Artist Spotlight: Dom Wise (DomOfTheYear)


Multidimensional performer and visual artist Dom Wise sees the world as a utopia. His positive outlook is both the message and the muse behind everything he does creatively. “I use that word, utopia, a lot in my art, whether it’s my photography or my music. I like to capture the world as I see it and that’s why my pictures are all bright and high-contrast. In my mind, it’s kind of like a wonderland,” he said. Besides making music, Dom is also a photographer who works both digitally and with film.


He started out as a kid in Boston using whatever he could find to take pictures, like old cell phones. In 2014, he started to take photography more seriously. Today he uses a Canon 7D Mark II and some film cameras too, like a T70 and an old Polaroid. He prefers digital for gigs and photo shoots, and he likes to use film for special occasions like birthdays and holidays. “I feel like film is more of a ‘real’ feeling, like it has texture. It kind of brings it back to a classic style,” he said.



Dom still lives in Boston as an adult, but much of his photography documents his travels. As he grows in his artistic career, he hopes to continue to explore new places. “When I was growing up I was always poor, never had money, never went on vacation until I could afford it myself, so seeing the world is a big influence for me,” he said. “Being a photographer and musician, I want to create this kind of cyclical pattern where I travel, get influenced, create, put that together, distribute it, go on tour, and then while I’m on tour, get inspired and create again and just keep going in a circle. Performing live is amazing, I love it. I love the energy, the people, I love reiterating the songs in a different way so people get what they don’t expect.”



He has a passion for creating large-scale projects that incorporate all of his talents. “I want the music and the visuals to tie together and blur the lines, like is he a musician, a singer, a photographer, a videographer? I’m me. What I do is create. I’m always on. I want to be seen as an artist. It’s like the full spectrum of everything I need to do so that it’s a full package,” he said. “It’s kind of like a contribution. I want my music to be listened to 100 years from now. I want to inspire people.”


Fortunately for Dom, inspiration comes easily to him. He takes nothing for granted and has a deep appreciation of the world around him. “Everything inspires me. It’s fun to experiment. The best part is seeing what I’ve had in my mind come to life in this utopia,” he said. “This world is Utopia—I don’t care what anyone else says. This is it. There is nowhere else to go that we know of. Every definition that we have of a utopia is this place, and it’s being messed up because of climate change, because of plastic in the water. We have to take care of it, and we have to take care of each other. If you’re always being positive and giving out positive energy and treating people well, you get showered with all the good that you put out. It’s beautiful.”



Some of Dom’s work involves collaborations with other people, like the models featured in his photography. He meets them at events around the city or online through social media. “I love the models who know exactly what to do. It’s like snap, pose, snap, pose, snap, pose. Like the picture of Rebecca in the pink background, it’s on my INPRNT profile, the one that I got into Vogue Italia. That shoot was 30 seconds long. We were at an art event and there were these installations with pink curtains and a pink phone. She had some pink hair and a pink jacket, and I was like, Rebecca, come here! She comes, picks up the phone, I snap four photos and each one was a different pose, and that was it. I sent it to Vogue Italia and they published it online. It can be something like that or a long planned shoot, but I love candid, impromptu shoots the most.”



He has found many friends and creative connections in Boston. “The scene here is really good. I’ve met photographers, videographers, musicians, painters,” he said. He met most of his friends there around 2011 and is still spending time with them working on creative projects today. He also likes to travel to other cities, like Los Angeles, to collaborate on projects with other artists. Sometimes he makes new friends online and they invite each other to collaborate. “I’ve been in LA for a few weeks, a couple weeks, a month on different trips. Every time I go it’s different, I meet new people and have different things to do,” he said. “I found INPRNT through another photographer out there, and I love the quality of the prints.”


Dom also appreciates how platforms like INPRNT encourage and inspire artists. “There needs to be more creative platforms and outlets for people. I feel like they don’t teach kids art anymore in schools, so kids don’t have a way to cultivate a passion that they may have,” he said. “I haven’t always been a full time artist, but if I really want to do it then I have to just do it. For me, if you want to be successful in what you do, then you have to do it all day long. You have to live that role. I’m an artist, so I’m going to be an artist all day and work towards my goals, which is to have freedom to be an artist. There’s nothing else to do in this life. We’re here for a reason. Everybody has a passion, it’s just about finding that passion and working towards it.”


This wasn’t always the way Dom felt. He said that he struggled a lot when he was younger. “For me growing up, I was very negative and pessimistic and complained a lot and was just like anxious all the time, but I got through it and now I see the world differently,” he said. “Life can be fun and beautiful. When I was a kid, I would think to myself that suicide is an option, like do I have to live here? But I would never do that now. If you don’t already see the world as beautiful, then make it beautiful. Sometimes I feel good and sometimes I don’t, but you can either spiral up or you can spiral down. Spiral up! It can take a bit of time, you’re going to be working against something for a bit, but that spiral is going to open up.”



Dom credits his family with helping him along the way. His mother raised Dom and his siblings on her own. “She’s been working her whole life for us,” he said. Dom also has a special relationship with his sister, who helped take care of him. “My sister kind of guided me in life, showing me what’s wrong and what’s right. She actually bought me my first microphone for music.” His family has encouraged him to work toward his goals, but he wanted to share some advice for artists who don't receive the same level of support. “If you feel passionate about something and people are trying to sway you away from it, don’t give up. It might be tough, but stick to whatever you want to do. I’ve learned that clichés are the most beautiful things to know, because they’re true! Like never give up, anything is possible. That’s all true.”


Part of sticking to it is having patience. “Nowadays in the society that we live in, with the internet and high-speed everything, people are used to instant gratification. But that not the way things are. You’ve got to be patient,” said Dom. He keeps steadily working to reach new milestones in art and music, and when he’s not busy with a project, Dom enjoys time with friends. It’s an opportunity to rest and recharge, as well as become inspired for his next endeavor. “When my friends and I are not creating, we’re probably relaxing. Listening to music, going out to the museum, going out to eat. We’ll probably just go to the city and walk around and meet people and create opportunities. My mind is always focused on creating, or getting inspired in another way. I think a lot about the future. I kind of let that inspire me and not scare me.”


Photos courtesy of Dom Wise


The future looks bright for Dom, whose positivity and eye for beauty have led him to experience the world as an exciting place full of adventure and potential. As an artist with multiple fields of interest, he enjoys it when people discover one aspect of his work, only to find out later that he also has other talents. “Music is like my lifelong aspiration, but photography kind of supplements it in a way, just to be more creative. I love that people are like, oh, you’re a musician! They might know me for music, then they find out that I do photography and they’re like, oh my God, this is beautiful, and vice versa,” he said. “It’s fun to surprise people with those abilities and I would like to learn even more. Knowledge is power.”

Artist Spotlight: Rachel Merrill


Rachel Merrill grew up in Louisiana, where she never quite felt like she fit in at her school. The art department was underfunded, and female students seemed to receive unfair treatment from school administrators. These days, she she has finally found a place to call home. It has been a long journey that started with Rachel attending art school in Florida before eventually moving to New York and getting to know other creative people to whom she can relate.


Although she was creative from a young age, her early passions were ballet and acting. She eventually lost interest in both, but her mother encouraged her to find something else to pursue. “I did ballet for 11 years and I did acting for almost 10, and I kind of burnt out on them in high school,” she said. “My mom was like, you can’t just sit at home and watch cartoons all day, which is what I wanted to do. So I started drawing, which is a lot easier on my feet! And that’s kind of how I ended up going into visual arts.”


She has been a practicing artist since she was a teenager, taking her first serious steps toward becoming an illustrator at the age of 17 when she attended Pratt’s summer pre-college program in Brooklyn, New York. “My buddies and I, we would just ride the subway and get lost in the city. It was an amazing experience. In most of the South, it’s not pedestrian friendly. I was not used to being in a place where you could just walk everywhere. Just being on the street was amazing for me, and it was amazing to get a taste of art school. I got a lot better as an artist. I took legitimate college courses on editorial illustration, figure drawing, all sorts of different stuff. It was amazing, I was just pinching myself.”



That experience solidified her desire to study art. After finishing high school, Rachel enrolled at Ringling in Sarasota, Florida, eventually graduating with a degree in illustration. “The first year basically felt like summer camp for 18-year-olds. It was great. It felt like an extension of Pratt pre-college because there was very little at stake and you were mostly just getting to know everyone. That was wonderful. Second year got really tough because they started cutting people pretty hard. Then you’re like, oh shit, I better make my grades or I’m going to be out on my butt. I made it through, but it was quite a jump to go from a summer camp vibe to having three or four studio classes and two hours of homework for each class every day.”


Rachel decided to move back to New York after graduation, eventually settling down in Astoria, Queens. At first, she tried to leave her Louisiana roots behind. “When I first moved here, I very much kind of disavowed where I was from and didn’t really want to acknowledge it, but over time you can’t escape where you’re from,” she said. “I sort of feel like I’m a little bit between worlds. I don’t really feel super Southern. I feel very much like an outsider when I go to there, and there are certain cultural things in New York that I don’t quite relate to either. I get really excited when I meet other Southerners that don’t live in the South because I feel like those are my people.” Rachel also finds a similar camaraderie with others in her profession. She appreciates their inherent understanding of the work she does.



