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Feature Friday: Ashley Olinger

Happy Feature Friday! 

This week we are featuring Ashley Olinger, a Pittsburgh based freelance illustrator and designer! If you’re a fan of color, gradients and simplistic yet bold design you’ll find all of it on the stickers, pins, and cards she makes for her store, YEAHYELHSA. We love Ashley’s perspective on finding inspiration on the fly, creating in the moment and examining the ordinary. We definitely think these perspectives and her willingness to keep experimenting shows in the spirit of her work! To learn more about Ashley’s design journey, read on!

: Tell us a little about yourself.

: My name is Ashley! I am almost 23. I am a freelance illustrator & designer living in Pittsburgh. I love bright colors and thick lines, and I spend my free time screen printing and going to shows.

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Feature Friday: Illustrator Valeria Susloparova

Happy Screen Shot 2014-03-14 at 17.05.05!

x_ad31278cThis week we talked to Valeria Susloparova of @vsusik, who has a large Instagram following for her amazing dog illustrations. We love this feature, because these aren’t your typical illustrations. She finds ways to make them unique and integrate 3D components, all while making her subjects have personality. From the drawing skills it takes to create the dog, to the element she adds to make the portrait humorous or cute, we can’t get enough of her work! She has always wondered what dogs are actually thinking, and her art really shows this thought process. Keep reading to hear more about Valeria and see some of the funniest dogs you’ll probably look at all day.

Castle Logo: Tell us a little about yourself.

rcLH9TbRhPM: My name is Valeria Susloparova. I was born in Russia and I have still lived here. My specialization is graphic design. I have been drawing all my life. I tried different painting techniques and materials, but I especially like watercolor painting. I have a gold labrador. He is my big love and inspiration. I enjoy reading, watching films and series, riding bicycle and nature.

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Castle Logo: How did you find your style of mixing illustration with physical objects?

rcLH9TbRhPM: It all has happened in a creative process. I continue developing my skills in this direction.

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Castle Logo: You paint a lot of dogs. What about them inspires you to create your pieces?

rcLH9TbRhPM:  Yes, basically I draw dogs but I can create illustrations using different techniques. Dogs…Their funny and cute faces inspire me. I wonder what they are thinking about and I try to reflect it in my illustrations.

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Castle Logo: What art supplies do you use most for your work?

:rcLH9TbRhPM  I work with watercolor and use watercolor pencils to breathe life into my paintings because I like the way they depict the texture of animal fur.

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Castle Logo: Do you sell your work or take commissions?

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:  It has always been my hobby. There are a lot of requests and offers to make more illustrations now. I put not only time but also love into my paintings. If I need to give someone my illustration, I am really upset. But I am glad, if painting has a new home, a new ‘owner’. Unfortunately, I live in Russia and I can’t guarantee safe delivery of my works. I can send them with pleasure but only electronically. And there are some advantages in this way of delivery: One, you have to wait a few seconds to get it, and two, you can print it in any size using any paper.

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Castle Logo: Do you have an illustration that is your personal favorite?

rcLH9TbRhPM:  It’s difficult to choose a special one. I love all of them!

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Castle Logo: You graphic design and illustrate. What do you like about each?

rcLH9TbRhPM:  I am trying to keep up to different innovations in this sphere of art. There are a lot of talented people in this area. They motivate me to develop and create in order my works to be more interesting and high quality.

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Castle Logo: When did you start using Instagram to share your pieces?

rcLH9TbRhPM: Firstly, it was my personal Instagram profile but when I posted some illustrations, it become something more. Now, it’s dedicated to my works.

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Castle Logo: What are some of your goals for 2015?rcLH9TbRhPM

:  To draw! To paint! And once again – to paint! It’s necessary to develop yourself constructively and creatively. Then, I really would like to travel. Also, a long list of books to read is waiting for me.

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Castle Logo: Any advice?rcLH9TbRhPM:  If you are a beginner in painting and face some difficulties and failures, the most important thing is not to lose heart but to continue working. Paint every day, develop your world outlook! Learn and study more, examine the works of more experienced artists. Dream up and improvise, be bold and take risks. Love what you do. It is sure to “yield fruit”.

 

Feature Friday: Artist Greta Vick

Happy Screen Shot 2014-03-14 at 17.05.05!

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This week’s feature is artist Greta Vick. We really love her style and could definitely see her work gracing the walls of any modern art museum. Her use of color is so bright and vibrant! When combined with her work’s compositions and textures, her pieces really attract the eye. One thing we noticed about Greta is that she never had a doubt in her mind that she needed to create. No matter where life took her, this was something that was unquestionable. It’s great to see people pursue their calling with that much fervor. To learn more about Greta and see some of her pieces, read her interview below!

