I’m a nosy person. I love finding out about our customers and their talents, their design philosophies and how the route that landed them where they are today. One very talented customer of ours, Given Campbell, has graciously agreed to let us peer into her life.
Given designs and handprints wallpaper designs, and they are like none I have ever seen – to say that they pop would be a gross understatement! Her latest collection is called “Text Style which uses letters, numbers, and punctuation as pattern. It’s fun to imagine how some of my favorite designers would use them in their rooms. Try it – ask yourself “what would David Hicks/Simon Doonan/Jonathan Adler/Andy Warhol/Mike Brady/fill in your favorite here do?” Try it with these:
Where do you live?
I moved to Tampa in 1999 and I love it. There is a vibrant art community here where you can make your creative voice heard. When did your interest in design begin? Grandma was the real artistic force in the family – she played violin in the Symphony, painted with oils and watercolors, and sketched with pencil and charcoal. I love most forms of art, but design itself is such a pure form of art with endless possibilities; on that can work seamlessly with most other art forms. I keep asking myself one question: How can I reinvent myself as an artist? I love that design allows me to work in any medium.
Can you share any great advice your grandmother gave you?
Yes. She never took herself too seriously, which I always keep in mind, and she said that if you make a mistake, don’t worry, it can give you wonderful results.
How did you start to make a career out of designing?
I had my first art show in 1997 in my hometown of Norfolk, Virginia, which was a collection of Post-Modern Pop drawings. I also entered some contests, and was a finalist in a wine label contest and a contest for a rock poster for Staind. Here in Tampa I took a job with Radio Disney and was asked to paint murals in three affiliate stations as well as taking care of all of their creative needs.
How did you arrive at custom wallpaper?
After my show, I kept thinking about how much I would love to use those pieces in another way, creating for the home. I thought of bedding, dishes, stationary, and bathroom accessories, and first landed on shower curtains. I felt that they would be a singular item and easy to focus on, unlike an entire set of something, like barware. The costs and quantities required for manufacturing turned out to be sky high (interviewer note: perhaps that is why there is such a dearth of good shower curtains. We are always trying to find them, and we know a lot of our customers are too!), and I realized that the designs needed to be bigger in order to be more effective. After some research and a lot of thought, I landed at wallpaper.
What’s so special about wallpaper? It seems you were ahead of the trend, as it was out for so long and is now in with a vengeance!
I realized through my research that wallpaper has basically been reborn by new technology and substrates. I started to think of all of the possibilities that exist between large format digital, screen-print, hand painted, stencil and stamping. Once I found the right substrate I tried different techniques and loved the look of the hand printing.
What’s in the back of your mind when you are designing your papers?
First, I wanted to make sure I did not overlook men when I designed my papers – I try to keep the designs sleek with a sophisticated edge, something that would work in many different settings and keep the viewer interested. I really love oversized things that change the feel of a space like a large sculpture, a funky floor lamp, a room divider screen, or a 6-foot oil painting. I decided to make my wallpaper designs oversized in order to get the same result. I can see a lot of your designs translating well to other home items like china, throw pillows, bedding, fabric and yes, shower curtains, very well at different scales.
What is next for you?
It is funny that you mention shower curtains and fabric because they have both been on my radar of things to do with my designs besides just wallpaper. I have also been thinking of lampshades, stationery, wrapping paper, room divider screens and wall art, bedding, dishes and barware.
Good luck Given, and keep us updated!
Other places to check out Given’s artwork and wallpapers: