Minted About Artist Spotlight Meet the Winners Shop
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  • Jessie Steury
  • Mansi Verma
  • Petra Kern
  • Stacey Hill
  • Sylvie Lee

Erica Krystek

What’s your story in a nutshell?

I was born and raised in San Diego and have lived here all my life, other than college. I have been married to my husband—who’s also a designer, in the video game industry—for 12 years and we have two children: a boy, 7, and a girl, 2 1/2. Prior to discovering Minted, I worked as an art director and creative director in the magazine industry for 10 years.

How did you become an artist?

I am mostly self-taught and fell into design quite by accident. I was studying journalism in college, assuming I would be a writer or an editor. My junior year I worked as the arts and features editor for the daily newspaper, and since it was a fairly low-budget operation, we had to design our section of the paper as well, and that is where I first learned the basics of print design. I quickly realized that was my passion and re-focused my career path.

What’s the story behind one of your pieces?

Aside from dance and music, my daughter has two obsessions—the moon and rainbows. So for my newest piece, "Shine Bright," I knew I wanted to do a rainbow, but with a slightly different take. That's where the scalloped edge and gold foil texture came into play.

Who is your favorite artist and why?

Kelly Ventura can do no wrong in my book. I have to pick my jaw up off the floor when I watch her time-lapse posts working with watercolor. She is truly a genius using this medium.

Where and what inspires you when you are creating your work?

Specifically for children's art, I take a lot of inspiration from my own children—their ever-changing interests and passions as they grow. Generally speaking, I am very much inspired by bold color and patterns that combine unexpected hues and textures.

What is your advice for artists who are just getting started?

Find time to practice every day and amazing things will happen.

Erica Krystek Quote
Erica Krystek

Melanie Mikecz

What’s your story in a nutshell?

I live in San Francisco with my husband and two young daughters, and I work out of my home studio. I am a night owl, with a mild case of insomnia, so you can often find me creating into the wee hours of the night. I also enjoy long-distance running and chocolate chip cookie eating, usually in that order.

How did you become an artist?

I think I became an artist the first time my mom sat me down at the kitchen table with a big piece of butcher block paper and crayons. However, my career as an artist was slower to evolve. I graduated from college with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and worked at a more traditional job for a few years before transitioning to becomea self-employed artist.

Who is your favorite artist and why?

If I had to pick just one, I would say Sonia Delaunay. I love her bold use of color and geometric forms. She also had incredible range as an artist: contributing to the world of fashion and textile design as well as traditional painting. Not to mention, her perseverance as a woman in, what was at the time, a male-dominated field.

What is your advice for artists who are just getting started?

I would suggest first figuring out how to make art that you love. You should be your first client. Chances are that once you love your work, others will be drawn to it as well.

Melanie Mikecz Quote
Melanie Mikecz

Caroline Mint

How did you become an artist?

I think a deep transformation began inside me, and everything started changing, from my physical appearance, of seeing the world, how I felt about myself and related to people, even my career path. It was at that time that photography, arts, images, and everything visual began for me. I suddenly realized that I had thousands of images in my head that I wanted to make and that I could capture with a camera, and I found out that I wanted to capture the beauty of the world my way.

What’s the story behind one of your pieces for the Pottery Barn Kids collection?

The “Lucky” photo happened in a really special and unique moment in my life. I was recently married, and we lived in Buenos Aires. One day I was with my husband walking around with our cameras. My husband noticed that almost 100 kids were gathered in a park about to let go of helium balloons; we went to where they were, and waited for the launch, and took photos.

Who is your favorite artist?

For a long time, I admired various artistic photographers who were a huge inspiration for me and I thank them. My favorite artists nowadays are in social networks such as Instagram because there are some incredibly talented people there.

Where and what inspires you when you are creating your work?

I’m inspired by everything—I can grab inspiration from all over the place. The most inspiring thing for creating is living life, feeling it as much as possible, taking risks, confronting yourself, making things that normally would fall outside your comfort zone.

What is your advice for artists who are just getting started?

If you’re a more commercial artist, my advice would be to adapt yourself to the contemporary world, the way of selling today, social media, etc., and everything that might appear there. It’s also important to be unique and different; I know this is classic and overstated advice, but it’s the biggest advice there is.

Caroline Mint Quote
Caroline Mint

Maria Murphy

What’s your story in a nutshell?

