Meet the Artists Behind the ARTIST Series

If there is anything we’ve learned from the last 18+ months, it’s that humans crave connection. We are hardwired for it, and our experience with connection has certainly been put to the test recently as we all navigate what connection during a pandemic looks like. Our normal sources of comfort, how we meet with friends, family, and colleagues, and what we are familiar with has all been uprooted – leaving us in a position to test new and different ways to connect.

Puzzles have long been a way to connect… and in many different ways! From connecting pieces on the board, connecting patterns and strategies to conquer each piece of the artwork as it comes to life, or connecting with friends and loved ones as we complete them together (both in person or online, and now soon – in the metaverse!). Here at Blue Kazoo, we saw firsthand how strong that connection can be. While the world discovered isolation and we all re-evaluated the important things in our lives… we all re-discovered our love for puzzles ten-fold.

As a company and as humans experiencing this crazy life together – connection is integral to everything we do. With our latest Series, we connected with 3 different incredible artists and are incredibly proud of what we achieved together. We’re thrilled and honored to present this new series to you and your connections… We hope you love it as much as we do.

The new ARTIST Series contains three original works from three incredible artists. From the structured chaos of "Natural Order," to the hauntingly beautiful "Mystic Forest," to the warm embrace of "Friends," these gorgeous puzzles catch our eyes and inspire our minds. We asked the artists behind these pieces a few questions to get a better grip on what motivates them artistically.

"Natural Order" by Kristen Meyer

Instagram: @kmsalvagedesign

Natural Order by Kristen Meyer

Kristen is a multimedia artist currently residing in New Haven CT with her husband and two daughters. The spectrum of her career has included work in: floral design, interior decorating, window design and prop styling.

Who or what are your biggest artist influences?

There are so many artists/designers that I’m often inspired by, but one of my absolute favorites is Sarah Sherman Samuel - She’s an interior designer who has a magical knack for combining textures, patterns, and shapes in unexpected ways. Her work combines elegance with mystery and intrigue, yet her color palette and composition maintain a peaceful harmony. I have the biggest girl crush on her!

Another favorite artist I enjoy following is Brock Davis - His work is so smart, simple and witty, always encouraging you to see things in a new light. I’m in awe of his work. 

Last but not least, Kensuke Koike - I absolutely love his clean, smart, meticulous simplicity. His work is so precise and at the same time not too serious. He’s another one that I recommend following for endless inspiration. 

What season of the year are you most inspired by?

For most of my life, I’ve lived in New England where I get to experience the fullness of all the seasons. Nothing gets old - the seasons and the weather are always keeping things new and inspiring.

What motivates you to create?

I’m often inspired by simple shapes - a leaf, a patch of moss, a curve in a piece of fruit. Sometimes it’s architecture or interior design. The satisfaction of any type of a well constructed visual, whether natural or manmade, usually gives me that initial spark to start a new piece. 

What’s your favorite color, and what does that say about you?

My work is actually much more colorful than what I’m typically drawn to, what I wear, or what I decorate with. I love neutral colors - shades of ivory, blacks, grays, etc. For me, neutrals bring peace and stability, and I’d prefer to live in that kind of state. Some people are excited by color, whereas my interest is more activated by shapes, patterns, and textures. In many ways my work has become an outlet for me to experience and play with color in a way that can be contained, experienced for a moment, and then put away. 

"Mystic Forest" by Erica Williams

Instagram: @hookieduke

"Mystic Forest" by Erica Williams
Erica Williams, also known as HookieDuke, is an illustrator known for their intricate mark-making and illustrations of flora and fauna. Tangled with fantastic and often macabre tones much of their work focuses on the forgotten, endangered, the occult, and lore.

What's your medium of choice?

Pen and ink with digital color are my primary mediums.

Early bird or night owl?

I am very much a night owl and feel the most creative and productive during the night.

Where do you come from, and how has it impacted your art?

I think were we come from is always going to inform our work a little bit as it contains a lot of history. However where you want to go is just as important I think.

What's your favorite color?

Purple. I think it can say a lot about a person but also it could just be the color I enjoy looking at the most. Many people consider purple to be a color of mystery or royalty, but I don’t feel like either of those describe me. 

"Friends" by Rachel Winter

Instagram: @rachelwinterstudio

Friends by Rachel Winter

Rachel specializes in creating beautiful, digital illustrations, mixing bright colors and patterns to tell stories. She uses her art as a medium for her activism, persuading with beauty and joy.

What's your medium of choice?

Digital all the way! I love the flexibility and versatility that it gives me!

Who/what are your biggest artistic influences?

I am most inspired by people-watching, how people interact with each other, from friendships and romantic relationships to group dynamics. I am also fascinated by body language and how people present themselves, and personal style. I love exploring how everything comes together to tell a story.

Early bird or night owl?

I would say neither, my best time to work is from late morning to early evening. I usually get into bed early and wake up slowly, though my cat often has different plans.

What does your art mean to you?

My art is my activism. I am a feminist and my work is often influenced by women changing the world in small and big ways. My art is intended to inspire as well as show appreciation for activists that inspire me.

What do you love most about being an artist?

How every day I get to play with colour, line, texture and pattern.

What’s your favorite colour, and what does that say about you?

No way could I pick one colour, everyday is a new colour, every minute, every mood. Which if I were to analyse what that says about me, I think it says I’m flexible. Theres a reason we have so many colours!

What is a common myth about your job or field of expertise?

That being artistic is something you are born with and if you weren’t good at it as a child, then you can’t do it as an adult. I believe it is a skill that can be learned at any age and something you work at regularly to keep up and improve at. It is hard work but I am happy and love to engage in it every day!

It has been an absolute joy for the whole team to work on this new ARTIST Series. The connections we have made with these inspiring artists, the connections we hope to see from our puzzlers (both the physical and emotional), and the connection between our own team in working together to see this project through to the end continually pushes us to provide exceptional puzzling adventures, whether you are traveling alone or with a friend.

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