Spoonflower Artist Spotlight: An Interview with Kate Rhees

OCT 9, 2020
Spoonflower Artist Spotlight: An Interview with Kate Rhees, Third-Place Winner of Your Artistic Voice | Spoonflower Blog

Behind every design on Spoonflower is an independent artist from around the world.

The Spoonflower tradition of Weekly Design Challenges had its start way back in 2010. Nearly every week since then, our community of artists, makers and all-around Spoonflower lovers have participated by submitting original designs and voting on their favorites. Together we hit a major milestone with our 500th challenge: Your Artistic Voice. With over 1200 designs entered, this was quite possibly our most popular design challenge to date. Today, we’re going behind the scenes with third-place winner Kate Rhees as she shares the process in which she created her winning design. Be sure to catch interviews with first- and second-place winners here and browse all Your Artistic Voice designs, including staff favorites, here.

— Meet the Artist —

Spoonflower Artist Spotlight: An Interview with Kate Rhees, Third-Place Winner of Your Artistic Voice | Spoonflower Blog

Kate Rhees

Location: United States

IG Handle: @KateRhees

List three fun facts about yourself:
I went skydiving on a split-second decision for my 30th birthday. I hate socks! I avoid them at all costs. I got Bell’s Palsy (temporary paralyzation of the left side of my face) in college; I was the favorite party trick for a few weeks.

What was your creative process like when designing for the 500th challenge?
I’m currently doing a 100 day “Bird Pattern” project on Instagram and decided to enter the birds that I thought best portrayed my style. I’ve illustrated my process below, I promise it took more time than it looks like!

Spoonflower Artist Spotlight: An Interview with Kate Rhees, Third-Place Winner of Your Artistic Voice | Spoonflower Blog
Spoonflower Artist Spotlight: An Interview with Kate Rhees, Third-Place Winner of Your Artistic Voice | Spoonflower Blog
Kate’s winning design, Peepers! and a peek into her studio below
Spoonflower Artist Spotlight: An Interview with Kate Rhees, Third-Place Winner of Your Artistic Voice | Spoonflower Blog

Any stumbling blocks you came across?
I really love clean and simple design, but for contests, I usually add a bit more pizazz. This time, I wanted to stay true to my style, so I had a hard time pushing the “Enter Challenge” button without adding more.

Which Weekly Design Challenge was your very first?
April 2014 in the Floral Coloring Book Wallpaper challenge. My design was Mod Doodle Blooms.

Spoonflower Artist Spotlight: An Interview with Kate Rhees, Third-Place Winner of Your Artistic Voice | Spoonflower Blog
Photo by @jessiebangarang

What motivates you to participate in these challenges?
I don’t have any formal art training, so I assign Spoonflower contests as my weekly “homework” to develop my skills.

Share your secrets to success in relation to design challenges:
I compare my art to that of my design heroes. I ask myself what my art is missing.

Spoonflower Artist Spotlight: An Interview with Kate Rhees, Third-Place Winner of Your Artistic Voice | Spoonflower Blog
Spoonflower Artist Spotlight: An Interview with Kate Rhees, Third-Place Winner of Your Artistic Voice | Spoonflower Blog
Spoonflower Artist Spotlight: An Interview with Kate Rhees, Third-Place Winner of Your Artistic Voice | Spoonflower Blog
Spoonflower Artist Spotlight: An Interview with Kate Rhees, Third-Place Winner of Your Artistic Voice | Spoonflower Blog

Featured designs: Never Too Many Cats, Bauhaus Records, Retro Roller Skates, Happy Snails – Pink

Products from left to right by @idalovesdress_handmade, @alexandrabrinck, @upperlooper, @curiousjoeclothing


If you could collaborate with any person or brand, who would it be?
Crate and Barrel or Pyrex! I also would love to see my art on a great reusable bag like Baggu, or Love Bags.

What have you learned that has positively impacted your career?
The art I make for me is the art that sells.

Spoonflower Artist Spotlight: An Interview with Kate Rhees, Third-Place Winner of Your Artistic Voice | Spoonflower Blog
Mod Scandinavian Garden | Product by @robotbunnies

Do you have any creative goals for 2021?
Make art every day!

Anything else you’d like to share?
Spoonflower is where I got my start, and how I met many of my best friends, it will always be my home.

Spoonflower Artist Spotlight: An Interview with Kate Rhees, Third-Place Winner of Your Artistic Voice | Spoonflower Blog
Fishing collection | Product by @peapodandnate
Spoonflower Artist Spotlight: An Interview with Kate Rhees, Third-Place Winner of Your Artistic Voice | Spoonflower Blog
Skate Envy | Product by @moederfox

Inspired by what you see? Don’t miss your chance to participate in the Weekly Design Challenges, or, for more behind-the-scenes stories meet more Spoonflower artists here.

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