Today we are featuring Shannon Kirsten: illustrator + Photographer. As an invitation designer myself I have a special interest and am super inspired by other illustrators and designers. I first saw Shannon on a green wedding shoes post & fell in love with her work and then I made my way to her blog which is equally inspiring! I hope everyone enjoys my interview with Shannon! Have a happy Tuesday!!!!
Amber: Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself & your artistic aesthetic?
Shannon: I am a photographer and illustrator born and raised in Florida (on the gulf coast). My degree and background is in fashion. I began my career working in textile then graphic design for a couple large apparel companies. I started to freelance on the side and found that I really loved illustration and using hand painted elements in my designs. Overtime I also started to do more hand lettering and experimenting with other paint mediums like gouache and watercolors. I never thought I would be doing calligraphy but I’ve grown to truly love it. I now focus mainly on painting custom wedding invitations, whimsical art prints, and other little paper goods! When I’m not painting, I’m photographing. Photography has been a lifelong hobby of mine that finally turned into a real business. I have been working on fashion photography projects for a couple of years now. As of last year I also started photographing weddings. In both of my mediums, femininity and nature are a consistent element in which I’m constantly inspired by. I am drawn to pretty and dainty but I love a touch of rustic…things with an edgy, dark side as well.
Give Thanks Print/LOVE Sage Print
Amber: Where do you find inspiration?
Shannon: Always a hard questions for me, I think inspiration is everywhere. You have to choose to not just look at things but truly see them. I keep a notebook with me, sometimes ideas hit me at the strangest times. I love flowers and animals. Growing up by the beach is very inspiring and beautiful. I love all things vintage. I am also very inspired by the online art community, it’s amazing what social media has done for small creative business. I constantly find other artists on Etsy and through blogs that I fall in love with. It’s very inspiring to me to be able to follow along on people’s journey. My three best friends that I grew up with are a fashion designer, a wedding / event stylist, and a graphic / stationery designer…being on this adventure with them, being able to bounce ideas off of each other and be challenges by them is also something that greatly inspires me.
Amber: What’s the most inspirational piece of decor in your studio or art space?
I’m in the process of an exciting studio renovation, but one of my favorites that is going up after the walls are re-painted is a print by Kari Herer
(found on Etsy). She combines illustration and photography in a really beautiful way. I have a lot of my pictures from different travels around the studio, they take me back to some very special times in my life. I recently printed tons of tiny square photos from instagram…I love having those memories of special times and people I love. I also have a gold screen print (also from Etsy) that simply states “hustle”. I keep it in sight as a constant reminder to literally hustle and create the best work that I can each day.
Amber: Do you have a favorite work of art and can you tell us about it?
Shannon: I’m not sure that I have a favorite. Most recently though, I released a couple of photos from a series I’m working on (I attached one for you in case you want to share!) They combine my painting and photography. When I first began I was so torn and overwhelmed by the thought of how will I or do I need to tie these two businesses together. I struggled with it for a long time. As my style evolved and I have begun to find my niche with both illustration and photography, I see them working together a lot better now. So this was very exciting to start a project that will show both sides of me. It showcases my aesthetic very well. I’m my biggest critic so to feel proud of these already is quite exciting.
Amber: What is your dream project?
Shannon: My dream project would be working with free people, anthropologie, BHLDN, Kate Spade, and/or Marc Jacobs. Those are my favorite brands. I would die to shoot or illustrate for any of those companies. I love look books and magazines…it would also be a dream to get hired to shoot and illustrate / design a really cool look book or catalog for a fashion designer!
Amber: Do you have any words of wisdom to those artist pursing their dreams?
Just go for it. The time it takes to dream about something could be invested into starting. It can be very scary to start something new, especially when it involves leaving a stable income and job to freelance or start your own business. Once you start creating and networking it’s like a new world opens up, reach out to people, tell them what you’re doing, ask them for help. More times than not people are so encouraging and helpful. One of the hardest things I had to learn was “the worst people can say is no”. It’s true though, you just have to ask and not be afraid to put yourself out there! There is such an amazing community on the web of artists and bloggers. We (as small business/creatives) are so lucky to live in this time of social media craziness. Posting on facebook
, etc has literally helped launch my business and continues to aid me in sales and connecting with new, amazing people. Get your self out there! It has never been easy. There have been a lot of blood, sweat, and tears involved in my journey so far, but this is the most rewarding and incredible adventure of my life. I feel so blessed to wake up and live this everyday. Anyone can do it, you can be anything you want to be with passion and hard work 🙂
For more inspiration + to purchase some of her awesome work check out the links below!
Thanks for letting us feature you and your awesome work Shannon!!!!
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