Shannon Kirsten – Wildflower – Look-book + Interview

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!!!!

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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?
Shannon: 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?
Shannon: 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 / instagram, 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!!!!
Don’t forget to get your Halloween cards + party invites here!! Send one to a friend!

Mark Brooke Photography – Interview + Images

Meet Mark + Candice of Mark Brooke Photography!  This Husband-Wife team was one of the first photography companies to bring some hip, funky, fresh, and artsy images to the wedding world. They have taught new up and coming photographers through their seminars and workshops. If you have a love of weddings, photography, and art you’ll love Mark Brook Photography!


Amber: The Inspiration Den // Candice: Mark Brooke Photographers

Amber: What does Inspiration/being creative mean to Mark Brooke Photography? How do you find inspiration?

Candice: Inspiration can be found anywhere…. actually when we first started our business 6 years ago we promised ourselves that we would not find “inspiration” in other wedding blogs, but in everything else. We love good design… so in that we find our inspiration from a well designed work space, an art book, a random poster, to the sound of a good band. I know that might sound silly, that is always where we have pulled our inspiration from. It’s actually fun to follow Mark’s pinterest because most of his boards are filled with amazing art pieces and prints.

Amber: What has been your favorite project/event/person to photograph?

Candice: Wow, this is a hard question, I feel like it’s a trap, lol. Well… the truth is (I hope I don’t get in trouble), any wedding shot at the marvimon, smog shoppe, or an artful venue makes for some of our favorite shoots.                                                                                    We could never choose one specific couple or person but we still to this day have clients we will never forget!  Our clients have left a lasting impression on us and we feel so grateful to be in this industry

Amber: How did Mark Brooke photography get started?

Candice: Mark Brooke Photography started almost 6 years ago. Mark was shooting a little bit of fashion and bands (since he is a music major). Then a cute couple in one of the bands asked him to photograph their wedding. The funny part is we said no. LOL. I love that part of the story because the reason why we said no was because we were under the impression that if you were a wedding photographer you had to take crappy, out of focus, and lame photos. Finally we decided to cave and shoot the wedding… We LOVED IT! We brought our own artistic perspective and decided that wedding photography could be awesome! That was years ago and we could not be more happy that we are now full time wedding photographers.

Amber: Do you have any advice for the young artist/photographer just pursing their dream?

Candice: Go for it…. but know it is HARD. One of the biggest misconceptions is that photographers only work weekends, or that it’s easy to make a living as a photographer. Mark and I work very hard to continue to do what we do. If anything it’s more than a full time job. But in the end it is worth it!

Mark Brooke Photography // Website // Blog // Twitter // FB 






Introduction: Ashley Wingo of Lovelock & Co.

I’m so excited about this feature on Ashley of Lovelock & Co.. Not only is she a talented blogger & photographer, but also our newest contributor! 

I thought you all would want to get to know her a bit so I asked her if she would write a piece on who she is, what she does, and what inspires her.  Stay tuned because Ash will be posting new pieces on Inspiration Den every couple of weeks, everything from Fashion and Design to pretty much anything that inspires her. 

House of Lovelock

My biggest inspiration has always come from the idea that things don’t have to be unlovely. I’m sort of a reactor – if you say it’s ugly, I’ll want to show you how it isn’t or I’ll work on improving it until it isn’t. I love the potential in everything. A house or person doesn’t have to be naturally glamorous to look the best they themselves can look – you can make improvements on anything. On the opposite side of things, I also think it’s also important to be content with the unique imperfections that come along with design or photography. Work with what you got, right?!

LWF: Little Woodland Friend (Amber Dunstan)
AW: Ashley Wingo (Lovelock & Co.)

LWF: Who are your favorite designers?

AW: My long term love has been Ralph Lauren (literally since I was a kid). More recent crushes include Kelly Wearstler + Victoria Beckham. I find that I’m not really ever “sold” on one specific person or all their work – I just appreciate or are inspired by different aspects about each of them. 
LWF: How do you juggle a family, photography business and blogging? 

AW: Honestly, I don’t sleep enough! I try to just focus on one thing at a time, during the weekdays, it’s mainly just the kids + the personal blog, I work every night and weekends on the business. It’s definitely juggling, and tiring, but so worth it.   

LWF: What is currently your favorite outfit & piece of home decor? 

AW: My emerald lace dress + glossy black pumps. (Ironically I bought it about 4 days before Pantone’s announcement.) For seasonal home décor, it’s my Christmas tree. It instantly upped that feeling of home. Besides the tree, I kinda have a chair obsession, and my pair of wingbacks (ironically also in emerald) definitely fits the bill of “favs”.

Thank You Ashley for sharing with us, I LOVE those antlers & wingback chairs! Can’t wait for further entries from you!

You can also follow Ashley of Lovelock Here.

We are always interested in getting feedback from our readers on Inspiration Den, let us know if there are any topics you would like us to cover, or if you just have a simple comment go ahead and post below or email us and we will get back to you.