artist profile: Andrea Pippins

photo by Nicole Crowder

photo by Nicole Crowder

Andrea Pippins is an artist and designer with a passion for making others smile with her work. Using techniques like stamping and drawing, Andrea reinterprets her inspirations from many global cultures into designs that reflect her keen interest in rich hues, textural materials and mixed patterns. In her work, Andrea embraces colour, texture and scale with a fearless hand, offering a unique perspective in the hopes of inspiring others to enjoy the beauty of bold surface designs. 

How and when did you come across UPPERCASE? What do you enjoy about it? 

Wow, I can't remember, but I've been a fan for a very long time. I've always been drawn to the stories about other artists and their creative process. UPPERCASE does a wonderful job of capturing the essence of the artists and their spaces, and the overall design of the magazine is breathtaking.

You have been busy making new collages and drawings. One of those drawings is your piece called “I’ve Been Thinking.” Where did your inspiration come from for this artwork?

For a long time I've been enamored with the photography of Malick Sidibe and Seydou Keita. Their black and white photos are so rich with pattern and texture that it feels colourful, graphic and bold. I usually rely heavily on colour, so in this new piece I wanted to explore the idea of limiting my palette to black and white but still making an image that was very pattern-ful and rich. Like their photographs, they always feature a figure (or two). I did the same but brought in all of the "colour" into the figure. 

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You have said that you reinterpret inspirations from many global cultures into your designs. What cultures influenced your Surface Pattern Design Guide submissions? 

I've been looking at a lot of global prints like and textiles from West Africa, India, the Middle East and ancient designs from Central America. I love the geometric shapes, the use of lines, and the simplicity in the colour palettes I've been observing in those works, and I wanted to create quirky interpretations of what I saw.

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Why did you decide to submit your designs into the Surface Pattern Design Guide? What do you hope will come of being published in the guide?

To me, UPPERCASE set a lovely art and design standard and offers a different perspective of what artists and designers are doing today as makers. I felt that my designs would fit into that context nicely, and would also be a great way to share my work with new audiences.  

You work for a wide range of clients which proves that you are an incredibly versatile graphic designer. What’s your process for working with such a broad range of clients with different wishes for their final design projects? 

No matter the client, the process is always the same: fully understand their needs and use design thinking strategies to develop designs that effectively communicate what that client or brand represents. Their needs dictate and inform the process and what is produced. For me the strategies have to be fairly flexible to work with different clients and projects.

What projects are you currently working on?

I have my hands in so many things right now. I just wrapped up my collage series, which I had a self-imposed goal of using all the paper I had in that size and color. I have 51 completed altogether but I'm itching to do more because this personal assignment really forced me to stretch my creative muscle. Because the current ones are roughly 5"x7" I'd like to push myself and do some large-scaled versions. I'm also working on new ideas that would include some animation. Those are personal projects, but as a designer I'm working a few big assignments that will take me through the summer.

I was impressed by your 4 page resume of work that you have accomplished over your career. Given your wealth of experience, and a fabulous portfolio, where do you see yourself in the future? Will you continue to be a multi-disciplined designer, or do you desire to immerse yourself in a bigger long-term project? 

Thank you. Currently, I'd like to focus on developing more of my personal projects in addition to working on special collaborations, while also continuing to teach design. Being an artist and educator are the two main areas of my creative path that I want to develop. I would really like to make sure that everything I do aligns with those two important parts of me. So whether it's a creating a collection of shoes, a design collaboration with a cultural institution, or a speaking engagement with teens interested in design, as long as it fits in "artist" and/or "educator" I'm open to working on the assignment.