Tuesday, March 22, 2011

art talk Tuesday: Erin Napier

Today I have a special treat for you guys!  Erin Napier of Lucky Luxe is here for art talk.  All of you aspiring artists take out your pen and paper; this girl has got it figured out :)  ...and, she just happens to be one of the sweetest girls I know.

1. Name, age, hometown, blog/website
I'm Erin Napier, a 25 year-old wedding stationer from little ole Laurel, Mississippi (lucky-luxe.com, erinnapier.blogspot.com).

2.When did you first discover your creative talents?

I was very young. As a little girl my mama did these beautiful paintings and we would do all kinds of arts and crafts projects together. From painting to macrame, we were making things every day at my little craft table in the living room. My aunt Mae Mae showed me how to make scrapbooks when I was 7 years old, too. She would get me to draw the U.S. presidents and all my favorite Disney characters. She framed them and hung them on the walls. I had a pretty wild imagination. I wanted to be a mascot when I grew up so I could always wear costumes! In junior high school, I sold my first painting for $75 and I thought, "Well... Maybe there's something to this art thing."

3. What inspires you and keeps you motivated to create?

Vintage ephemera, textiles and books are huge influences on my work. Anytime a bride gives me free reign to design whatever I want, I feel a very real inspiration. It takes over and I just try to keep up with where it's going.

4. How would you describe your style?

Vintage, nostalgic, of course. So many people love vintage design for a reason—it transcends time and style. I think people wish for a simpler way of life and my work is intended to conjure the memory of that time and place.

5. Who are some people that have inspired your work?

I'm very inspired by the postcards of Curt Teich & Co., lettering by Jessica Hische, really beautiful calligraphy (my friend Holly Wilson is one of the best calligraphers ever—her work is crazy inspiring), the branding & design of Louise Fili, vintage botanical encyclopedias with those beautiful engravings. Most of all, my brides and grooms inspire my work. The sweet and funny stories, the crazy meetings, those things make the kind of personalized design that nothing else could. When a bride told me she and her fiance both have starring roles in the musical Wicked, that he proposed on stage, I see opera house playbills for the invitation. It's a fun job, and I'm so blessed to have it.

6. What is something funny that's happened to you recently?
A sweet lady from our church gave my husband Ben a pair of size large silk pajamas with a really cool vintage print because she felt like they might fit him. Ben is a burly, bearded 6'6" and 300 pounds. He tried them on. He danced to James Brown. They didn't fit. Not even close.

7. How do you bridge the gap between creating and running a business?

To me, without work ethic, your art is useless. I think running the business and being creative for my business are one in the same. A disheartening thing I've seen in some artists is a lack of work ethic. You really can't make it as a self-employed artist without it. I'm definitely no expert in business, but I know learning all I can about it will make me a smarter, better artist.

8. Describe yourself in 5 words.

Nostalgic. Ambitious. Childish. Confident. Self-conscious.

9. Any advice for aspiring artists/designers?

A few things:

1. You will always continue to get better if you continue to create. I thought I was at the top of my game in college, but now I can see that I was just beginning. I'm afraid to know what's possible in 5 or 10 more years. Who knows?

2. If you can find that one thing that makes you different from everyone else, that one product no one else can offer, that's all it takes. One niche market is all the market you need.

3. Learn all you can from the artists that inspire you. They have great advice if you just ask them (if they're alive... Van Gogh would be hard to get a hold of).


Thank you, Erin!  I absolutely loved reading your interview.

Take a minute to check out Erin's blog (a personal favorite of mine) ...and, for heaven's sake, if you can think of a reason to need invitations or stationary, you won't find anything more beautiful.