This week we got to talking to Venezuelan born artist and designer Christina Veit, also known as Friztin, who is known for her eye catching patterns and textiles. We talked about her artistic beginnings in Venezuela, her inspirations, and why she plans on one day starting her own line of home products.
POW: First, tell us a little bit more about yourself and your artistic beginnings.
Friztin: My name is Christina Veit. I was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela, to Venezuelan and German parents. I grew up in a mid-century modern house. It had a large yard and lots of trees, in which I used to build several tree houses over the years, of course!
I have been drawing for as long as I can remember, and spent countless hours playing with glue, paper clips, scissors, paint, markers and lots of molding clay. As a child, my parents signed me up for classes such as drawing, ceramics, music and even some ballet, though I must admit that did not last long, as I am not much of a dancer.
There are quite a few artists and musicians in my family. They say it runs in our veins, but I really believe that practice makes perfect. When I was little, one of my aunts noticed my interest in the arts. She taught me how to draw proportionally using a grid and negative space, old school lettering techniques, as well as how to read music and use the sewing machine. For my eleventh birthday, my parents got me a small 110 camera, with which I began to experiment with photography.
In school, I was always asked to help teachers out with murals, bulletin boards, and crafty event decorations. Art class was my favorite, as well as technical drawing in high school. My art teacher advised me to pursue a career in graphic design, which at the time I had never even heard of.
I followed her advice and enrolled in art school with the idea of becoming a graphic designer. Right after classes started, I discovered illustration and decided to pursue it as a career instead; I was captivated by the level of detail I saw in other students’ artwork, displayed at the school's gallery. I felt this career would be more challenging and fulfilling for me than graphic design; plus you would also be qualified to work as a graphic designer after graduating. That's exactly what happened: I was hired as a designer at various agencies in Caracas and the USA over the first years. This is how I gained knowledge and experience in the print and web fields.
There came a turning point in my career when I landed a big illustration project, and ever since then, I have been working mainly as an illustrator, as well as designing and doing freelance art/creative direction for web and print projects.
Bunny with Chicks by Friztin
POW: I recently found some of your designs on Spoonflower. I love the mixture of patterns that you've been able to conjure up. How do you go about creating them?
Friztin: Thank you! I love pattern. I find it everywhere I look, and it can be overwhelming. I want to capture it all! Everything you see has structure and composition, and I have learned to recognize and appreciate this, and translate it into graphics.
When designing, sometimes I develop the idea on paper first. Most of the time, I actually create a mental image, or formulate the general idea in my head. That is the tricky part. Then, I put the design together in digital form, with either Illustrator or Photoshop. Sometimes the result is completely different from what I originally intended to create, but I keep the ideas flowing (unless it is custom work for a client, in which case I always make sure to cater to their needs and expectations).
Other times, while experimenting with colors and shapes, I spontaneously come up with a few completely different design ideas, or new elements that I like, so I save them to incorporate them into new projects later on.
POW: What are your biggest inspirations, both artistic and personal?
Friztin: Inspiration comes to me in all forms: I am inspired by reflections and shadows, typography, architecture, music, people, nature, windows, views, the outdoors, food and smells. I enjoy staring at textured surfaces (like popcorn ceilings, vegetation, rocks, wood, clouds, etc.), and finding figures in them.
The past is an inspiration for me: I admire the boldness, minimalism and perfection of retro-German design, Bauhaus, modernism, mid-century style, old cartoons and vintage Scandinavian styles. At the same time, I would say the future also inspires me: creating new concepts, planning a design, implementing it, and then seeing the finished product. But most of all, the sense of achievement is what drives me, both personally and professionally.
Forest Wood by Friztin
POW: Besides illustration, you also practice design and photography. With the ability to work with such a wide range of mediums, which would you say is your favorite and why?
Friztin: Illustration is definitely my favorite, even though I worked exclusively as a web and graphic designer for about ten years straight.
Photography was one of my favorite classes in art school. I was able to hide in the lab and develop my own negatives and photos, taken with my father's old 35 mm camera. I enjoy photography in my spare time, and oftentimes, I travel with my camera bag and tripod to capture my view of the world in images.
These are not the only mediums I play with, though; I like working with different materials and I always try my best to perfect the techniques I learn, so I can experiment with them. Lately, I have been working collaboratively with some artist friends, with materials such as concrete, house plants and moss. I have also worked with sugar paste and fondant to make custom cakes.
A few years into my career, I decided to take a break from design and started working for my sister-in-law at her gourmet chocolate shop. While there, I had the opportunity to handcraft yummy artisan chocolates, but also helped with package design, store displays, product presentation and even had my artwork printed on a chocolate bonbon collection, with vegetable based inks. Design kept calling for me, so I began working for clients again after about six months.
Bike Red by Friztin
POW: Where do you see yourself as an artist in 10 years?
Friztin: I would like to have my own line of quality and functional home products, and to collaborate with an awesome team in creating original designs for a discerning consumer. I want to further develop my brand and identity, and license my artwork in order to break into the growing lifestyle market. I am still exploring a lot of different areas, and may expand into one or more of these in the future.
POW: I stumbled upon your Facebook and saw that you also have your illustrations transposed onto items such as coffee mugs and bed sheets. Which print would you say is the most popular in your home decor line?
Friztin: I would say the most popular are "winter forest", my "bikes" (also available at POW), and the latest retro-style patterns I have created, incorporating modern, simple design, minimalism and clean geometric lines.
For more information on Friztin, please visit: http://friztin.com/