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Welcome to the seventh in a series of interviews with creative friends and acquaintances I have collected over the years. My aspiration is to share their insights on what inspires them, how they work through creative blocks and rejection, and learn about their upcoming projects on the first Saturday of each month (the idea: if you get inspired to “play,” you have the weekend to manifest what your Muse demands!!!)

This month, we meet graphic designer Stephanie “Steph” Kiker of Stephanie Kiker Designs.

Graphic Artist Stephanie Kiker

Graphic Artist Stephanie Kiker

Stephanie graduated from the School of Design at North Carolina State University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Graphic Design and continued in that direction after graduation. Having always enjoyed drawing and illustrating, she soon was in the screen printing business designing T-shirts along with the design work. In 1996, she moved to Hatteras Island, North Carolina and began pursuing a career as a working artist. She now enjoys selling her artwork in many galleries and stores up and down the Outer Banks, as well as nationwide distribution on a variety of products – giclée prints, ceramic tiles, cutting boards, wallets and bags, note cards, mousepads and more. Her graphic design work includes a Gallery Guide for the Outer Banks, logos, brochures and marketing of her own work.

"Tropical Journey" by Stephanie Kiker

“Tropical Journey” by Stephanie Kiker

Stephanie spells out her inspiration on her web site: “I love living at the beach…and on an island. The smells, sounds, water, wind, wildlife all make it a wonderful place to be. This place gives me inspiration for my artwork and creativity. Whether it’s on the beach, on the water, under the water, in the marshes, or in the sound I enjoy creating my own interpretations and expressions of the wildlife and their surroundings. Textures, colors, patterns, shapes, movement all play a part in my pieces. I move from realism in my soft pastel works to bold graphic shapes, patterns and colors in my colored pencil and ink work…..

“I feel lucky to be able to enjoy the natural beauty of this area and experience it much of the time through kiteboarding. Along with the exhilaration of the sport, it gives me the chance to be surrounded by the smells, sounds, water, wind and wildlife that inspire me so much.

"Blue Crab" by Stephanie Kiker

“Blue Crab” by Stephanie Kiker

I met Steph a couple years ago at the same show where I met Vic Lowe (last month’s guest blogger). Evidently – kiteboarding artists travel in packs and roam the East Coast in search of art fairs and craft shows.

Let’s get to know her better!

"Great Blue Heron" light switch plates by Stephanie Kiker

“Great Blue Heron” light switch plates by Stephanie Kiker

Lucky Ginger Studio: At what age do you remember first embracing your Inner Creative Voice?
Stephanie Kiker: 
Elementary school…I started playing with paints and pencils.


LGS: In what ways do you enjoy expressing your personal creativity? (writing, cooking, drawing, etc.)
DrawingMaking gifts for family and friends – I’ve designed magazine covers that are personalized, decorating birthday cakes, calendars, etc.


LGS: What’s your favorite way to express your creativity and why?
Drawing is my favorite expression of creativity. My sketching is relaxing and an escape for me. I tend to “doodle” and just see what happens, maybe starting with an initial idea and letting shapes, patterns or lines work their way thru whatever I am doing.


LGS: Do you allow yourself creative “play” time? (just messing around with creative stuff making things for YOU…with no project in mind?) If so: how often?
 Seems I don’t have a lot of time for that, but sometimes it’s nice when it does happen. Even rearranging the furniture can be a fun project that has nothing to do with the business.


LGS: What time of day do you feel most creative?
SK: Usually evenings are best for me.


LGS: Do you have any creative rituals? (example: when I am doing post-production, I HAVE TO HAVE MUSIC)
 When I start a piece I usually have lots of images spread out all over that may have something to do with the subject…it could be colors, shapes, photos…anything that may spark the ideas. I tend to have something playing either music or the TV.


LGS: When you encounter creative blocks, how do you work through or around them?
I used to get frustrated when this happened, but anymore I just let it go and tell myself it will happen when it happens and not to stress over it. I can get anxious when I haven’t drawn in a while, it’s just something I need to be doing for me. I like to just browse the internet looking at photos, art, images whatever I can find, and sometimes that will inspire me.


LGS: What other artisans/creatives inspire you?
My Mom, she is an artist and so was there supporting me from the start as far as creativity.


LGS: Do you have a support group of other artisan/creative friends? If so – how do you help each other out?
Yes, Hatteras Island has a lot of artists and creative people. Just the networking with other artists that make their living through their art is good. Where to sell, what is selling, new ideas, etc.

iPhone cover by Stephanie Kiker

iPhone cover by Stephanie Kiker

LGS: If the “What You’re Doing Is No Good” voice pops into your head, how do you shut it down?
 Move on to something else and remember to create for myself and not others. I have pulled pieces out I started several years ago and ended up with something I like.


LGS: How do you move through criticism or rejection of your work?
Not everyone will appreciate what I do and that’s fine. Listen to suggestions and ideas, you never know what will come from them.


LGS: What’s your favorite tool that helps you get your creative work done?


LGS: What was the most favorite thing you ever designed? (I know….there’s favorite…and then there is MOST FAVORITE, right?)
 That’s hard to say…I always like the newest piece I have done, I guess because I see all the others all of the time. I really enjoy putting my art on functional items and every time I get new samples to try it’s always exciting!


LGS: Fill in the blank. When I have not created in awhile, I feel __________.
 When I have not created in awhile, I feel anxious.


LGS: What’s your next project?
SK: I tried silk painting for the first time this winter and want to take that further.


LGS: What advice do you have to share with burgeoning artists?
 Always have fun with your art and let it be an expression of yourself and not others. One thing I have had to be careful of is creating for a market. My art is always better when I create for me.

Cutting Boards by Stephanie Kiker

Cutting Boards by Stephanie Kiker

Thanks, Steph. You have such an amazing talent. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us!!!

You may purchase Steph’s gorgeous work on her website and find her latest musings on Facebook at Stephanie Kiker Designs.

If you care to read other “Creativity First” interviews, follow these links:

Poet Margaret Vos

Children’s Book Author Trisha Malfitano

Artisan Amy Freeman

Connector/Visionary/Marketing Genius Tyler Snidow

Photographer Karen Gowen

Textile Designer Victoria Lowe