We swoon over the creations of this Brooklyn-based artist

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We recently partnered with Prime support emerging artists and designers through a national design competition. Requirement ? Design a graphic for a new collection of Brit + Co and Bounty themed A Clean Fresh Start paper towels, launching this month. In this Creator Spotlight series, we feature the winners of this contest to learn more about their inspirations, design process, and winning Bounty design. Read on to meet…

Rachel Mercier | Rachel Mercier Art | @rachelmercierart | Brooklyn, New York

What are your decorative inspirations? I’m originally from California, but have lived in Boston and New York in my adult life. My inspirations therefore range from the flora, ocean and mountains of California to the architecture and hilltop gardens of Brooklyn. I also like to travel and admire the work of other artists, two important and necessary sources of inspiration.

For me, inspiration is a feeling. It’s like a spark, something exciting and completely absorbing that makes me stop dead in my tracks to pay attention and be in the moment. I often find inspiration at unexpected times. Sometimes it’s the beautiful pattern when I look at a tree, or a particularly stunning leaf on one of those tall Coleus plants, the purple and orange ombre effect just at sunset, or an amazing coloring book page one of my children worked.

Creation Rachel Mercier

Tell us about your design process: what is the first thing you do, the second… the last; What kinds of tools and platforms help you be as creative as possible? I often have a list of paintings or patterns that I want to do. This list comes from those inspired moments that I stirred in my mind and body until they had meaning to create. If I keep thinking about it, it has to happen!

I create a mood board which can include images that I find particularly inspiring – photos I’ve taken, textile patterns and color palettes that inspire me. Then I draw! Sketching is my favorite part of the process. I love to draw and it gets out of my head and allows creativity to flow. Then I’ll usually hand-paint the design over my gouache or watercolor sketch, or sometimes bring a sketch into Procreate on my iPad to trace or refine. If I paint something by hand, I will scan it and import it into Photoshop or Illustrator to digitize the design.

I took a number of art classes in high school and college, but I filled in a lot of the gaps by taking Skillshare classes. I find that Procreate, Illustrator and Photoshop have completely changed my life for digitizing my art and creating patterns. I am so grateful for online learning!

mood boardRachel’s mood board for her winning Bounty design

How did you come to illustration? I always liked to draw and do things since I was a child. My mom spent a lot of time drawing and crafting (sewing, in particular) and I loved watching her process unfold. She often included me in her process, like choosing fabrics and patterns at the fabric store, and I think that gave me a lot of inspiration and confidence to do it myself. She gave my sisters and me so many wonderful children’s books. Children’s illustrator Chris Van Allsburg was a family favorite and I was always so curious how someone could draw so realistically.

Art and crafting have always been part of my childhood and the pursuit of my curiosity has always been sustained. I’ve had many professional lives – as an urban planner, designing and planning weddings, supporting small businesses at Etsy, and working at a furniture rental startup. I’m drawn to creating beautiful livable spaces, whether it’s a city street, an event, or a home. Patterns in textiles jump out at me, so I always inspect how they are made and appreciate their illustrative quality. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of learning design or new ways of doing things.

Which three IG accounts do you like?

@Chaninicholas – I celebrate the moon, the stars and the cosmos! His astrology is grounded and fun and I love his collage style artwork.

@lamusadelasflores – Gabriela showcases the most stunning flowers and color palettes. Everything she posts is magical.

@whatisnewyork – I live in New York and love it. The hilarious, everyday things that happen in New York are so accurately captured in this story. It’s a little insider, but I think all New Yorkers feel a connection to this account.

How do you know that a work of art, including your Bounty paper towel design, is “done”? Ahhhh the age-old question of when to stop. I heard a quote that resonated with me: “A painting is never finished – it just stops at interesting places” [by artist Paul Gardner].

The truth is, you could keep refining and improving your art but, in my opinion, that can kill the joy of the process and often the art itself. So I try to stop when the work seems interesting to me – whether it’s layers, marks or interesting arrangements. People can sense the energy of your work, so it’s important to preserve it throughout your process and not overdo it!OHow will it feel to see your design on a Bounty napkin at your local store?

What will it be like to see your design on a Bounty napkin at your local store? This is my first project to be on the shelf, so this will feel like a real professional milestone. The process of working with Bounty on the designs was the real GOLD for me, and I imagine seeing the paper towels in person will remind me how much I love the job.

Brit + Co Bounty Paper Towels

Be sure to look for Rachel’s winning design wherever Bounty paper napkins are sold!

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