Featured Member – April 2016
What is your background as an artist and what led you to surface pattern design?
I have been creating art for as long as I can remember! I started college as an art major but as soon as I discovered there was a program for textile design I made the switch, then continued to study it for 3 years after undergrad. I loved that I could create beautiful artwork that could be applied to everyday objects or stand alone - it made art more accessible and practical to me.
How would you define your style?
I tend to focus on hand sketching and painting paired with computer manipulation, but I love using a variety of media. I aim to be a versatile designer in both technique and artistic style and enjoy creating designs as diverse as the sources of inspiration from which they come. One day I may work on a traditional floral motif and the next it could be a modern take on an ethnic print. Ultimately, my prints tend to be modern, colorful and painterly - and, I hope, fun.
What was your first job doing surface pattern design and how did you get it?
I got a job with Abercrombie & Fitch on their womens and girls CAD team when I was just out of grad school. They had done a recruiting presentation at my school and I completed an application project - a few months later a recruiter called me and asked if I'd like to freelance with them and it turned into a 4+ year full time gig. I gained a lot of valuable experience, learned a ton about textile design and the fashion/retail industry, and worked with a lot of great people.
Where do you look for inspiration?
I try to find inspiration in my surroundings constantly and take pictures of interesting color, texture, motifs etc. then create sketches or paintings based on them. When my surroundings include my computer I love to check out a variety of websites, especially ones that offer a range of many talented artists, designers and makers curated into one spot - Design Sponge, Pattern Observer, Pattern Bank, Lonny, Rue, Matchbook Magazine, Domino Magazine and a range of other designers and retailers. And I can get lost in Pinterest for hours.
You can see more of Tressa's work on her website: www.tressaelgin.com.