Friday, March 8, 2013

Favorite Friend Friday: Julianna Swaney

We have been huge fans of Portland-based artist, Julianna Swaney for years, and were thrilled to have her work in our shop. There were several months that we couldn't even keep her watercolor, gouache and pen illustrations in stock. Elegant and delicate, her work is reminiscent of an eerie Red Riding Hood tale. Her products, sold under the name, "Oh My Cavalier," range from postcard sets to fun office accessories, prints and booklets.

This month, we're kicking off a brand new aspect of our Favorite Friend Features! Each week, our favorite friend will be curating a Pinterest Board for us: a sneak peek into their world. Visit Julianna's Guest Pinterest board, and follow her as well!

an interview with julianna swaney of oh my cavalier designer illustrator artist

People love your illustrations--Assemble couldn't keep enough of your prints in stock! Your work is so recognizable, yet each piece has so much personality. Where does your inspiration come from?
Oh gosh, I get inspiration from so many things! Of course a lot comes from remembering back to the fairy tales I loved growing up. I try to remember how they made me feel back then, and then try to make artwork that has that same feeling for me. More generally I just try to make things that I like, drawings that if I hadn’t made it myself and I saw it somewhere it would make me happy. I like old things, I like animals, I like houseplants, I like rainy days, I like stars & constellations, I like bread. All these things end up making their way into my drawings!

an interview with julianna swaney of oh my cavalier designer illustrator artist

You recently started creating logo/type illustrations for clients. (We ADORE it!) How did that work evolve?
Thanks! I think this new direction came about because I started including more hand drawn text in some of my artwork, and people really seemed to like it. I got a request from Sharon Montrose to do the hand-written text for her book, Menagerie, and after that I’ve been slowly getting more and more requests from people who want a hand drawn look for their logos. It’s really fun work and I’m enjoying it a lot, though sometimes I feel out of my depth. I had half a semester of graphic design in college, and I was soo bad at it, I switched right away to fine art printmaking! Everything I know how to do with a pen, Photoshop, or Illustrator I’ve taught myself so each new project is a bit of a learning process. I’m also trying to learn to stop apologizing about that. My path has just been a little different.

an interview with julianna swaney of oh my cavalier designer illustrator artist

You've been shifting your presence from "Oh my Cavalier" to "Julianna Swaney." Tell us about your decision to highlight your name more than your original blog title.
Well, my online and business presence has been linked with the name Oh My Cavalier ever since I started my Etsy Store way back in ’06. I just picked that because in college I had a zine by that name, and I liked it. When I picked that I never intended for people to solely know my work only from that name, but that was what ended up happening. I’d come across blogs where my artwork was credited to “Oh My Cavalier” like it was made by a company or something. I didn’t like that, I’d rather have my artwork associated with my real name, for obvious reasons. It’s been hard to know where to begin to change it though since over the years whenever I picked a username for any website to keep consistent I always chose Oh My Cavalier. It’s been a slow process of changing things over slowly and promoting myself more carefully. I think I’m finally making headway now.

an interview with julianna swaney of oh my cavalier designer illustrator artist

You seem to do it all -- original art shows, prints, stationery, an online shop, a gorgeous blog. What's next?
Actually my ultimate plan is to do less things! Lately I’ve been wanting to really focus on one of the things that I do, and to do it better. But that would mean not doing the others, which is a little scary. And I have a hard time picking which one thing I want to do!

If you could eat at only one local restaurant, which would it be? What would you order?
I love breakfast, so my favorite restaurant in Portland is probably Broder. I would order a baked scramble. They come in these adorable little skillets and served on a wooden tray, it’s all so nice, I could eat there every day.

Which famous person would you love to see own a piece of your artwork?
I have no idea! I can tell you at least one pretty famous person does own some of my artwork. (Editor's note: WHICH ONE?? Don't hold out on us, Julianna)

an interview with julianna swaney of oh my cavalier designer illustrator artist

If you could live in any other location, where would you choose?
In my wildest dream, somewhere in Europe or Japan.

What else do you do for fun?
I like to bake things, read, or go for walks in my free time.

Thank you, Julianna! See more of Julianna's work here, and click below to view Julianna's Guest Board.

Images courtesy of Julianna Swaney
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