the speed that I wanted. After I went through all of the lessons, I just spent hours practicing on a big pad of paper in my living room.

If you want to continue with calligraphy online, they have more advanced levels that detail how to digitize your calligraphy and how to layout the perfect envelope. Many paper stores also offer calligraphy classes for a more personal approach. I am definitely no expert, so I hope to work with more calligraphers this year to learn more.”

What calligraphers, if any, got your fire going? Who/what inspires you most?

“Molly Jacques, the woman who taught my beginners course, was a great intro in the world of calligraphy. Her style is very modern, and her portfolio includes more calligraphic illustration pieces than not. Charmaine Almulaifi is also incredibly inspiring. She can nail some serious flourishes (something I’m desperately trying to get better at), and her style has such a wide range from a contemporary approach to the traditional copperplate.

Typographers in general are a big inspiration for my work, including people like Jessica Hische, Jessica Walsh, and Casey Ligon. It is a different arena than calligraphy, which is more about perfecting a hand motion as opposed to illustrating letters. However, the two disciplines definitely influence each other, and what I’ve learned from calligraphy has vastly improved my typographic work. If you are looking for more inspiration, follow some calligraphers on Instagram and you will have a daily feed of some fantastic type.”

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How do you manage a full time design job and your own side business? What tips do you have for freelance calligraphers or artists?

“Calligraphy is my chance to work on something creative that is just for me, and that also allows me to make my own schedule. The repetitive rhythm of it is calming so it doesn’t really feel like working. It feels like playing.

If you want to improve a skill-set, make sure to get your work in front of people that can critique it and make it better. In the online course I took, you can upload your work and get feedback from the teacher and other students. I started doing freelance jobs for the people that I knew, and then they told their friends. A great bonus to being a calligrapher in your twenties or thirties is that you probably have received a good handful of Facebook notifications about a friend getting engaged. It’s a great way to practice and get better. I also made a few ads that showed my work, and then gave postcard print outs with my information to local paper and stationary stores to hand out to potential customers.”

What is your favorite thing to write write/design?

“Right now I am still starting pretty small with my calligraphy: envelopes, gift tags, and short phrases. As I begin to feel more confident with my composition skills, I’ll probably create some bigger pieces with longer quotes. Maybe a menu!”

What does the future hold for this freelance business? When will we see “Griffin Glaze Calligraphy” in our Southern Weddings Magazine?

“My day job helps me to take care of my bills, get groceries, and save money for when I’m old. My calligraphy jobs are my “fundraising money,” which I save for traveling and other adventures. I really enjoy the social aspect of working in an office, and I think that would difficult to find if I were freelancing full time. If I were going to pursue calligraphy more seriously, I think that business would have to encompass a broader range of design that included calligraphy, such as invitations, illustrations, and logos.”

What advice do you have for young 20-somethings with a passion outside their career?

“One of the biggest shockers for me post college was finding that there is very little time between work and bedtime, and some days you just feel too tired to do anything BESIDES go to bed. So pick something that you enjoy doing or you want to improve on and make a point to do that. Write down your goal and tell other people about it to hold you accountable. Hopefully, what you are passionate about will somehow be involved in your work life.

If you aren’t quite sure where to start or don’t want to invest too much money, then sign up for an introductory class or reach out to other people who work in that same area to see if they have advice on how to get started. But don’t let the fear of failing at something new keep you locked up in your apartment binge watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix (like I’ve been guilty of). Life’s too short. If you decide to take the Netflix route, at least pick up a pen and practice your alphabet.”

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To contact Griffin for freelance or other inquiries, visit www.griffinglaze.com/calligraphy or email her directly at hello@griffinglaze.com


 

& don’t forget to email subscribe to Blanc for a chance to win Griffin’s beauty poster above. Winner will be announced Friday! 

Natalie Taylor: Artist Feature

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I find artists that I love in many different ways – local galleries, magazines, social media… Though there’s one artist in particular that never needed a formal setting to catch my eye. In fact, it is her work that pulls you in itself. It has gazed at me as if I were the one being studied.

“In art, there’s a distinction of who holds the “gaze.” In early renaissance art, the viewer held the gaze over a naked lady charcoal drawing or a Madonna and Child oil painting. The gazer is looking into the life of the subject matter – they have the control. My work is themed around women. They hold the gaze. They have the control.”


 

“My work is themed around women. They hold the gaze. They have the control.”


 

Meet local Charleston artist, Natalie Taylor Humphrey. A true fashion-guru with an eye for a killer collage and a hand that doesn’t stop creating even after the eighth repeat of her Dave Mathews playlist (or when her college roommate turned off the lights – yup, that’s me!). I’ve known Natalie for five years and she continues to surprise me. Her impressions of all things crazy still make me laugh and her never-ending pool of inspiration spreads wider and wider.

“My work definitely plays into feminism.” She writes in her artist statement, “while looking at fashion magazines I find myself wondering who these woman really are that model their bodies draped in designer clothing.”

Perplexed by the question, “Who is she?”, Natalie employs the use of wonder and mystery in her designs. The artwork lacks information referencing time and place, creating ambiguous scenes, that ultimately asks the audience to fill in the gaps with their own personal experiences.

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Over oysters and cheap wine, we discuss her latest collection of fashion sketches and collages. Natalie creates her pieces to be dynamic in the sense that they’re not perfect, but they’re more about capturing the woman wearing the fantastic dress or the girl behind the store window.


“Fashion is only as much as the girl who buys the clothing.”


 

Her work is based on trends, patterns, and time-specific styles. It is truly seasonal in the sense that there is always something fresh springing from her collection. Her most recent body of work draws inspiration from everyday life and depicts the beauty of ordinary moments we normally overlook.

“I do not seek out these mundane moments, but rather try to recognize them as they happen naturally in the course of a day. People, in all manners, inform my work; from the physical form and appearance of a human to the personal stories of what makes an individual unique.”

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Recently published in Charleston Style and Design Magazine, Winter 2014, Natalie continues to grow her portfolio into something sassy and relatable. Her fashion sketches have become one of my favorite pieces of art in my home. I even had the privilege of getting my hands on her – yet to be released – latest work and have featured some of my favorites from the past and present below.

 

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This weekend only, Natalie will be giving away one of her extraordinary fashion sketches – just in time for the holidays! For a chance to win her original work, follow @blancblog and @natalietaylorhumphrey. Like today’s feature post and tag a friend that you’d like to gift it to! The winner will be announced Sunday, December 21st.

Good luck!

 


 One last note: Natalie Taylor will be having a 20% off sale on her website this weekend only! Check her out!

For questions concerning commissions, buying locations, or other inquiries, please contact Natalie directly via NatalieRushing21@yahoo.com or visit http://www.artbynatalietaylor.com