Designer Spotlight: Andrea Turk

HELLO, PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF:

Hello, my name is Andrea Turk and I am a designer living in the countryside in Northern Ireland with my husband Paul and goofy Polish Lowland Sheepdog, Pickles. I trained as a Fashion Designer and did that for many years specialising in the children’s market working internationally, before taking on the role of Trend forecaster for Mothercare UK, which then lead on to setting up Cinnamon Joe Studio, as my love of graphics took over from the fashion side of the children’s market. I can honestly say I love what I do.

WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY/WEEK LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?

My day starts of with waling the dog. I check the most urgent emails first and settle into creating something. If I have had time the night before I might have prepared a sketch, if not I just see how I feel and start creating something on the computer and see were it takes me. It’s exciting, since every time I sit down at the computer it’s an adventure.

WHAT’S THE MOST REWARDING PART OF YOUR JOB?

There are two parts really, seeing artists we represent develop and grow with confidence and looking back at my art and thinking how much better the artwork that I produce now is, it is very satisfying to do regularly. The journey that one takes is amazing and the artwork reflects that.

IF YOU COULD GIVE YOUR 10 YEARS YOUNGER SELF ONE KEY PIECE OF ADVICE OR AN INSIGHT, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

Don’t be afraid of Photoshop. I learnt photoshop many, many years ago, and then Illustrator became the thing to use, so I dropped photoshop and never used it again, loosing that skill was silly. Now, photoshop is the software of choice and I have reignited the passion for the texture and brushes that only Photoshop has and I love mixing the two with other components. 

WHEN YOU FEEL STUCK OR IN A DESIGN RUT, HOW DO YOU GET YOURSELF OUT OF IT AND BACK ON TRACK?

I really can speak from experience as several times I have had design blocks and it is the freakiest thing. I try really hard not to stress myself out about it as it doesn’t help. I’ll go to some of my favourite shops, or the museum and if those don’t get the creative juices flowing, I will take a course like 3D textiles, because I don’t do it for a job, I tend to relax more and then find out of the blue I’ll want to sketch.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGN TOOLS?

 My computer, wacom tablet and pen. 

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR DESIGN PROCESS? FAVOURITE APPS AND PROGRAMS

Focused. I used to be able to multi task, but now it is one job at a time and if I break the concentration it is very hard to get back in that zone, so I have to be really focused.

WHO ARE YOUR DREAM CLIENTS OR WHAT IS YOUR DREAM PROJECT?

I am really lucky as I work with great clients that give fantastic briefs. 

THERE HAS BEEN AN ART SUPPLY SANCTION IMPOSED AND DESIGNERS ARE ONLY ALLOWED TO POSSESS 3 ITEMS/TOOLS, WHAT DO YOU CHOOSE?

My computer, wacom Bamboo and electricity to run everything on.

WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION?

Tokyo is the best place in the world and I go every year, the inspiration that I get keeps me going for months and months. It is amazing as everything has graphics and there is colour and pattern everywhere, you don’t have to go far outside your hotel to feed on the buzz that is Tokyo inspiration.

WHO WOULD YOU SAY THE GREATEST DESIGNER IS?

I wouldn’t, there are so many wonderful designers for so very different reasons, too hard a question to pinout just one.

COULD YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT CINNAMON JOE STUDIO?HOW DID YOU START?

I had a burning desire to create graphics, so I spoke to 2 of my fellow design friends and the three of us collectively took on a booth at PV in Paris. Paul, my husband came with us, he drove and took on the role of sales. As newcomers we were stuck out in a corner from all the action, but several companies approached us and we sold work and have never looked back.

HOW DOES CINNAMON JOE APPROACH FINDING AND TAKING ON NEW ARTISTS (FOR EXAMPLE HOW OFTEN, DO YOU EVER REACH OUT TO DESIGNERS YOU HAVE SEEN ONLINE...)?

Many of the artists approach us through the contact page on our website. We will take on artists that offer something different to the norm and also do not cross over with any of the artists that we represent. On the rare occasion we do approach artists.

HOW DO YOU PREFER TO RECEIVE SUBMISSION AND HOW DO YOU LIKE THEM TO BE PRESENTED? 

It is better if artists send low res jpegs or at least a link to their website when sending an introduction. Generally, if artists just send a blurb with no images of no social media site reference, we will not bother, since time is key.

MANY DESIGNERS STRUGGLE WITH SELF DOUBT, DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE TO SOMEONE WHO IS WONDERING IF THEIR WORK IS GOOD ENOUGH, OR ON THE RIGHT TRACK?

Yes, try and seek advice from other artists. When you work in isolation self doubt does creep in, it happens to all of us at some point. Firstly, believe in yourself and that will shine in your artwork, secondly join artist groups, it is a great way to stay in contact with other like minded people, ask their advice.

DO YOU AND YOUR ARTISTS FOLLOW TRENDS? HOW IMPORTANT DO YOU THINK THEY ARE?

We send trend info out to all of our artists. It is important to be aware of the trends and what is happening in terms of colour, themes, techniques as it will have a knock on effect on the sales of artwork. However, it is also important that each artist designs instinctively, by that I mean, creating is an emotion that each artist goes through, so you have to have the feelings to want to create and then remember that creating artwork is an adventure, so go where your emotions take you.

AFTER THE ACTUAL ARTWORK, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS THE NEXT MOST IMPORTANT THING AN ARTIST/DESIGNER SHOULD FOCUS THEIR TIME ON?

Experimenting. Only by asking yourself, "what if I try it this way, or what happens if I use this colour” etc. will you really grow as an artist. It is amazing how many artists out there stick to the one style and never try anything else. In this day and age, you have to have the ability to do lots of things in lots of different ways, so experimenting is key.

IF A NEW LAW WAS PASSED AND YOU COULD NO LONGER BE AN AGENT OR ARTIST, WHAT WOULD YOU DO INSTEAD?

Easy, interior design.

WHAT SHOWS DO YOU ATTEND AND EXHIBIT AT? 

We are trying some new shows in 2017, but our main show is Blueprint, which we organize. The origin of Blueprint, was the desire to create an event which was reasonably priced and free to visitors to attend. It is very much a participant event. The exhibitors get involved and make it their own. We are still young in event terms, but the show in May is very well received by those that attend, as it has a really relaxed boutique feel. We wanted to be able to help start up designers, so we have the competition to design your own booth for Blueprint, the winner gets not only a free booth, but the help and advice from established studios and designers, and the exposure to clients.

HOW DO YOU PRESENT DESIGNS (E.G. PORTFOLIO BOOKS, PRINTED SHEETS.)

We show paper artwork, as well as a screen presentation.

When I’m long gone, I hope people remember me for my sense of humor. 

Where you can find me: 

https://www.instagram.com/andreatruk333/