Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Profile of Designer Jamie Kalvestran

For today's artist profile, I'd like to introduce you to artist/designer Jamie Kalvestran. Her strong sense of  color and composition plus expertise in several art mediums has led to her success in the field of textile and surface design. This is a 10-question format that I'll be using for all the profiles. Enjoy meeting Jamie!
Jamie Kalvestran


ALC: Would you please share how you came to be a professional artist/designer? Was it always your direct goal or was your path here a winding one?

Jamie: I would say my path was rather winding. When I graduated from high school I started a dog grooming business and worked for a credit union. I worked my way up to V.P. and was going to become President when I decided to go to art school! Yup, my family thought I'd lost my marbles. I went to the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and studied product design/industrial design. After that I worked for Tonka Toys, Manhattan Toy, and Rollerblade as a corporate designer. I worked freelance for those and other companies when my children were small. My leap to surface design and licensing came with a request from a company I was designing toys for asking me to design print patterns for sleeping bags and backpacks for kids.

ALC: What’s your favorite digital tool (ie Cintiq, Apple Pencil, your phone)?

Jamie: I'd love to say it was an ipad pro but I'm not there yet. I do use a Wacom tablet but I am fairly old school right now. I work traditionally and then scan and photoshop my work.

ALC: What’s your favorite non-digital tool – the one you absolutely can’t live without?

Jamie: Hmmm . . . that's tough. I like so many different mediums. I have recently started working in graphite and am loving it. Previous to that, I was in love with Pentel brush pen.

ALC:  If you could take any workshop in the next year, with whom would you like to study and what would you look to learn from him/her?

Jamie: Oh my gosh, I take courses almost non-stop. I highly recommend everything available from Pattern Observer and the Textile Design Lab. I would not have the skills needed to do my job without them. I am also a fan of Lilla Rogers and Carla Sonheim courses. I would love to take the train to Portland and do a live workshop with Flora Bowley!

ALC: What does your workspace look like? Stand-alone or commercial studio, your basement, your garage…?

Jamie: Well my workspace is where ever I am. I've worked on the top of a cooler while camping, spare bedrooms, unfinished basements etc. Right now I am working from my parents dining room table. One of my favorite places to work was a studio in an old tailor shop on the second floor in down town Anoka, MN. I also loved living and working in an artist loft in Lowertown Saint Paul. I am currently house hunting and I prefer having the studio in my home and being surrounded by my art stuff. I just made an offer on a little lake house on Lake Nokomis in Wisconsin. I'm hoping to tear out all the walls of the top floor and create a mini loft space to live and work in. The main/lower level will become an Airbnb. You all can come and visit me and stay awhile! :-)

ALC: What is your primary art/design business goal for the next year?

Jamie: I recently designed bedding for the first time and I would like to expand in that direction. More bedding and other home goods products.

ALC: What do you consider to be your strongest attribute as an artist/designer?

Jamie: I can work in a wide range of mediums and I have an authentic artist voice that complements forecasted trends and blends with my customers aesthetic.

ALC: What painting or design project would be your “dream job”  -  what you would consider to be the ultimate sign of success for you personally?
Jamie & Buck Brannaman

Jamie: I think I just completed my "dream job"! I just designed a number of silk scarves for Buck Brannaman, one of my personal heroes. I was able to meet Buck in person and have dinner with him at a clinic where the first scarf made it's debut. You can read more about it on my blog.

ALC: What one piece of advice would you give to someone following in your footsteps?

Jamie: Pay attention to what makes you happy and excited and then go in that direction. Happiness is our built in navigation system to direct us to our highest good and help us accomplish what we came here to do. Pay attention to how you feel when you make a decision, whether it's taking a job, working in a certain style or choosing a color palette.

ALC: OK this question is your choice of one of the following (if you choose to answer both, I will include the tip as a bonus for the readers):  If you had to pick one personal favorite piece that you have created, which one would it be? Please share an image of it or a link to see it online.

Jamie: One of my favorite pieces that has been produced is probably my Birds In The Air bedding set. You can see it hereMy favorite collection that is available is my Free Range Collection. You can have a look here
Designs by Jamie Kalvestran

ALC: Would you share your favorite technique or technical tip for our readers?
Jamie: I love layers! If I am working traditionally I love layers of paint, and/or layers of collage. I also love using layers in photoshop. It's my favorite way of creating richness and depth.
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