I was born and raised in Argentina. Two years after I got married, I moved to London with my husband and our month-old daughter. In 2008, I moved to Switzerland where I have been living ever since. We are now a family of five.

How did you become an artist?

As far back as I can remember, art has always been a part of my life. I remember spending many long, rainy afternoons with my youngest brother, drawing together and competing to see who would come up with the best drawing. At university, I studied graphic design and that was in fact my first job. I moved to London when I was 30 and continued working as a freelance designer. It was there and then that I started experimenting with watercolours and more artistic designs. A few years later, I moved to Switzerland, where I have taken several painting courses and continue to discover the fascinating world of watercolors.

What’s the story behind “Bunny 1”?

One of my kids loves bunnies, and so do I. I love the sweetness of their eyes and softness of their fur. That’s what I’ve tried to convey in this painting.

Who is your favorite artist?

One of my favorite artists is Milo Lockett. Not only because he also comes from Argentina but most importantly because he is a self-taught artist with a strong social conscience.

Where and what inspires you when you are creating your work?

My best ideas are born at the most unusual places and moments. It can happen while sitting at an airport watching people go by or while driving in my car and daydreaming. The challenge is always to get to a piece of paper fast enough before the inspiration evaporates. Lots of practice is the number-one rule, but I would also add pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone.

Maria Murphy Quote
Maria Murphy

Shirley Lin Schneider

How did you become an artist, or what inspired you to become an artist?

My path to becoming an artist was not straight and narrow, but I've always been an artist at heart. I went from completing an undergraduate degree in marine biology to applying to graduate schools and an art school. I was accepted to the art school and it changed my life. I discovered the realm of graphic design was amazing from editorial design to package design to motion graphics. After graduation, I worked in the entertainment industry as a designer and art director designing and branding TV networks, show promos, commercials, film titles, etc., before taking a hiatus after the birth of my first child.

What’s the story behind one of your pieces for Minted x Pottery Barn Kids?

I often find that my favorite pieces are the ones that integrate my love for the ocean. I wanted to capture a nautical scene that was reminiscent of summer while still playful and spirited.

Who is your favorite artist and why?

Saul Bass is one of my favorite artists. He was a pioneer in creating the art of film title sequences. I love his bold, graphic yet minimalist aesthetic. His modernist and innovative approach to design and storytelling had a large impact on my career path.

What inspires you when you are creating your work?

Nature. I'm very fortunate to live by the beach. It's a short walk from our house down to the water where I can be inspired by the rolling waves, the glistening sunlight against the water, or the color of the sunset. I'm also inspired by finding beauty in the everyday. I love seeing the patterns the dew makes every morning on our windows or the way the light hits the sky. The most inspiring days are when you spot a rainbow in Southern California.

Shirley Lin Schneider Quote
Shirley Lin Schneider

Angela Thompson

What’s your story in a nutshell?

I was born in Australia in 1979 to parents who always encouraged my creativity. I studied art and design in college and exhibited my paintings up until the age of 30. After the birth of my daughter in 2010, I attained a diploma in design and illustration, and it felt like I had found something I was truly passionate about. I have not looked back. I live a quiet life in the country with my family, surrounded by lots of gum trees and Australian wildlife.

How did you become an artist?

Winning a Christmas painting contest at the age of 6 and having my painting framed was a defining moment for me. I came to realize people liked my art, and from that point on, I knew art would be in my future. Becoming a visual artist and then a designer and illustrator was a natural progression for me. I have always followed my heart and feel I have found my calling in life.

What’s the story behind “Sleepy Moon”?

“Sleepy Moon” is a fun and magical artwork that I wanted to create for a nursery or young child’s room. I love to bring a sense of wonder and whimsy to each and every piece I create, not to mention bold color—my work must always have color! I believe that art should bring joy.

Who’s your favorite artist?

Ken Done. I have always been drawn to his loosely interpreted, colorful masterpieces. Known for his iconic images depicting Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and Sydney Harbour, these are among many of the scenic wonders he paints. He is a great Australian and an inspirational artist.

What inspires you when you are creating your work?

I find inspiration in the everyday, and I love animals and nature, so these subjects always appear in my work. My daughter inspires me with her sense of wonder and zest for life. But mostly, I am just a dreamer and always find myself daydreaming—a place where I take myself to create my work.

Angela Thompson Quote
Angela Thompson