To maintain those connections, Rachel tries to go to a figure drawing session almost every weekend. “I’ve got some buddies there, so we’ll go out and have some drinks afterwards and talk about art,” she said. It’s a welcome break from working from home, and the conversation with other artists is motivating. “When you find people that you can talk shop with, it feels very freeing in a lot of ways. I might go to a figure drawing session and people are like, Rachel, how did you draw your figures this way? When you’re around people that don’t do your line of work, you don’t really get asked stuff like that and you don’t really feel as important about it,” she said. “When you are around your peers, or people who are interested in what you do, it makes you remember that you have this really unique thing. It feels liberating when I hang out with another artist, illustrator, designer."


With its large creative population and vibrant artistic community, Rachel feels welcome in the city. People in New York tend to embrace her as an artist and understand what she does for a living. Back home, she faced some rejection and alienation. “People like the weirdos here in New York, and I was always considered a huge weirdo, so I really like to live in an area where I’m a little bit more welcomed. When I would go visit back home, being a visual artist was considered more strange and suspect than anything, so I like that here people actually like that about me, they think that’s kind of cool. My social capital is through the roof compared to other places.” Being in the city has also helped Rachel discover a niche as a fashion illustrator and humorist. In a place where self-expression is often communicated through style, she is inspired every single day by the people she sees and the clothes they wear.



“The work I have at INPRNT is fine fashion illustration and single-panel comics that are humor-based, but also about fashion,” she said. Rachel began with an interest in street style photos, where she eventually noticed the potential for humor in some of the more outrageous outfits. “I kind of realized there’s a lot of funny shit people wear, especially when they are trying to stand out,” she noted. Her work is therefore very observant of people and trends, especially among her fellow New Yorkers. “That’s one of the best things about being here. The people-watching is pretty spectacular. I was on the Upper East Side recently and I was amazed to see how all of the women there had a fur coat on and a little dog to complement the fur coat. I wonder if they walk into a pet store and say, ‘I’m looking for a dog that matches this fur coat.’ I’m constantly thinking of silly things like that.”


Even as she pokes fun at some of the things she sees, her drawings are meant to celebrate them, too. Rachel loves nothing more than to see people wearing outfits they honestly believe in. “My message with the comics is: don’t take fashion too seriously. When it comes to style, even if someone is dressed utterly ridiculously, if it’s genuine from their point of view then I really enjoy that. The only thing I’m not a big fan of is when someone is dressing for someone other than themselves. Generally in New York most people are very individualized, and I like the eccentrics. Even if it’s going to look crazy, I like that more than the New York uniform of what is cool and acceptable.”


Photos courtesy of Rachel Merrill


Rachel also makes a point of including a variety of body types in her work. She wants to show off different styles as they appear on all shapes and sizes, which is somewhat unusual in the world of fashion illustration. Featuring different types of bodies was an intentional choice, and one that initially drew criticism from others in Rachel’s field. “That was one of the first things that other fashion illustrators would criticize me about,” she said. “They were like, why don’t you make your people nine heads tall? And I was like, because I’m not interested in that, it’s boring and everyone does it, and I find I’ve seen plenty of stylish people in all shapes and sizes. I’ve also seen people who are tall and lanky and have no sense of style.”


Her ability to notice things like that helped Rachel turn her observations into comics. It’s a relatively new genre for her because she experimented with watercolors as a teen and was an oil painter in college. “I actually never thought I would be doing comics, even though those are my first love. At Ringling, I was more of a fine artist. I did large scale oil paintings, so when I started moving more into comics, I just remember being so surprised. I liked reading them, but I thought I couldn’t make them. Total nonsense! If you like something and you put enough time into it, then of course you can do it.” Rachel eventually started a blog for her comics at the suggestion of a friend. It was an easy way to showcase her drawings and make people laugh.


She also joined the artist community at INPRNT, where she sells prints of her work. “I had heard really good things about INPRNT's quality. I ordered some for myself and was like, these are way better than everything else. I also heard that the people there are really good to work with. I’ve been really happy with the experience,” she said. “One of my favorite pieces I’ve done is on INPRNT. It’s called New Years Walk. My boyfriend and I were walking down the street in the West Village, and this girl came out in this sparkly dress with this big fur coat, and I was just enraptured by her. As my boyfriend was talking to me, I slowly took out my phone and started creeping up behind her to snap as many references as I could. It’s a really glamorous image, but I also think it’s hilarious too. She was covering up the sparkly dress, but her coat was so shaggy she was still going to stand out no matter what.”



Scenes like this one provide Rachel with plenty of subject matter for her drawings. “If I’m ever looking for inspiration, I’m probably already outside, and I’ll probably already see something absurd. I think that’s one of the great things about New York. There’s so much visual stimuli that you don’t really get the chance to not be inspired.” When Rachel does hit a creative block or simply decides to take a break from illustration, she turns to cooking. “If I need a break from drawing, cooking is more relaxing for me. I don’t put nearly as much weight on it as I do art, so it’s a nice creative thing to do that has very low stakes, like if something doesn’t turn out right it’s totally okay. My mom passed away last year, and she wasn’t a visual artist herself but her creativity manifested in cooking. She was probably the best cook I had ever known, so it kind of feels like I’m connecting with her. I’m trying to keep that alive.”


Having an outlet outside of art is an good way to stay grounded. Pursuing a creative profession isn't always easy, and struggling is part of the process. “I’ve heard that when you go to art school, and probably a few years afterwards at least, most people aren’t going to be that amazing. They’re going to be really frustrated by that because they have the taste level to know what is good but they don’t have the technique to get it there," she said. But Rachel has never given up, and today she has a lot of fun working as an artist. Sometimes when Rachel draws people she gives the finished pieces to them, and she loves to see the joy and excitement on their faces. And she savors her career achievements, too. “I love the days where I get a really great client job and I just pinch myself, like I can’t believe I made it this far. Just seeing your work out there and seeing people’s reaction to it is pretty inspiring.”

Artist Spotlight: Elena Resko


Elena Resko has evolved a lot since she first started out as an artist. For one thing, she moved from her small hometown in Russia to Berlin, Germany. It was a dream fulfilled for Elena and her husband, and it proved to be a positive change artistically as well. “We had a dream to move to Europe for a long time, so we just did it, and we are more than happy," she said. "I didn’t have access to all those artistic things growing up in a very small town, and here there are plenty of them. Especially as an artistic teenager like I was, there were just no events and not a lot of like-minded people, so it was rather hard and that's why I wanted to move to the big city.”


The area where Elena lives is Pankow, a large borough of Berlin. It is a quiet place with lots of greenery, the perfect setting for Elena to create her signature illustrations which often feature nature. “I am a big fan of flowers and plants,” she said. “I think nature is a major inspiration because the shapes and the colors are always so wonderful and so nice, and you could never get anything made by a human this sophisticated.” The other aspect Elena loves about drawing plants is simply how good it feels. She explained, “I don’t think about it, I’m just drawing and it goes very organically and naturally. I so much enjoy the process of drawing plants that it just brings a lot of warmth inside to do this.”



That warmth is an important aspect of Elena’s work because she wants her art to spread happiness. “As I grew up, I realized that the more positive emotions I could put inside my work, the better it would be,” she said. “I don’t think art should be showing something which is not cheering and encouraging you.” Her color palette has evolved in much the same way: “I’m fond of violets and pinks and so on, and I hated pinks in my childhood. I don’t know why. But now I’m using all the things I would never use when I was a teenager!”


Elena also stays positive by having her workspace decorated with meaningful mementos. In her cozy home studio she displays tickets from museums, works by other artists and illustrators, and various things which bring up good memories and feelings of happiness. This space is important to her because she almost always works from home. “It’s just a table in my living room, a small corner with all my things and some inspiration pictures on the wall,” Elena explained. “I have all my things around and I sometimes use bulky things like Cintiqs and so on, and it’s just not convenient to go somewhere."


Having unfettered access to digital mediums is one reason why Elena prefers to work from home. The equipment can be bigger and heavier, but the artistic advantages are worth it to her. “I think digital work is making everything simpler because you can make a lot of adjustments and you don’t need to be worrying about how will it go, will it be spoiled or not or something like that,” she said. “As I don’t have a lot of control of traditional media, I’m always worrying, will it be good or not?”


Taking away that pressure by working digitally is a big relief. And when Elena does use traditional mediums, such as inside her sketchbook, she has an unique way of getting started: on the very last page. “When you are starting on the first page, you are so much obsessed with getting it very nice, because everybody who can open it should see it’s beautiful. But when you are starting on the last page it is much easier,” she explained. From there Elena flips to other pages, filling them in randomly.



“Sketchbooks are tricky things. I used to think that sketchbooks should be something you can proudly present to an audience and they’ll be like, oh wow, that is so nice and beautiful. But now I understand that it is more like a technical tool,” she said. “You can draw whatever you want. It can be ugly, messy, whatever, but you are trying over there and you are collecting your ideas. Maybe some things you will forget, but then you can look back and see them. You can get inspired for future projects.”


