Q: Tell us about yourself? What do you do, where are you from, and where do you live? All that good stuff...A: I am a graphic designer/letterpress printer who loves to push things visually, experiment with different textures, and use the medium of letterpress in ways that haven’t really been explored.
I am originally from New York, right outside the city, but my dad bought a tea farm (he’s a third-generation tea taster, so tea runs in my family) in ‘87 on a sleepy island called Wadmalaw Island right outside of Charleston. I reside there (we’re actually building our home right now!) with my husband Tyler and our two little humans, River and Riley Magnolia.
Q: Was your childhood the catalyst for your creativity? Have you always been creative?Actually, no, I wasn’t always creative. In fact, I also have the other brain, I was a pretty big jock but in a hippy kind of way. I was a huge athlete in college (a three-time all-american, eeeeek) playing field hockey and lacrosse for a long time until I decided I wanted to go abroad and study wildlife management and lived in Africa for a bit, which was such an amazing time in my life. When I returned home, I came to the conclusion that playing two sports in college was too much so I stuck to field hockey and then REALLY lived out my college partying in one semester when I was a senior. Such a fun time in my life. Fewer rules, more fun, more connecting. I could breathe a bit but also love how sports played a huge part in who I am.
Q: How did you get started in your craft? When did you start designing and letter pressing?A: After receiving my undergrad degree, I worked vicarious jobs: a horse and carriage tour guide (where I met my now-husband, who I couldn’t stand when we first met, ha), a listing manager at a boutique real estate firm until I had this moment where I was like, my future is mine, I NEED to love what I do and have always been weirdly into packaging design and how products are branded and then presented on the shelves. I have always been attracted to that. My mom is also an old-school graphic designer and my sister is a glassblower so I guess art does run in my family. I stumbled upon this amazing portfolio school in Atlanta called The Creative Circus, it is one of the best portfolio schools in the country for Graphic Design, Art Direction, Copywriting, and Photography. The whole package. I applied, got in, moved to Atlanta, and was fully immersed into the graphic design world for two years, SO MUCH WORK, which is where I met one of my old professors Berwyn Hung who was a huge letterpress printer. He basically taught me everything I know about printing.
Q: I know you do brand design work for others on top of running your own brand. How do you find time for it all?A: Ha, I don’t. Honestly, it’s crazy. I work a lot at night (with my laptop in bed) after my kids go to bed to manage it all. I am super diligent about not working on weekends though so maybe that is why it’s a little crazy. I stop on the weekends to have a life. My work is SO important to me, but connecting with my family, friends and loved ones is equally as important for me. It allows for space from work which helps me be more creative.
Q: What is the biggest inspiration for your work?A: Probably travel. I LOVE to travel. Something about going to a new place that makes me feel alive, that makes me feel there is a whole other world out there besides my tiny one. I gain a ton of inspiration when I travel but also clarity. I think when you’re clear, the ideas just effortlessly roll right through you.
Q: Don’t overthink this...If we asked you to play one song while you work what would it be and why?A: Oh my goodness, so hard to pick just one. Don’t overthink it is a pre-catalyst to overthink it. HA. This question just took me an hour to answer. When I am working with my hands I will blast Hummed Low by Odessa. When I am branding I like to listen to head-y music like weird underground beats and DJ’s but also really calm music. but I LOVE Bob Marley too. So basically I can’t answer cause I am all over the place ;)
Q: Do you have a favorite piece or pieces that you’ve created?A: Our collab! I love both of these prints so much. Also, love our Scape Collection letterpress calendar where we hand rip sheet by sheet to create a one-of-a-kind piece of art for your walls. As you go through the calendar year and take your sheets off, you reveal a new landscape every two months.
Q: Tell us about where you create? What’s your studio like? What helps to get your creative juices flowing?A: As we build the studio, we’re in a great temporary space with lots of room and light. It has a huge garage door in the press room to an outside space which is actually so great to move out into when the weather allows. Music gets my creative juices flowing, that and experimenting on the letterpress to push the envelope and try different things with paper and ink.
