Travel and Inspiration: the Beach in Kansas

August 1, 2014 § Leave a comment

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“Beach” and “Kansas” are two words might seem totally incongruous, right? Well, Smashotron Scott and I did some exploring out in western Kansas a few weeks ago and found a pretty sweet beach! We visited Wilson Lake, which is just off of 1-70 and near Lucas, Kansas (home of the famous Garden of Eden). Wilson Lake is also know as the “clearest lake in Kansas” and I’m not arguing with that title! It is truly a beautiful place, with clear water, weird sandstone rock formations, tall grass prairie, and horned lizards running around. Scott and I camped the night on the shore of the lake in our little pup tent, experimented with some campfire cooking, went swimming and hiking. All in all, a very successful mini-vacation! I’ve been around the world but still haven’t been everywhere in my own backyard here in Kansas – so I guess more exploring is in order.

Do you have any exploring plans for the last days of summer?

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Surtex 2014: Return of the Backpacker

May 29, 2014 § 1 Comment

As always, it starts with a backpack. And a plane ticket. And an oversize dream:

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Me and my backpack are a compact – but PACKED – package with a lot of ideas. Nearly full to the brim but still saving room for extra adventures and last-minute detours. It took a lot of hours to pack this baby – to make the things, polish them, pick over everything and find the best stuff – only what’s really worthy – and print them and roll them tight. That part got to me a little bit…it can be stressful feeling like so much is on the line.

And then I took that sucker on the plane, and the bus, and the subway. And then I unpacked it – and there is no better feeling than letting it all roll out and expand and breathe:

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You might not even guess all that was in a 60L backpack, right? And this year was a little more complicated than last year. I brought some paper and fabric mock ups to flesh out my collections:

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I liked the paper mockups because they felt really “me” – and it’s fun to create a little illusion once in a while. I felt like they were at the right intersection of “realness” and playfulness for my art.

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Another new/improved thing this year was branding – last year I was totally new at the business and hadn’t had time to really consider branding, and how that would affect how (or if) people remember my art – this year it came together more for me and I realized that I actually am building an audience and relationships with companies. Several companies remembered me from last year, or from my web presence. I got to see lots of exhibitor and artist friends and meet many new ones. Best of all, this year I had great support from Smashotron Scott, Jee, and Madison:

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Surtex for me this year took on a huge importance – for most of the past year I feel like I’ve been on the cusp of gaining traction with my business, and I’ve felt that a good showing was the key to moving forward. And honestly, yes, I think it was a great show – we were steadily busy, talked to several dream clients, and had better location, portfolio and displays over last year. But as anyone who’s exhibited knows – no one really knows how well it went until a few months down the line.

So for now, I’m still hiking down my own art licensing trail!

Tales From The Road: Thanksgiving Abroad

November 22, 2013 § 2 Comments

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My oh my, the holiday season is fast approaching! I’m super excited because this year will be the first time in 5 years that I will spend Thanksgiving at home with my family in Kansas. I’ve had two Thanksgivings in Seoul, one while visiting my cousin in Italy, and last year I was at a home stay high up in the Andes in Peru. I have a lot in my life to be thankful for, especially my friends and family around the world, and the opportunities I’ve had and will have to travel.

NYC: There’s no such thing as a business trip.

June 6, 2013 § 1 Comment

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I’d say it’s high time that I wrote about all the FUN things I did while I was in New York for Surtex. Not that Surtex isn’t fun, it’s just not the only thing in New York 🙂

I arrived on Wednesday, which gave me a full day on Thursday to hang out before set-up started on Friday. This was a really, really good choice. It helped distract me from the pre trade show stress and indulge my wanderlust a bit. I stayed at Jazz on the Park Hostel at 106th & Central Park West. A 2-woman dorm room ran me about $50 a night, which is a steal compared to the fancy hotels in midtown a lot of Surtex attendees stay at. I took ZERO taxis the whole trip and made good use of the subway, which took me about 35 minutes to get to the Javits Center on show days. I had a roommate every night, but they were all great.

Enough logistics! I had an awesome time in the city. My hostel was super close to Central Park, one of my all-time dream running destinations. I ran there three times during the trip and loved it. On Thursday I walked around lower Manhattan and Chinatown, saw the new 9/11 memorial (from the outside), and met up with my friends Kush and Rehaan to see the one and only Bluth banana stand in Times Square. We also hit up the High Line, a new favorite spot for me!

Friday was set up day…but luckily I also had Saturday, because about halfway through setting up my booth I got a call from another good friend, Tess, who had free tickets to the Great Googa Mooga festival in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. We saw The Flaming Lips and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and dined at the amazing food vendors. They had a huge selection of gourmet food stands…and even a whole section for bacon and pork called ‘Hammageddon.’ Saturday was more stressful, completing my set up and rushing around town trying to find a tablecloth. I did make time for the 9th avenue international food festival. Street food was a theme for this trip. Street food is a theme for every trip!

After the show closed on Tuesday, I spent Wednesday exploring Williamsburg, Brooklyn with Kush and walked over the Brooklyn Bridge.

In conclusion: I love, love New York. I love the random musicians in the subway, the variety of food, the very authentic Koreatown, and I LOVE Central Park. Can’t wait to go back!

 

Tales from the Road: Cherry Blossom Bliss

April 10, 2013 § Leave a comment

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One thing about spring is that it really makes me miss Korea. Nice weather, lots of people hanging out on the Han river, Buddha’s Birthday and Children’s Day, and the cherry blossoms. Oh, the cherry blossoms! The blooming of the cherry trees is a much-anticipated event. There are websites that predict which days the trees will bloom in different regions, and people flock to famous cherry tree sites around Seoul and the country. One of the most famous places is Gyeongju, the old capital of Korea. In 2011, I went there with some friends to run the Cherry Blossom Marathon (um, I did the half). It was amazing. The whole course was lined with blossom-laden trees, musicians, and old people waving Korean flags. Afterwards, I went to see the royal tombs, one of the most scenic places in Gyeongju. This was also a great site to view another much-honored Korean tradition: boyfriends with fancy DSLR cameras taking elaborate photo shoots of their girlfriends. Cherry Blossoms bring the romance out in everyone!

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For me, that day was a heady mix of runner’s high and travel induced euphoria. The inspiration stayed with me and now I’ve created a whole collection of cherry-blossom inspired patterns, which I will debut at Surtex in May! The full collection may be viewed on my website.

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{Tales from the Road is my occasional blog series in which I share some of the better stories and reflections from my travels in Asia, Europe, and South America. This is in part to make up for terribly lazy travel blogging over the past year and half, but hey, better late than never!}

Inspiration Exploration: Tropical Rainforest

April 6, 2013 § Leave a comment

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One of the most visually inspiring experiences I’ve had is visiting the Amazon rainforest. There’s so many new shapes, colors and textures to be inspired by and I definitely brought home a lot of ideas for illustrations and patterns in my sketchbook. Serendipitously, I started noticing a lot of beautiful new jungle-inspired products out for spring and summer this year. The bright color, elegant movement and lush atmosphere that these images have really makes products stand out.

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courtesy of joss and main, mystic membrane, and plankton art co., respectively

Naturally, I couldn’t resist creating my own collection of jungle-inspired patterns! Here’s a taste of the Jungle Retreat collection which can be viewed at my newly overhauled website. You can also see more of my jungle inspiration at my pinterest page. Happy weekend everyone!

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Inspiration: Pattern Envy in the Andes

March 7, 2013 § Leave a comment

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