Today we’d like to introduce you to Kat French.
Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I grew up around art (my mother is an artist) and always enjoyed drawing at a young age, but I didn’t become engrossed with it until my early 20’s after graduating college. I began to draw as a creative outlet and quickly realized that I wanted to pursue art and design rather than the career I was already in. This led me back to college to study graphic design and I immediately knew I was home.
While still in school I became an in-house graphic designer and video producer in my California hometown. Two years later I moved to the Dallas area with my husband and began my business as a freelance designer. My business began to grow, but so did my family as we welcomed our first child two years later. I spent a few more years designing for clients around my son’s schedule, but began to have the urge to design for myself instead.
So, in 2015 I shifted my business from freelance design to a product-based business featuring a small line of paper goods that boasted really weird and funny greeting cards, art prints, notepads and more. I first began selling my cards on Etsy and have been illustrating new products ever since. I’m so fortunate to be carried in locally owned brick & mortar shops across the country. It has been so great to build on a community of other small business owners and creatives both locally and nationally.
This past spring, I had the honor of joining with 10 other local makers to open a shop in the Bishop Arts District here in Dallas. The Mosaic Makers Collective features work designed and made by local artists. I am amazed at how my business finds new opportunities to grow each year and how my artwork kind of evolves around each new season within that.
Please tell us about your art.
I think the main motivation behind my work is to create products that bring joy and connection between people. Many of my products feature odd little animals or whack loose lettering and I think that goes back to the type of drawing I did in my childhood. I don’t take my work too seriously and I just create what makes me happy.
All of my greeting cards begin with hand-drawn illustrations that I then bring into my computer and complete with digital illustration. It has taken a few years to really hone in on my own creative process as I didn’t do too much illustration by hand as a graphic designer, but it has really become a natural part of my design flow.
I try to create pieces that express a sense of joy and optimism. One of my favorite things is being at a craft show and seeing someone quietly read one of my cards and then start laughing out loud. We need that in our lives and I think bringing that to people are my overall goal.
Do you have any advice for other artists? Any lessons you wished you learned earlier?
I always encourage other artists who are developing a product-based business to find their own voice. It takes time and it takes creating (lots of creating) to do that. Go for it and make stuff – some of it will get tossed, but eventually you’ll find yourself sliding into your own creative zone and creating art that comes from you rather than from trends that others have already made.
How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
Locally my work can be found at Mosaic Makers Collective in Bishop Arts as well as at The DIME Store in Denton. Also, you can follow my Instagram or shop on my website. I will also be selling at the Etsy Dallas Jingle Bash on November 10th this fall.
Some images credit to Lindsey Miller Photography.