Re-doing older illustrations, like the ones in her sketchbook, is part of Elena's art practice. As she progresses as an artist she becomes more content with her work, which allows her to revisit favorite concepts and ideas. The end result is extra satisfying because she comes to see how much she has advanced. “I’m liking my work more and more, which I think is a normal thing. Then when I’m seeing some older pieces, I’m thinking it can be made technically better, but the idea is still so nice. With my abilities these days, I can do it much more beautiful.”


It’s a useful way for artists observe personal growth that might otherwise go unnoticed. From technical improvements to evolutions of style and theme, an artist is constantly learning and changing. “Sometimes you don’t notice, but all the things surrounding you are just getting inside, and you are growing and evolving as your life grows and evolves somehow,” Elena said. “Maybe sometimes you don’t think about this, but all the things you see make some impact on your style and work and so on."



Elena’s biggest change was going from graphic designer to illustrator. She always had an interest in illustration, but she focused on design while attending art school in Russia. “It was a good choice for me because back then I wasn’t sure I could be a proper artist or an illustrator. I was looking for a more technical profession, and graphic design was something I was inspired by at that time,” she said. “It was very useful because it gave me a lot of knowledge in composition. I know how to put dynamics in a picture, I know how to use colors properly.”


She worked day jobs as a graphic designer while practicing drawing at night. It was a lot of hard work that paid off. “It’s rather difficult to transition from graphic designer to illustrator,” Elena explained. “In graphic design you don’t need that much drawing skills, so you need to put in effort to transition because there is another set of skills you need to use. You need to constantly train yourself, and if you have a job as a graphic designer, you only have your evenings to train this skill. Sometimes it gets tough because you’re tired and you don’t want to do anything else.”



Even with this transition behind her, Elena’s schedule remains very full as a full-time illustrator. Just as she practiced drawing at night while working as a designer, now she makes time for personal work in between freelance assignments. “It’s tough to balance freelance and personal work. When you are so busy with all the working projects, sometimes you are sitting late and you just don’t have any time for something personal. I try to at least do it during the weekend, and of course sometimes in the evening if I have time. I’m basically trying to do it every day, even a bit, even 15 minutes are enough to feel you are doing something," she said.


With barely a moment to spare for personal projects, Elena entrusts INPRNT with running her print shop. What set the site apart for her was the quality of offerings. “I was looking for the best print on demand service which is not offering an overwhelming amount of products. I hate mugs, and I hate carpets, and so on,” said Elena. “I just like beautifully printed prints and cards. I don’t want to see my things on a bathroom curtain or something like that.” INPRNT prints in-house, which means the highest quality reproductions and top earnings for artists.


All of this is important to Elena because managing a busy schedule is part of being a creative professional. She tries to follow a daily routine; without one it becomes difficult to get everything done that needs to be done. “I try to work normal working hours from morning till evening, sometimes a bit later if I have a lot of work. But I also enjoy doing things like going outside for several hours in the middle of the day just because I want to, and then working in the evening. It’s a very nice thing for freelancers to have this type of freedom.”



Having this flexibility while being able to follow her passion makes Elena’s career very fulfilling. “The best part of being an artist is that you don’t actually have a job. You’re having a day-long adventure in your drawings and illustrations and other related work,” she mused. Elena also loves to get out of the house and explore her surroundings for inspiration. She especially enjoys browsing comics shops, where she’ll look for “something which really sparks from the shelf.” Once she finds it, she tends to take it home and read the entire thing immediately.


Another major inspiration for Elena is food. “Food is something I’m very much addicted to! I’m very much fond of trying a lot of new things connected with food, like going to new places and trying something new and exotic and so on,” she said. Food as a subject complements Elena's theme of making artwork that makes people happy or has positive associations. A closely related inspiration is her love for coffee. “Coffee is something that you can prepare in so many ways, you can try so many tastes and it just gives you such positive energy. That’s why I’m really obsessed with it!”


She also relishes the opportunity to check out new cafés. Each one provides fresh scenery and distinct flavors, plus great people-watching. “I very much like hanging out in coffee shops. I’m spending a lot of time in different places, trying new things, and I think it’s my fuel actually,” she said. “Every time you are visiting any place, you can observe a lot of things. You can watch people, you can see some new situations happening. Just maybe you can process some things in your mind, and that’s why it always gives some bit of inspiration.”


Photography by Ashley Heafy


It’s all part of the lifestyle Elena has created for herself as an artist. Whether she is working from home or soaking up new experiences in the outside world, everything Elena does is dedicated to her growth as an illustrator. “If you want to grow, you need to do things all the time. Nothing will happen if you’re just sitting and doing nothing and wondering when will I be successful or good or something like that," she said. "You just need to do something. Even if you’re tired and not in the mood, you just need to take this pencil and go and draw!”

Artist Spotlight: Robert Sammelin


Robert Sammelin likes to borrow a word that his wife often uses to describe his artwork: funky. He thinks of it as a quality-assurance test. If she looks at one of his pieces and says it has funk, then he knows it’s good.


He and his wife share the same hometown in Sweden, located above the Arctic circle. It is perpetually dark there nine months out of the year, and perpetually bright during summer when the sun never sets. The couple eventually moved to Stockholm, where they now live and where Robert developed his skills without any formal training and having never attended art school. He has been drawing constantly since he was a kid, resulting in what he called “a mishmash, a hodgepodge” of the multitude of influences he has absorbed over the years, including comic books, movies, music and fashion.


Robert landed on his current trademark style in his late teens. Years later, he’s well known around the world for his work that he thinks of as slightly subversive, kind of a play on gender stereotypes. Many of his subjects are strong women who ride motorcycles or tote large weapons. As for his technique, a surgery on his wrist helped him discover a new favorite medium that helped him grow as an artist. He started using brushes more often because of physical limitations after the operation. He said that at that point, everything just clicked.



Today Robert still likes to base his personal work around traditional mediums like ink, though he often adds color digitally. “I like to mix things up and experiment,” he said. After choosing a medium to work with, Robert simply lets loose and has fun by allowing his subconscious to take over. A fan of comics since childhood, he likes to think of each of his works as a story, building a plot and a world behind each image. He lets his hand just work its way around the page while soaking up his surroundings and conversations with family.


One of his favorite past projects is his collection of mock horror movie posters. The one titled Mutantiliation was inspired by his son, who mashed up the words “mutant” and “mutilation” to come up with the name and concept. The youngster served as art director for the piece, asking Robert to include zombies, “a guy with forks for teeth” and burning cities across an apocalyptic landscape. He also told his dad, “You can draw a cool lady, because I know you like those!” 



Powerful women are among Robert’s favorite subjects, fueled by a desire to portray something different from the drawings he saw when he was growing up. He said that back then it was like “he is always strong, and she is always at his feet.” He never liked that disparity. That’s why today he wants to turn those ideas around in his art. “It’s important to me, and it becomes more important as people take note of it,” he said. He appreciates watching social changes unfolding and awareness increasing over the years, especially as a father raising a child, and he credits the strong women in his life for inspiring him daily.



Robert also likes to choose subjects that are technically difficult and challenging to draw, from mechanical objects to architecture. That’s how he started drawing one of his favorite subjects: vehicles, especially motorcycles. He thinks of motorcycles as a sort of modern horse and believes they represent nostalgia, freedom and a tantalizing subculture. However, these days he finds himself drawing fewer vehicles and focusing more on complex architecture, though he has not published many of his architectural pieces to the public.


His interest in architecture is an extension of his day job in video games, where he works with 3D environments. Robert enjoys the polish and realism that he and his team work toward in their games, but also likes experimenting with personal work where his subjects can be “a bit wonky, a bit off. That adds to the fun factor of it.” So he chooses not to use tools like rulers when drawing because they tend to take away some of that uniqueness. “I’m too impatient to make it look perfect. If I do it by free hand, it still has that fluid kind of imperfections that go along with how I draw,” he said. The one time he does use a ruler? To draw the panels of his comics.


He is currently working on series of comic books in collaboration with a writer friend. For this work, titled The Kali, Robert has chosen to use a signature color palette with a foundation of reds, blues and purples. He’s also updating the way he uses digital color, adding texture as a way to make it feel more real. “I think I mimic what it would look like if I was actually to color it on paper,“ he said. He has been working on The Kali in his spare time, and when it’s finished they expect to have five issues. Robert works on personal projects like this one at night and on weekends.



“It becomes deeply personal, the things I do in my spare time,” he said. The work he does for fun is very different from what he does as a concept art director, managing a team that works collaboratively on large video game projects. “Predominantly we make action games, shooter games, these kinds of titles that are blockbuster, mainstream things,” he said. So when he has free time, he takes the opportunity to make artwork in his own style. After a long day, Robert comes home to make dinner and enjoy time with his family. He’ll usually draw for three hours before going to bed.


“My whole life revolves around drawing, it seems.” He said it helps that the work he does at home is so different from what he does at the office because he feels he is getting the best of both worlds. With a busy career as an art director and his free time devoted to personal artwork, Robert relies on INPRNT to create beautiful prints of his work. “I was immensely impressed with the quality,” he said.


One thing Robert does not do is use a sketchbook. “I ruin mine instantly,” he explained. Taking a more relaxed approach, he prefers to get his ideas down on a single piece of paper as quickly as possible—just a loose framework in pencil. He gave the example of a musket combined with an axe as something that might pop into his head that he would feel compelled to draw in the moment. “I try not to overthink anything. I do most of it just because it’s fun, and I do sort of whatever pops in my head, but I always want to try and twist it.”