Castle Logo: Tell us about yourself.

name: Heterodox. Crazy Cat Lady. Chroma Engrossed. Sarcastic Goofball. On a more serious note – I grew up on a retired farm near Madison, Minnesota and now reside in Minneapolis. I’ve been creating since I popped out of the womb. I love the unorthodox, the contemporary, the abstract. Design, art, and creativity all consume my life. It’s glorious.

Given my creative complex, I found myself with a Bachelors of Science majoring in Interior Design from the Art Institute International. These days in addition to producing art, I work with architects, interior designers, and landscape architects to create space in both the natural and built worlds.

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Castle Logo: Describe your artistic style/aesthetic.

name: Obnoxious chaos expressed in a collected manner. Bright pops of color that slap you in the face. Texture….glorious thick, cracked, bumpy texture. The style in which the aforementioned details are executed constantly changes and grows. I have many different techniques that I incorporate at random moments, and am always thinking of new techniques to play with. To sum it up: contemporary abstract expressionism.

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Castle Logo: What made you decide to do abstract art?

name: I’ve been creating since I came into this world. I focused heavily on intricate graphite and sculptural pieces when I was young – I definitely painted but it wasn’t as desired as it is today. Out of college, I let go of definitions and made amends with the moment. I trained myself to stop thinking so logistically and just let go. This was what was most fun to me – this idea of allowing the moment to dictate and guide me. From there it transpired into this beautiful career.

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Castle Logo: Who are some of your favorite artists?

name: Gosh. The artists that I adore and truly inspire me are some of my closest friends. My partner constantly inspires me on a daily basis, he never ceases to amaze me. My parents even, but they don’t claim to be artists. Even my sister who again, is as far from claiming artistic talent as one can get, but she is an artist to me ☺

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Castle Logo: What would you say has been your biggest accomplishment thus far in your career?

name: My biggest accomplishment with my art career has been the ability to let go. I struggled for a very long time to live in the moment and not be concerned about the end result. I’m a huge perfectionist and being able to give up control is something I constantly battle every day. To be able to conquer the ability to live in the moment when I paint is just monumental.

I’m also sincerely proud of myself for creating an art career in the first place. I’m driven by that constant desire and need to design and create – it’s my sole inspiration.  It was never a goal, never something I had sought out to do, to be selling and showing work – it just transpired and the opportunities that have been presented to me have been truly amazing. I’m still in shock, almost numb in a sense.

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Castle Logo: What are your dreams and career goals?

name: I have a lot of dreams! Some are good, some are nightmares, some are weird, I sleepwalk in different states even! First and foremost- my goal in life is to be happy. At this current time in my life, designing and creating make me pretty darn happy. That’s been a consistent feeling throughout my life, so I can only imagine that the future might be the same. I would love to have half of my career be with my art – just expanding my skill set and opportunities, while the other half of my career still be focused with designing architecture, interior design, and landscape architecture. I love and adore all realms, having a balance between it all is a healthy fit.

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Castle Logo: Describe the process of completing one of your pieces. How long does it take on average?

name: This question varies immensely. I typically start out by just standing and staring. I’ll stand there, stare, and whatever I gravitate towards in the moment, I execute. I operate on an unplanned basis. There’s really no rhyme or reason, just what “feels right”. I’m also normally working on at least 10 pieces at once – it helps production move faster, especially when I have to rely on time for paint to dry. On a more layered piece – it can take weeks to dry and finalize. It all depends upon what the conditions are, if Minnesota is choosing to be hot and humid – my process slows. It also depends upon the type of texture I want to achieve as well. If it’s just a different style and not as layered, it may take me as little as two full days.

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Castle Logo: When you’re not working on a piece, what else can you be found doing?

name: I’m generally either working or creating, or unfortunately dealing with some chronic health issues. So when I’m unable to work or create, it means I’m ill and cuddling with my cats.  I’m a large introvert, perfectionist and art addict, so I’m typically ALWAYS wanting to create and tackle something on my list of to do’s. The effect of production gives me a natural high. The word “bored” doesn’t exist in my world.

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Castle Logo: Where do you think your artistic style will go in the future?

name: Great question! Honestly, I just hope to continue to experiment and evolve. Wherever the heck that takes me, I’ll be happy !

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Castle Logo: Any advice for other artists out there?

name: Just be happy. Be respectful.  Be empathetic. Do what you love with such immense passion and intellect, everything else will work itself out. Also – be a realist.

