Creative Crushin’: Designer Jade Purple Brown Wants Her Work to Make You Feel Free
“The purpose of my art is to encourage myself and possibly others to feel more optimistic and free.” Hear, hear. Now that is a mission statement we can all wholeheartedly get behind, and one that honestly makes me rethink how I may have defined my creative purpose in my mid ‘20s ;) It’s no wonder that designer Jade Purple Brown has gained serious street cred for her vibrant aesthetic, and she’s just getting started.
Anjelika Temple here, Founding Partner and Chief Creative Officer of Brit + Co, and OG fangirl of Jade Purple Brown. I came across Jade on Instagram (obvs!), and was instantly on board. I was drawn to her unique use of richly saturated hues and shapes that have a textured cut-out quality and knew we had to collaborate. I paired her up with Brit + Co Senior Designer Marisa Kumtong to create a collection of powerful images for Earth Day, including the gorgeous illustration of Mother Earth shown below.
Now for today's installment of Creative Crushin', I’m pumped to share a little bit more about this emerging creative force, in her own words.
Brit + Co: First off, tell us a little more about your background. Where did you grow up? What did you study? Family life, etc.
Jade Purple Brown: I grew up in Waukegan, a small town outside of Chicago. Since I was young, I've always been encouraged to be artistic, with my colorful painting and drawings always being celebrated by my parents and older sister. My home was almost like a small gallery exhibit with all my artwork framed and taped to the fridge.
In college, I studied Fashion Marketing & Management at the Illinois Institute of Art - Chicago. I originally wanted to pursue a career in fashion styling, so I thought gaining a strong business background would be great for me. While I was in the program they taught us the basics of Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator & InDesign to create marketing materials and I quickly fell in love. With the help of online tutorials, I started using the programs on my own time to create wacky designs. From there, I slowly started to figure out that my true passion was art and design and that I had a natural talent for it.
I currently live in New York as a Visual Artist using Graphic Design, Illustration & Art Direction to create content for fashion, beauty, and art based brands.
B+C: Okay I have to ask. You have possibly the most amazing name any creative professional can have. It’s THREE colors! Is there a story behind it?
JPB: When I was in high school, one of my friends were trying to figure out my middle name and she jokingly guessed Purple since my first and last name happen to be colors. My real middle name is actually Alexandria, but I fell in love with Jade Purple Brown and began to use it for my online presence and artist name. Maybe I’ll change my name permanently one day.
B+C: I realize the term is a little outdated, but do you have a day job? Or are you a full-time freelancer?
JPB: I work full time as a Digital Designer & Art Director, at the luxury beauty brand, Moroccanoil. I help the company design digital assets for their website + social media and direct still life photo shoots.
B+C: How do you balance your time and manage your workload given the ebb and flow of freelancing?
JPB: It can be extremely overwhelming and stressful at times, but I always try to use my time wisely in order to scratch everything off my list. On my 45 min commute to work, I’ll normally reply to emails and brainstorm concepts for new projects. On my hour lunch break at my day job, you can find me writing up contracts and jumping on conference calls with clients. I also make a point to schedule in time throughout the week to do simple things, like paint my nails, and call my friends and family to check in and see how they’re doing. I use the weekends to get a big bulk of my freelance work done.
B+C: How much time is split between client work, freelance work, and personal work? Do you find that it’s hard to separate the three in terms of your day to day?
JPB: I’m normally working with 3-4 clients at a time which can be challenging, but I try not to stretch myself too thin by only taking on projects that align with my personal vision and can help shape my career. I challenge myself every week to make at least 1-2 personal pieces in order to give myself time to practice and explore new ideas.
B+C: What does a typical day look like for you?
JPB: I wake up around 5am to spend a few hours catching up on freelance work and returning emails. After that, I'll write out a list of everything that needs to get accomplished for the day and try to sneak in a 30-minute Pilates workout when possible. I then start doing my hair & makeup so I can head to Manhattan for my day job. As soon as I’m finished up with work, I head back to the Bronx and go on a grocery store run. My boyfriend and I normally cook dinner together and eat while catching up on our favorite TV shows. I spend the rest of the night working on personal projects and freelance work in order to meet my deadlines.
B+C: Your aesthetic is so dynamic, vibrant, almost electric. I love it! How did you hone in on your style?
JPB: Developing my style has taken a lot of practice and experimentation. I’ve spent a good amount of time determining design elements that I like and how I can thoughtfully apply them to my work. I have a mood board on Pinterest that I often refer to that's filled with images that light me up inside whenever I see them. It’s a great inspiration to keep inspired and try new techniques within my work.
B+C: What artists and designers do you turn to most often for inspiration?
JPB: When it comes to photography, I love how Nadia Lee, Jimmy Marble, and Juco Photo create dreamy atmospheres that tell the stories of their subjects in a daring way. I love how artists Alex Gardner, Barkley Hendrickson, and Toyin Ojih Odutola illustrate black culture in such a multidimensional way. For the ultimate color inspiration, I love looking at the work of Verner Panton, Miranda Makaroff, and Christine Hahn.
B+C: Why do you love to make things?
JPB: I love that making art gives me the opportunity to slow down and really connect with myself. I try to create things that reflect my current state of mind or the mindset I wish I was in. The purpose of my art is to encourage myself and possibly others to feel more optimistic and free.
B+C: Given that a lot of your work is freelance, I imagine you're often burning the midnight oil on your own. Tell us more about what your support system and creative community looks like.
JPB: I’m the biggest homebody ever and bask in the glory of being alone completely locked into my work. This is partly due to being an introverted Pisces who constantly needs a break from the craziness of New York. But, I'm sure that will change once I make the jump to freelancing full-time and have less human interaction.
My creative circle is filled with people in music, photography, visual art, and fashion. They give me a wide perspective and keep me inspired to keep striving towards my goals. A lot of my friends are running their own businesses, so I’m able to get really great advice on everything from handling difficult clients to organizing my financials. I’m really grateful to have such a great support system around me.
B+C: When you’re feeling creative burnout, how do you reset?
JPB: I like to give myself the chance to completely zone out and remember that there is more to life than making things. Sometimes that means binge watching episodes of Gossip Girl, exploring the city, or just cracking open my journal and reflecting on all of the progress I’ve made.
Favorite Quote: “The making of art is no different than prayer” - Rainn Wilson
Trivia About You: I played the violin for 12 years of my life and hated every minute of it.
Go-To Karaoke Song: "Return of the Mack" by Mark Morrison
Favorite Art Tool: Apple iPad Pro
Late Night Snack: Snickerdoodle Cashew Milk Ice Cream by So Delicious
Currently Reading: Becoming a Successful Illustrator by Derek Brazil & Jo Davis
B+C: What advice do you have for emerging artists and designers fresh out of school?
JPB: Don’t be afraid to share your work! If people don’t know what you're capable of, you’ll never get the opportunities you dream of. Practice as much as possible, and share your talents with the world!
B+C: In five years, where do you see yourself?
JPB: I'd like to be collaborating with major clients in the fashion and beauty industry and have a distinct style that is highly recognized and celebrated by a wide array of people. I also see myself exhibiting my work all over the world, and expanding outside of design and illustration to different mediums.
Know any game-changing creatives we should know about? We wanna know! DM us @britandco and share your latest creative crushes. We just might feature them on a future installment of Creative Crushin’ ;)
Author: Anjelika Temple (Photography courtesy of Jade Purple Brown; All illustrations and design by Jade Purple Brown)