Robert has had his current job in the video game industry for over a decade. Previously he worked all kinds of jobs, from train conductor to teacher to record shop manager. Meanwhile, he was teaching himself art without any outside help due to a stubborn streak he said he inherited from his family. As a teen, he decided that he would teach himself to draw so that if he became really great one day then nobody else could ever say, “I taught him everything he knows.” But by working various jobs and only drawing on the side, he found his career going nowhere.


So he stopped drawing entirely for five years. “I didn’t touch a pen or anything. I just got fed up with it not heading anywhere.” He said it eventually led to a breakdown. That’s when he quit all of his other jobs and suddenly resumed furiously drawing. He wanted to follow his dream. “It was probably the scariest thing I’ve ever done,” he said. “My wife just said, you used to be really good at this, why not give it a go?” So Robert put together a portfolio of concept art, then landed a job in video games.


As an art director, Robert follows one simple rule of leadership: “If everything goes really well, it’s the team’s credit; if it goes to hell, it’s my fault.” This gives his team a sense of security and makes them feel more comfortable trying new things, taking risks and experimenting. Robert is responsible for leading the group as well as hiring them, having handpicked most of the artists he works with. “I have a really great team that inspires and spurs each other on. I am far from the best painter in that group, I’m far from the best illustrator, but the reason I am where I am is that I have a drive, a will to just move forward and really think about things.”


Photography by Ashley Heafy


Robert said revising or redrawing old work is one way he likes to practice, along with seeking outside influences for unexpected inspiration. “It’s the nature of the entertainment industry to be super derivative, and that’s why I try to always encourage myself to do the opposite. At least you will find an edge that you don’t see somewhere else.” That’s one reason he loves fashion and music as sources of inspiration. “Leafing through fashion magazines while listening to punk rock is super interesting, because every once in a while a phrase or word will pop up, and you’re looking at a weird polkadot dress, and you can sort of mix and match those around.”


His style may be inspired by a blend of influences, but the result is uniquely his own. “I truly can’t stop drawing. I think that’s the thing,” said Robert. At home or at work, listening to punk records or watching an old horror movie, he is always creating freely. “That’s my job. My job is to hold a pen.”

New Feature: INPRNT's Discover Page

INPRNT's Discover App


INPRNT's Discover page is a fun new way to interact with art! Just enter a search term to immerse yourself in a mosaic of results, then click on any of the artwork to refresh the mosaic with a new set of images based on your selection. You'll never run out of new pieces to explore and discover!


Find something you really love? Click through to see the product details, like the title of the work and name of the artist. Use the plus sign icon to add it to your saved items while browsing, or click on the shopping cart to view available products like art prints, stationery cards, canvases and more.


Now you have our entire collection of curated artwork at your fingertips. Dim the lights, turn on some music and discover your new favorite art!

Artist Spotlight: Stephanie Singleton


Stephanie Singleton is a Canadian artist living in Sweden. Before moving to Stockholm, Stephanie had lived in Toronto all her life. She grew up in her family's home located just outside of an enormous nature reserve, and her resulting fascination with the natural world fostered early interests in science and art. Stephanie's parents thought she might become a scientist, but instead she became an artist whose work reflects the beauty of nature. Recently she even illustrated a science article about microbiology and climate change, taking a pause at that moment in her career to reflect on how her childhood passions of science and art had come together. "I don't think I would have imagined that as a child," she said.

Creativity has always been an important aspect of her life. "I've been drawing pretty much as young as I can remember," said Stephanie. This led her to art school at OCAD University, where she began studying graphic design. "I didn't think that illustration was a feasible career, so I thought that being a graphic designer would be more practical," she explained. But Stephanie soon changed her mind, encouraged by an instructor to switch majors from graphic design to illustration. At first the art school experience was stressful for her because she felt directionless, unsure of what to do or where to go. "It was only really once I graduated that I figured out what direction I wanted to go in with my art," Stephanie said.


Fresh out of school, she began to develop an artistic style focusing on nature, organic objects, surrealism and patterns. Stephanie also focuses on her use of color, which is now an important aspect of her style after a long struggle to develop the ability while in art school. "I did not know what I was doing. I hated using color, and now it's one of the most important things to me," said Stephanie. Working digitally helped her develop those abilities; her work is created using both digital and traditional mediums. "It's half and half," she said. "I always use Photoshop to add color, and I always do my line work and the watercolor textures by hand." The result comes together using a distinct color palette that Stephanie described as "kind of bold, kind of candy-colored and a lot of pastels as well." She developed it organically by simply picking and choosing colors that she found aesthetically pleasing, then using color theory to bring in additional complementary colors.


The surreal side of Stephanie's work is often inspired by looking at photography and old botanical illustrations. "I just love looking at intricate, old, decorative stuff. It doesn't matter what it is. It could be textiles, it could be objects, it could be illustrations, but I love looking at that kind of stuff as an inspiration." Sometimes, Stephanie is inspired by family memories. Her print Childhood Fruit and Spices recalls familiar foods from her upbringing, like papaya and breadfruit. "My mom is West Indian and that was the kind of food we grew up eating and cooking," she said. Stephanie also enjoys portraiture. "I think it's quite fun when you study a person for so long. It's kind of weird when you break the pieces of their face down into certain angles or shapes. I think that's pretty interesting to do."


As her style developed, Stephanie also began to establish a working routine. When she is not making personal work, she works full-time as a freelance artist. "I'll do sketches first, to either get those approved or do revisions, and then move onto the final, which will be me working traditionally making the lines by hand and then scanning into the computer and then coloring with Photoshop," she said. "Usually I'll wake up maybe around 10 or so. I'll have a cup of coffee and just think for a bit, kind of get my mind clear." From there Stephanie usually works in one of Stockholm's cafés or the library before coming home to make dinner.

She decided to move to the city after visiting a couple of times. Stephanie realized that she really liked Sweden, and she had been feeling stuck in a rut at home in Toronto. "I kind of decided I liked the feel of the country, so I came back to Stockholm," she said, explaining that it was a simple process to obtain a working holiday visa in Scandinavia. "It's really great, I wish I could stay here. It's just a really beautiful city. It's really inspiring because everything is so well-designed and it's near the water and there's a lot of nature around and the buildings are just beautiful."


The move has helped Stephanie grow both personally and professionally. Before moving to Sweden, Stephanie made art on a part-time basis while working her day job in a library in Toronto. "I basically quit my job and moved here [to Stockholm] and I didn't think that I was going to be able to work full-time freelance as an illustrator, so that was kind of a surprise for me." She quickly developed the business skills needed for freelancing. "Working as a professional artist, you have to do all these different things that you wouldn't think of," she said, from invoicing clients to generating self-promotion. Being your own boss can be both a blessing and a curse because of the immense responsibility involved, she said. All of the effort is well worth it, though. She said that the best part of working full-time as an artist is "doing what you love to do and also being able to make your own schedule."

Print services like INPRNT can be a big help. Stephanie originally experimented with printmaking, but found that she did not enjoy doing it herself. "I tried to make prints on my own very briefly when I just got out of school and I really hated the whole process with it, and just the fact that there was a service that I could use that had good quality prints and did all the stuff for me was amazing. When I saw the prints for the first time I was really impressed with how well the color was matched."


Culturally, Stephanie has not found Sweden to be drastically different from her native Canada, and since nearly everyone speaks English there is almost no language barrier. Geographically, she appreciates how compact and well-designed Stockholm is compared to Toronto. Even living in the outskirts of Stockholm, it only takes up to twenty minutes to get anywhere she wants to go. She acknowledged her favorite things about each city, saying, "I think the best thing about Toronto is how diverse it is, how multicultural... and then Stockholm, I would say I think it's just a very visually inspiring city." Stephanie plans to put that inspiration to use in the future by collaborating with a friend on a series of Stockholm-themed patterns.

She met with our photographer at Monteliusvägen, a scenic path with extraordinary views. "Someone brought me there the first time I went to Stockholm and I thought it was so beautiful," she said. Stephanie appreciates how much other people enjoy the city's beauty, too. "I love the fact that when there is even a speck of sunshine, everyone is outside just hanging out in the park."

Photography by Ashley Heafy

Stephanie credits her family with encouraging her to pursue art. Her mother was an accountant and her father worked in IT, but they consistently supported their children in creative pursuits. "They've always been really big on supporting me through that and I think that's really helped me. I know I'm very lucky for that, because a lot of people don't have that kind of support," she acknowledged. Stephanie's sister works in film and video, and she has been living in Berlin during Stephanie's time in Stockholm. They even left Toronto on the same day. "It's been pretty amazing," said Stephanie. "I think this year has probably been one of the best in my life."

 

Art Prints Benefiting Disaster Relief


Artists like Barnaby Ward, Emily Lubanko, Tom Froese and more are raising money for disaster relief benefiting those affected by the recent hurricanes and earthquakes. INPRNT's charity donation program is proud to offer a 10% match to verified nonprofit organizations receiving print proceeds. Barnaby's print, Queen of Legs, is a bright reflection of his home in Barbados. Much of the relief work taking place in the Caribbean is based out of this island, and the proceeds from his print will go directly to local organizations and efforts.

