Interview with illustrator Patrice Horvath

Patrice Horvath is a New Jersey based artist who works across graphic design, illustration, painting, and pattern design. She has produced work for a variety of clients for years as a graphic designer working at design agencies, where she created everything from printed menus to websites. Last year Patrice went freelance, returning to painting and illustration and starting to sell her work online, creating lovely patterns to adorn items such as stationary, home decor, accessories, and clothing, as well as a line of invitations. She also continues to collaborate with businesses and individuals, helping them to create to visual world of their brands. We asked Patrice to tell us more about her interesting and inspiring career across the design and illustration worlds, setting up on her own, and the many forms she creates in.

How did you get started as an artist and designer?

My dad is an artist and mom is crafty, so art and creative expression were encouraged from a young age. In college, I majored in graphic design and after graduation I began working at a magazine publishing company, getting my hands on whatever design work I could. Afterwards, I spent five years at a boutique design agency, working on projects for print, web and animation. Those were really important experiences for me because I was able to wear many hats. My skill and experience grew tremendously and I learned what it means to work directly with a variety of clients.

You work in graphic design, illustration, and also sell your artwork and products with your patterns online. Tell us more about each part of your creative career.

A few months ago, I decided to pursue my freelance career. I continue to work with creative clients who appreciate strong branding. Painting is a meditative experience for me, and gives me a chance to be away from the computer. I started selling my work in my Society6 shop on all types of fun products like bags and pillows, and I’ve received a lot of positive feedback. I really enjoy the variety of projects I’m able to pursue.

Which of these skills and sectors is your favourite?

I love to paint, particularly with watercolour, gouache and ink. These mediums are most beautiful when you let them flow and allow ‘mistakes’ to happen. I don’t like when things look too perfect. I’ve been walking trade shows, participating in online art communities and reaching out to companies with products I’d like to see my art on. It’s definitely a thrill to see a stranger enjoying something with your design or pattern on it.

Is there a form you most enjoy creating for – be it designing for clients, creating products from your patterns, or producing illustrations, for example?

I enjoy when my work fulfils my creativity while also meeting a need for someone else – whether it’s a logo for a client, an invitation for a wedding or bridal shower, or a pattern on a product that you use in your home.

“Painting brings me back to being a child, when there was a lot of time to observe the world around you, play, and bring your imagination to life.”

What kind of briefs and clients are you drawn to?

I’m drawn to clients that appreciate working with professional talent. These clients collaborate with artists often, and value working with a designer.

Which commissions have you most enjoyed responding to?

Those where the client is coming to me because they know and appreciate my work. They value what I do and the project aligns both aesthetically and conceptually.

Do you have a favourite project or piece of your own work?

My favourite paintings are those that come to me subconsciously. When I’m falling asleep a lot of visuals come up and I have to write them down. Certain themes keep reoccurring in sketchbooks and sticky notes. These ideas come from what I like and have less outside influences.

Is there something you want to communicate or achieve with your work?

Joy, laughter, curiosity and youthfulness. Painting brings me back to being a child, when there was a lot of time to observe the world around you, play, and bring your imagination to life. I would draw hundreds of paper dolls and cut out every little accessory you could think of. Today, I’ll paint a small detail like a tassel on a handbag and it will make me laugh out loud. I hope others find enjoyment in it too!

What are you currently working on?

I just launched my first Etsy shop. Its focus is printable wedding and party invitations that incorporate my watercolour florals. The idea came from a friend I designed one for. Customers can instantly download, edit and print an invitation for a variety of events. It’s a great combination of design, painting and product!

What’s your dream creative project?

I have so many! Selling prints at West Elm, illustration for Anthropologie, illustration for children’s books, clothing, wallpaper and gift wrap… I could go on!

To find out more about Patrice’s work or to buy her products, visit her website, Society6 shop, and Etsy shop.