I'm really excited to bring you some inspiration from graphic designer Jennifer Hill. Lots of us dreamed of becoming artists when we were young but Jen grew up and made her dream a reality! She is the creator of the wildly interweb popular "Places I have never been" print series. I love her bold graphics and clean design and personally have my eye on a Beijing print! More than the beauty of design though I love her story of changing difficulties like her father's illness and the places she hasn't vacationed to into something beautiful.
1) Your print series “Places I’ve never been” inspired a blog series that I do called “Imaginary Vacations” As a Mom of a toddler, there aren’t big vacations in my immediate future so I enjoy taking virtual ones. What inspired your “Places I have never been series?” Are you a big traveler?
Well about 4 years ago I was driving at night to NH and listening to Modest Mouse, they have a line in a song that says "we named our children after towns that we'd never been to". I thought that was so interesting and started day dreaming about places and how I could draw them.
Funny thing is that I am a big traveller. Last year I got to visit and work in some amazing places like Haiti, Morocco, Costa Rica, Spain and Michigan.
2) Have you been able to travel to any of the cities in your “Places I have never been” series? Is there one that you are absolutely dying to go to?
I have gotten to a few: Chicago, Marrakech, Portland, Wellfleet. Right now I'm dying to go to Cape Town, Amsterdam and Savannah. Though I'm 5 months pregnant so I think I'm staying on the ground for a bit.
3) What is your creative process like to make a pattern? Do you research the place and choose specific inspirations or do you let yourself imagine what the destination will be like?
Usually I read, see or hear something about a place that sparks interest and then I research it. I always pick things from a place, but try to let myself imagine it, and if i'm wrong then i'm wrong! If i'm inspired I start making collages of pattern and color ideas. Then I do sketches and move on to the computer to do the final illustration.
4) I love to hear about the career paths of people who do cool stuff. Designing awesome travel art definitely counts. How did you end up working as a full-time artist?
I worked for the beauty company, Fresh, for 2 years once I graudated from MassArt in Boston. I did packaging there. I had to leave to help take care of my dad who had early-onset Alzheimer's. I started freelance designing so I could work from NH and Boston. Then the company just grew and I started to make the transition from websites / marketing work to my art. Right now we still do websites and logos, it makes up about 30% of my work.
5) What advice do you have for aspiring artists?
Start while you have a day job. Don't concern yourself with what others are doing, stay on your own path. Sometimes you have to take jobs you are less than thrilled about so you can do things that you ARE thrilled about and it's ok - the worry about selling out is a lame one, everyone has to make money to eat.
6) For you personally what does personal and professional success look like?
Hmmmm. Personal success would be me and my family going on adventures and spending loads of time together. Professional success would be getting paid to draw.
7) Many creative people express themselves in various outlets. I like blogging and dance. What other creative outlets do you enjoy? How do you find design and other creative outlets to be similar or different?
I read a lot and cooking and eating is a big one (i'm a "foodie"). The amount of eating has been the fun part of my pregnancy!
8) I saw that you have a regularly updated blog! Blogging is the medium that encouraged me to be a more creative person. What draws you to blogging?
I like to share things, cool things, stories ect.... with people. Especially the inspiration behind the print, and all the cool things I learn while doing the research. Our blog is going through a revamp so stay tuned!
9) Who are you inspirations as an artist (art or non/art)?
Mostly fashion / design / illustration. Marc Jacobs, Charlie Harper, Hanna Werning, Sabra Field, mary engelbreit (she was my idol growing up), Alexander McQueen. I love watching "process" reality shows and videos like Marc Jacobs's documentary about Louis Vuitton and The Rachel Zoe Project. I become totally addicted to seeing how other designers and artists work.
10) What drives you as an artist?
I think it is just an innate desire to make things and to tell stories.
11) Please finish the following sentence. “When I finish a design I feel….”
Relieved and excited!
Thanks for stopping taking the time to share your story with us Jen. To ck out more of Jen's work visit her website J Hill Design.