Artist Spotlight: Dmitry Samarov

Photo by Paul Germanos, courtesy of Dmitry Samarov

Dmitry Samarov's artwork often intersects with creative worlds from music to literature, whether he is sketching a live band or writing stories to go with his paintings and drawings. Most of all, his artwork reflects real life. Using traditional mediums from the driver’s seat of his taxi cab or inside familiar haunts like his favorite bars and coffee shops, Dmitry’s work offers personal insight into his life in Chicago.

He has called the city home for decades, its unique landscape and culture shaping his artwork along the way. For many years Dmitry spent up to sixteen hours a day behind the wheel of his Chicago cab, becoming intimately acquainted with the urban environment and its inhabitants. His artwork usually comes together on the fly, capturing the essence of specific people, places and moments in time.

His preference is to draw and paint from life, enjoying the challenges of shifting light in the environment and human subjects who constantly change and move. “Everything moves and everything changes all the time,” he said. “My job in the world is to watch and listen." He sees the artist as an observer, a role that feels comfortable and familiar after becoming a taxi driver to make money while pursuing his art. With his face turned away from his passengers, Dmitry felt himself becoming invisible, "a part of the furniture.” He discovered that when people were in his cab, many of them felt free to engage in unfiltered speech or behavior as if he wasn't there. Sometimes his art seems equally straightforward in the way he expresses every last detail, even painting a single, brightly-colored fast food sign far off in the distance of an otherwise-idyllic Chicago night scene.


The city serves as a favorite subject and muse for Dmitry, as well as his home. “I’ve lived in cities all my life,” he said, “so it’s really the only thing I truly understand or love.” These days Dmitry lives in the Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago, which he describes as ever-changing and vibrant, with a diverse population of all ages. From his home in Bridgeport, Dmitry is steps away from his favorite coffee shop and the bar where he now works. He usually doesn’t need to walk more than a couple of blocks to get to where he wants to go, but even with a short commute he continues to find the city as compelling as ever. “It never ceases to show a new thing to me,” he said. “Almost every day I find something new here.”


Along with making the city a theme, part of Dmitry’s signature style comes from his color palette. When he attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the 1990s, Dmitry started to use a simplified palette of only primary colors along with black and white. It's a practice he continues to this day. He thinks of the six colors he uses--red, yellow, black, white and two shades of blue--like the six strings on a guitar. Just as a guitarist writes a song using only six strings, Dmitry relies on his palette of six colors. It brings cohesiveness to his work, yet he is able to mix any color he wants. The result is distinctive and uniquely his own.

Dmitry’s work is exhibited in venues across Chicago. One recent show took place at Hume Gallery featuring his paintings of the three local bars he knows best: Rainbo Club, Skylark and Bernice’s Tavern. Chicago is rich with creative and artistic events like these, and Dmitry attends them frequently. He enjoys listening to live music, often painting or drawing the band on the spot. He also attends readings and other literary events, a fitting activity for an artist who is an accomplished writer as well. Dmitry is a contributor to Chicago’s alternative newspaper, the Chicago Reader, covering art shows, theater and cinema. He is also the author of two books, Hack: Stories from a Chicago Cab and Where To?: A Hack Memoir.


His books are non-fiction based on his own experiences, often the same ones he encapsulates in his paintings and drawings. “I never took a writing class or had any ambitions for writing until I started driving a cab. What happened was people would just get in and launch into their stories or do something weird, and it would just keep gnawing at me," he explained. "I had to start writing it down.” His artwork illustrates the text of his books. From the story of his bumbling first fare when a disgruntled passenger had to give Dmitry directions to the airport, to late-night noir courtesy of drunken revelers spilling out of the bars as they closed, his stories and pictures are inseparable parts of the whole. Dmitry has pushed the boundaries of his work even further by incorporating his writing into music and video. He recorded a spoken word album of his stories over an improvised musical track featuring guitar, drums and bass. In a series of videos, he narrates as he paints or draws the subject matter at hand, the artwork seeming to pour out from him in an effortless way.

The road to book authorship seemed almost as easy as sketching a scene. A major publisher found Dmitry’s blog and Twitter account, where he frequently posted his art and observations, and saw the potential for a book. They approached him with the idea, and after two years of editing, Dmitry's first book was published. But these days he no longer uses any form of social media. Instead he prefers to work on his own expansive website and publish a weekly newsletter.


He also turned in his smartphone and exchanged it for a simple flip phone. “I love leaving the house and not having the internet following me around,” Dmitry said. “It’s like waking from a dream; it’s like here’s this whole world that I don’t have to filter through a tiny screen in my hand.” Dmitry would rather carry a sketchbook instead. “I always have a sketchbook, I feel naked without one. I don’t go anywhere without my sketchbook, so at any given moment I can draw something," he said.

Having a range of tools and supplies to work with also enhances Dmitry’s artistic output. He finds that switching mediums helps him when he needs inspiration. “That almost always works for me," he said, "because it just scratches a different kind of itch, it gets you out of whatever rut you’re in.” He thinks that a lot of his work does not meet his own standards, but by producing a large volume he ends up with a few favorite pieces that he likes. He has been selling prints of select works on INPRNT since 2013 and said it has worked out really well for him.

“Being an artist is just a nonstop hustle,” said Dmitry. “I have to make my living from a million different sources all the time.” That hustle has inspired much of his work, sketching from inside his cab or observing customers while tending bar. He has made his mark by sharing those experiences with the world as an author and artist.

Art Featuring City Life From Around the World

Filled with unique places and interesting people, city life is vibrant and fast-paced. These prints are all about the urban lifestyle with its awe-inspiring architecture and endless possibilities for adventure. They feature famous cities from around the world from New York City to Tokyo. Whether you already live in a big city, or perhaps you’re dreaming about moving to a special place that has captured your heart, these fine art prints will bring the city to you wherever you are!


Transportation in NYC by Rebecca Mock


Lisbon by Sam Bosma


night market by F Choo


ARTCRANK Poster by Meredith Miotke


West Village New York City by Remko Gap Heemskerk


Omoide Yokocho by Kali Ciesemier

Artist Spotlight: Alice Yang

Alice Yang


Although Alice Yang did not always know she would become an artist, she had always loved to draw. “I wanted to go to art school,” she said. “My parents wanted me to consider something more practical.” Alice found a balance by attending the University of Pennsylvania, where she earned her BSE degree in Digital Media Design. The major combined computer graphics coursework with fine arts classes through UPenn's art and design program.

Fresh out of college, Alice took a job as a software engineer at Electronic Arts in San Francisco. Continuing to draw in her free time as a hobby, she decided to try design work as a bridge between software engineering and illustrating. Alice started working as a freelancer for a start-up, which led to a full-time position as a product designer. Eventually, she realized she wanted to focus completely on her art.


She began taking classes at the Animation Collaborative, where she was taught by working Pixar artists. One lesson led to a breakthrough that changed the way Alice understood her work. “When you design a character, what makes it appealing isn’t how pretty or attractive it looks. It’s how it makes you feel,” Alice said. “I was very preoccupied with the notion that art has to look good, that characters have to look pretty. It was kind of a limiting perspective. Once I took to heart the idea that it’s not how things look, it’s how they make you feel, I feel like my work kind of took off, it became a lot more free.”

Street Cat by Alice Yang via INPRNT


That’s when Alice created a piece called Street Cat. “This was the start of my style,” she said. “It seemed like it resonated with a lot of other people as well.” Encouraged by the response, Alice decided to offer the work as a print on INPRNT. "When I looked into it a little bit more, INPRNT was what the more professional artists chose as their print on-demand service. INPRNT had the best rate split,” Alice said. Around this time she was accepted to an art mentorship program where she worked with fellow INPRNT artist Meg Hunt. As the program wrapped up, Alice met a recruiter from Uber who was looking for illustrators to expand the company’s branding. Alice got the job and has been on staff at Uber as an illustrator since last year.

At Uber, Alice works as part of a three-woman team comprised of herself, a senior illustrator and a producer. “We kind of function as an agency within the larger company,” she explained. Other teams at the company come to them for a wide range of illustration projects. The producer schedules and prioritizes them, and the illustrators tackle them one by one. “The nice thing about working in this kind of format is the variety of projects we get,” Alice said. “More recently I’ve been working on Snapchat filters for Uber where when you’re on a ride, if you look into the app you’ll be able to unlock specific filters that are only available while you are on a ride.” The filters reflect everything from the Uber brand to holidays and sports events.

Alice Yang


Alice has found her background as a software engineer helpful as an artist in the field of technology. “One thing about computer science is that it forces you to break down problems into more atomic units, to solve them from the ground up, methodically,” she said. “I carried that over to how I approach illustration projects. I do illustration, but in the tech industry. I knew what mattered to project managers during interviews; my portfolio included artwork and data.” Alice has also been inspired by the blending of tech and creativity at events like Adobe MAX, which she attended as the guest of an Adobe Creative Resident. “There were a lot of lectures on different Adobe products and they featured a lot of software that was still kind of in development or cutting edge, so it was very exciting to see all the possible things we would be able to do in the near future.”

