The Shop Feature Series is a blog segment where we get to chat with artistes and find out about their inspiration and story. My special guest today is Michelle, who does some truly amazing work. If you’re looking for Personalised Prints or a Custom design for Christmas, Rockin’ Chalk is where you should stop first.
The temperature is starting to drop and the leaves have turned lovely shades of yellows, oranges and browns. Soon the clocks will “fall back”. And with that it will be time to start thinking of the Christmas gift list. Now, I do not wish to add to your anxiety but perhaps give you an option… Have you considered Personalised/Custom Prints?
My husband is a hobby photographer, – (I say hobby, but he may disagree of course) – and I kid you not, we have no photos in the house. Except of course those which were gifted to us. Those prints hold real sentimental value to our family as we have travelled back and forth across the Atlantic. So, I was very excited to interview Rockin’ Chalk. Personalised Prints for Mr Vintage Flicker???
I digress… let’s get on with what she shared.
Tell us about you Michelle…
In school, I majored in graphic design and minored in fine art. Through my college years I had a long-standing job as a sign-painter for a chain of discount stores in New England. Fast, funny, and raw was their style and I developed my style with that influence. I alsospent one of my summers as a beach boardwalk caricature artist, which also requires working quickly and confidently. As my career got started, I did professional graphic design for corporations and agencies. I started out in print design and then worked in studios where I did story-boarding, multimedia design, web design, animation, and branding. I have worn several different hats, won a fair share of design awards, loved and left lots of jobs. When I started my family, I stepped out of the corporate world and started to revamp my portfolio with more illustration and work that actually is a throw back to some of the sign-making and hand-drawing that I started out with, while polishing it all up using digital tricks of the trade.
When did Rockin’ Chalk start?
I opened my Etsy shop in October of 2014, but Rockin’ Chalk started in 2013. I started out making large, custom chalkboards, wooden signs, and chalkboard style prints for businesses (something I still do). These days I am expanding into Personalized Digital Prints because of the demand for them…it’s just taken off like crazy! And I have to say.. I LOVE making them! They are the perfect balance of hand-drawing and digital designing for me. I can also offer them at a lower price point than the big custom one-of-a kind jobs, so that fuels the populatiry of them
Personal Prints… How would you describe your work ?
My focus is on Personalized Prints and Posters. I create certain formatted compositions for different purposes—for example, weddings — and people can take that basic idea and have me create a Personalized keepsake or Poster or suite of items for an event that is unique to them.
Rockin’ Chalk Personalized Prints and Custom Designs are for people looking to give a unique gift to a friend or family member that they couldn’t just find anyplace, or to somebody who is planning an event and they need just the right decorative, unique touch.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I have a collection of turn of the century postcards because I love to look at the old handwriting on them. The ornate fluidity of the cursive lettering people used in the early 1900’s is amazing! I also love to admire pencil and colored pencil works by other artists. Old school rock-n-roll is a bit of a trademark of my personality and inspires me as I am working. The studio always has Led Zeppelin or Queen or Pink Floyd playing…which is part of how the name Rockin’ Chalk came about.
I need some inspiration… What the most popular item in your shop?
Right now, my favorite (and hottest) product offering is Signature Drink Signs. People have a lot of fun designing an easy, characteristic cocktail that adds a unique touch to their weddings, showers, or milestone birthdays. My drink signs have an old-time, vintage lettering look combined with real, actual drawings of drinks and garnishes that I make on demand. They are normally 8”x10” prints (unless the customer requests poster size) and I print them onto a semi-matte finish paper which is just perfect for the deep, chalkboard finish. Then, the customer frames it and sits it on the bar at their event, or if it’s a poster size, it can go in a frame on an easel. One of the best parts is that they get to name their drink whatever they want, so I’ve done signs such as the “Appley-Ever After” (for a fall wedding) or the “DeLong Island Iced Tea” (because that is their last name). It’s a lot of fun!
Are there alternative ways of using your designs?
Absolutely! When it comes to my designs, the layouts can be applied to items beyond signage or wall hangings. Upon special requests, my items can printed onto shirts, flasks, magnets, cutting boards, mugs…almost anything these days!
What can we expect from the shop in the future?
In my etsy shop, you’ll be seeing more variety and more personalization options for additional occasions and decorating uses. In addition to some wedding-centric designs I currently have, you’ll see entire suites of items that help brides easily coordinate affordable and adorable signage. You will also be finding more designs for a wider assortment of celebrations like showers, birthdays, and anniversaries. The biggest promotion in the works will be happenning in October when I celebrate my first anniversary as an Etsy Shop owner. People who follow Rockin’ Chalk on Social Media will find some irresistable offers in the month of October, just in time for holiday shopping!
What you get with Rockin’ Chalk designs is top notch design quality. There are a lot of people and companies out there creating word art that is white type on a black background so they call it “chalkboard.” I believe in making it so much more special than that; it’s the distressed effects, the fluidity of the composition and the use of negative space that makes it really work. You can see the difference between a professional design versus somebody who has a bunch of “chalkboard fonts,” uses 12 of them in one design, and calls it a day. I pride myself on creating partially hand-rendered, eye-catching designs that truly stand apart with very particular attention paid to the balance of positive and negative space, use of color accents, texture and typeface choices.
Stuck on a desert island, what are your 3 must haves?
Funny story: I was once on a completely deserted island in the Puget Sound off the coast of Washington and I spent a night there with a sleeping bag, a bottle of wine and a bag of goldfish crackers! (Oh! And my very best friend since third grade.) Believe it or not, she’s STILL my best friend even after that! Well, truth be told, we did have kayaks so we weren’t totally deserted. But it’s a crazy memory. I remember watching a meteor shower above us in the biggest, blackest, most amazing sky. I think the point here is not what you have on that island, but who. These days, my three must-haves are my husband and two sons. As long as I’ve got them, I can figure out the rest.
Just for fun are you a tea or coffee drinker?
I’m a coffee girl, no question! A few years ago, I even crossed over to the dark side and started to drink it completely black, no cream or sugar. That’s hard-core! I still like a flavor shot now and then, though.
My personal favourite in the shop is this Open Bar print . (Yep, you know what I’m thinking). I definitely think it’s worth checking out rockinchalk.com . And don’t forget to follow them on social media for special offers.
- Shop Signature Drink Styles
- Shop Posters and Large Prints
- Shop Personalised Prints
- Shop Small Prints
Thank you Michelle … Virtual High Five…
Michelle, lives in New Hampshire with her husband and two young sons and has been a graphic designer since 1990. Contact details for Rockin’ Chalk are:
Web Site: rockinchalk.com