Saturday, April 18, 2015

Teagan White's Solo Art Exhibition at Gallery Nucleus + BONUS Interview: Ben Zhu

One of the things I LOVE most about Bird Meets Worm is my monthly interview feature and the opportunity it provides to dish with so many amazing, crazy-talented, fabulous artists, illustrators and designers. One of my favorites that I recently had the pleasure of chatting it up is the lovely Illustrator, Teagan White, and I’m thrilled to share that I have the scoop on her upcoming solo art exhibition!

You will absolutely not want to miss the chance to see her gorgeous original illustrations from her new children’s picture book, Bunny Roo, I Love You, at Gallery Nucleus in Alhambra, California. It opens Saturday, April 25, 2015 with a reception from 7-9pm and runs thru Sunday, May 10, 2015. Here on Bird Meets Worm, I’m please to share a preview of Teagan’s artwork that will be on display as well as an interview with the owner of Gallery Nucleus, Ben Zhu. I hope to see you at the opening! Enjoy!

Baby Sleeping • © Teagan White

Q: Being a big fan of Teagan White’s artwork (and children’s books!), I’m thrilled that she is having a solo exhibit at the fabulous Socal Gallery Nucleus. Dish with us about how you first discovered Teagan’s artwork and what about her artwork sparked your interest.

A: I believe we first discovered her work through a guest curated group exhibition at our gallery called Press Paws. It was a charity exhibition for dogs that was video game themed. We started seeing some of the range of her other work, from realistic to typographic and it really caught our eye that this is an artist with a rich sensibility. 

Lizard Family (detail) • © Teagan White

Q: Teagan’s modern artwork for both children and adults is abundant with woodland critters and feels vintage in styling and palette. Her subject matter and vintage feel are both considered “on trend” in the commercial art world. How do trends in the commercial art world influence what the gallery chooses to exhibit, given its niche working with illustrators and designers?

A: I think with Teagan's work it didn't feel like it was her trying to be on trend, as if her work had always focused on these themes and looked this way. Although we don't try to follow trends too much, I am sure there is some commercial influence in the artists we chose to exhibit. Our gallery focuses on illustration art and gravitates a lot towards artists who can execute, are confident and in control of their medium. Good design and technical prowess seems to always be on trend. With that said, there are a lot of artists that fit this bill so we look at artists who we think are in it and can stick with it for the long haul, have a clear sense of who they are, who are professional and easy to work with.

Mom in Garden • © Teagan White

Q: Do you have an absolute favorite illustration from Teagan’s solo exhibit? Tell us every little thing you love about it!

A: It is difficult to pick, but I think Mom & Baby Wolf would be my favorite. I like the sensitivity of the piece. I like the color palette. It seems like a simple piece, but there are a lot of overlapping elements and prep work that went into it to make it look effortless. I like her solution for illustrating a hole as a home. 

Mom & Baby Wolf (detail) • © Teagan White

Q: What advice would you give to illustrators looking to show with Gallery Nucleus?

A: Don't be afraid of criticism, don't stop learning and perfecting your craft, and do good work that you are proud of and we will eventually find you.

Wolf • © Teagan White

Q: What other upcoming exhibits can we look forward to enjoying at Gallery Nucleus in the future?

A: There are so many fun and interesting shows coming up—some larger and more themed and some that are focused solo exhibitions of more personal work. Teagan has another show with us September 5th. But the work is very different from the Bunny Roo work and really showcases her personal work. We are excited to see what she will create for that show.

We are also very excited for this small group show and about having the work of classic Russian animator, Yuri Norstein, in the gallery as well in September 26.

Thank you so much for chatting with us here at Bird Meets Worm, Ben! We love Gallery Nucleus!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

April Showers, May Flowers

"April Showers, May Flowers" • © Jane Smith
"April Showers, May Flowers" process pic • © Jane Smith

"April Showers, May Flowers" process pic • © Jane Smith

Twitter Tweet Chirp

Introducing my new mini collection: Twitter Tweet Chirp! It's a little bit of everything wonderful—cut paper collage, line drawings & ink brush typography! And of course, birds, birds, birds! Fabulous! Interested in licensing these beauties? Drop me a line at They would make the most lovely home decor & stationary products! XO

© Jane Smith

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Robot City

Robot City • © Super Jane Smith

Robot City process pic • © Super Jane Smith

Robot City process pic • © Super Jane Smith

Robot City process pic • © Super Jane Smith

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Super Star Interview: Lauren Lowen

Welcome to my monthly interview feature! I’m so excited to be interviewing all the fabulous artists, illustrators and designers I’ve meet over the years (both personally and virtually!) and sharing their artwork and experiences here on Bird Meets Worm. Look for a new interview on the first Tuesday of every month.

This month I’m jazzed to be chatting it up with supa-duba-star Illustrator, Lauren Lowen. I was first charmed by Lauren’s quirky style, during a session of Lilla Rogers’ MATS online class, and then I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Lauren last year at Surtex. Her booth and tiger shirt were totally rocking! Lauren Lowen currently works as an Illustrator in Nashville, TN, and is represented by Jennifer Nelson Artists. A graduate from the The Rhode Island School of Design, she has taught illustration at various art colleges and previously worked in the giftware and stationery industry as a designer before returning to her illustration full-time. You can visit more of her artwork here.

Here's the supa-duba-star herself!

Q: Last year was your Surtex debut and now you have plans to return again this year. What will you do differently? What will you do the same?