Technology also helps Alice connect with other artists. “One thing that I missed from not going to art school is the sense of camaraderie with your fellow students, like you all struggle, you all pull all-nighters, you all watch each other develop and grow artistically. Having that community online offers kind of a similar experience where you can see each other improve and cheer each other on, and it has definitely given me a lot more motivation to work on my own craft.” Alice’s friends organize events like art swaps, where groups of artists exchange artwork and other goodies in themed care packages. “Even if you’re not that entrenched in your local art scene, Twitter enables you to reach out and be connected to peers and other artists,” Alice shared. “It’s given me a sense of belonging when I, at one point, found that kind of lacking being in tech.”

Alice Yang


Today, Alice works on personal projects to continue learning and growing as an illustrator. “For a long time I had been drawing whatever came to mind,” Alice said. “Even though I was outputting a fair amount, I wasn’t really improving. I wasn’t taking the time to examine the areas I was lacking in and working on that. Once I started being more critical of my own work and started trying to get better at specific areas at a time, my style started to develop, my quality of work started to improve.” This summer, Alice will work with other artists to mutually sharpen their skills when she participates in Light Grey Art Lab’s Iceland art residency. “It’s going to be a week-long trip where we travel with several other working professionals in different fields of art, and the goal is to spend a week appreciating the beauty that is Iceland and exchanging life experiences and holding workshops on areas that we’re interested and proficient in.”


Alice Yang


After the trip she’ll return home to her San Francisco studio, which is decorated with potted plants and colorful books and toys. Much of her space features artwork by friends and fellow artists, including a painting of Alice’s cats which she received as part of an online art exchange. The two cats, named Mochi and Marshmallow, are ever-present in her studio and they inspire much of her work. “One thing that I’ve started to learn over the years is if you really love something, and you keep drawing that subject, it shows in your art and it sets you apart," she said, recalling a poem by Rupi Kaur that urges artists to keep their work honest.


These days, Alice’s work is more authentic than ever. “There was a period of time where I wanted to draw things that I thought other people would like, kind of like chasing trends or seeing what’s popular and trying to draw that,” she said, "but in more recent years I really internalized the idea that everyone views the world through the lens of their own experiences, so as an artist, the work that you create should reflect that.”

Alice YangPhotography by Ashley Heafy

By Artists, For Artists

Since our founding in 2006, INPRNT has worked to help artists spend more time doing what they love by producing the highest quality art prints from start to finish. Created by artists for artists, we meet the needs of creative professionals and their customers. INPRNT operates our own print shop in Orlando, handling every aspect of the printing and order fulfillment process with a meticulous attention to detail. The art prints you buy from our marketplace are made with archival paper and ink, which means they’d be at home in any gallery and are made to last a lifetime!


hallucinations, of anger and violence. by Anna Pan


Autumn Forest by C A-F


Mistaken Identity by Ken Wong


Support Living Artists by Samantha Mash

Artist Spotlight: Tristan Henry-Wilson

Tristan Henry-Wilson


Tristan Henry-Wilson grew up in Nashua, New Hampshire, where as a child he gravitated toward many of the same things other young boys love: comic books and cartoons. Along the way he decided to become a professional artist, transforming his passions for painting, design and animation into a successful career. In high school Tristan realized that while he loved drawing and art, he was not yet the skilled artist we know today. Instead of being discouraged, he doubled down.


“I wasn’t really that good at art. I didn’t really stand out at it,” Tristan said. That realization only made him work harder. “That’s when I started taking private art lessons and becoming obsessed with it. I was introduced to oil painting and decided at that early age that this is something that I wanted to be really good at.”


Tristan Henry-Wilson's Studio


His self-described obsession with art led him to apply to Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida, but he ended up going to the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia because it was more affordable. His dream at the time was to become an animator for Disney, but reality would soon get in the way. “I’m from a very lower income family. Both of my parents are Jamaican and I’m first-generation,” said Tristan. “I didn’t have an understanding of money.”


It turned out that Tristan didn’t feel a strong connection to SCAD, so he transferred to Ringling. “My whole mentality as an artist is to be better than everyone else. I wanted a painful experience. I wanted everyone to be obsessed with art.” At Ringling he studied illustration, deciding to become adept at the technical aspects of draftsmanship so that he could later teach himself 3D and animation. Like many in his generation, Tristan graduated from college with a lot of debt and no clear path forward. After college, Tristan bounced around a lot of low-wage jobs in Florida and New York City while struggling to find a way to turn his talents into a career in the arts.


Tristan Henry-Wilson


“The story of my life has pretty much been looking around seeing how other people are doing it and imitating it on the fly,” Tristan said. “I started landing freelance graphic design jobs. I realized that if you act as if you’re something then you become that something.” This strategy worked and Tristan won a design job at Godiva Chocolatier. Within five years he had gone from a junior designer to an art director at the company. Always looking for a new challenge, Tristan decided to make the jump to an advertising agency where he could work with more creatives.


At that time, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge had recently gone viral and was making the rounds online. Tristan loved the concept behind the videos and decided to participate. Wanting his video to stand out, he used the challenge as an opportunity to learn something new. So he taught himself video editing and motion graphics software like Adobe After Effects and Premiere. “I learned more about motion design and motion graphics and quickly became obsessed,” Tristan said. “I essentially became an animator within a year. I found a way to take my passion for design and make it move.”


People are often surprised when they hear that Tristan started with oil painting and illustration, then taught himself all the digital tools he needs to be a graphic designer and animator. “I show people my work and they wonder, you’ve been doing this for how long?” Tristan said. “Draftsmanship is so hard and requires so much discipline that it helps you pick up anything else. It can’t be harder than drawing. We’re so lucky to have so many resources available for free or next to free. The only thing stopping you is your own sweat equity.”


Tristan Henry-Wilson's 3D Art


But Tristan’s shift to digital hasn’t stopped him from working in oil paints. He’s currently creating a series called Nebula Dresses that combines his love of painting with his interest in the cosmos. “It marries my love of painting with this newfound obsession with space. I just wanted to paint this series,” Tristan said. “It’s a reset button on everything I’ve ever done to make this short body of work. In the last year as I’ve become obsessed with animation, I look at painting less as filling that artistic part of my soul. If something doesn’t move, I just want to make it move. I want to create an animation for the paintings, to bring them to life.”


Tristan hasn’t released the Nebula Dresses series for sale as prints yet, but when he does, they’ll be on INPRNT. Tristan has known INPRNT’s founder, Joshua Zika, since they both attended Ringling. They each had a different focus in school but respected each other’s creativity and feedback, staying in touch after leaving Sarasota. “After I moved away, Josh would always comment on my work, giving positive feedback or critiques,” Tristan said. For awhile, Tristan left oil painting behind to focus on working digitally. When Tristan returned to the traditional medium for a new piece, Joshua encouraged him to keep going. “He was like, this is what you should be doing. Then I did it and that was it. I hadn’t worked digitally for another 10 years. So when he started INPRNT, I will never even consider running prints from anything else for any reason.”


Tristan Henry-Wilson's Paintings


In addition to his interest in space, Tristan is inspired by the natural world here on earth. He now lives in New Jersey with his wife and daughter, where he has come to appreciate the state's beauty. “It’s not uncommon to see bald eagles outside in my backyard, or bears and deer,” Tristan said. “Those are things that I find really inspiring. Being alone with nature is an opportunity I get to have.”


But Tristan is also inspired by a darker force. “What pushes me the most is that a couple of years ago, I had an existential crisis,” Tristan said. “I gave up a lot of the belief systems from my upbringing and gained an appreciation for the finality of life. You only have so much time to get things done that you want to get done. If they were important to you, you need to do them now.”



To that end, Tristan can’t remember the last time he was creatively stuck. He’s always working on building his skill set or painting a new project. It’s what keeps him sharp and creatively engaged. “When it comes to painting, all art really, you do it and you keep doing it and you like what you’re doing because you’ve put your hand down and come up with something that at least some of the time pleases you,” Tristan said. “You gradually get better by just doing what you like doing every day. Practice becomes effortless. That’s why artists are so talented. They like practicing.”


Tristan Henry-Wilson's AnimationPhotos and images courtesy of Tristan Henry-Wilson


And while that can be enjoyable, it’s when things get hard that you really grow as an artist and person. “This is something that I want my daughter to learn: embrace the frustration,” Tristan said. “I enjoy the frustration. If I’m frustrated working on something, I love it. I know that I’m going to come out learning something at the end. It feels better when you get that payoff. It makes you want to try that much harder and figure out how to do it. It prevents you from backing off and closing doors that you just wouldn’t have gone down. And it’s applicable to other areas of your life.”

Environmentalist Art to Commemorate Earth Day

On Earth Day, we celebrate our planet’s beauty and acknowledge the challenges we face protecting our home for the future. It’s a great day to research ways you can make a difference, from reducing, reusing and recycling to going vegan for the animals, people and planet! We’re all in this together, and each of us is a powerful force for positive change. Whether you share it on social media or hang it up on your wall, environmentalist art is an enduring reminder to go green and save the world.


