Kristen Solecki is a freelance illustrator based in Durham, North Carolina, who is always on the lookout for clients that use illustration in new and unique ways. And since earning her degree in illustration from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, her one-of-a-kind art style has excelled in finding equally individual homes.
Having worked for various clients, including covers for young adult books, illustrations for magazines, murals for online retailers and even wallpaper for her own studio, Kristen also exhibits her art in galleries around the country. Not content with these fantastic achievements, she also teaches workshops and curates exhibitions.
Working primarily with collage, ink and gouache, Kristen's style is one that continues to evolve and develop over time. And regardless of which unusual location they may end up in, all of her ideas start in her sketchbooks. She says this is because they are the perfect place to track what inspires her and what she is interested in.
"I collect found photos and books and go to the library for inspiration for upcoming pieces," she tells Creative Boom. "When you develop ideas for work this way, it's easier to share your own voice rather than searching for images online and getting the same things everyone else is."
Once she has scoured these resources for inspiration and settled on something she wants to explore, Kristen finds that this helps dictate the colours and mediums she intends to use in the related piece. "I hand paint most of my papers and cut them out into irregular shapes, which also assembles the stories in my work," she adds.
This method of paper preparation particularly appeals to Kristen because she is attracted to materials that are flexible. This extends to how they can be used, which in turn creates interesting effects seeing as mediums can be applied to them in more than one way.
If echoes of Kristen's work seem familiar, that could be because she loves the artwork of contemporary artist Margaret Kilgallen and American cartoonist Lynda Barry. "Besides their artwork, the stories and processes behind their projects are most inspiring," Kristen explains.