Meet the Designer: Tina Vey of ottomanbrim

JUL 16, 2018
Dots on Tables by ottomanbrim

For this week’s Meet the Designer spotlight, you could say a future in design was in the cards for her. Growing up with a painter/sculptor for a mother and a photographer for a father, Tina Vey knew at a young age that art was the answer for her. Joining us from Amherst, MA after spending most of her adult life in a fast-paced New York City, we can’t wait for you to get a peek into the inspiration behind the artist we’ve come to know and love, ottomanbrim

My day starts with…

“A large glass of celery juice then prepping lots of fruit for the first half of the day before I start to work. After years of eating junk food, I now follow a whole foods plant-based diet (Anthony William’s protocol) and feel so much better.”

I fell in love with design when…

“I was a child. I grew up believing I had to be an artist. My mother was a painter and a welder and my father was a photographer. I was always painting and drawing as a kid and much preferred that to the obligatory piano lessons. When I saw my first Vera (Neumann) scarf, I knew textile design was the direction I’d ultimately go in. I remember saying, “I want to be the next Vera.” Although there were many twists and turns in my career, I’m finally doing what I love full time.”

ottomanbrim’s Grey Cat on a Moneta Dress from Sprout Patterns | Ginkgo Bilboa by origami_fox |  Radio on a Windowsill by Spellstone

What’s in your toolbox?

“I love Illustrator! I also sketch with pencil on paper, cut lino blocks and cut paper because I love the spontaneity of the cut shapes.”

Clear Cut Flowers by ottomanbrim

What is your process when creating a new design?

“Most of the time I jump right into Illustrator adding textures as I go. I am so thrilled to create art without all the mess. I am really fascinated with trying to duplicate a handmade feel in a vector program using all the textures I’ve created over the years. I still draw with the mouse! I tile everything in Photoshop endlessly to make sure the repeat flows really well. I’m always trying to achieve something that appears simple and fresh although I have worked on it for many hours, often many days.”

When I’m in my studio, I feel…

“So lucky to be able to have the time to do what I love. I divide my time between scanning and Photoshopping the work of my husband, cartoonist P.C. Vey, and working on my own designs.”

Who or what influences or inspires your work and why?

I love the Polish posters of the ’40s and ’50s, Cecil Touchon for his strong shapes and collages, Robert Motherwell for his simple gestural black and white images, and Matisse, Stuart Davis and Fernand Leger for their bold shapes and colors. And, I always find comfort and inspiration living with the work of my mother, Jo Kord and my father in law, J. Forest Vey.

If I could live in a painting, I would live in…

“A poster, “Zakochani Z Villa Borghese” (It Happened in the Park) by Waldemar Swierzy, 1956. I love quite a few posters from this period but this is my favorite for its deceptive simplicity and use of color.”

Zakochani Z Villa Borghese by Waldemar Swierzy – Photo via cinemaposter

What piece of your wardrobe best represents your style?

“I love sculptural clothing with volume. I wore a lot of Romeo Gigli in the ’90s from Loehmann’s and now I would love something by Delpozo but I’m not so sure I could find something in my price range.”

Shop Strainer Mandala at digee pop

I’d love to see one of my designs turned into…

“Fabric used for one of Christo’s art projects.”

The secret to a strong collection is…

“I’ve been told it’s unity of style and color and diversification in size, usually with one main pattern and supporting coordinates. I don’t always do that though. I love the freedom of breaking those rules and combining bold mismatched patterns in my African collections.”

Crossing African and Mahiri African Floral on Roostery

My mantra is …

“Serenity now. I love the Seinfeld “Serenity Now” episode. Whenever I have too many ideas running through my head or a design is looking too cluttered I repeat, “serenity now.”

What drew you to Spoonflower?

“I was searching for a company that would print fabric with my designs as I initially tried doing it with my own inkjet printer and the results were less than stellar. I was thrilled when I found Spoonflower and am still so happy to be adding designs to my shop.”

Fun and fancy zipper pouches featuring Blue Birds by ottomanbrim | Featured designs

For someone new to trying the design challenge, what advice would you give them?

“I would encourage every designer to work tirelessly to design something they love. I would also encourage them to favorite and comment on other designers’ designs. The sense of community at Spoonflower has been so important to me and I’ve made a lot of lasting friendships.

From wallpaper to apparel, Tina’s designs are perfect for adding a bold pop of color to your life. Shop her curated collections to get a head start on a mix-and-match palette! 

Tina Vey, better known as ottomanbrim, is fascinated by simple shapes, texture and color. Her early work was cut paper illustration for various clients including The New York Times. But her true love has always been pattern design and she is thrilled to be currently working as a surface pattern designer. She is always exploring ways to combine old techniques with digital technology to create a fresh modern look. Tina works side-by-side with her husband, cartoonist P.C. Vey. You can keep up with what she’s doing on Instagram @ottomanbrimdesigns.

The sense of community at Spoonflower has been so important for Tina and has introduced her to lasting friendships like the one she has with the talented designer Pat Donovan (aka chickoteria). Pat helped Tina with her headshot. These friendships mean so much to Tina.

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  • Gillian Steedman

    So pleased to see the spotlight on Tina, aka Ottomanbrim! I love her work and so look forward to seeing what’s new as well. Cheers to you Tina!

  • Tina, love your designs, the simplicity has vitality ! Thank you for sharing your designs and your life as a designer.
    Much appreciated!!

  • Thank you for this profile. I’ve always found Tina’s work inspiring and I love to hear the inspiration behind it 🙂

  • Irina Radtke

    Thank you for the interview! I’m an admirer of Tina’s designs. Her style always shines out in the competitions. And Sara is right, she has always nice words for other designers in her comments!

  • Tina´s designs are lovely, I like the bold shapes, the colours and the textures a lot. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and giving insight in your work!

  • Yay! I love Tina’s designs! Plus, she’s always leaving nice comments for other designers. Thanks for sharing more about yourself, Tina!

  • Beverly Watkins

    I absolutely adore Tina’s designs. As a semi-retired graphic designer and fairly new to surface pattern design, she is truly an inspiration.

  • Fabulous profile and nice to put a face to the name 🙂 NB typo in heading (and thus the link) says ‘Tiny’ not ‘Tina’. Oops! The community spirit here is certainly one of Spoonflower’s strengths with the general air of helpfulness and kindness to one another.

    • Hi Faith,
      Oops! Thanks so much for letting us know. We love how Tina has found made so many lasting friendships from the Spoonflower community.

  • Abstracthands

    A wonderful and inspirational profile. Tina’s unique talent always comes through on her magical designs and reading about how she journeys through her thought process while trying to create, was music to my ears! Tina also brought in to focus how important the Spoonflower commmunity is to her and her fellow ‘spooners ‘. Lovely profile.

  • Prisilla Cope

    What a great article on a talented artist! I appreciate the added encouragement, as I have yet to begin uploading any designs. Thank you Spoonflower. <3 XD

  • What a nice entry on Tina aka Ottomanbrim! It’s always so interesting to learn a little more about a top designer’s influences, career trajectory, and also – advice for budding surface designers! Many great pictures too, and so lovely to share the shout outs to other designers, product-makers and the Spoonflower community – an undervalued resource & a truly unique venue for support, encouragement & motivation. xxx