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Chelsea Stephen

Posted 12.07.18

Chelsea is an illustrator, designer, maker, doodler, a joker and general adrenaline junkie. When she’s not creating are work she’s either shredding waves, pavement, or snow. Its not unlikely that you’d find her living out of her converted ambulance down by the river/ocean/lake/mountainside with her two ridiculous dogs.

Her work has been featured on our Rhyme & Reason, and now Apple & Cherry Cider.

Becoming an artist was a kind of quarter life crisis, but lets call it an epiphany. I dropped out of getting my masters in science from Oregon State University and just jumped head first into a master in collaborative design at Pacific Northwest College of Art. It didn’t take me long to realize I just really loved illustration. I took a few illustration electives, and the rest was self-taught. Prior to all that I was just perpetually doodling in the margins of all my notebooks.

Who or what influences your art?

I am always inspired by conceptual editorial illustrators like Brad Holland, Brian Stauffer, Paul Blow, Sebastien Thibault and Melinda Beck to name a few. I sometimes stare at their websites just to shift my thinking when I’m feeling stuck. Stylistically I’m really inspired by the playful rawness and diversity of works by Brian Rae and Oliver Jeffers. And off in left field I’m absolutely in love with Miranda July who just creates non-stop. She inspires me to push the envelope and just make, try, evolve, explore and be vulnerable because my soul craves it. I am also just so inspired by my friends and community in Portland who continue to blow me away with their creativity, energy, and entrepreneurism. And well, lastly, a lot of my inspiration comes from my lifestyle as someone who travels and seeks experience through adrenaline fueled activities. Its sometimes hard to balance work and play. Thats probably been my greatest struggle, so I’ve started fusing them.

What is your creative process like?

I start with ideation, just free writing a lot of ideas on to paper. And then I take the most striking ideas and push them forward with sketches until I think I’ve landed on the most favourable composition. And then its all exploratory from there. I paint digitally, so I have the luxury of testing out color combinations and textures with layers, and if it goes horribly wrong I just undo or change it up! Sometimes that feels cheap, but most of the time I feel like I’m just playing my cards the best I can like anyone else.

Shop her work on Etsy

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