Q: How has COVID-19 affected your life and work?… both in hard and inspiring ways.A: Oh man, it made me slow down. It made me really not want to work actually :) I just felt like the world was on fire and it was so hard to focus on work when there was just so much turmoil and heartache happening in the world. I felt the immediate need to separate my branding work from 42 Pressed. I used to have all my branding work under the 42 Pressed name and then during the pandemic, I separated the two which I think was super helpful for me to have something other than just 42 Pressed to focus on. We grew up, in a way, so it was time to separate the two. So now, Jackie Robinson Design is my branding and 42 Pressed is where I create our physical products.
Q: Is there any driving philosophy that you have that gets you through the day or during challenging times?A: If I can’t control something, I try really hard not to let it affect my mood/day-to-day/life. I have learned to say no to a lot of things and also take comfort in knowing that everyone is learning and failing at times, too. That we’re sort of all in this together learning from each other? Everyone has something in life they are struggling with whether you see it or not, and it’s important to keep that in perspective.
Q: What can we all look forward to in terms of your art in the next year?A: Taking on a lot more fine art pieces and releasing small amounts of work that are super limited. A lot more collaborating. Two brains are always better than one. Working with inspiring humans builds camaraderie and lessens the load. It’s lonely sometimes running your own show and anything to lessen that, I am so down with.
Q: What community do you gravitate towards? Who are your people?A: I can count my best friends on one hand. My people are genuine, kind, free of judgment, ultra-supportive, and are true to themselves. My people are humble and quiet in their validation pursuits but also bursting with talent. I find I gravitate towards people who have a craft and are passionate about cultivating that within themselves first and foremost and then ultimately sharing with the world if they feel the need. Also attracted to people who don’t need shallow validation or give a shit about what other people think.
Q: Is there anything you feel vulnerable about as a woman or individual? If so, would you mind sharing?A: I despise female cliques that seem really conniving/opportunistic and not genuine. I am all about slow, kind, and inclusive female tribes, not ones that need to be shouted out on social media in order to feel like they are living and thriving. I hate how social media has cultivated this type of broadcasting in women. It’s like can’t we, as women, be real and not always feel like we need to shout from the rooftops who we’re with, what we’ve won, where we’re going, and how successful we are right at this very moment? Pause for a second and look within. Shit is hard sometimes, what about talking about that and how we as women can be more inclusive with this and help each other thrive in a more genuine way? So moral of the story, I hate how social media has made women feel vulnerable in this sense. Celebrate the things you have achieved as a woman, YES, that’s amazing!! but at the end of the day, be a humble person, look within, question the sharing. Confidence is quiet, insecurity is loud, and needs validation and I hate how social media has increased this type of shallow sharing in women. Share what makes you happy, what makes you better, what makes you whole, raw, and real.
Q: How do you practice self-care or treat yourself?A: I run in nature and in the middle of nowhere a lot. That is pretty much my self-care. I used to spin all the time pre-pandemic so I miss that a ton. Something about gathering in a room of mostly women, sweating your ass off while listening to great music is definitely spiritual for me and something to be celebrated. I also meditate in the mornings before the kids get up and try to moisturize my face constantly. ILIA is my most favorite makeup, definitely a splurge for me but so worth it.
Q: How would you describe your style? Does your work/art play any part in your style and what you wear?A: Yes. I don’t wear anything fancy in my day to day because there is paint, glue, letterpress inks, etc. I definitely like to be comfortable. That's huge for me. Lots of overalls, hightops, slouchy pants, things that make me feel cozy. I think I own 3 pairs of high heels. But if there's a party or something I need to go to that is dressy, I’ll throw on a Mara Hoffman or something beautiful like that. I only have a handful of those pieces but when I get to wear them, I love it. Less is more and I definitely err on the side of being natural with a bright red lipstick. The balance of being natural with a pop of unexpected. Highs and lows and putting those together in my clothes. Love that contrast.
See her work here.
Photo credits to fuzzco and Olivia Rae James.