I've never watched Mad Men, but nevertheless I am a huge fan of Mid-Century Modern design and art. A few years ago, while I was still working full time as an artist, I began designing art prints for myself using a Mid-Century Modern palette and design elements reminiscent of those that define the style. I enjoyed it so much that I gave the growing collection a name - Kat Charles & Josephine.
When I realized I wanted to create a fresh, bold take on MCM (Mid-Century Modern), I knew I needed a palette to work with. I spent a lot of time researching the era, poring through architecture and design books and sites, and surfing the web. Eventually, I came up with this palette (made curvy because that's how I like it):
If you're a fan of MCM like I am, you'll notice that this palette is a little bit bright. So, I created a more muted secondary palette to off-set some of these colors:
Once I had my palette. it was simply a matter of coming up with imagery that hinted at MCM, but that didn't copy it. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, there are well-known elements that are decidedly MCM and that can hardly be divorced from it (you know, like those iconic Pluto clocks, example below - btw, my parents had one and I wish they'd kept it):
Still, I wanted to stay away from those elements that were too conformist. And so I began sketching.
When I decided, in early 2016, to move into paper (greeting cards, stationery, etc.) full time and away from my large-scale figurative painting work, I put my MCM designs away - well, if you don't count my kitchen, which features two gorgeous prints - and concentrated on designing cards.
Now, as I get ready for the National Stationery Show at the Javits Center in NY this May, I've been thinking about turning some of my MCM-esque designs into a card and art print collection. Here are a few of the first designs:
As you can see, I've kept true to the MCM color palette, but veered away from definitive MCM design. So far, I'm really liking it.
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