Name: Andrea Pippins
Location: Baltimore, MD
How would you describe your work?
I would describe my work as eclectic, fun, rich with color, and pattern-ful.
Design school attended, if applicable:
Temple University Tyler School of Art for undergrad, and then graduate school five years later.
Where do you find inspiration?
I enjoy scouring the Internet for inspiration, but I try to make an effort to get off the computer and explore the library, go to museums and markets to get my creative juices flowing. I’m always inspired by hand-painted barbershop signs from various countries throughout Africa, women of color and their stories, 80s-90s hip hop styling, vintage black American ephemera, folk tales, black mythology, Afro- futurism, the Black Arts Movement, and people who make things by hand. Textiles, patterns, and folk art are always on my moodboards.
Who are some of your favorite designers or artists?
Wow, there are so many. I love the photography of Malick Sidibé and Seydou Keïta. Collages from Mickalene Thomas, Lorna Simpson, and Wangechi Mutu. Portraits by Kehinde Wiley, Tamara Natalie Madden, and Mustafa Maluka. Prints from Margaret Kilgallen and Sister Mary Corita Kent. Lately I’ve been really excited about the work of artist Angelica Dass and her Humanae project. Gail Anderson, Paula Scher and Marian Bantjes are three of my design heroes.
Do you have a favorite among all the projects you’ve worked on?
I have a few favorites. For the last two years I worked on the promotional materials for the Black Star Film Festival and it has been an amazing experience. The festival founder and artistic director, Maori Karmael Holmes, and I have a great creative synergy, which inspires the process. For the most recent one (2014) I was unable to attend the full festival but loved seeing others posting images of the work or just seeing pops of the designs in the backgrounds of photographs.
I just finished an illustration for caribBeing, a non-profit that highlights art, film, and culture related to the Caribbean experience. It was inspired by a 21-Day Doodle Challenge I launched in January, where I invited friends on social media to doodle for at least 10 minutes a day. After seeing some of my doodles they reached out about working together on a doodle-style illustration about the Caribbean immigrant experience. It was fun to create little doodled vignettes and then apply vibrant colors. I want to do more projects like this.
Is there a project that stands out to you as having been the biggest challenge of your career so far?
One of the most challenging projects is also one of my favorites. The project was to create a mural design for the Brown Betty Dessert Boutique in Philadelphia. It was a challenge because I had never designed or painted a mural before. Despite not having a clue on how it was going to come together or what the project would entail I said “yes” without any hesitation. Being a big fan of their brand and cupcakes it sounded like the perfect project for me. It was also the biggest project I had worked on as a freelance designer.
I was responsible for designing T-shirts, gift cards, window-clings, along with the mural. That meant working with different production bureaus, and linking with an experienced muralist, Cathey White, to figure out how this graphic I created in Illustrator would translate onto the wall. I learned so much, made new friends, and created something that has a lot of good memories attached to it. We spent hours painting that mural, and it was really therapeutic. We also laughed a lot and had Kanye’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy on high rotation. It was a great time.
What do you hope to accomplish in the future?
I would like to write a book about designing women of color, teach workshops abroad, and make work that inspires social change. A series about the creative process is a dream project high on my list of things to do.
What’s your best advice for designers today?
For budding artists and designers, don’t be afraid to take risks with your ideas. Experiment and explore. Be excited, and immerse yourself in your work. As you learn, teach. Whether it’s becoming a mentor, teaching a workshop, writing for a blog, or even just tweeting information, share what you know.
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