Meet your {NewNew}!

Meet Jen Pepper of PepperSprouts! I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know her better through this interview. Read on for a peek into Jen’s life…

Tell us a bit about yourself! I grew up in a small beach town in Delaware, it's the kind of place where your parents know you got a D on your math test even before you did. My family has always been supportive of my interest in the arts and let me take a watercolor class when I was 7, from then on I feel like I've always had a project going on. I spent my first year of college at the Art Institute of Boston, and then transferred to the University Of Delaware, where I majored in Graphic Design. I moved to New York after graduation, and started a slew of odd creative jobs. I worked as a custom picture framer, a photo retoucher, a advertising production artist, and currently design director at isocurve. Throughout it all I've always been creating, drawing, painting and anything else I can get my hands on.

What are your favorite materials and what do you transform them into? I love paper, wood, paint, x-acto knives, and fabric mixed with digital software and I make pretty things to decorate your home.

Why did you start PepperSprouts and when? I officially started PepperSprouts in 2008 to keep my creativity alive and give myself an excuse to keep creating. I love the idea of designing pieces and sending them out in the world for other people to enjoy.

Design plays an important role in your work, so who are your favorite designers? Some of my favorite designers are Jennifer Sterling, Chip Kidd, David Carson & Ken Barber. I know when I love a piece of design work because I get this feeling in the bit of my stomach that feels like jealousy, yet at the same time I SO want to hang out with that person.

How would you describe your aesthetic? My design aesthetic is very clean and simplistic mixed with a little bit of wit, I try mix a little bit of humor in everything I do.

What are you working on now? What's new and coming up?
I just finished a Brooklyn skyline pendent, Michelle from Dirty Loves Clean gave me the idea this winter and I'm very happy to say that it came out wonderfully! My upcoming projects are numerous, some textile designs for throw pillows, a series of prints and originals of my favorite Brooklyn buildings, some super cute typography and silhouette brooches, and another set of coasters. I also have an ongoing childrens book I've been working on, hoping to have that finished by the end of the year. So keep your eye out, I'm on a roll!

Wow! You've got so much going on! How do you find time between your full time job and your own work? Do you have a set routine? Ha! I always say I need more hours in the day. As I work 9-6 Monday-Friday in a small design firm, a lot of my outside work is done on the weekends and late at night. I talk a lot of ideas out on the train ride to and from work, with my boyfriend of course not complete strangers.

What inspires you?
So many things inspire me, I love the woods, nature, my silly welsh corgi, Einstein. Typography also plays a big part in the background of my work.

Einstein is so cute! That face kills me. What part of your life do you find is/was the most creative? Do you think back to these times when creating your work? The most creative time in my life has to be right now, because I'm able to be creative at my day job. My mind never turns to mush. I might be thinking about a logo for a client and some crazy idea for a series of prints pops up in the background.

What is your creative process when making your work? It's funny I actually come up with a lot of ideas in the middle of the night. I rarely sleep through the night. I find myself waking up and having to sketch something out. When I have some idea I spend some time bouncing things off my mathematical boyfriend for a different opinion on things. A lot of times I sketch ideas out in illustrator before I bring them out in the real world.

Do you make all the products yourself? How long does the production process take? My shadow boxes are made my me, hand-cut from paper and assembled, the entire process takes about an hour or so. My illustrations, of course, are my own. I am currently working on some new home goods that will be out in the next month, the first out are my silhouette coasters which took me a few weeks to get the design finalized, and then they were outsourced to be cut, then finished by me.

What are your best-selling items? My Brooklyn shadow boxes and silhouette coasters are two of my best sellers. I think they add a lot of uniqueness to a home.

When you find yourself stuck, how do you get out of it? I go to the bookstore. If I open a book and start looking at designs, or patterns or maps, or floral design it gets my mind jump started and then its hard to get it to stop.

Do you have any creative thinking tricks you like to share? Always keep a little notebook with you. I couldn't live without my moleskin. Just jot it down, get it out of your head, especially if it’s a bad idea, or something that just isn't going to work. You never know when those forgotten ideas may transform into something else great.

Why do you think people should buy handmade? Originality. Cut out the middleman, and buy the creativity that supports local economies. People put so much love and time into their creations, I can't think of a reason not to buy handmade.

What handmade possession do you most cherish? So many to choose, I really love my ceramic Bears in love from KG + AB, I got them last year at the Renegade fair at McCaren Pool.

I have a ceramic spoon from KG + AB and it is my favorite handmade object too, because using it makes me so happy. Apart from creating things, what do you do? Oh the usual, exploring the city, doing the dog park thing, winning free drinks at Redd's because I rock at skeeball.

What is something about you that surprises people when they find out about it? I'm a comic book nerd. It's pretty funny because the last few weekends I've been dragging my boyfriend into Midtown Comics and I can tell he just feels super uncomfortable.
In ten years where do you see yourself... Married and self employed. But seriously, I'd like to still be able to wake up everyday and create. I want to still have fresh thoughts and not be burned out. I really don't want to get burned out.

Thank you so much for sharing Jen! She also has an awesome blog, UpstateFancy, where she features lots of other makers, inspirations, beautiful objects and design on the daily. Check out the blog and make sure you hop over to her shop. Thanks for meeting your NewNew member Jen! and check back for more interviews to come!