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Meet Another December Featured Artist: Nicole Album

Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be a surface designer.

It all started after completing my Masters in Illustration. I got a job opportunity creating artwork for Pottery Barn Teen. My prior education and work experience was in Women's Fashion, and home decor felt like a logical combination of my skills. The job was a crash course in creating motifs and icons for bed linens, wall art, and decorative accessories. I also learned production and patterning skills as the Girls Graphic designer for Gymboree. And, I was recently part of a Pilot Program with Hallmark Greetings, where I learned about card design and production. Over the last five years, I have created surface designs for fashion, home decor, greeting cards, and gift wrap as a Freelance Designer.

What influences your art the most?

It is many things at once. Nature, Performance Arts, Traditions and Rituals, Film, Vintage Fashion, History, Comedy, and much more inspire and impact the way I think and create.

What mediums do you use to create your art?

Digital programs, gouache, watercolor, ink, marker, and color pencil. Client work is predominantly digital for speed and easy editing. Traditional mediums are how I explore my visual language and shorthand.

Do you work with a licensing agent or do you approach companies on your own?

I am represented by Spinning Yarn Agency. I also reach out to companies on my own when I see submissions are open.

You have the opportunity to work with some big clients, like Hallmark and Crate & Barrel. What was it like creating artwork for such large companies?

With big companies, you have to let go of full control. The design period is short, you are not necessarily part of every decision, and the production lead times are long. Sometimes designs do not make it to the end. Sometimes they come out amazing. It is always fun to see the final product.

You also do editorial illustrations. How do you go about submitting artwork to magazine and book editors?

Cold emails, live event interactions, taking courses, personal projects/development, submission callouts, and my wonderful agents. I also spend time at the library and book shops reading publications and admiring well-done articles. This helps me target the right people and publications for my goals.

What has been your favorite collaboration to date, and why?

Just one?! Some of my favorite collaborations are not only about the artwork. They are also about aligning values.

In terms of surface design, several of the World Market collections top the list. I have an easy rapport with the Art Director and there are a lot of Midcentury/vintage influences in the work. Another would be making artwork for Hallmark's 'Tree of Life' collection. I am Jewish and it was a meaningful experience connecting my own traditions to the product.

What's next for you in your artistic endeavors? Are there any other companies or designers you would like to collaborate with?

Artistically, I am always working on refining my visual voice. I am also interested in teaching opportunities. I would like to collaborate with, or include more, performing arts in my work. I am open to anything from merch, advertising, editorial, or publications about dance, theatre, live music, etc...

I would also really like to collaborate with more eco-conscious brands and organizations, especially within the retail space.


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