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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.