“A lot of my personal aesthetics are inspired by the 60s and 70s, and so is my art. I love the colors, style, and fluidity of lines expressed in that era of art.”
Callie Clinch is a sophomore majoring in graphic design at UIUC. She is a multiplatform visual artist with an emphasis on painting and digital art. As an independent artist, she has participated as a selected artist in Champaign’s “8 To Create” event, and she creates items such as stickers and phone cases on Redbubble and Society6. Inspired by all things vintage and surreal, Callie has branched out into new pathways of creation during the school year.
You mentioned at “8 to Create” that your art has been developing since quarantine began. How were you able to find inspiration during that time, and what about this time that has been positive and negative in terms of creating?
Callie: I think my biggest inspiration was the amount of time it allowed me to create; I needed a creative outlet as I was stuck indoors. All that time allowed me to look and reflect on my work. At the time, I was taking some classes that challenged my creativity and brought me new media opportunities to work with. I felt like I couldn’t get that time or mindset back, but it made me seek out other challenges with my artwork, such as taking on commission work as a part-time job.
Since you are a UIUC graphic design student, how have classes changed since moving to an online platform? What do you think can be done to better accommodate artists and designers who are completing courses online?
Callie: My classwork changed a lot when we first transitioned to online platforms. I was still in my freshman year studio courses that had me working in university jewelry studios and with video equipment, which were no longer accessible for me. Over time I’ve gotten used to working with what I have, but moving online has destroyed my laptop through constant use and software requirements for my classes—so much that I’ve had to drop courses because my laptop couldn’t handle the software. As a graphic design major at UIUC, it’s almost expected that I have a MacBook, and shortcuts for other computers aren’t taught as often. I think that offering MacBooks through the Technology Program would help accommodate artists and designers with their online courses.
You describe your work as “vintage, funky, and surreal.” Where did you find the inspiration for this genre, and what keeps you interested in these types of themes?
Callie: A lot of my personal aesthetics are inspired by the 60s and 70s, and so is my art. I love the colors, style, and fluidity of lines expressed in that era of art. I find a lot of inspiration through band posters like Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, and The Grateful Dead, and I like to surround myself with them. Listening to rock music from them continues to inspire me to create art. The genre paints a picture in my mind and I almost always visualize it in the 70s vintage band poster style.
What has your experience been selling work on Redbubble and Society6?
Callie: I’ve had a good experience so far selling my designs on Redbubble and Society6. Although I usually produce and market my own stickers and prints separately before uploading them on there, I like how they are available to anyone. I recommend these sites for anyone who doesn’t have the time to be producing products, shipping them, or just as a starting point.
In one of your digital pieces, you write that “I’m still working on my style, but my path is shown by my work.” What does this mean to you, and what has your journey been in trying to solidify a style and experimenting with different ideas?
Callie: Over time, I can see commonalities between my work such as color combos, symmetry, and line work. But I notice my concepts becoming more complex and refined. However, that path hasn’t been smooth, and I almost feel a disconnect from the pieces that deterred this path. I can see the struggles in my art along with successes. Trying to solidify a style has been difficult, especially across all mediums but I think using complementary color combos and repeated symbols has really helped me along the way and created something recognizable as my own.