I have to be honest - it's taken me a lot of self-control to refrain from making a post about Kaye Blegvad's illustration & artwork as the self-proclaimed president of her unofficial fan club. I can never quite put my finger on what part of her work I love the most - the playfulness, sometimes creepy nature of her work, her subject matter, etc. all mixed with how sweet / awesome she is. Kaye answered a few questions for us about her recent work and venture into jewelry design. You can find more of her work on her website and blog.
For our readers, Kaye is offering a 25% off discount from her jewelry etsy shop, Datter, with the coupon code "VENTRICULAR." You can find some of her prints AND garlands for sale in her other etsy shop, here.
Where do you draw your inspiration? Are there any artists, illustrators, or films in particular that have influenced your work?
I get inspiration from all over the place - I don't have a particularly consistent place to go to when I feel stumped. I guess the biggest influence on my work has been my dad, Peter Blegvad. He's an illustrator, singer/songwriter, writer... He does a lot of stuff. And I inherited a lot of his sensibilities and interests - alchemy, dark humour, anatomy, poetry, dreams, the surreal... I see a lot of his influence in my work; at least in the topics I keep returning to, if not in the actual look of it. My mother (Chloe Fremantle) is a painter with a wonderful sense of colour and pattern, and she takes a lot of her inspiration from nature - I think I got a little of that too, though it's less obvious just by looking at my work I guess.
I have a friend here in New York who's been making jewelry for something like 30 years. When I moved here, she encouraged me to make some pieces for her shop (The Shape of Lies, in the East Village: it's amazing) and introduced me to the process. I got completely hooked - it is awesome to make something and then suddenly have it in metal! I guess it's a way to translate illustrations into something wearable - a lot of the pieces are based on themes from my work or even specific drawings.
Can you elaborate at all on your creative process? (from the idea of a project to the final piece)
It varies a lot from piece to piece. For personal work, I tend to be pretty spontaneous; I get an idea and I just do it without sketching or anything. Sometimes I have ideas in my notebook for months before I make them happen, sometimes I do them right away. Most of my work is just done on scraps of paper or occasionally in books, and exists as an original, though sometimes I piece things together in photoshop (usually if it's a complicated image that's intimidating to make as an original. I'm a big chicken about that stuff). For commissioned work, you normally have to show rough ideas, so then I sketch a lot more, come up with a bunch of different ideas, and pick one with the art director. It's quite nice to work that way - the art director almost always surprises me with their choices, but then I'm always impressed when I realise, hey, they were right!
Do you have any big upcoming projects / pieces planned? Or, do you see yourself going in a more commercialized direction with your art in the future (with jewelry, etc.)?
I just did a big project for Lucky Kids magazine that will come out in mid-August. That was pretty much my most fun commission ever. I made life sized animal cut outs for a kids fall fashion photoshoot, and it was awesome. I now have huge cardboard animals littering my apartment. As for other stuff, and getting more commercial - I've always been interested in making products, ways to have images come off the page and become something more than just a drawing. So yes, I'd like to keep doing that definitely - textile design, packaging design, three dimensional objects, jewelry... I've been making illustrated garlands lately and I really like that idea and want to do a bunch more. Ideally I'd like to find a balance between 'fine art' type work and more commercial and product work. I think there's a lot of interesting stuff to be done in both worlds.