Peace Naturalis by Fil Gouvea


NATURE by Gloria Sánchez


all you need by Maxim G


na zawsze być by Karolina Trojka


Gaia by Lenita Pepa


Violet frog on the light background by Inga Girvica

Fresh Art for Spring

Fresh florals and dreamy colors pave the way for springtime in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s a time of growth and renewal: the perfect time to expand your art collection, nurture your creative side and liven up your decor with uplifting works of art! Using media ranging from photography to colored pencils, these six artists capture the feeling of spring in their depictions of flowers and other natural beauty.


Spring by Tóth Zoltán


Spring Girl by Morgan Davidson


Flowers...For Spring by Alyssa Creagh


Spring Awakening by Hannah Maria


Naptime & Calm by Natalia Data


Flora by Maria Poliakova

Artist Spotlight: Megan Kott and Justin DeVine

Photo by Amber Renee, courtesy of Megan Kott


Work and life blend together as seamlessly as the watercolor paintings of husband-and-wife illustrators Justin DeVine and Megan Kott. They often parlay their shared interests, including painting and animals, into artistic collaborations. After falling in love while founding a popular Drink and Draw together, they've continued producing new creative projects and events as a married couple.


The pair met several years ago working in California’s Bay Area as graphic artists painting signs for Whole Foods. They were part of a team that traveled to help open new stores with colorful artwork and signage, and it was during one of these trips that their relationship—and artistic collaboration—took off. “We were talking about a Drink and Draw in Austin,” Justin said. They both thought that “would be a cool thing for us to do. [A few weeks later we] met up in a funky little bar in Oakland to drink some drinks and draw some stuff. At first a few friends would come. When we left the city last year, we had 50 people coming a week.”



Creating Oakland’s largest Drink and Draw is just one of the ways Megan and Justin have found to share their passion for art over the years. “That’s where we really built up our creative community and fell in love,” Justin said. “Probably the strongest example of work that we have done literally together is Chimera.” For this project, which you can view in Megan and Justin's INPRNT shops, one artist painted the head of an animal and the other painted the body of a different animal. It led to some mesmerizing combinations, like a praying mantis head on a fox’s body or the head of a goat on the body of a duck.



Megan and Justin have also collaborated on producing and curating art shows. “The biggest project we undertook was a David Bowie tribute show,” Megan said. “It started as a life celebration show tied to his album release on his birthday.” But while they were in the process of securing a venue, Bowie passed away. The show went on with 20 different artists participating, 400 people attending, and an all-female David Bowie cover band playing tunes all night.


Although Megan and Justin were part of a flourishing creative community in Oakland, the rising housing costs and long commutes there ultimately led them to Megan’s native Michigan. They now live in Detroit’s vibrant Corktown neighborhood. It's a historic residential area established in the 1800s that's famous for its colorful Victorian homes and annual St. Patrick's Day parade.


“We lived in a small apartment [in Oakland] and couldn’t afford a studio on top of that,” Megan said. “It was hard because we wanted more space. So we decided to try Detroit for a couple of years and it’s been a really good landing pad. We have a studio and we have a painting area in the basement, too.”


This studio is where Megan and Justin now work. Megan has done a lot in the area of children’s textiles and graphics, and she has two new projects coming out this fall from Chronicle Books. Previously, she partnered with the same publisher to create a collection of temporary "cattoos" featuring her signature humorous cat paintings.



“I also run my side gig of doing pet portraits and cat drawings. That’s been my big thing,” Megan said. “The cat thing, that’s just been the most successful. It’s so much of the zeitgeist right now. I really would just be happy if I could paint animals for the rest of my life.” Megan's custom pet portraits range from simple busts to complex renderings of elaborate fantasy worlds where companion animals can surf waves or explore outer space.


 


Megan KottPants! by Megan Kott


Megan primarily works in watercolors after having been introduced to them as a child by her aunt, a prolific watercolorist herself. “When I was seven or eight, we had a family reunion and I had the chickenpox,” Megan said. “She stayed at home with me and taught me really rudimentary watercolor techniques. I went to art school hoping to study that more, but was told that watercolor isn’t a serious painting medium. So I dropped it for a good ten years. I picked it up again around the time that we started Drink and Draw.”


Justin always liked to draw as a kid and studied painting in college. Prior to leaving Oakland for Detroit, Justin was working full-time as an illustrator at Amy’s Kitchen. He has kept them as a client and does work for them most weeks, along with his other clients in industries ranging from retail to arts and entertainment. On the side, Justin likes to stay fresh with daily drawing challenges. He primarily does pen and ink drawings that he colors digitally or with watercolors. Like his wife, Justin often makes animals his subjects, more often focusing on wild animals. In some of his other work, he invents parodic mash-ups and re-interpretations based in pop culture.


“I’ll do sort of regular projects to keep my hands busy,” Justin said. “For two years in a row in September or August I did 31 fictional characters in a row. On days when I don’t have commissioned work, I’ve been really enjoying going through some of my old sketches and figuring out which of those I can develop further.”


Justin DeVineBirds by Justin DeVine


Megan and Justin are both established in their artistic careers today, but they still remember what it was like when they were just starting out. To anyone in that stage, Megan has some advice. “There’s room for everyone. People get worried about not doing something that’s already been done before. No one is going to have your take on it. It’s going to be completely individual coming from you. I’m big on helping people and not keeping art secrets.”


Justin echoes that sentiment, addressing a concern that is common among beginner artists. “It’s important not to compare yourself to other people’s skill levels. There are lots of people who look at people who are incredibly talented and think, ‘I won’t be able to do it like that, so it’s like why bother to do it at all.’ That’s counterproductive and hurts all of us creative types.”


One of the ways Megan and Justin spread the word about their art is by attending conventions; they’ll be at a different event every month for the rest of the year. It’s all this convention-going that got them started with INPRNT, where the couple has been selling work since 2013. “We wanted something where we could buy our own prints,” Megan said. “It’s a really great resource for artists to bring nice prints to conventions. It’s the best quality, least expensive option. I recommend it to people.” Justin agreed and said, “Before when I would pay to have my own prints, I could never afford nice prints and the qualities would vary wildly. The first time I tried INPRNT I thought the quality is so great and it’s so consistently great.”


Their most recent convention was Cat Camp NYC, where Megan displayed her cat-themed wares including prints, pins, and pillows. Next month, their itinerary includes events in Chicago, Los Angeles and Cincinnati. For this artistic couple, part of their relationship is being creative and collaborative, often inspired by their love for animals. When they're not attending conventions, they will continue their work together under the watchful eyes of their three cats: Griffin, Thessaly and Davos.

Artist Spotlight: Lily Padula of Artists for the People

Lily PadullaPhoto by Steve Shilling, courtesy of Lily Padula


Like most kids, Lily Padula loved to draw. She spent her childhood growing up in a beach town outside of New York City where she excelled in school and imagined she’d take a pretty traditional career path. Then an art teacher encouraged her to pursue art professionally. Her parents were also very supportive of the idea, so Lily went to the School of Visual Arts in New York City to pursue a degree in illustration. One sought-after career path when she was starting out was being an editorial illustrator for newspapers or magazines. But shrinking budgets at many of these organizations have led to staff cuts in those positions. Lily didn’t let that discourage her. Instead of trying to land a staff job, she went the freelance route.


“To be a freelancer, to be an illustrator, you have to be multi-faceted and wear a bunch of hats,” Lily said. These days Lily does a lot of editorial work for major newspapers like The New York Times and The Boston Globe. But she also works online in the world of native advertising and sponsored posts. Lily has a diverse client roster, which includes companies like Universal Pictures, Spotify and Converse. She encourages young artists to carve out their own careers. This could mean drawing comics or zines, as Lily and many of her friends do either for clients or themselves. “Find what makes you happy drawing-wise,” Lily said. “More likely than not there’s a way to make money at it.”


Other


Lily knows this firsthand. She said that in college she wasn’t the best draftsperson, but over time it became clear to her that you don’t have to draw a human figure perfectly to be a successful illustrator. It’s more important to be able to work with color and have good composition. Lily positions herself as an ideas-oriented artist. That helps a lot when she’s working with clients. When Lily starts on a project she comes up with word lists and associations for the idea she’s trying to convey in the image. Then she creates lots of small thumbnails to nail down the major elements of the composition and takes it to the sketch phase. She used to do this with paper and ink, but now Lily does all of her work digitally.


“I tend to take more time in the sketch phase in client work and less in personal work,” Lily said, “My personal work tends not to be so much about quickly communicating a specific idea. It tends to be more about mood and narrative. I’m trying to figure out a way to do that more in my professional work.” Lily’s professional and personal work have different styles, which is important to her. In her client projects, she tends to use brighter colors and more complex compositions, while her personal art focuses more on darker, more eerie themes, like a zine she did about UFOs and the paranormal.Pursuing her own work on the side is critical for Lily. “It’s really important to help your professional work grow," she explained. "You have to keep yourself interested.”


Phenomena by Lily Padula


Like many freelance artists, Lily works out of her home, which is in Brooklyn. She lives with her boyfriend, who is also an illustrator. Lily finds both support and inspiration in the New York City artist community. “A good portion of my friends are illustrators and we refer each other for jobs,” Lily said. “I go to them with struggles, to get some extra eyes on [my work]. In general there’s a lot of other illustrators here and it’s inspiring to be around that energy.”