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Castle Logo: What is your favorite part about what you do?

name: Knowing that I’m doing something true to myself. I’m not just thinking about doing it – Not putting this desire and need on the back-burner. I’m putting it on the front burner, and makin’ myself some art stir fry!


Check out more from Greta below!
Etsy: goodgravygreta
Instagram: @gretacat


 

Feature Friday: Illustrator Holly Sharpe

Happy Screen Shot 2014-03-14 at 17.05.05!

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Today we’re excited to feature illustrator Holly Sharpe! She has an amazing collection of work that spans from illustrations simply done with pencil, to those done digitally. We love how different her pieces look, but that you can still tell they are made by her. Her aesthetic really stands out and has caught the attention of companies like Marks & Spencer, Marie Claire, and Chloé; all whom she has worked with. Her illustrations are so vibrant and detailed, yet the brush strokes and drips make them free-spirited. With this unique take on illustrating it is no wonder that Holly is getting calls from some big names. We’re sure there is only more to come in her future and can’t wait for you to hear more about her!

 

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: How did your art career start?

holly: It is definitely not something that happened overnight. In some ways it has been a work in progress most of my life. I went to art college and after graduating from there I went on to do freelance work as a textile designer and then secured a full time position. Meanwhile I was trying to keep up my own drawings and illustrations on the side. This was all great experience and I probably wouldn’t be doing what I do now if I didn’t take those steps to break away and do my own work full time.

Sorry, that was a long-winded way of saying, my art career started by 1. Getting a 1st class honours degree and then 2. Working very hard and getting lots of experience!

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Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: Describe the style of your work?

holly:  I would say my work is delicate but powerful. Usually it has attention to lines and detail and when I’m not sticking with monochrome, lots of bright colours. I don’t know how to describe my style as such, but a lot of people tell me that I have a very distinct style and that it is “different”.

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Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: What is the greatest lesson you learned while pursuing your passion?

holly:  Tough one, I’ve learned a lot along the way. I would probably say, to believe in yourself, stand strong with that belief and don’t let people take advantage of you and your work. I am a pretty positive person and I hate to be cynical, but unfortunately there are a lot of people/companies out there that will prey on an artist’s ‘desperate’ need for work and take advantage. So remember to value your work and what you do, even when some people don’t.

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: What can others do to bring their work to the next level or gain clients?

holly:  Keep trying, keep pushing your work to get better, try new things, and don’t stay in your comfort zone. Try and have a clear focus on what it is you do and what it is you want to do/achieve. Who are your dream clients? Try to offer something unique but focused. It is better to master one thing, and for that thing to be crystal clear, than to try and offer a million different styles and have no clear direction. Clients need to know what they are getting.

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Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: Who are some of your favorite artists, musicians, creatives etc.?

holly: Ah, so many… a few of my favourite artists are – Stina Persson, Lucian Freud, Egon Schiele, Conrad Roset, Kelly Beeman, Alexandra Levasseur, and Paula Bonet. As for music – this changes a lot, and I am always on the lookout for new musicians, but generally I love electronica-type music with nice female vocals. I love The Knife, Grimes, Kavinsky, Phantogram, Poliça… Oh and Arcade Fire is always a band I go back to. Right now I love working to, or doing yoga to Dr. Toast, his music is incredible.

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Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: How have you overcome obstacles and discouragements in your career?

holly: When I think back, I have realized that I’ve developed a pretty good knack for forgetting about the things that didn’t work, or didn’t go ahead. It is important to have something of a mourning period for the biggies that can be a bit heartbreaking, but you cannot dwell on them. I just try and move on and work towards a new aim. I focus on the things that did work, which is always a boost and outweighs the obstacles and discouragements.

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Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24:  Name one of your careers greatest highs?

holly: Doing a cosmetics collaboration with Marks & Spencer earlier this year!

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Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: What career/artistic goal are you working towards next?

holly:  Ah, so many, my head is a bit all over the place at the moment. But I think my main goals are to have worked published in a book (or publish my own book…?!) and also to get more exhibitions across the globe.

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Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: What inspires you to create?

holly:  Everything. I’m sure a lot of artists say this, but sometimes the inspiration to create, is more of a need, an urge, almost an unexplainable desire to create something beautiful.

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Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: Tell us a little bit about who you are.

holly: I am an artist/ illustrator from Scotland. I love to travel, meet new people, and do yoga. I have brown hair, green eyes and a stupid laugh.

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Keep up with what Holly is doing next and make sure to follow her on social media for more!
Twitter: @hollysharpe