Vendor Feature: Chalk Artistry & Design
I am so excited to be sharing another Vendor Feature on the blog today! If you haven’t seen them before I usually feature a vendor at least once a month that is one of my favorite people in the industry in their field and have worked extensively with them previously. And I HIGHLY recommend these amazing vendors!
Today I am featuring one of my favorite Seattle & Tacoma based artist, Chalk Artistry & Design. I have known Dominique since middle school and it has been amazing to see her passion grow into an amazing business. She does custom hand lettering signs for weddings & events specializing in chalk signs. I have had the privilege of getting to work with her on several occasions for some of the styled shoots that I put together and I highly recommend her to create signs to top off the design of your event!
Check out an interview with her below to learn more about what she does!
How long have you been in business?
Officially, I have been in business as Chalk Artistry & Design for three years. But unofficially (without the title) I have been in business hand lettering since my sister’s wedding in 2011.
Where are you located?
I am currently located in Federal Way, Washington.
How did your business get started?
When I worked at Starbucks during college, I would hand letter and design the chalkboards in my home store. The chalk ink responded like watercolor, which is my favorite art medium, and I grew to love it. I decided to purchase and take home a few chalk pens of my own. I begin writing and designing, mostly encouragement and home décor for family and friends. My sister’s wedding in 2011 was when I rediscovered a whole new world of wedding calligraphy and signage as a way of communicating ideas, brightening the atmosphere, and cutting costs without sacrificing the beauty of that one special day.
Who is your ideal client?
Ohh my goodness! I feel like this one is hard to answer! It really depends on the situation, the individual, and the lettering in question, haha! Ideally, I love when clients come to me loaded with just the phrase or idea of a phrase, a color or two they like best, and a rough idea of the type of design they’d like to see in the overall piece. Sometimes art can be difficult to describe when you have it stuck in your head and have no easy way of drawing it out. Other times, that is the exact challenge I need to complete a certain piece of artwork. Both are so worth the effort! I just love to see how excited people get when their ideas are realized. It’s truly priceless!
Describe the process of what it looks like to work with you.
It’s always exciting for me when I’m asked to create a design for a client, no matter the occasion! I love how unique each person and perspective and how different everyone’s tastes in art are. After I find out what phrase or lettering is desired, I seek to understand what makes that person, company, or couple tick. The colors and font especially play into this mix. These together with the overall design can completely alter the feel of a piece of work. It’s amazing! Most of the time, it’s easy for people to decide on these options and the type of art medium they would like to see it in. Next I ask what type of design they would like. If it’s for a wedding, I ask to see a copy of the wedding invitation as well as bouquets and accents used in the ceremony and reception. If it’s for home decoration, I have them send me a few pictures of designs they have admired. Many times, these pictures have a number of similar features. Once I have these basic parameters, it’s easy to sketch a few different design options for review! And then the fun part – filling everything in, attaching a frame if desired, finalizing and sealing it, and delivery!
Who inspires you in your creations?
Although I’m always on the lookout for ideas, techniques, and challenges that will improve my lettering and art skills, I truly strive to make my own personal style and never copy someone else’s hard work. I follow a few very skilled artists and calligraphers who are advanced in their skill and experience. Their work is both awe-inspiring and delightful! Particularly to note: Master Penmen Jake Weidmann and Michael Sull. What inspires my art most is nature, patterns I see in the ocean, color gradient in the sky, the way the light filters through leaves and how flowers bend toward the sun. I love details and have made it my practice to notice and attempt to highlight them when they are significant.
What is the biggest trent you are seeing in custom chalk art?
Recently, I have seen a greater uptick in chalk art with customized lettering at department stores. It’s a
greater challenge for me to stay current and continually hone my skill. In doing so, I have become aware of some changes in the lettering game. More brides are looking for a type of lettering that will compliment and not overshadow their wedding. They are also looking for new surfaces to write on. Mirrors are the new chalkboards, open glass frames also provide a similar surface to work on. I have done both and enjoy them equally! Chalkboards may not be for everyone, but lettering is.
What do you tell brides trying to save money by doing their own artwork?
I usually tell brides that I wish I hadn’t been so much of a spend thrift at my own wedding. The money they save doesn’t equate to time they could be spending enjoying friends and family. Sometimes the chalkboards and lettering are the last things on our minds, though words have the power to communicate everything necessary on the big day. The last minute trips to the store for supplies, late night Pinterest binges to find the perfect wording or layout or design that fits with your wedding, buying the right pens, figuring out how to write a straight line, spacing between letters and words…all of this and more can be avoided by hiring on a professional. There are some brides who can handle this type of stress, but brides who are attempting to save money by doing their own artwork will find that lettering is not an overnight success story waiting to happen. It takes a trained eye and hand, a good grasp of calligraphy, and planning to letter and design a chalkboard or other surface. I’m not saying it is impossible, just that it takes much longer and creates stress where stress could be avoided. What makes this process so unique and fun is that many brides who bring me their chalkboards find that they wish to use the artwork I’ve made to decorate their homes, long after their weddings have come and gone.
What is your favorite part of your business?
One of my most favorite things about my business is the added blessing of being able to take the skills I’m learning in other art mediums and apply them practically. I consider myself to be on a journey of continued improvements and alterations. Another favorite is the genuine delight of customers when they get to see the final draft of the art they have commissioned. It’s like Christmas for me! I love the challenge of matching new and different designs to personalities and ideas. It’s such a joy!
Why makes your services unique?
There is something extra special about a business that has a vested interest in you as an individual, values your input, and seeks to create something that best represents you in the process. At Chalk Artistry & Design, I offer a unique combination of customer service and lettering unmatched in the Pacific Northwest.
Who are some of your favorite vendors?
Some of my favorite vendors: Versa Chalk and Chalk Ink for their muted tones, Crafty Croc for vibrant colors, and all three for their true-chalk feel. I also admire Winsor & Newton for beautiful watercolor paint and Paper and Ink Arts out of Nashville TN for everything calligraphy (nibs and ink, pens, and practice paper pads).
Where do you see your business going in the next 5 years?
Though some goals may change, in the next five years I am seeking to continue expanding Chalk Artistry & Design into graphic design. I envision opening up my own selling marketplace in connection with my website. As I do not desire to stay put in the mode I currently am in, I hope to challenge and grow and change in order to perfect and increase my skills in lettering. One lifelong goal I have is to pursue the route of Master Penman. This is maybe not in the five-year plan, though! Haha.