Making your own products takes energy, determination and talent – but it’s not hard to see why more and more artists are taking up the challenge. The market for design-led products is booming, and the choice of objects you can create is bafflingly broad.
Illustrators of all levels of fame can transform their designs to postcards, wallpaper, screen-printed posters, mugs, badges, laptop cases, wall decals, home wares, vinyl toys, T-shirts and other apparel, and far more – and such products meet an eager and growing audience.
For artists, the benefits are obvious. Creating products offers a chance to get their work seen by new audiences. An eye-catching product can be a great way for illustrators to build their profile – and hopefully make some money while they do so.
The online publication Digital Arts reported on the phenomenon and asked Art Evolution artist Stephen Gibbs to offer his top tip to getting started -team up with others.
When you’re just starting out, getting products made can be hard: collaborating with an independent craftsman can be a good way to get off the ground. Whether it’s jewellery, furniture, or a beaded screen where each bead is a laser-cut character, a skilled pair of hands and an extra brain could help you decide whether your idea’s a winner or a flop, and help get your dream made, marketed and sold – or you could end up making something completely different thanks to their input.
As with all partnerships, find someone you get on with and trust. Design fairs, festivals and product design graduate shows are all good places to hunt for up-and-coming, collaboration-minded talent.
Boreal is a three-strong company that makes limited-edition, handmade illustrated vinyl wallets. Artist Stephen Gibbs came up with the concept, frustrated at the lack of ‘imagination and ingenuity’ in men’s fashion. He teamed up with fashion designer Sally Smallwood and graphic designer Chris Barter to design and launch the product; Smallwood initially hand-sewed all the wallets herself. Boreal has since developed a thriving community of artists who contribute illustrations for the wallets.
Boreal is going from strength to strength and is moving to new studios in Gateshead over the next couple of months. We will of course keep you posted on their move and other exciting developments.
May 24, 2010 8:18pm
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