I’ve just flown back and forth across the Atlantic to join my licensee Neil Enterprises at their booth in San Antonio, Texas at CAMEX: a trade show which brings together buyers and vendors for the collegiate sector in the USA.
I collaborate with the team at Neil Enterprises on creating 2-colour artwork that tells the story of a specific college or university, which they then print onto a wide range of home and fashion accessories, souvenirs and stationery. We met at Hong Kong Gift Fair the previous year where we realised that my artwork was a good fit with their extensive product range and collegiate connections. A trip over to their HQ in Chicago a few months later enabled me to see the potential of teaming up with this third generation, growing, family business. Having spent a few days with Team Neil, I now feel like part of their family and love their positive outlook, hard-working ethic and progressive thinking.
They were showcasing my products for the first time at CAMEX and printed a full range of products of my artwork of the University of Wisconsin.
I love the water bottles, ceramic mugs and glassware. I got to work whilst at their booth at CAMEX, creating four portraits of colleges and universities that had committed to working with me and Team Neil on product ranges using my artwork.
Miami University was first on my design schedule and I was surprised to realise that I was drawing somewhere in Ohio and not Florida! I get to learn lots of amazing facts and discover stunning and unique features from the landscape of America through my work, and I appreciate its diversity and wonderful wildlife that lives within it.
Florida came up next, in the shape of Flagler College, a small educational establishment where the campus is more akin to a palace. Who wouldn’t want to study there at Flagler? Watch out for those alligators however! I loved drawing their campus as well as local landmarks such as St Augustine Lighthouse, beaming its light over the campus and out to sea.
Each of my Collegiate-Scapes are created in the brand colours of the institution and as such Penn State University looks beautiful in navy blue and silver grey. I enjoy drawing the contrast of grand buildings like Old Main with cute critters roaming around the campus such as this duo of squirrels that are rooting for the student’s sports teams.
Last but not least, Umpqua Community College came to life in Hunter green and black. It’s wonderful to discover such a pretty, small campus, that is at one with its natural environment, nestling amongst the forested mountains of Oregon and on the banks of the fast, flowing North Umpqua River. Deer roam throughout the campus and river hawks fly overhead. I include state symbols within my artwork and in my Umpqua Community College you will find the State fish (Chinook Salmon) swimming up river.
The show has been a great success and design briefs from across the country are pouring in. I discover the beauty and breadth of America as I draw and as such I would make a great addition to any pub quiz team as I reel out obscure and amazing facts about the world in which we live.