Expat Annie Montgomery of MontgomeryFest finds that taking a nice white sheet of paper and ruining it gets her creative juices flowing. But as you’ll see, once she’s inspired, she turns out amazing designs that she hand draws.
Tell us about yourself!
I am originally from South Louisiana, USA. I moved to Dallas after college where I met my husband at an accounting firm where we both worked. We were itching to see another part of the world, so we moved to Brussels, Belgium for two years. We fell head over heels for Europe and even after a couple years trying out gorgeous San Francisco, we missed it enough to move back. This time, it was London that stole our hearts and we’re here to stay. Our family grew by one last year and we’re thinking she’ll one-up us with a British accent!
Tell us about the space where you do your work. Do you have an official studio or have your carved out a nook in your home?
My studio consists of a carved out section of our living room. We lucked out with our space here and what could have been an absurdly large living room is just enough for us to have a living, dining, and work space in one. On the desk, you’ll find piles of sketches and paintbrushes delicately balancing on jars. On the floor, you’ll find stickers, shakers, and anything I don’t mind being torn up by the little one to keep her creating like her mama.
What is your background in art/design? What got you started creating?
I mentioned that I met my husband at an accounting firm; my education background comes from the opposite side of the brain. When we moved to Brussels, I traded in my Excel spreadsheets for a travel blog. I was creating graphics to post my travel photos to Pinterest, which swerved my career down the art path. I began painting more and more. With all of our moves, it’s been exciting to see how my art has only flourished. Today, I spend my days balancing designing art prints and stationery and singing and playing with our little one-year-old who keeps me on my toes.
Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
I’m greatly influenced by our travels around the world. Particularly, London is such a melting pot of cultures and characters. You’ll find top hats next to rockers next to ball gowns and they all fit in here. It pushes me to develop the unexpected, to keep a whimsical thread in anything I create.
When do you feel most creative? Least?
Gosh, starting out of necessity is always daunting for me. If I have a project that I need to start, but haven’t picked up a brush in a while, it feels wobbly and I’m less likely to want to create. When I’m at that point, I’ll grab nice paper just for the sake of ruining it. No pressure, just getting that pretty white paper filled with paint or ink. It’s a snowball effect. The more I create, the more ideas I have to create, the more inspired I am to make ALL THE THINGS.
What are your favourite products to design on Zazzle?
I love creating party suites. I go into party planning mode and love envisioning how the invitations will work with the decor and the how the favours tie it all together. I love looking at a Collection page once it’s all done. I’m all things ‘children’s birthday’ right now as I’m planning for my little one’s first birthday. It’s opening up a whole new range for me. I’ve repurposed these invitations) into her birthday invitations and our guests are having so much fun opening their mail! I also love doing invitations. I get super into it and pretend they’re clients of mine. I’m designing for the couple who wants to amuse their guests from start to finish or the mum who loves a good aesthetic, but has a very particular seven-year-old who needs to have a really rad party of her own.
If you could wish for one new product on Zazzle, what would it be and why?
Options for thicker envelopes. For us paper lovers, we like options to have coordinating designs on our beautiful envelopes.
What was the very first Zazzle product that you sold?
I sold my hand-lettered ‘Merry & Bright’ holiday postcards to a friend of mine. I earned $4.75 and I probably did a little happy dance!
Do you have any advice for new Zazzle Designers?
Try out the unexpected. Zazzle customers will keep you on your toes with the products they choose. You never know!
Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about you?
You can find me at www.montgomeryfest.com and www.instagram.com/montgomeryfest. Come say hi!