Illustration tends to go through trends and styles that go in and out of popularity. So while Lily does draw inspiration from her fellow contemporary artists, she also looks to other time periods and mediums to get the creativity flowing. “The museums here are incredible,” Lily said of living in New York. “You can go to the Met for free and look at beautiful paintings to get inspired.” Even when inspiration isn’t at hand, though, sometimes you just have to keep going. “There’s a myth going around that you can only work when you’re feeling inspired,” Lily said. “But you just have to power through no matter what and keep making work.”


Sometimes creative hurdles need a little more breathing room. Then it’s time to walk away for a bit to let the project breathe. “Being in nature is helpful, if you’re feeling overwhelmed,” Lily said. “My parents live in a small town near the city. I go out there and clear my head, to get away from the usual grind.” It also helps to have hobbies outside of making art. When the weather is nice, Lily enjoys walking and riding her bike around Brooklyn. She also loves cooking and reading science fiction, dystopian and true crime books, and recently finished The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. Travel is also important to her, whether she’s jetting off to London, Los Angeles or Toronto for work or play. And when Lily is really stuck, she relies on some advice she received in college. Someone told her to “make lists of things you like to draw. Go to that and make some doodles. You’ll have an ever-expanding vocabulary of things you can draw.”


This helps a lot when Lily is between projects; a freelance career comes with a lot of work that has nothing to do with making art. “The running the business aspect of it, doing promotion, being productive. It’s striking a balancing act between creating and managing,” said Lily. “You gotta keep at it and not be discouraged by the nature of freelancing.” This is what attracted Lily to INPRNT, where she’s been selling art prints since 2013.


Rungs by Alice Rutherford and Rise and Resist by Charis Loke


“I had seen other illustrators and artists selling prints there,” Lily said. “For a while I was trying to make and ship prints myself, but it was a huge time-suck for not that much money.” Lily also appreciated that INPRNT was curated, leading to a higher level of work across the site. “It also had a better rate between artist and supplier. I was impressed with the printing and how easy it is. It’s totally worth the fee that they take.” Being a part of the INPRNT artist community helped inspire Lily to create Artists for the People, a community of artists selling affordable prints to raise money for organizations doing important work in the US. Each month, a new group is chosen to receive all of the profits from the prints sold through Artists for the People, plus a 10% match through INPRNT's charity donation program.



“I was horrified on Election Day. I woke up feeling sick and wondering, what can I do? I’ve been using INPRNT for awhile for my own personal shop, so I’m going to contact them and see if I can get people together to raise money this way,” said Lily. Artists for the People has already had a great response from artists who want to contribute their work to raise money for important causes, listing dozens of prints for sale in a variety of styles and themes. Some of the prints are political, but many are not. All of the prints will help the work of groups like the ACLU, which was the project's first beneficiary. “Art can have an impact on the world,” said Lily, “and I wanted to help raise some money and stand up for what I believe in.”

What We're Loving Lately

What We're Loving Lately

With a diverse community of artists producing art in a variety of styles, themes and subjects, there’s truly something for everyone available on INPRNT. This week we're featuring a few of our favorite prints by Annie Wu, Ashley Mackenzie, Huebucket and Aster Hung. Click through and discover thousands of new artists by browsing the site. We promise you'll find something you love! Every shop owner on INPRNT was selected for membership by our community of artists. Having a curated gallery empowers our members and makes our print collection totally unique!

Experiment: Mermaid





Fall In Love With Autumn Art

There’s a chill in the air here at INPRNT, so we’ve gathered up some of our favorite autumn artwork for you to fall in love with. Celebrate the changing seasons with images as beautiful as the changing leaves. You’ll still be enjoying these timelessly beautiful prints in the months and years to come. If it’s fall where you are too, we hope you stay cozy and warm as the days slip into winter.

Little Autumn

Autumn Forest

The Perfect Mirror

Vintage Cameras

Autumn

Birches

Artist Spotlight: Jimmy Bryant of Atomic Child

Jimmy Bryant


There’s a seemingly endless supply of inspiration for artists online, whether it’s on Instagram or Tumblr, or even through podcasts. But all that browsing can have a negative effect too, especially for young artists looking to find their footing in a competitive, creative space. “The hardest thing when you’re just beginning is that it’s not going to happen right away,” said Jimmy Bryant. “Being creative is a struggle, that’s part of what makes you a good creative. The biggest thing is you’ve got to work really hard. It’s going to take a while and as long as you’re putting in the work, it’s going to work out.” Jimmy, a member of the INPRNT artist community, has spent the last several years working as an art director at AMB3R, a Denver apparel company. Jimmy also does personal and freelance design work under the name Atomic Child, which he’s used since 2007 after being inspired by Keith Haring’s iconic work Radiant Child. Growing up in Sturgis, South Dakota, Jimmy loved drawing and was encouraged both at school and at home to pursue his dreams of becoming a professional artist. He devoured comic books and after high school, Jimmy moved to Denver to study illustration at the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design. He used his degree to do freelance illustration work for nearly a decade while holding down a “regular job.”


Jimmy Bryant


“I turned 29 and thought, what am I doing with my life?” Jimmy said. “I’m not going to be 30 and not doing what I love.” So Jimmy quit his job and started freelancing full time, focusing his work mostly on music merchandise, like T-shirts and hats. At the time, Jimmy’s style featured a lot of gore and monsters, which were popular in the mid- to late 2000s. “T-shirts and music merchandise are based off trends,” Jimmy said. “Now it’s evolved into one-color, simple, clean designs. You’re only going to get paid for what you get approved. So I slowly moved my art toward that direction.” Today Jimmy’s art has a more graphic look with simple shapes and colors that evoke stained glass. Living in Colorado Jimmy is inspired by the outdoors and adventure, themes that occur often in his work.


Jimmy Bryant


“When I get to do my own thing, I like to draw nature or do graphics from nature,” Jimmy said. “I really love the beach. I’ve always been drawn to that, since I grew up in the middle of the US with no beach.” Jimmy doesn’t have easy access to a beach in Denver either, so he heads up to the nearby Rocky Mountains instead to go camping. “I love getting out of the city, hopefully somewhere where cell phone service is a little rough,” Jimmy said. And while he still finds inspiration in nature, Jimmy’s work continues to evolve. “Recently, I really love to draw food. It’s my new thing, doing detailed illustrations of food.” That’s all part of a challenge he set for himself this year: to grow his Instagram account. Jimmy spends most of his days at AMB3R, where he parlayed his experience designing T-shirts into a job as an art director a few years ago. Then he comes home from work to pursue his freelance career, which he’s recently put more of a focus on. “I still really want to work for myself,” Jimmy said. “I want to be my own boss, to be in control of my own freedom.”



After he’s met any pending deadlines, Jimmy puts on one his favorite podcasts, like Adventures in Design, and spends a few hours working on his personal projects. He’s set a goal to create one new piece of art every day this year. To do that, Jimmy created a system that allows him to find simple shapes and apply different landscapes to them. “I just like to open that new file in Photoshop and just create from there,” Jimmy said of his process for creating personal work. “I find some color palette inspirations and create without a sketch.” Jimmy’s years of work as a freelancer and art director, and time spent creating his own work have paid off. He now has freelance clients that range from professional sports teams like the Orlando City Soccer Club to musicians like The Grateful Dead. Even though Jimmy has found success, he hasn’t lost the excitement that made him want to become a professional artist in the first place. “In the beginning, the most surprising part was that I was actually creating things out of my own mind and people were paying me to create those things,” Jimmy said. “My art actually has value. When those people come to you asking you to work for them you feel like you belong in that system. It’s still kind of surprising to this day. Now it’s just bigger clients, like national sports teams. Now I’m into creating my own products. I put it out there and get orders in and it’s the best thing in the world.”


Jimmy Bryant


But making a living in a creative field hasn’t always been easy. As any freelancer knows, there’s a lot more that goes into having a successful career than just creating your work. “The most challenging part of being a professional artist is realizing that you have to spend a lot of time not doing art,” Jimmy said. “You have to try to be a business person so you can be an artist.” That’s one reason that Jimmy started selling his Atomic Child prints through INPRNT this summer. “I was trying to create different streams of revenue and I really wanted to do prints. Now I have another avenue to sell a different type of product to people who are following. It makes it so much easier.” That’s a very good thing for someone who says his whole life is centered around his art. “I really spend a ton of time creating artwork,” Jimmy said. “It’s my hobby, it’s my passion, it’s my job, I don’t want to do anything else.”


Jimmy BryantPhotography by Ashley Heafy

What’s New in the INPRNT Custom Shop

Oliver Barrett
Here’s some of what we’ve been up to lately in the INPRNT Custom Shop. The third-annual MondoCon just wrapped up in Austin, Texas, and we had a great time preparing these custom prints for exhibitors Oliver Barrett and Scott Campbell.

Scott Campbell
Meanwhile, across the pond: Kevin Wada’s custom prints will appear in Leeds next month for Thought Bubble, the UK’s largest annual comics event, now in its seventh year. All of their work perfectly captures the fun spirit of these gatherings celebrating art, comics, movies and more. Contact us about your next convention or show!

Kevin Wada

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