Seattle-based illustrator and artist Kelly Bjork’s work aims to balance “simple elements with small areas of detail”, finding comfort in the uncomplicated, which is “seemingly harder to find in real life”. Kelly started her career creating commissioned portraits, which led to her going freelance and becoming one half of stationary and gift company Pilgrim Paper Co. with fellow creative Teresa Grassechi. The job sees her illustrating greeting cards, a “dream job since childhood” for Kelly.
The illustrator’s ideas come from “day-to-day interactions” with the people, places and animals around her. “I’m inspired by witnessing sweet moments and intimacy,” she explains. “With our current climate, I think it’s important to have these moments, to remember they exist. It helps keep me sane, knowing that there is good out there.”
Kelly’s most recent works see her capturing languid scenes at the steam room and swimming pool, as well as detailed apartment interiors of cute kitchens and dining areas. “I do almost all of my work by hand. I work out my ideas by sketching coloured pencil to figure out composition and palette,” says Kelly. “Once I’m happy with that, I move my work to the nice paper – my printmaking background started with beautiful, thick paper. I mark out my pieces with non-photo blue pencil and then dive into my favourite part – painting!” Gouache is Kelly’s paint of choice for it’s flat opaqueness and the fact “you can re-wet the medium for continuous use is a sweet bonus”.
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