Meet The Maker: Venice Illustrator Brittney Banks
Drawing on local inspiration, Brittney Banks captures the colors and imagery of Venice in a cheerful collection of stationery, prints, and gift wrap. Her illustrated works are beginning to surface at shops and events throughout the neighborhood—the L.A. Love and Venice Sign greeting cards caught our attention at a holiday pop-up on Flower Ave. And, check out this print with Ballerina Clown and salad pizza! A Venice-inspired wrapping paper is in the works too with classic cars, bodybuilders and the Lincoln & Rose mural on the back of Whole Foods. For Valentine's Day, we've stocked up on greeting cards, and a few of our favorite Brittney Banks prints, which come signed and framed. We also caught up with our L&R neighbor and asked a few questions about her art, how it all started, and what else she's up to when out of the studio.
When did your career in illustration start and how did you end up doing stationery and prints?
I started my business in November 2014, just a few weeks after I moved to Venice. I had just taken a few months to search my soul after quitting a job in fashion design and taking some short courses (textile design, shoe design, printmaking, etc.) to try and hone in on a new life plan. Aside from knowing I didn't like working in a corporate environment, I've always loved to draw and paint and noticed a natural pull toward making custom drawings/stationery for friends and family. I was also having a hay day drawing up my own thank you cards on pre-folded white cards I bought from the art store. After a while it seemed like a lot of work to keep making new cards for each occasion so I researched how to print them. A big thanks to Instagram for making it possible to follow other illustrators and artists in this big world. Seeing their work and progression inspired me to take my doodles more seriously. It literally hit me one day and I built a website, printed some business cards and I've been riding the wave ever since!
What are some of your other creative talents and hobbies?
If I hadn't chosen illustration, I might have gone down the fine art path. Painting portraits has been a long-time passion, having friends sit for me for 3-4 hour sessions. I still do it in my free-time. It's my favorite way to connect with people and practice painting. I also love comedy and just signed up for an improv class! Super nervous, it starts in 2 weeks...
What's your Venice story? Where else have you called home?
I moved here a little over a year ago thinking I would stay for just six months before heading back to Europe for a boy. I found myself fighting the fact that Venice just suits my personality. I've never been more happy, inspired, supported, open than here. It's a wonderful spot for an artist to thrive and make new friends. Before Venice it was growing up in Indiana, NYC for 4 years, London for 1.
Who are a few of your favorite artists?
Egon Schiele, Alice Neel, Cy Twombly, Georg Baselitz, Asger Jorn.
When you need a mental boost — juice bar, coffee bar or wine bar?
Definitely coffee bar. Woooweee does that get me going.
What's your go-to neighborhood spot when it's time to treat yourself?
GTA for a meatball sandwich (baguette not brioche) or slice of their pepperoni pizza. Mouth now watering.
What's something everyone should know about Brittney Banks art?
That my business is my passion and I hope my drawings bring you joy! :)