Posted by on 7/12/2022 to Featured Artists
At Calypso we publish cards by artists from all over the world – tell us where you grew up and where you live and work.
I grew up on a rural farm on the West Coast of British Columbia, Canada, with physical space, mental space and room to live in my imagination. With no material distractions, I learned to be creative, live light and make time for meaningful relationships. Now I live and work from my cozy attic studio in our early 1900's home in New Westminster—on the outskirts of Vancouver, Canada. We’re in the coastal rainforest, so I’m often out hiking and wandering the nature trails and ocean beaches with my family and our dog, or I’m cozied up in my vintage wingback chair reading, doing kundalini yoga, or drawing and painting in my favorite uplifting colors.
What is your work environment like, do you have a home studio? An ocean view? what sort of music do you like to listen to while you work?
My home studio is in the attic of our 100-year-old house. It’s an eclectic mix of bohemian, vintage, Eastern and intricate things. I love the cultural experience of travel and wandering through the markets of Eastern countries, so when that’s not possible, I keep the aesthetic of this in my life. There is light streaming in the skylights, and I have a corner for sipping tea, sketching, daydreaming, and doing shavasana. I have a painting playlist that I repeat over and over while I work! Portishead, Imogen Heap, Feist, London Grammar, Adele, Radiohead, Bjork, Starsailor’s early works—quirky and experimental, and sometimes a bit melancholy.
How is your day structured as a working artist?
I wake with my family for a whirlwind morning, then I’m in my studio by 10am getting grounded for my workday. I do emails, Instagram and look at my task management app (plus all the paper lists and sticky notes!) to see what’s in the queue. Then I dive into the key projects on my plate. Here’s a little peek into my process. Depending on the project, I start with color or subject. I pick the colors by pulling out any supplies I have that get me excited to paint, then sorting through them and picking a cohesive collection to build a palette. I am often working with drawings I have sketched ahead of time, ideas I likely scribbled while doing house chores or curled up in the evening. Starting with these beginnings, I let one impulse carry me to the next. I know I will refine and change things later when I take my artwork onto the computer, so for now it’s all about delighting in the free creativity—the swoop of my hand as I draw, seeing the lines come to life and take form, watching the paints transform as I blend colors or drop water into the mix. A common day may end here, letting the art rest overnight, and the next day may begin with yesterday’s inspiration, often many different small paintings and designs which I will now digitally combine into professional works of art for paper goods and more.
How did you begin your career as an artist?
I danced around it for a long time. In university, I started off studying art and dance, then switched to publishing and communication because it would be “more practical.” I worked as a marketing manager, then a graphic designer, and noticed that I was pulling illustration into as many projects as possible. After my son was born, I began doing personal art on the side after nearly 10 years of not painting. It deeply satisfied my voracious appetite for learning and creating. I did art retreats, took online classes, and rented a studio space. Then I discovered there was something called surface design and my world expanded. I knew instantly it was the culmination of everything I loved!
What was your first big success as an artist?
The first moment I felt like a true artist was when I rented a studio in a shared artist building and did a big culture crawl event, selling a ton of prints, cards, and small original paintings! Next after that was being commissioned to do a 48x48" portrait for a fashion boutique. But in my heart, my greatest success was when my artwork truly hit the market and become the fabric for delightful baby girl dresses. When I received the samples in the post, I leapt with glee!
What inspires your work?
My inspiration comes from flora and fauna, bohemian and vintage aesthetics, Eastern cultures, and childlike wonder. I take a lot of walks and snap photos of details in nature, I collect children’s books, and I soak up patterns everywhere I go. I also love vintage and farmhouse style ephemera. And pink.
Are there other artists that inspire you?
Yes, definitely! Kendra Binney, Olivia Bürki, Victoria Johnson, Mati Rose, Bethan Janine, Faith Evans-Sills, Sarah Knight, Gustav Klimt, Alphonse Mucha, to name a few.
What is your earliest memory of creating art?
When I was a young girl, maybe 6 years old, I remember making bookmarks with things I found in the garden. My mom grew luscious gardens, and she used to press plants and flowers in her old cookbooks, so I followed suit. Then on a trip to the craft store, I discovered these mini artificial flowers in soft vintage tones (mint, peach, pink) and instantly knew I wanted to make hair barrettes with them. I remember being hunched over this big old wooden desk in our living room gluing away and creating something I was sure everyone needed.
What is your favorite medium?
Watercolor and gouache. I typically end up using both at the same time. Whatever gives me the colors I’m after. Sometimes I want that watery textural feeling, and other times I want something more saturated and solid. I also paint in acrylic a lot.
How has your style changed over time?
I used to paint entirely intuitively. I would get in a flow, and it would all come through me. It was raw, with lots of movement and texture, and a little bit messy. In recent years, I’ve been harnessing this in combination with some practical skills that help me create stronger compositions, a more polished result, and a bit more thought to staying within a specific palette so that my work can be used commercially. Also, I used to love painting faces almost exclusively, but in recent years I have gravitated toward animals, flowers and capturing the bohemian spirit as my biggest joys.
Of all the cards we publish by you, do you have a favorite?
It’s so hard to choose. I absolutely loved painting the dreamcatcher and the hands which were highly inspired by my time in Morocco. The dragonfly and butterflies remind me of my garden and my mom. Every piece has a memory. However, the unicorn forest takes me to such an enchanted and magical place, that is my favorite right now.
Click here to see Ginger's entire collection with Calypso Cards.