A: It’s so crazy to think it’s getting to that time of year again! Last year I was pretty conservative just because I had a lot to learn the first time around and didn’t want to overcomplicate things. This year I will do more with my actual booth design (disclaimer: don’t plan to be amazed. I’m probably still going to look pretty plain compared to other people!) Last year I learned what clients really liked about my art and what they wanted to see more of, so that will help me focus my portfolio this time around. As for keeping the same, I wasn’t afraid to be a little offbeat last year, and I think that helped me stick out. My plan is to let my quirky side shine again!

Q: Give us the scoop on your artistic process—concept to sketches to finished art—how does it all come together?

A: Whether it’s client work or a personal piece, it always starts with a line drawing. If I decide to paint it, I use gouache on silkscreen paper. If I’m working digital, I ink it and then scan it into Photoshop. From there I have several libraries of brushes and textures I can use via my wacom tablet. In fact, sometimes the digital stuff ends up looking more painterly than the actual painted work! Working both ways is a great way to experiment and prevent boredom from settling in.

Bears with beards—the outdoors never rocked so hard before!

Q: How has your time working in-house at CR Gibson influenced your approach to freelance illustration and art licensing?

A: I figured the best way to learn about the industry was to be a full-time employee at a company and learn it from the inside out. I learned how manufactures worked, what the challenges were for the creative teams, how marketing played a role in the process, and how art was selected for projects.

By the time I left, I obviously had a much better understanding of the logistics of the field as well business matters like pricing and such. I also learned that my quirky sense of humor and style was not always seen in the industry, so it made me more confident showing that side of me to future clients.

Party time with a tiger—oh, yeah!

Q: Your artwork has a very hip and modern sense of humor with your luchadores, beards and pirate santas! Where does that come from and what continues to inspire it?

A: Thanks! I’ve always enjoyed characters and entertaining people, so I think those two elements come together to create that wackiness in my art. When I was younger, I was a huge fan of comics like Calvin & Hobbes and The Far Side. The Far Side especially had this very bizarre humor when you think about it. There weren’t really “jokes” or punch lines. Instead, Gary Larson made these one-panel comics that would take a simple premise and turn it upside down. I think there is something like that going on in my work. I think “Ok, Santas. Santas have beards. What else has beards? Lumberjacks do…and pirates…and hipsters,” and before you know it I have a collection based on different silly Santa characters like that. I think my best pieces are always the ones that excite me even a week or two after the initial idea. For inspiration, I look at what’s going on in pop culture and see how I can poke fun at something or reinvent it. Visually, I’m attracted to street art, folk art…anything heavily stylized is fun to me.

LOVED these guys at Surtex last year!

Q: You have taught art students at numerous colleges. What advice do you give them about how to promote themselves and land actual clients in life-beyond-art-school?

A: I love teaching! It’s so hard to try and summarize a whole semester in a few paragraphs, but here are some of the most common things I say to my students:

Don’t label yourself too much: Many people miss out on opportunities just because they focus too much on a specific market while being completely oblivious to similar fields that they are well suited for. If you’re a children’s book illustrator, for instance, why not look into creating art for children’s music albums or children’s magazines? Try to step out of your comfort zone and you’ll probably find a few “cousin markets” perfect for your portfolio.

It’s OK that your art doesn’t work for every client known to mankind: My work isn’t right for everyone out there. Similarly, it’s ok if your work isn’t going to find a home with every single client in the world. Instead of trying to be a jack-of-all-trades in order to please every art director, focus on the art you enjoy creating and market it to those people who truly have a need for it. You’ll be happier and saner.

Don’t try to do every social media platform out there: Blogs, Facebook, instagram, pintrest, twitter, newsletters, youtube… the internet has given us a lot of options when it comes to promoting our work. Maybe part of the problem is that it has given us too many options and we feel a little overwhelmed when marketing ourselves. When it comes to social media, pick 1-3 to start with and do them well. You can always adjust or add more, but having too many outlets that end up getting ignored can make it look like you aren’t active in your career.

Geek chic cute bunny spring florals!

Q: What do you anticipate being both the advantages as well as the challenges of being formally represented as an illustrator?

A: It really hasn’t been that long since I’ve joined Jennifer Nelson Artists, but I’m extremely excited about all the projects coming our way. As far as challenges go, I’m getting use to managing more projects. In the past, I was working on one or two jobs at a time and then would move on to the next one. Well, now there are several things to keep on top of! You have to roll with it and switch gears suddenly if an opportunity comes out of nowhere, especially if the deadline is a quick one. The huge advantage for me is having the business side of my art simplified. I really do enjoy marketing and promoting my work, but I recognize that it eats up a lot of time. With an agent, I’m now able to focus more on the important part: creating the art!

Q: Describe your most perfect Sunday.

A: I’m not 100% sure, but I envision it with Bloody Marys, a good brunch, and hanging out on a patio with friends and my husband just relaxing the day away.

Thank you so much, Lauren! We can’t wait to see what crazy, fabulous artwork you make next! Hooray!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

"Love Is In the Air" Valentine Collection

I ADORE Valentines' Day and so here another of my NEW collections, themed "Love Is In the Air." It's sweet! It's pretty! And it would look absolutely lovely on a whole host of products from tableware to kids clothes to greeting cards! Interested in licensing it? Email me at! XO

© Jane Smith
© Jane Smith

© Jane Smith