Today’s post is all about vinyl wall decals. Now this is a slightly controversial issue for me because I really like the idea of wall decals but I rarely find any that I would be happy to use in my own home. The reason I like the idea is that they are very versatile and allow you to add a bit of character to your home in a temporary way. They can be used by renters and people who are not able to decorate in a more permanent way as well as by homeowners and some of them can be repositioned. The issue I have though is that I rarely like the designs that they come in. So when I received a press release from Vinyl Impression I wasn’t expecting to see anything particularly original and I almost hit delete. But I’m very glad that I didn’t or I would never have discovered their uniquely designed products from The Joy Press.
The Joy Press is a printmaking business run by Sussex-based artist and designer Kat Gunter. Kat hand draws all of the Joy Press designs that feature in the Vinyl Impression portfolio. There are some really lovely designs that caught my eye and that I would be extremely happy to have up in my home. So I wanted to find out more about The Joy Press and the work that Kat does for Vinyl Impression. Luckily, she agreed to answer a few of my questions.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I live in Sussex with my husband, we recently bought our first home and we’ve enjoyed spending the year making it look lovely! I love to cycle, knit, garden, do voluntary youth work and all kinds of creative things in my spare time.
What is your background? What did you study?
I spent from the age of 16 to 21 in an art studio, making the most of art college and my degree at the University of Leeds where I studied Textiles. Following this I took a step out into the wider world and worked as a youth worker and learning mentor for a few years as I tried to figure out how I would apply my art. Over this time I kept up my own art practice, attending life drawing sessions, drawing and painting with a group of artists and attending printmaking lessons. It wasn’t until last year that I decided it was time to have a go at using my creative skills commercially, launching The Joy Press.
How did you first get interested in design?
I worked in an interior design showroom as my Saturday job when I was 15. The fabrics and wallpapers were beautifully designed and I loved working with customers to put different colours and prints together to come up with room themes. I guess that’s where it all started!
You left your job in a school in September 2013 to pursue your dream of printmaking, designing and illustrating for a living. How are things going?
Slowly but well. I’m only working part time on my art currently so it’s taking longer than I had hoped to get the business going, however I love it! I have never been happier. Doing what you love means that you never get that Monday morning feeling and every day is different and fun. I have taken lots of commissions which seems to take up most of my time when I’m not at Vinyl Impression. I love the extra challenge commissions bring but I’m looking forward to a quieter season where I can build up some more stock designs and devote myself to some more marketing.
How did you get involved with Vinyl Impression?
Ed, Nate and I have been friends for a number of years. I loved hearing about what Ed was doing and was a supporter from the start. Ed asked me to do some designs for them but I was hesitant as I knew I wanted to be doing hands on printmaking and illustration and not all computer-based graphics. When I left my full-time job I did some designs to print on my Gocco printer and Ed asked to make them into wall stickers. I was hooked!
Where else can we see your work?
Currently only with Vinyl Impression and on my website www.thejoypress.co.uk and in various local exhibitions. I hope to be developing it all over the coming year so hopefully it will be appearing elsewhere before too long!
Where do you get your inspiration?
Everywhere! I love patterns and repeating elements, so nature often provides a lots of inspiration. I find that ideas come when I’m more relaxed so holidays always inspire me and of course, going to galleries and looking on Pinterest, Etsy and Instagram. Then, when all this is done, sitting at my desk and drawing, redrawing, scanning in and editing, then printing off and redrawing.
Can you describe your creative process?
It varies, but it always starts with a sketch, no matter whether the design is going to be a computer illustration or linocut.
What is your favourite bit of kit?
Fine liners, a scanner and my iMac!
Any exciting plans for the future?
Yes, I’m saving for a printing press of my own so I can produce print runs faster and then I hope to launch The Joy Press on Etsy at the end of the year so that the world can buy not only The Joy Press wall graphics but hand-printed illustrations too.