With the holidays quickly approaching our kitchen accessories are getting a lot of attention! Afterall, what better gifts for others (and for yourself) than the whimsical and witty wordplay of the Kelly Collection? Chock-full of pop-culture puns, we had to know what inspired such a unique group of kitchen accessories, so we sat down with former intern and designer Kelly Stewart (M.A., illustration design, SCAD) to learn more.
WCS: Where are you from?
KS: I was born and raised in Gaithersburg, Maryland. In middle school my family and I moved to Germantown, just 5 minutes away.
WCS: Why did you choose to attend SCAD?
KS: Choosing to attend SCAD was a big decision for me. After graduating college with a degree in painting and drawing, I knew I wanted a career in a creative field, but what I wasn’t sure of was how to get one. After working a couple of retail jobs in stationery stores, I decided that I didn’t want to be selling other peoples designs, but that I wanted my designs on those shelves. I knew I needed to make a change. That’s when I started looking at SCAD. I was so impressed with SCAD’s emphasis on helping students actually find jobs in their desired field, that it seemed like it was exactly what I needed. Employer visits, a huge career fair, visiting artists, and opportunities like Working Class Studio and sponsored classes, were some other perks, to name a few. When I visited the campus before I even got accepted, I saw a flyer for Working Class Studio and I knew then that I wanted to be an intern! Once I got accepted into SCAD I had just a little over a month to move to Savannah. It was a really exciting time, and the best decision I’ve ever made.
WCS: What do you enjoy most about Illustration? (What is your favorite subject matter? what inspires your personal work?)
KS: What I enjoy about illustration is that it allows me to capture things that inspire me. I like drawing objects from life and giving them personality that otherwise can’t be captured with a photograph. I tend to draw things that are around me that make me happy or remind me of a specific time, whether it’s my dog, a new outfit, food, or something as simple as a new pencil. I also enjoy illustrating lists, or collections of things, like my pet peeves, or the ingredients for a recipe. Everyday items, fashion, and humor all influence my work. I also look to artists and designers like Kate Bingaman-Burt, Julia Rothman, Katie Evans, and Claudia Pearson for inspiration.
WCS: What inspired you to create your designs for the collection?
KS: What inspired me to design the collection was the idea of taking traditional kitchen items, and giving them a personality by adding some unexpected humor. I pulled popular lyrics from hip-hop songs, and quotes from movies, and related them to food. I also scoured my kitchen looking for food or items that I could turn into a pun. My goal was to attract the customer first with the cheerful illustrations, and then make them laugh when they looked a little closer and read the words.
WCS: What was your favorite aspect of the internship at Working Class Studio?
KS: My favorite aspect of Working Class Studio was the people I met and got to work with. It was so great to work with students from different majors and receive feedback from people that otherwise I never would have met. My co-interns and my supervising professor taught me so much, not only about design but also about myself. It was also really neat to see the behind the scenes aspects of a design studio, from buyer, trend and competitor research, to marketing and selling the products. I’d say that Working Class Studio was a turning point for me, and without it, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
WCS: What are your current/future plans?
KS: I recently moved to Atlanta where I am a designer at a greeting card company. I’m learning the ins and outs of the stationery and giftwrap industry, and I’m no longer selling other peoples designs, but creating my own! I plan on learning and growing as much as possible here. Other goals of mine for the future are to continue growing my blog, and taking on more freelance work. One day I’d love to run my own stationery and paper-goods company.
WCS: Do you have any advice for future interns?
KS: My advice for future interns is to make the most of your time at Working Class Studio (and at SCAD). The more effort and hard work you put into your internship and your school experience, the more you will get out of it. I also encourage them to have fun and get to know the other interns. You will learn so much from them, and make some great memories at the same time!