We recently chatted with Polychrome's very own print designer Rebecca Carney, and she gave us a peek into her creative process. With such a broad design capability, a typical day might find her working on design for print media, developing a website, or working on some of her beautiful print repeats for our print pattern catalog. When Rebecca is not working digitally, she can be found far from her computer screen painting, drawing, and creating illustration pieces. Regardless of the task, her work is enriched by her diverse creativity.
Thea: How did you get your start as a professional artist?
Rebecca: My parents were very supportive of my creative side as a kid. My mom owned and ran a flower shop, so I spent a lot of time surrounded by creative people and design, and I could make things and explore my creative inclinations with a whole store of crafty stuff to play with, even selling some of my early creations. I think that made a big impact on me; I learned to trust my artistic impulses. I came to New York for art school, studying illustration and communication design. I’ve worked in a variety of creative industries since I graduated, from fashion to web design. Throughout my career I’ve tried to stay active in making work that is my own and involves drawing or painting.
Thea: What is a typical day of work for you?
Rebecca: My daily work is more for digital design and web development, so most days involve web-related work. I am a freelancer, so I make my own schedule but I try to maintain a regular routine and business hours as a form of self-care. Also, I make sure I schedule at least a few hours of art-making time every week, sometimes more, depending on what else I have going on.
Thea: What is inspiring to you? What do you do when you feel "blocked" creatively - how do you get unstuck?
Rebecca: If I am stuck, I try to shelf the project and do something else, sometimes I go for a walk in the park or get some exercise, something that gets me out of my head. Anything where I might be able to zone out a bit and the thing that has been tabled has a chance to develop on its own, I find the ideas will present themselves in that way. If I’m under a deadline, working temporarily in a different medium sometimes help to spark an idea for a project.
Thea: I know you have a couple of creative projects besides the wonderful work you do for Polychrome. Can you tell us about some of your other work?
Rebecca: I love to draw and paint, and I try to make a habit of attending figure drawing classes on a regular basis. I’m lucky it’s so easy in NYC, there are so many classes and different venues with live figure drawing. Also, I make digital work from my drawings, in the past I’ve done cards, lately I’m working on more designs for items on Society6.
Thea: You live in a very cool and artistic community in Brooklyn, can you tell us a bit about the scene there and how it informs your work?
Rebecca: That’s right! I live near Prospect Park in Brooklyn. Most of my friends are creative/visual people, which isn’t on purpose at all, but I think we gravitate towards each other. It is important to have people in my life who understand that sometimes art takes priority over other things, and that self-care and certain sensitivities are what fuels my creativity. For my neighborhood, being near the park is amazing, and provides a respite from the concrete and noise as well as visual inspiration and recreation.
Thea: I am sure in such an neighborhood you see all kinds of people expressing their style in unique ways! Is there any street style you have been noticing on your walks around town? If you had to pick 3 print trends to watch for in 2018, what would they be?
1. Love all the political or social statement shirts
2. Red or bright, solid colored high top sneakers
3. Hand-dyed techniques (such as shibori or batik-inspired patterns)
Thea: Living in New York can be very fast paced. What are your favorite things to do/ places to go in the city to unwind and decompress?
Rebecca: I like to go to Prospect Park for some green, or I go the gym, and I am at the beach in the summer at least once a week. Also, I’ve always found riding the subway and listening to music oddly therapeutic (when it isn’t rush hour, of course).
Prospect Park, an oasis in Brooklyn - image: neathermead
Thea: Do you have any larger goals for your fine art business in the next year or so?
Rebecca: My main goal is to keep producing work consistently, to try to get new work done on a monthly basis.
Thea: If you could not be an artist for some reason, what other profession would you have chosen ?
Rebecca: I’ve often thought I would enjoy working as a therapist, I am a pretty good listener and generally an empathic person.
Thea: Do you have any upcoming shows where people can go to see your work? How about some online sources?
Rebecca: Not yet, but I sell some stuff on society6.
Thea: Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us about your work! It's always great to get a glimpse of what makes our designers tick!
Rebecca: My pleasure! Thank you for providing a platform!
Want to see some more of Rebecca's work? Check out her website
.... and take a look through some of the terrific prints Rebecca has in our collection , left to right :
Seahorses | Cacti | Paint Splatter | Lace Fans | Foaming Surf | Skulls & Roses | Sketched Floral | Hot Air | Cotton Candy
* All images credited to Rebecca Carney