1,000 Words

Gift bag with original watercolor by Jenny Bova

Gift bag with original watercolor by Jenny Bova

I love your art, but what can we make with it?

I’ve been a designer for most of my life, I just didn’t always know it. When I was a kid I would walk around homes under construction with my Dad who would ask me “what room do you think this is?” and when I would answer, he would ask “why?” At an early age I started to visualize things I could not see and use my creative brain to imagine them being even better.

I got a degree in art, a masters in industrial design, and worked for a few great design firms. No matter what I did, people kept coming back to me for interior design. I love to see a room come together, I’ll admit. Even the commercial spaces we work on are satisfying to see come to life. The creative in me wanted more— I’ve been specifying other designer’s textiles for 25 years now. It’s time I start creating some of my own. So that’s how this adventure started… with textiles.

As I got my feet wet and learned about the industry, I learned so much more about surface pattern design in general— and the always related field of illustration. It’s fascinating to me to see companies embrace the power of design and the emotional hold it has on customers. Art, when properly used and adjusted for production, can give products an amazing amount of appeal. Licensing art can be beneficial to both artists and manufacturers.

Think about Godiva. In recent years they have had seasonal offerings packaged in beautifully illustrated packaging. They collaborate with artists all over to create stunning packaging that makes their chocolates stand out. Yes, you will always know the deliciousness inside the gold box, but imagine the flash of delight when you realize that stunning package is filled with some of the world’s best chocolate? Of course you’re buying it. And you’ll probably keep the box when the chocolates are gone!

When I think about collaborations, I’m working to be the best partner a manufacturer can have. I want to create art that is infinitely useful and, whenever possible, I like to show the creative director my vision. Of course it’s unusual that a pitch would be picked up “as is”, but if you don’t plant the seeds and help them visualize your work on their products, you’re missing an opportunity. Sometimes your contact is with a marketing department or someone in production who may not have the ability to visualize. I’m a collaborator and sometimes the idea I start can be made better in the hands of another creative. You never know.

As an artist and a designer, it’s my job to visualize. (And, of course, to create work that is production appropriate for the process, in perfect repeat, or even scaled and adjusted to one single package.) I’ve been visualizing since I was a little girl. Now that I’ve got scads of artwork and patterns I’ve created, I’m putting them to good use imagining what I could make for companies like Godiva, Anthropologie, and Pottery Barn. My goal is their goal: get customers to buy products, love them, and keep them.

What can you make with my art? Just about anything. A picture is worth 1,000 words. See the inspiration gallery here.