Studio Chats: Jill Elliott
Hi there! Today we’re kicking off a new series here at The Color Kind: Studio Chats. It’s a chance to talk directly to some of our favorite artists, makers and creatives. We’ll learn about their creative process, what inspires them and get a sneak peek into their studio + creative space. We’re starting with our own founder (me) - Jill Elliott.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself. I’m Jill, a creative at work and at home. I’m a single mom to a 7-year-old daughter and a goldendoodle puppy, based in Dallas, TX. I have always worked and been drawn to the creative side of any business I working with. Professionally, I have a marketing degree - which I love because it connects to the business + the process side of my brain. I love art + color, but I also love thinking strategically about how design can be used to drive emotion + behavior. Early on, I developed a concept design for the design thinking, color play and story telling that happens. But I’ve also dabbled in product design + development, art direction, branding and visual merchandising along the way.
Personally, I love to make art + write to express my creativity. I’ve found, especially as I get older, my brain needs the outlet to help quiet my mind and connect to my purpose. I also love having a creative household. We’re the house where there’s always a fresh batch of slime being tested, a new invention being built and art projects scattered about in various stages of completion. I’m so lucky that my daughter likes to create as much as I do!
2. What is your first memory of being creative? How did it make you feel? I remember being free + creative as a child. I had a big imagination, talking to everything around me (grass, trees, chairs) and imagining their daily life. I loved to color and think I always connected to the colors in a very emotional way. Color has been the constant in my creative journey - no matter the application (fashion, art direction, painting, interiors) that brings me excitement and joy.
3. When did you get back to it? Professionally, I was always to close to the creative side of the business, but over time began managing the process more than actually creating the work. Outside of work throughout college + beyond, I dabbled in the arts. Taking art history classes, figure drawing, painting, photography workshops.But I was never very consistent until the past 2 years. I was going through some big life changes - a move, a divorce, a career transition, and was really craving something that I could do that had no purpose. Something just for me, to be free and express myself without pressure or judgement. I started writing + making art again, and found that the more I did it - it became almost meditative for me. A place for my brain to turn-off, while my hands were engaged in making something. A story, a drawing, a color combination. I began to crave and need this time as a way to relive stress and process all of my emotions around the changes going on in my life. It became an outlet for me, and now is a crucial tool in my self-care routine.
That’s what actually inspired me to start The Color Kind. To connect + share with others in need of a brain break. A sustainable creative practice that brings them joy, connection and purpose. Research shows the many benefits to having a creative practice - but if you’re one of those who don’t consider yourself creative, just getting started can be overwhelming. We believe that EVERY BODY is creative, and we’re here to inspire you to find your own path to creativity. To serve up activities and tips for you to jump in. And to start carving out a bit of time and space for it everyday for you.
4. What’s your creative practice look like on an average day? As a freelancer and an entrepreneur, my days are never very routine. Some days, I’m at the computer writing + researching all day. Others, I’m on set of a photoshoot creating content for this site, or one of our clients. I always bookend my day with two habits that ensure I get some time to make in most days. In the morning, I take 10 - 15 minutes to do a daily art journal. It’s a way for me to start my day with something fun + playful before the pace and schedule (and my daughter) kicks into gear. At night, I write a few pages in my journal, reflecting on my day, maybe starting to think about a new project, or simply writing a few words of gratitude. I find that these practices, are a good way for me to stay loose and connected to my inspiration - while also giving me some space to work out new ideas + techniques without any risk or big commitment.
5. Where do you find your inspiration? I truly find inspiration everywhere. I’m inspired by the colors in the sky during sunset, by art at a museum - or just as easily on Instagram. I love to read, travel and explore. I find interiors + fashion extra inspiring and love finding color inspiration for design from these fields. I collect samples of business cards, napkins, colors, I curate extensive swipe files both IRL on my office wall + file folders, and on Pinterest where I easily have over 100 boards going at any one time. I love to research and find inspiration that speaks to my heart…and love figuring out what that means and how I might apply it to my life, space, styling + art even more.
6. Tell us about your space: I am lucky to have great natural light throughout my home which leads to me working in many different rooms. Most often, I paint at the kitchen or dining room table. I’ve taken over a couple of the kitchen cabinets for art supply storage so it’s always accessible and ready whenever my daughter or I want to create. I do more of the structured work like writing, research, strategy in my office. Which still has as creative vibe, but lends less to the sprawling mess painting normally takes on for me.
Being creative means: living life as an explorer.
My creative habit brings me: peace + gratitude.
My advice to anyone looking to push themselves into a creative life: Just Do IT! Some days + projects will be terrible, others will be amazing. But don’t concern yourself with the outcome. The process, the play, the learning that comes from making - that’s the point. It will open you up to noticing all kinds of beauty in other parts of your life, and we all need more beauty in our days.
Favorite book: Too many to list. But a few that I read on repeat:
Anything J.D. Salinger, especially Franny + Zooey. I love his words, his tone and this story about the most lovable of characters - flaws and all.
Chasing Slow - Erin Loechner. This beautifully designed book is as fun to thumb through as it is to read. The message, about focusing your life on what’s truly important. Something I need to read again and again.
Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert. This inspired me to start making again. Regularly. Daily. And to devote my life to making art in some form or fashion. For me. As therapy. As fun. As an outlet. As a practice.
Domino magazine. I know, not a book - but I read it cover to cover.
The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle.
Favorite movie: The Royal Tenenbaums. Love the characters, the set, the story.
Thanks for reading guys! We’ll be back with more interviews + studio chats SOON. If you, or someone you know would be good to be featured here, please drop us a note @ firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re always looking to bring new people into our community and learn about their creative practice.